BIM Brunch: Craig Muldoon

Credit: Howard Russell
Credit: Howard Russell

BIM Brunch is the perfect accompaniment to your dinner break. Featuring some major players from the #GlobalBIMCrew, BIM Brunch is an interview feature where industry specialists talk about their passion for Building Information Modelling amongst other topics of conversation.

Pre Construction Manager & BIM Champion at Howard Russell, Craig Muldoon is our latest interviewee. Craig sat down with us over the phone and discussed how a love for Pythagoras’ Theorem led to his role, his favourite BIM-related blogs, and frustration at how certain professionals overlooked accreditation triumphs within the industry. Craig also shares details of the RICS BIM4SME Awards, a ceremony that saw Howard Russell take home a trophy.

What is your favourite career related website/blog?

I would say the BIM Task Group’s website. Whilst there is a fountain of knowledge out there online, the BIM Task Group site is a single point of information that has it all in one place. It is certainly a good place to start anyway when resources are spread across the internet. The best blog would be Bond Bryan’s BIM Blog. Su Butcher also writes some interesting pieces.

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

I tend to read individual articles from magazines so don’t have a favourite outright. I often read LinkedIn blog posts as opposed to magazines or publications. I would say that recently, there have been a few from Raj Chawla that I have really enjoyed.

The top industry event you have recently been to is?

Definitely the BIM4SME Awards. Other than the fact we won, it was motivating to have so many like-minded people in one room. Normally the big names swallow up the competition at BIM events yet that wasn’t the case here. It was great to see so many enthusiastic individuals pushing in the same direction.

Favourite Twitter handles to follow?

@666raj, @CaseyRutland, @BondBryanBIM, @djhreed67, @ATurnerHRLLP, @BIMcrunch, @StefanMordue, @SuButcher, and @HowardRussellUK!

What is your all-time favourite building?

My all-time favourite building? I’m not really sure I have a favourite, there are features of many buildings that I’ve been in that impress me, but I couldn’t say that one alone has stood out! I would say my house is my favourite building as it has my wife and kids in it.

What is your favourite project/initiative you have worked on?

It would probably be our work for Gestamp Tallent Automotive, Plant 5. This was a 150,000sqft new-build manufacturing facility, which was followed by two further phases of 65,000sqft of manufacturing space with large press pits.

I enjoyed this project the most as it was my first major project where I was involved with the client from the start. It was great having that level of input that allowed me to influence the solution around the client’s budget/needs. It was true Design and Build where the contractor was actually brought in soon enough to take ownership of the project rather than have the team and the risk novated over at a much later stage. I also stayed involved until completion which is rare in my position. By negotiating further projects with the client I was able to see how the facility was being used beyond the defects period which has allowed me to learn a lot of lessons and apply these to future schemes (a lot like soft landings).

What is the best thing about the team at Howard Russell?

The best things about our team is that we’re all on the same page in terms of the ethics we work to. We’re all very client-friendly, which I think helps us retain business. We’re also not a contractual team; we like being a part of a team instead of working against someone else. We’re an innovative bunch who embrace new ideas and technology. We’re open and willing to change, and that open-mindedness and flexibility has ultimately led us down the BIM route.

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

Our first major one is the Mash Project. Having separately trialled various techniques, CDEs, workflows and software prior to this, this was the first project that we brought all of our practice together, and it was the project we won the BIM4SME Award for Best BIM Project – Small or Micro Enterprise for.

The most exciting possibilities Building Information Modelling can offer are?

None of it is new in my opinion, we’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re putting all of the cogs of the wheel we had previously had separately together. BIM is all about creating an efficient process that brings together what is needed, when it’s needed by and to the right Level of Detail.

I feel a lot of companies and individuals see the excitement of BIM being the models and the software, which I agree are amazing tools to have and use, but the excitement for me as a Pre Construction Manager is not just being able to build the building virtually before I hand it over, its knowing each stage has been thought about and planned and that everyone in the team are working to standardised systems and agreed dates.

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

It was a friend of the family who I met for a drink after I had completed my A Levels 15 years ago. He asked what I enjoyed and I said Maths and Science. He mentioned that an Engineering position had opened at where he worked – Howard Russell – and despite just starting my Building Surveying degree, Site Engineering was an ideal start as it gave me practical site experience. Being a closet geek, I love Pythagoras’ Theorem and Trigonometry which was perfect for this role too! After completing my degree day release, this then led to a Project Management role and then the position I am in now as Pre Construction Manager & BIM Champion.

What is your proudest career highlight?

It has to be being the person that got Howard Russell BIM ready. The work, time and effort that was involved, while also concentrating on a hectic full-time role, was ridiculous at times, but so worthwhile looking back now. To think that Howard Russell are finally being recognised as the professional contractor that we are, hopefully people will realise that you don’t have to pay £15,000 per week prelims to have that professional contractor on board.

One frustrating thing about our achievement is that I’ve seen it referred to as Howard Russell receiving their “Level 2 BIM accreditation”, which then starts the Mexican wave of BIM “know it alls” stating that BIM Level 2 has not been defined yet. I’d love to take this opportunity to say that we have never stated that we are BIM Level 2 accredited, its just easier for the media folk to write rather than saying that we have an accredited integrated management system compliant with the requirements of PAS 1192-2. Whatever the title, what we have achieved is amazing, and we are still developing, evolving and fine tuning our system the more we use them.

What is the best part about your job?

I would say that every day and everything that I do is different. I estimate, do client presentations, design management, procurement and for me, that diversity is great.

To read more on Howard Russell’s RICS BIM4SME Awards 2015 win, click here and here for more of our coverage. You can also get in touch with Craig via LinkedIn and Twitter.

Howard Russell’s services and how they can help you are available on their website.

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