Interview with Stefan Mordue

Stefan is a registered RIBA Architect and Technical Author for National Building Specification (NBS), part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd. Qualified in Construction Project Management, Stefan is a registered CDM co-ordinator. He has also been a key member of the team that has developed the National BIM Library, having a particular interest in the practical application of BIM and the flow of information through the project lifecycle. He recently co-wrote the ‘IFC/COBie Report’ in association with the Open BIM Network and is presently co-writing a book on BIM and Health and Safety.


Currently, Stefan is the Communication Manager for the Construction Industry Council (CIC) BIM 2050 Working Group, representing the RIBA, APM and APS. The group is chaired by David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation at the Cabinet Office, and is striving to develop a culture which enables a digitally integrated approach to positively impact on our built environment.


BIM Crunch: Interview with…

Name: Stefan Mordue

Company & role: NBS, part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd; Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK Architect and Technical Author

Employee numbers: 250 + across London, Newcastle and Newark.


Were you involved in the decision-making stage when your company chose to implement BIM?

That decision had already been made at a strategic level before I joined but I have played a part in the team that has developed and evolved our company’s BIM strategy and content.


How did your company make the transition in adopting BIM practices – have you had to change any internal processes or culture?

As a construction information provider, our adoption of BIM practices is different to that of say an architectural practice. However, as with all change, there is a period of discomfort, as the NBS technical team of Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Architects all have different backgrounds and experience. We have initiated a monthly forum where we hear from both external and internal speakers, and draw upon one another’s hopes, ambitions and concerns as we move into the BIM environment.


Can you identify some key projects the business has executed with BIM so far?

Aside from our latest NBS Create specification system, we have been developing the National BIM Library and also have just developed the online version of the new RIBA Plan of Work. NBS were part of the winning team at ‘Build Qatar Live’, which was a great achievement and proved what can be done in just 48 hours. Not a project as such, but the CIC BIM 2050 Working Group has recently gained Chloe Smith MP as an honorary member and is due to report back to her shortly. We are carrying the momentum forward from our official launch in January where Peter Hansford, the Government’s Chief Construction Advisor, spoke of his support.


What benefits are coming out of using BIM on these projects?

I am in a privileged position and get to see how our developments are helping other businesses realise the benefits of their projects. The construction industry is undergoing a massive change with the advent of digital construction and information. My role allows me to be at the forefront of this revolution, both through my work with NBS and with the CIC BIM 2050 Working Group.


Who do you think should be the primary driver in the BIM implementation process?

Ultimately, it is the client. However, the information, motivation and support to make this happen may need to come from the project team.


What do you feel are the critical factors in successful implementation of BIM?

Having support from the top is fundamental. You need support within your own organisation for the success of any project before you can even think about collaboration externally.


Has the adoption of BIM changed the design process and, if so, in what way?

Developments in technology are changing the way we do business. While BIM is much more than just software, it should not drive the design but it does giveg us the capabilities to integrate design earlier and really test what it is we will be delivering at the end of the project. BIM also demands a more collaborative approach from the outset of a design process.


Have you any future trend predictions for BIM?

I think that we only have to turn to the Hollywood movies to get an idea of the visual and graphical technologies that we will be using in the future. Many of these technologies are not new and have been around for years but are not always thought of in a construction context.


Biggest BIM-related challenge to date?

Understanding the process that we need to go through.


Biggest business lesson learned to date?

From my days in practice – listen to the expert on site, and draw upon his or her experience. There is often a better and more efficient way of doing things.


Your house is on fire, which three material items do you grab?

Cuff links my grandfather left me, my Ridley road bike, and nano coral reef tank; in that order. Although just how I will carry the fish out will be interesting.


Where do you see BIM in ten years’ time?

Hopefully, it will be the norm and people won’t be talking about it, just as we don’t talk about other digital technologies and processes that we now take for granted. I hope that we will be far beyond talking about gains in efficiency and profit and be using it to make safer assets and sites. We should be using BIM to both reduce accidents and fatalities in construction. I am currently co-writing my first book on BIM and Health and safety, so all of my friends and family now know what they will be getting from me this Christmas…..


In another life, which career path would you have pursued?

The police; a childhood dream that just won’t go away, perhaps fuelled by watching far too many series of ‘Traffic Cops’ on TV.