August 14, 2018
When Trees Meet Buildings

In an effort to create a more pleasant, healthier and sustainable built environment, architects, engineers and developers are creating increasingly greener buildings - and doing it in a more literal way than ever before.

Buildings with trees are actually nothing new. The mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon are often imagined as a stepped palace of terraces containing numerous trees, shrubs and exotic flowers.

Although no such building was found during excavations in Mesopotamia and its existence has been subject to much debate, artists have kept this imagery alive in their paintings throughout the centuries.

Above: A trace of an ancient carving showing the mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The current revival of green architecture began in the 1970s, when the energy crisis, coupled with growing awareness of humankind’s impact on the environment, propelled architects and engineers to think more carefully about sustainable development.

Although there are many different ways to approach sustainable building design, an increasing number of architects and engineers began to incorporate green roofs and other energy saving measures into their projects.

A prominent example of this is the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters (now called the Willis Building) in Ipswich in the United Kingdom (UK), designed by Sir Norman Foster and completed in 1975.

July 27, 2018
Get ready for human-eye resolution VR

Varjo has lifted the lid on its forthcoming professional focused ‘human eye’ resolution VR/MR headset which boasts much higher resolution than other headsets.

Varjo achieves its ‘human eye’ resolution by mimicking how the eye works in real life by only making the centre of the wearer’s gaze super sharp in focus, while everything in the periphery is out of focus.

The headset does this by using two different displays within the headset. The high pixel density ‘focus display’ uses eye tracking and a ‘bionic display’ to physically follow the wearer’s gaze in real time and a ‘context display’ for the peripheral vision. The images from both displays are blended together.

The headset will also offer ‘true cinematic quality in Mixed Reality’ via video see-through using two cameras with ultra-wide-angle lenses combined with over 4K stereo video stream running at 90 frames per second. According to Varjo, two image signal processors enable the simultaneous capturing and streaming of high-quality Mixed Reality with minimum latency.

Varjo’s first human-eye resolution VR headset is due to launch at the end of 2018, and the Mixed Reality add-on in 2019.

July 25, 2018
5 technologies that are about to change the construction industry forever

Technology has impacted every corner of our lives at a pace so rapid it’s sometimes hard to keep up. The construction industry is no exception to that, and the sheer number of tech solutions on offer to companies can be daunting

It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to figure out what’s just a flash in the pan and what’s worth investing your money in. In this blog, Advantage AHCI aims to help you do exactly that – as they tell you about the five technologies which will change the construction sector forever.

When a camera is attached to one of these aerial vehicles, it allows for site managers and teams to not only receive real-time progress updates but also to check for and monitor health and safety hazards they may not have otherwise been able to spot. So significant is their anticipated impact that US start-up company, Skycatch, have made supplying drones to construction projects their primary focus. Furthermore, from a marketing perspective, being able to use drones to capture time-lapse footage of schemes being constructed is a brilliant calling card for surveyors and agents.

3D printing has already made a big splash, but many people believe that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities. One Chinese construction company has started building houses using a giant version of the technology, spraying layers of cement and construction waste to create them. Many in the industry are convinced that this could, eventually, help to solve the global housing crisis – reducing the time and costs involved with building new homes.

July 24, 2018
Five tips for manufacturers engaging with BIM

Gavin Summerson, senior certification manager at BSI, uses his experience of assessing organisations to explore some of the common questions manufacturers ask when engaging with BIM.

Manufacturers face a significant challenge in this new era of construction, specifically around the digitisation of their products and understanding what information should be provided about their products.

However, taking the first step toward modelling products for BIM can be daunting. Here are a few tips to help manufacturers through that process.

If design teams understand the data associated with a manufacturer’s products, they are more likely to select these products and use them within buildings. 

For procurement teams, if the data is easy to find, at the point of selecting actual products, they are more likely to choose a manufacturer’s objects as they’re “ready to go”, with the right level of technical information available that matches the specification. 

