Exclusive: Claire Thirlwall blogs on Build Newcastle Live

Credit: Build Earth Live, Thirlwall Associates
Credit: Build Earth Live, Thirlwall Associates

As referenced earlier today, the Build Newcastle Live Building Information Modelling design competition has been a hotly-discussed process over the last 48 hours.

Several teams with members based in various locations around the United Kingdom – and indeed across the world – were put to the test in the time-constricted construction challenge that saw them utilise BIM and cloud computing to create a proposal for a brief set by ASITE, BIM4SME, WYG and Build Earth Live, the parent brand involved in making the contest happen.

The brief showcased a plot of land at Newcastle’s Quayside as the base for all of the submissions, with the contestant groups having to redesign that area with a new building, which was modelled using BIM. According to the Build Earth Live website, “the site is a high-profile but un-loved stretch of land along Newcastle’s Quayside, to the east of the city centre in an area synonymous with high quality architectural development”.

Landscape architect Claire Thirlwall was part of the project, working within the Northern Ireland BIM Hub‘s collective. Claire was scheduled to participate in another team, yet when they pulled out shortly before the competition started, the NI BIM Hub drafted her in, despite having never met her before – an amazing showing of how collaborative and supportive the #GlobalBIMCrew can be.

Read on below to hear Claire’s thoughts on the entire experience, in a BIMcrunch exclusive blog post.

A number of people had recommended the Build Newcastle Live competition as a great way of testing my BIM capabilities in a no risk environment, so a few months ago I signed up. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the Northern Ireland BIM Hub (@NIBIMhub) team, a small team made up of staff from Central Procurement Directorate, PIM Smart, Semple & McKillop, Ulster University and WDR & RT Taggart along with a PhD student and architectural consultant from Sheffield University. It was very last minute as the first team I was in had to withdraw, so I’m hugely grateful for them for taking on a total stranger at the eleventh hour.

I had no idea what to expect and we had very little time to test out our IT setup but given our team had members in Northern Ireland, Oxfordshire (me) and Sheffield, I think we collaborated amazingly well. We only spoke on the phone once – the rest of our communication was via email, Skype chat and the Asite website where we uploaded our work.

I’m really pleased with the building that was created by the team and I loved that the design brief allowed me to use my river restoration skills to integrate the River Tyne into the site.

The process has shown me that BIM provides a great framework for working collaboratively and that it is the way I want to work in the future. Once I’ve caught up on sleep I’ll be improving my 3D modelling skills so I can work even more closely with my colleagues in the future.

You can watch out presentation on PowToon.

Thank you again to the @NIBIMhub team for adopting me and good luck to all the teams!

BIMcrunch will provide an update on #BNL when the winners are announced tomorrow. Good luck to Claire and to all of the teams taking part. All participants have achieved monumental success!

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