The 5th Be2Awards

Well done to @eepaul for superbly organising the 5th #Be2Awards on 25th September at the Building Centre.

Be2Awards
Firstly I must congratulate all the winners of the awards for a job well done; you deserve all recognition coming your way.
However, this blog is more about what this event meant to me. This is London Social Media week (23-27 Sept 2013) and the Be2Awards are all about acknowledging the contribution of social media in the built environment; what else does? Now I appreciate that there are people cynical of the influence of social media, however I would happily beg to differ.  Social media is having an increasing impact on the way I operate and I strongly believe it will have an increasing influence on the way everyone operates.  And this was the message the eclectic mix of speakers in their own way was endeavouring to convey.
Interspersed amongst the awards was a selection of speakers with an important point to make; collectively the speakers provided an powerful of the influence of social media:
  1. David Burden (Daden Ltd; @DavidBurden) highlighted the benefits of third digital model to support the design and construction models. The third user model is predicated on interaction with the ‘future’ users of the built asset to influence the built asset. Their interaction is via social media.
  2. Duncan Reed (Tekla; @djhreed67) emphasised that whether we realise it or not we already operating in a BIM world utilising social media.  Whilst the focus is on BIM authoring tools, most need the data from the models and we will utilise this data with social media tools (I’m using one now – wordpress).
  3. Andy Hudson-Smith (@digitalurban) demonstrated that privacy is dead; whilst the implications are only slowly being realised, the phenomenal power of technology needs to be embraced now; the future is already with us.
  4. Anne Parker (@AnneHydeParker) changed the emphasis and implored us to be mindful of the stress that our ever increasingly fast world causes us. We need to be careful of the influence of all the immediacy of information and take time to ensure we focus on what is important.
  5. Gordon O-Neill (Iota Media; @iota_gordon) stressed the ability to communicate effectively is predicated on our ability to convey a message and this is often most effectively done via a story-telling. Very apt for my job.
  6. Robert Klaschka (Studio Klaschka; @StudioKlaschka) emphatically demonstrated that the only way is to open source; history tells us the winners don’t operate closed systems – share to your heart’s content.
  7. Claire Thirlwall (Thirlwall Associates; @ThirlwallAssoc) brought along cakes; yum-yum! Claire’s message to cynics was to embrace social media as this is the future.  Using her own journey from cynic to convert, Claire presented a powerful example of how social media has enabled her SME business to thrive and grow. And the help is all available via social media.
The influence of this event, from a room in central London with approximately 30+ present, was to have apparently had in excess of 4 million and counting.  This is the power of social media and the interaction with individuals all around the globe.
Well done to all involved.
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Consolidating for Growth

This is a personal reflection on a recent visit to Byrne Group’s Consolidation Centre. ImageI first came across the principle of a consolidation centre when I was working at BAA on Terminal 5. The consolidation centre was the solution to the problem of getting everything needed for construction and mobilisation on to the restricted T5 site.  Rather than every supplier face the gauntlet of the bottleneck at the entrance to the site, a centre was created nearby where all suppliers dropped of their consignments for consolidating into full loads.
The principles and benefits are well captured in the following articles:
The principle has been developed and separate logistic companies have endeavoured to replicate the operation in London and elsewhere.  I recently became aware that the Byrne Group had also adapted the principle for their purposes. It is promoted on on their website and has received recognition in the form of the “Best Practice in Management category at the Plant Services magazine 2010 Best Practice Awards”. Further information is available

  1. On Byrne Group website
  2. On COINS website
Why don’t more construction companies develop such an approach? This is more rhetorical question and probably a good dissertation topic for one of my students. What was clearly evident to me is that the Byrne Group fully appreciate where value is added in their value chain.  This has enabled them to focus on what is important in creating an efficient and effective operation. Rather than focus on developing their expertise in sub-contract management, their competence is based around effective operational management.
How many other construction companies can say that?