Company Spotlight: thinkBIM

Credit: thinkBIM
Credit: thinkBIM

Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognised names. Read on to learn more regarding thinkBIM, a popular industry group based in Yorkshire that host incredibly popular quarterly conferences featuring top names is the business.

thinkBIM is the network for Building Information Modelling advocates & leaders, based at the Centre for Knowledge Exchange (CKE) at Leeds Beckett University. They are championing the acceleration of BIM adoption & change through focussed events, training & online discussion groups. Their goal is to demystify and promote BIM as a catalyst for collaborative working, delivered through monthly twilight seminars & quarterly conferences.

thinkBIM is the brainchild of CKE Director, Claire Bowles, and was started up in 2011 as a response to the Government Construction Strategy report published in May of that year which announced the UK Government’s intention to mandate the use of BIM on all centrally procured projects by 2016.

Claire recalls that “local businesses were coming to us and asking what this signified for them, where do they start? Many we spoke to didn’t even know what “BIM” stood for. We decided to set up the thinkBIM network to support businesses to learn about & understand BIM, from the underlying principles right down to different software available, and how they can adopt it into their existing processes”.

Since its first ever workshop, aptly titled “BIM issues, challenges and solutions” the thinkBIM network has now hosted over 40 different conferences & seminars throughout Yorkshire and beyond including the ground-breaking BIM Xtra Live event held simultaneously in Leeds & London and the inaugural GreenBIM conference in December 2014. thinkBIM currently runs three series a year, focussing on different stages of the lifecycle of a construction project – Design & Preconstruction, Construction & Assembly and Operations & In Use. Each series features two twilight seminars & a half-day conference and the intention is very much to do more.

“thinkBIM has grown significantly over the last few years, from running introductory events to showcasing the organisations, projects & specialisms who are leading the BIM revolution”.

thinkBIM is proud to have received a number of award nominations and accolades over the last four years including Best Virtual or Hybrid Event Award at the BE2Awards in London in 2013. The team were delighted to win this award as it recognised one of thinkBIM’s key strengths, the online presence of the network. As well as the seminars and conferences the thinkBIM team & ambassadors are all actively engaged in social media and events, typically live tweeting, blogging and streaming. thinkBIM conferences are global events with international keynote speakers linking to the events to illustrate how the rest of the world is “Doing BIM”. Claire comments that “being able to instantly share our activities to a wider audience, provoking passionate online debate & discussion is vital to our core values of being Open, Innovative, Leading & Engaging”.

thinkBIM is supported in its endeavours by a proactive group of sponsors, partners and individual ambassadors, all recognised regional & national as BIM leaders. Tekla & GRAPHISOFT are the network’s main sponsors with a Steering Group that benefits from a wide group of professional organisations including WSP, Bond Bryan Architects, BAM and Turner & Townsend. thinkBIM also benefits from strong links with the UK BIM Task Group, the Construction Industry Council, NBS, the Constructing Excellence BIM Group and many more.

Andrew Bellerby, MD of Tekla UK says “thinkBIM continues to excel with their information packed evenings focused on practical case studies and examples of BIM usage and implementations from all parts of the design and construction teams as well as the supply chain. It’s great and also unusual to hear “warts and all” presentations highlighting benefits of BIM and problems encountered. I would advise anyone that has not yet been to a ThinkBIM event in Leeds to get themselves along, you won’t regret it’.

In the last year thinkBIM has also significantly extended its offering by delivering BIM consultancy to SMEs. thinkBIM is a nationally approved trainer on the CITB BIM training framework and has so far delivered introduction to BIM workshops across the country to over 400 individuals representing approximately 120 companies with more planned for 2015 (hyperlink). thinkBIM also provides one to one consultancy on BIM implementation to SMES through the use of Innovation Voucher scheme, more details here. Case studies of which will be posted on thinkBIM website soon.

So what’s next?

2015 will see some change for the network as the network founder and champion Claire Bowles is shortly about to depart to Australia. But that doesn’t mean the end of the network by any means as the thinkBIM will be led by long time network advocate and ambassador, Duncan Reed.

“It’s a daunting task” says Duncan “but I’m looking forward to keeping up the high standards of honesty, openness and engagement that Claire set for the thinkBIM network. There is still a massive task to de-mystify BIM to a large part of the market and thinkBIM is in a great place to do that. The network has always been about helping to solve problems and we will continue to do this with the great team at Leeds Beckett University, the passion from the Steering Group and the support of the wider network”

If you’ve never been to thinkBIM you are definitely missing out. Our next event is the April conference, focussing on Construction and Assembly. We have keynote speakers from Atkins, the NBS and an international speaker from Denmark. If nothing else you don’t want to miss the Pecha Kucha session and the keg of Leeds Pale we lay on to encourage networking after the event!

As one of our Steering group members says – “it’s BIM up North!”

Make sure to follow thinkBIM-related social media accounts by clicking the following respective names: thinkBIM | Donna Lee | Duncan Reed | Liz Schofield | Mitch Peacock

For more information on thinkBIM, visit their official blog, join their LinkedIn group, or call them on 0113 812 1902.

RELATED: The latest from thinkBIM: A preview of NBS’ Digital Toolkit, Best BIM Bad BIM: Claire Bowles

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