Vicki Holmes says simplicity and clarity are key in achieving longevity for our digital solutions
Vicki Holmes, Digital Manager at Multiplex Construction is our next industry specialist to take part in our ‘In conversation with…’ series. Vicki told us about her enthusiasm for dissecting BIM, looking for the “whats” and the “whys” to increase productivity and achieving better outcomes.
What is your current role?
I work on digital strategy, contracts and legal, and the development of digital skills centrally for Multiplex. This includes working with our pre-con team on tenders and process, our legal team on the development of contracts, and the learning team on creating and rolling out sustainable and effective learning plans for our employees.
My main aim within Multiplex is to simplify and standardise as a first approach, so that the more complicated processes and procedures have a solid foundation to be built upon.
What does BIM mean to you and how do you use/implement digital construction methodology on your projects?
To me BIM means increased precision and knowledge. Once a model becomes a trusted source of information at the centre of a project environment, information is available quickly and with accurate context. This allows a project team to make faster and more informed decisions.
We implement this on all of our new projects by educating our teams to use and to trust the models and the data available to them, and most importantly, to interrogate it. BIM and digital construction should raise more questions than it answers initially, bringing to light potential inaccuracies and problems earlier and at a stage where fixing them is less costly in terms of both time and money. Our projects are based on simple but effective data sets, which Multiplex procure, develop and continually audit throughout our projects. This then leads to longevity in our solutions, clarity in our process and training, and a steady base for innovation to be developed upon.
When did you first start working with BIM?
I barged blindly in to the world of BIM from a Document Control role about five years ago. With a background in Contract Management and Information Management, but little to zero knowledge of construction, I found the potential for change and development within the industry pretty exciting and I wanted to be a part of that journey. I asked a lot of questions, often along the lines of, “but, why?” and I learned quickly and enthusiastically because I’d finally found a job that I wanted to invest in. Coming from a non-traditional background allowed me to objectively observe and comment, and I am a strong believer that diversity leads to better outcomes which is why I am an advocate for welcoming software developers and data managers, and people with a range of other skills, in to our industry to keep the disruption happening and to constantly change and evolve the way that we think (and build).
Why should BIM Show Live visitors attend your talk?
I’m the eternal optimist when it comes to BIM and digital construction. I think that simplicity and clarity are key, and I honestly believe that if I can understand it then anyone can. I’ll be telling the story of how “I can’t do this” became “I can’t NOT do this”, and discussing the human element within this digital revolution. “BIM Bubble” is my term for our safe place; this area of the construction industry in which we all understand each other and stick together. I broke my way in, and I broke my way out. I’d like to share the story of what I’ve learnt with you.
What technologies in the AEC industry currently impress you the most?
The flashy stuff like VR and AI are great, but I still can’t help being impressed by the huge development in the basics of modelling and simulation, allowing us to virtually build before we physically build. That’s what impresses me most – when the attention to detail and the care in data management means that even before any technical add-ons we can use accessible tools such as Synchro and Navisworks to simulate the construction and intricately interrogate the design and potential operation of a building. The environmental and health and safety impacts of that alone are fantastic: less waste, more logistics planning and an overall better understanding of our construction environment for precision management.
What do you think will be the next big thing in BIM and digital construction?
I think offsite manufacturing and virtual mock-ups will be seen more and more from 2019 onwards. In cities such as London where space is a costly and scarce commodity, we’ll be looking to produce as much as we can inside a cheaper rent space, testing the installation with activity simulation using detailed virtual mock-ups of our projects. Taking a lot of this work away from site should have a direct positive affect on health & safety, waste management and noise and air pollution around areas of dense construction, to name but a few. However, the bigger the jigsaw pieces, the bigger the problems if they don’t all fit together at the crucial point, which is why I think we will rely even more on virtual testing to greater and greater detail to increase predictability and efficiency.
Vicki’s seminar, ‘Breaking out of the BIM Bubble’ will take place at 11.00am on Thursday 28 February.