Company Spotlight – The B1M

Credit: The B1M
Credit: The B1M

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. Following on from our promotional partnership announcement with the company, The B1M are spotlighted in the latest edition of our popular article series. Read on to learn more about the past, present and future of the BIM multimedia platform.

We were discussing work over a cup of coffee one day. Fred was talking about the need to get BIM adopted on a mass scale in his industry and I was talking about the growing benefits of video and YouTube in mine. That’s how it was born.” – Tom Payne, Co-Founder of The B1M

With that one simple conversation, the course of Fred Mills and Tom Payne‘s lives changed forever.

Building Information Modelling adoption in the UK is still not as ubiquitous as many may like it to be. Instead of just talking about it, Fred and Tom created The B1M in 2012, a brand focused on acting upon it.

“It’s still frustrating to hear experts talk of ‘moving on’ and ‘focusing on Level 3’”, explained Payne to BIMcrunch. “That’s great but the majority of the industry are only just grasping this and we need to bring them along with us.”

Knowing that many people in the architecture, engineering and construction sectors are still unsure of what BIM is, or perhaps are not quite working at the level that the UK Government expects, The B1M operate various strands of their business tailored to different professionals to ensure that widespread adoption arrives as quickly as possible.

“We knew that we wanted to get BIM beyond the experts and taken-up by the masses,” stated Mills. “We wanted to build a sense of community and take people with us. That brought us to ‘the BIM one million’ concept: The B1M.”

With their branding and goal established, next the entrepreneurial pair decided on the format of their business. Knowing they wanted to reach as many people as possible, they opted to select the medium of video to express their message:

“We are expecting millions of people to be interested enough in BIM to wade through the guidance and explanatory documentation,” elaborated Fred, who has acted as a Design Coordinator and Procurement Manager outside of The B1M. “With The B1M we’re putting engaging video content directly into people’s social media news feeds. We can’t bore people with documentation… we need to inspire them.”

Since that pivotal decision was made, it is clear that industry professionals are digesting The B1M’s visual content in their droves and that there is clearly a demand for learning. Over 30,000 video views have been garnered across The B1M’s portfolio with hits coming from 144 countries across six continents.

YouTube-certified Producer Tom added: “We want to gradually evolve into a broader knowledge sharing video channel for the AEC industry.”

Following their initial video content, The B1M decided to not just opt for creating piece-to-camera content. The depth of visual options is clearly one the most positive aspects relating to their success. In 2013, The B1M held ‘The B1M Event‘, a conference that would act as predecessor for a much grander initiative. Despite being a recently established force, respected figures such as the BIM Task Group‘s David Philp spoke at this event, reflecting the magnitude of respect that The B1M was already receiving in such a short space of time.

Hosting events and recording them for broadcasting purposes is now second nature to The B1M, who established B1M University back in 2014. Although wishing to inspire any level of architect, engineer and construction professional, The B1M noticed that students in particular would benefit from additional guidance relating to BIM. Despite being ‘Generation Y’, the generation hailed as being the key to technological evolution, BIM education seems to be happening whilst on the job, not within the classroom.

“We wanted to directly support students and share industry BIM expertise with them. It’s not that long ago that we were in the same position and we know how much something like this would have benefitted us back then,” added Payne.

The initiative sees industry professionals from sponsored companies perform lectures to students at partner educational establishments. Students gain first-hand expertise at the event before the class video is made freely available to a wider audience via The B1M’s website and YouTube channel.

A further way of inspiring BIM adoption created by Fred and Tom was The B1M Mail – the world’s first hard copy newspaper. Despite raising eyebrows initially by launching a print media platform, the duo proved the industry wrong.

“It struck us that to get BIM taken up by nearly two million directly employed people in the UK – and some 750 million globally – we needed to reach out to those in analogue; the people that don’t use YouTube or social media, the people that don’t read blogs,” commented Mills. “We wanted to reach above the digital noise and engage people directly, putting print on their front door mats. It’s unique, novel and gets people talking.”

By launching a service that would “reach people above the noise of social media, email and online news/blog content”, a successful platform was born. Hard copies reach 3,000 subscribing professionals across six continents whilst digital versions are also available online. The physical newspapers are also a hit with delegates at industry events such as BIM Show Live 2015.

After building a business with various strings to its bow, what else do The B1M have up their sleeves? The company recently released their first documentary video piece on Cubicle Centre, with a future instalment set to spotlight David Miller Architects.

In addition to that exciting new video series, professionals can also now get in contact and nominate themselves or others to become B1M Inspirers. Pete Foster and Su Butcher are the first invited experts who will give guidance in video blog (blog) format and share expertise with The B1M’s loyal follower base.

“Our efforts and successes to date are paying off. We’re now bringing on new investment partners to help us scale-up and reach our ultimate vision of inspiring millions of people around the world. I know that sounds a bit grand, but it’s the long term plan.” – Fred Mills, B1M Co-Founder

For more on The B1M, visit their exclusive portal on BIMcrunch, read the About page on their website or follow them on Twitter: @TheB1M.

RELATED: Issue 3 of The B1M Mail newspaper now available