BIM Brunch: Duncan Reed

Credit: thinkBIM
Credit: thinkBIM

BIM Brunch is the perfect accompaniment to your dinner break. Featuring some major players from the #GlobalBIMCrew, BIM Brunch is an interview segment where BIM specialists talk about their passion for Building Information Modelling. Taking part today is thinkBIM Ambassador and Tekla Digital Construction Process Manager, Duncan Reed. Duncan discusses his favourite ever piece of infrastructure, his admiration for Tom Oulton‘s no nonsense approach to BIM and what it is like being an ambassador of thinkBIM.

What is your favourite career related website/blog?

The Bond Bryan blog; It’s my go to place for definitive information and documentation. I was back there again only last week to see if there was anything else I missed in my trawl of the internet looking at delivering COBie. When I find useful document I also pass on links to Rob [Rob Jackson], mainly so I can find them again at a later date on his blog rather than having to hunt around again myself.

Do you have a favourite industry book, magazine or publication?

New Civil Engineer. It covers the full range of assets – both buildings and infrastructure – and focusses on the engineering not the architecture – and I am an engineer after all. It has articles about the companies I work with, great opinion pieces and regular in-depth supplements. It and also has the advantage that I can just about manage to read through it each week.

The top industry event you have recently been to is?

Last month I was at Timber Expo in Birmingham, exhibiting with colleagues from Tekla and speaking in one of the theatres. This is a section of the UK construction industry that has been at the fore-front of delivering construction innovation for some time. Whether it’s DfMA or low carbon sustainable solutions it has great possibilities for widespread adoption of BIM, with some already successfully modelling and manufacturing schemes using Tekla software. Certainly worth a look at how the industry can do better at delivering leaner high quality solutions.

Favourite Twitter handles to follow?

Most of my favourite twitter handles seem to be #BIM related:
– Rob Jackson (@bondbryanBIM) for all things openBIM.
– Tom Oulton (@itsBIMupnorth) for his no nonsense approach to BIM.
Lee Mullin (@leeroyb) I might not use the software anymore but Lee still has pretty impeccable music taste.

And when it comes to good music twitter feeds like Esben and the Witch (@WEAREEATW), Smoke Fairies (@smokefairies), Esper Scout (@esperscout) are great bands in my opinion as well as 6Music DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs (@maryannehobbs).

Beer on twitter comes via great Leeds pubs Cross Keys (@crosskeysleeds), Midnight Bell (@themidnightbell) and of course, Leeds Brewery Taps (@brewerytapsleeds). All great real ale and pubs.

For running, my recommendation would certainly go to @veggierunners too.

What is your all-time favourite building?

I’m a civil engineer so for me it’s not actually a building. It’s Kylesku Bridge linking the mainland of Scotland to the Isle of Skye. A fantastic concrete structure that is inspiring but yet not dominating of the landscape.

What is your favourite project you have worked on?

I think my favourite project probably has to be the construction of the West Stand of Murrayfield Rugby Stadium, back now in 1992-3. I was a section engineer on this scheme, setting out all the precast terrace units to the curved ends of the stand and managing the large scaffolding package. A fantastic scheme in a great city and I even got to watch a Calcutta Cup!

What is the best thing about the team at thinkBIM?

In this case I’m talking about the wider team at thinkBIM, and their common goal to get everyone to understand BIM and in particular openBIM. thinkBIM has built up a great legacy of fantastic case studies and real shared BIM experiences. It all has an amazing track record for demystifying BIM, particularly for SMEs through the construction industry. If you want to understand how BIM might impact or can support any construction business then thinkBIM must be the go-to place for information and support.

What was the first BIM related project you have been a part of and what did you learn from the experience?

My first ‘BIM’ project was with my previous employer, Balfour Beatty Construction, and was the West Hull Primary School, now called The Compass Centre, back in 2011-2. The team had a great track record in delivering schools so understand the building type, a key factor for choosing your first BIM project in my opinion. But we struggled with collaboration at that time, and had one big miss with clash detection!

The most exciting possibilities Building Information Modelling can offer are?

For me I think BIM provides a way of making construction a much more attractive career of choice for school children, further and higher education students. It’s mustn’t be the media’s image of bricklayer’s bums and wolf whistling – it’s a professional career with amazing opportunities to work in an innovative industry that’s as cutting edge as any other. We must stop selling ourselves short and turn it round to ‘Construction – why wouldn’t you want to work in it?’

Who or what made you want to work within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction sector?

I’ve always worked in the construction sector and am proud of that. Initially; being outdoors, getting my hands dirty & making things happen were why I started in the industry. I might not be out on site much these days but still always pushing to make things happen.

I’ve always followed the ‘nothings impossible’ view on the world that a contractor has – whether its delivering the best design solution, squaring the budget against a customer’s aspirations or getting a scheme that you have huge personal pride in over the line.

What is your proudest career highlight?

I’m usually pretty pleased when I’m pulling the first pint of Leeds Pale at the end of another successful thinkBIM conference!

As a career highlight – I’ve worked on so many projects it’s a hard to single one out so I’m not going to pick one of them. For me I think it probably has to be becoming a Chartered Civil Engineer. Whenever anyone outside of construction asks me what I do I say I’m a Civil Engineer first and then try and explain the day job afterwards.

What is the best part about your job?

When I work out what my job is I’ll let you know, for now (and it’s always been) it’s making a difference.

Check back on Tuesday December 16th, 2014 for the next edition of BIM Brunch.

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RELATED: thinkBIM Recap: “If you don’t change, you will die in this industry”

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