Lee Mullin is impressed at how quickly reality capture technologies are evolving
Lee Mullin, Construction Specialist at Autodesk, 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?
Working for a software provider I have very little hands on with delivery of projects in the industry. However my role is multi-faceted and I find myself often in an advisory role to help define and prove out workflows on projects. This has tended to be on a one to one project or company basis so I’m currently helping transfer our teams expertise in proving out workflows to different platforms such as YouTube and our Autodesk Knowledge Network.
When did you first start working with BIM?
My first role was with Navisworks, before it was bought by Autodesk. At that time we were still trying to work out if it was a buzzword or something more valuable. I didn’t realise back then how the technology we were producing would be so important to how the industry evolved.
In your opinion what has been the greatest benefit to the AEC industry by the introduction of BIM and digital construction processes?
We’re in the biggest transition stage the industry has had for many years. At the moment many construction firms are digitising their processes. It’s been painful for many, however the benefits are still clear cut over our old analog world. The next step which we have a number of customers looking at, is utilising the huge amount of data created in these processes, applying machine learning, and changing a construction industry that firefights problems, to one that identifies smoke at the earliest stages, and then will be able to look at prevention of problems before they even appear.
Do you have a particular stand-out or flagship BIM-led project?
My favourite project to talk about recently has been the Vamma Hydroelectric Dam in Norway. It’s adoption of cutting edge workflows is something that the building and infrastructure industries can learn from. However it’s rigid stance on a 2D drawing and paper free site shows us where the industry can get to and how far 3D modelling really has come, especially in places you may not expect a natural fit.
What technologies in the AEC industry currently impress you the most?
I’m impressed at how quickly reality capture technologies are evolving, taking laser scanning from a complex process to an easy no-brainer for different stages of design and construction. Combining this with autonomous robots which can do multiple robots and data collection is becoming much easier.
Are you optimistic the industry is moving in the right direction in terms of digitisation?
I’m very encouraged by the evolution of how construction is viewing digital. It’s gone from being viewed as a necessary evil to improve productivity to a way of getting better data to make better decisions, changing the mindset of contractors from firefighting and risk mitigation to a way to identify new opportunities.
What do you think will be the next big thing in BIM and digital construction?
I’m very keen to improve adoption of digital workflows across the sector and whilst there’s lots of exciting innovations in robotics, materials, and application of standards that give a consistent result. The use of data to change the focus of the industry may finally change those 2-3% margins that are common, to more predictable outcomes which lead to a different value provided to clients, and in turn an increase in margins as price becomes more than the sole USP.
Lee is presenting at BIM Show Live on Wednesday 28 February at 16:00 in the strategy stream on: No one likes an expert, why Michael Gove was right about BIM. See the full programme for further details on Lee’s talk.