For manufacturers, return on investment is about making sure you are one of the early adopters before your competitors steal that march.

It’s a common misconception that if you’re a manufacturer, you must provide 3D objects for BIM. In fact, that might not be the case. For component items such as pipes and air conditioning systems, there is value in providing BIM objects, to allow coordination. However, other products such as walls and floor finishes often just need the data related to them, particularly where they have ongoing maintenance requirements. 

July 18, 2018
From BIM to CIM: why building and city information modelling are essential to the development of Smart Cities

BIM can be seen as one smart city ‘tool’, offering huge potential to help cities deal with the new challenges.


Cities are both a key enabler of productivity and economic development, and essential to the social and political wellbeing of individuals and society, as the place that most people now call ‘home’. However, there are many problems in cities that are inhibiting economic growth and social and environmental justice and equality. Traffic congestion is a huge problem worldwide and costs national economies billions of pounds each year. In the UK alone, traffic cost the economy £31bn in 2016. Poor housing conditions, leading to greater need for healthcare services, also put a huge strain not only on people’s lives but also on local and national healthcare systems. 

Growing populations and changing demographics - for example, an increasingly youthful population in many African cities, and an increasingly ageing population in much of Europe - is already beginning to put a lot of strain on public services and the built environment. The global housing crisis is just one expression of this. The smart city concept is one reaction to the growing challenges that urban centers face - from environmental degradation, to increasing economic inequalities, to growing populations that overstrain and exhaust social and physical infrastructure - as it aims to improve the operational, service and energy efficiency of cities and render them better places to live for all.  

July 16, 2018
Download the Manual and get to know the best tools for handling IFC files

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. At the heart of BIM is a smart building data model that incorporates not only 3D geometry but also all the relevant data relating to the building and its components. This kind of building data model can only be created using complex, BIM-enabled software.

Provided that all of those involved in the planning are working with the same software, data exchange is loss-free. The native BIM format also facilitates the coordination of all planning stages and stakeholders. In building projects, it can happen that those involved in the planning process are using different BIM software from different providers. The buildingSMART initiative (www. has developed the IFC format to support such openBIM workflows.

IFC allows the exchange of a specific subset of the native model. Since the IFC4 release, the IFC format has met a recognized ISO standard (ISO 16739:2013). In its current version, buildingSMART maintains a list of all applications with certified IFC support: IFC as the standard for exchanging BIM information The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are an open standard for the exchange of building data models used in building design and construction across different software. They are used to exchange information within a project team and between software applications used in design, construction, procurement, maintenance, and operation. Current IFC Model View Definitions primarily support 3D geometry and property data. 

July 16, 2018
New digital simulation optimise people flow and building occupancy

Virtual Building Service is a new digital simulation package from EIT Digital, the open innovation organisation, which aims to optimise people flow and building occupancy.

Developed by the company as part of its Digital Industry Action Line, the programme is designed to help developers, owners and architects strike the right balance between higher occupancy rates and better user experiences.

KONE and IBM are partners in the initiative, with the former acting both as business owner and activity leader.

The simulator is a new feature that enhances KONE’s People Flowconsultancy and planning service. Simulation data will be collected in real time by sensors or, in the case of a new facility, from previous studies and knowledge gathering.  

Outlining the scope of Virtual Building Service, KONE’s head of people flow optimisation, Juha-Matti Kuusinen, said: “Our simulation capability is now much improved. We can, for example, simulate people flow in the lobby of an office building and understand how that might look along with the waiting times for the elevators. And we can judge if the building is performing very well or if there’s room for improvement.”

Traditionally KONE, one of the largest elevator and escalator manufacturers in the world, has focused on vertical efficiency, or people moving from floor to floor.

