Julian Norton says BIM allows us to deliver very complex and innovative projects
Julian Norton, Business Development Manager at Pix4D shares his views on the position of BIM today in the UK and what’s just around the corner that we need to watch out for.
Can you please tell us about your involvement with BIM delivery and how this impacts on your current role?
In the past few years, BIM has gained considerable ground in construction. More and more companies worldwide are adopting BIM processes to optimize project management, helping them to better synchronize all aspects of the construction process: planning, designing, building, operation, and maintenance. However, there still are many challenges to address in the industry today. Being able to visualize and monitor the progress of construction sites is one of the key challenges. The lack of communication and feedback in the industry shows there is a strong necessity for continuous site surveying and tracking technologies. Pix4D’s solution addressed those challenges. Pix4D provides a combined hardware and software solution that creates 2D and 3D as-built models of a project site. This is done remotely, without human intervention, and on a daily basis. The system is based around connected cameras mounted on the tower crane jibs transmitting images automatically to our cloud-based photogrammetry software where are processed and converted into 2D and 3D models. These deliverables can be directly integrated in BIM/CAD software to support the BIM verification.
When did you first start working with BIM?
I’m a construction surveyor, with a background in photogrammetry and laser scanning, and I have always been involved in collecting as-built data on construction sites using many different techniques. I joined Pix4D around 3 years ago. But before that I was working for nearly 20 years in the laser scanning industry, specifically in industrial plant, where the adoption of 3D CAD with associated data, happened first.
In your opinion what has been the greatest benefit to the AEC industry by the introduction of BIM and digital construction processes?
BIM includes everything good about CAD, but adds the processes and certification. It’s clear to me that BIM has allowed very complex and innovative projects to be delivered within optimal schedule and budget. This is why the industry has adopted BIM, and it has a direct impact on costs. Clearer, complete and regular as-built data showing the exact status of the project really improve communication and collaboration between different parties. This data should be presented in an intuitive and easy-to-access way.
Do you have a particular stand-out or flagship BIM-led project?
We have a project in Switzerland with a branch of Bouygues Construction and in the USA with Balfour Beatty. Both demonstrate how daily site updates in 2D and 3D are keeping the projects on track and are helping to spot construction errors early before it becomes costly.
What technologies in the AEC industry currently impress you the most?
I’m biased, but the recent confidence in the industry to use BIM has combined with the popular rise of drones to create a very nice intersection of these two technologies for site mapping
Are you optimistic the industry is moving in the right direction in terms of digitisation?
Of course, and the construction industry is very conservative about adopting new technologies, so when it does it is after a lot of thought and for the right reasons, it results in project efficiency.
What do you think will be the next big thing in BIM and digital construction?
VR combined with mobile devices to give real-time visual overlays of information, drawings and ideas. This would benefit both the workers as well as the designers.
Julian is presenting at BIM Show Live on Thursday 1 March at 14:30 in the data stream on: How the cloud is making drone mapping construction-friendly. See the full programme for further details on Julian’s talk.