Original Cabinet Office BIM Core Team member, Jaimie Johnston, tells us his BIM story
The 2019 show has some of the very best, high-calibre technology and BIM experts in the industry today, and as part of our BIM-star line up we welcome Jaimie Johnston, Board Director and Head of Global Systems at Bryden Wood and formerly one of the Cabinet Office’s Core BIM Team.
As part of our “in conversation with” series we chatted with Jaimie to find out what we can expect from his talk at the show and his views on the wider BIM environment.
What is your current role?
Board Director and Head of Global Systems at Bryden Wood. ‘Systems’ refers to both physical systems (design for manufacture and component build solutions for healthcare, education, aviation, pharmaceutical and infrastructure projects) and information systems (data analysis, digital delivery and BIM) for projects in the UK, Europe and Asia.
I am also the Design Lead for the Transforming Construction Alliance, which in late 2018 was awarded £72 million to set up the Core Innovation Hub to drive innovation and technological advances in the UK construction and infrastructure sectors.
What does BIM mean to you and how do you use/implement digital construction methodology on your projects.
Firstly, I would say ‘BIM’ is not a technological solution – it is a way of working, using models and data to create a collaborative workflow.
Currently people’s ‘mental picture’ tends to be with BIM at the centre of everything, with lots of different stakeholders and project team members viewing BIM as the central ‘single version of the truth’. However, since 2016 BIM has gone from ‘the gold standard’, to the ‘minimum requirement’ and with digital tools are becoming increasingly sophisticate, BIM is now just one view of a central data set.
We need to use BIM – to harness what it provides in terms of informational content and structure for example – but we also need to move beyond it. We need an expanded ecosystem that includes BIM, but also embraces many different elements of digital technology including generative design, algorithmic simulation, geospatial analysis, VR, AR, IoT etc.
At Bryden Wood we have always been at the forefront of digital engineering, and we now use BIM as part of a much wider digital capability. Alongside BIM content creators we have experts in mathematical modelling, virtual prototyping and discrete event simulation, as well as teams who create client specific apps and advanced digital workflows.
When did you first start working with BIM?
I was part of the original Cabinet Office BIM Core Team, working alongside Mark Bew and others from 2011, and developed the early departmental BIM implementation strategies, as well as assisting in developing the suite of PAS documents.
Why should BIM Show Live visitors attend your talk?
For over 24 years Bryden Wood have been leading the industry in industrialised construction, looking to create a more productive and sustainable industry by learning from other sectors. We have created enormous benefit by working with forward thinking clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Heathrow and Circle Health. In the last couple of years, we have seen our way of working gain increasing traction as the wider industry faces the challenges relating to skills gap, ageing workforce, low productivity etc.
In particular, we have been working closely with public sector clients in two key areas:
- Developing a ‘Platform’-based approach, creating common components that can be used across sectors to create a high consistency demand for manufactured components.
- Developing advanced digital workflows for Highways England, the Greater London Assembly, the Education and Skills funding Agency.
This work was influential in the Government’s adoption of a ‘presumption in favour of offsite’, as set out in the 2017 Autumn Statement.
More recently, the Infrastructure Projects Authority proposed a ‘Platform approach to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (P-DfMA)’ that built on our work on Platforms which, in their words is ‘currently the most promising trend in the construction and engineering sector.’
This talk will explain our work on Platforms, how they could help to massively increase productivity in construction and how they are inexorably linked to new digitally enabled ways of working.
We believe these are ideas that, if the whole industry were to support, would vastly accelerate the improvement of the industry.
What technologies in the AEC industry currently impress you the most?
Recent work by our Creative Technologies team, working with the Highways England Smart Motorways team, has automated the early stage design of Smart Motorways. This has created huge efficiencies in the early stage design process and as a proof of how automation in design can unlock real value it has very wide-reaching implications.
What do you think will be the next big thing in BIM and digital construction?
We are already seeing the impact of generative design and algorithmic simulation on design; not just doing the same design process faster but increasing the ‘search area’ of ideas to try thousands or hundreds of thousands of possible solutions. Once this is linked to the vast amounts of data soon to be unleashed by the increasing numbers of IoT devices we may see buildings becoming self-optimising and far more response and ‘pro-active’.
New forms of architecture tend to arise from new forms of technology (we couldn’t build more than a few storeys tall until we had lifts, for instance). I think the rise of, for example, generative design linked to Platforms could give rise to a new and exciting form of architecture.
Jaimie Johnston is talking at BIM Show Live on Day 1 at 11.15am on the Sir Bobby Robson Stage: “Disruption is almost inevitable: the question is how we as an industry choose to respond”