July 12, 2018
Industrialising BIM workflows

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been a subject of debate since its inception. Its impact and potential value are still not clearly defined. This lack of definition is partially due to an unclear consensus about what BIM processes are, or what their value could be. To find value or benefit against a backdrop of stagnant productivity and failing capital projects (delivered late and over budget), firms have used BIM methodology in some form to bridge technological, cultural and process gaps. The benefits of BIM processes have, to date, been limited to individual disciplines or specific phases of the infrastructure lifecycle. As firms find cumulative value in going digital, a new strategy for BIM workflows is emerging on an industrial scale. Firms are redefining the purpose and potential of BIM workflows to make every project perform like their best project through automation, consistency and repeatability. This strategy is the industrialisation of BIM.

For many project delivery firms, going digital is an imperative and at a critical juncture. Challenging market conditions, disruptive technologies, squeezed margins and the perennial “race to the bottom” continue to plague firms, as well as the consultants and contractors that contribute to project delivery. Despite increasing momentum to embrace digital technologies, many firms are still constrained to individual BIM deliverables rather than a holistic, integrated approach. These BIM deliverables have intrinsic value that can span multiple phases of an asset. For example, data residing in a 3D BIM model have significant value in operations and maintenance phases because they can semantically and intelligently describe critical information for performance improvements. The problem, however, is that project delivery firms are not yet incentivised for the perpetual value of data – yet.

July 11, 2018
Willmott Dixon staff see through concrete with mobile app

Willmott Dixon workers are now able to “see through concrete” using a mobile phone app that shows a mix of reality and 3D construction models in much the same way as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Danish technology firm Dalux claims that 40,000 construction workers worldwide are now using the Dalux Field app, which uses augmented reality (AR) on both Android and iOS smartphones.

Willmott Dixon has been testing Dalux on four different construction projects ranging in size from £4m to £25m.

The firm’s digital manager, Andrew Gamblen, said: “The workers on site are excited. Even though not all are using it every day, they still check each time something has been installed and see if there are any issues. They no longer have to run back and forth to the office.

“We work with a lot of information-heavy construction models and if a system cannot handle large amounts of data we have no use for them. Dalux displays everything in a fast, simple and stable application.”

Dalux co-founder Brent Dalgaard added: “Earlier, it was only one type of Android phone that could show augmented reality. Now it is open to a huge workforce, so we expect to see augmented reality spread fast in the construction industry.”

Dalux has grown from 20 to 55 employees in one and a half years and is present in 100 countries with the UK as a key market.

July 9, 2018
Pix4D to showcase construction drone mapping at GEO|Design+BIM 2018

With the theme “Enabling Tomorrow’s Connected Infrastructure”, GEO| Design+BIM 2018 will delve deeper into the integration of geospatial technology and BIM, and other associated industry trends including big data analytics, IoT, drones, VR, robotics, cloud worksharing, city information modelling, digital twin, and many, many more.

Pix4D, a Swiss-based company, is the industry leader in professional drone mapping and photogrammetry software. Its Pix4Dbim solution provides construction professionals with powerful mapping solutions for planning and scheduling, earthworks, as-built monitoring, inspections, 4D BIM, and project documentation.

“Drone mapping is an exciting technology. It has a massive potential in construction projects and helps teams to rapidly gather as-built data from any jobsite that can be used for numerous applications. However, it’s not standard practice yet. Construction companies right now are still in evaluation mode. We attended GEO|Design+BIM last year and initiated very interesting discussions around the use of geospatial data analytics and 3D modelling in BIM processes for project planning and monitoring. Coming back this year, we want to enhance those discussions and present what’s next for construction,” said Sabrina Cardot, Marketing Manager for Construction.

Having Pix4D as a sponsor at GEO|Design+BIM this year is a strong indication that drones are becoming vital to the construction sector. “It’s gratifying to witness the digital transition of construction sector and how geospatial technology is getting integrated in every workflow. We’re proud that GEO|Design+BIM is serving as the connecting platform between two communities to discuss new solutions and collaborations,” added Anamika Das, Vice President, Outreach and Business Development at Geospatial Media and Communications, the conference organiser.