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North East leads the way in digital construction

March 9, 2020

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Newcastle was in the global digital construction spotlight last week, as over 400 delegates and 50 speakers attended BIM Show Live on 26-27 February.

In the past decade Newcastle has established itself as a leading force in Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is transforming the way construction projects are being developed and delivered.

This is the fourth year in a row that BIM Show Live has been held in Newcastle, attracting leaders from around the world to the city, further building the city’s reputation for innovation and excellence in digital construction.

Newcastle is home to organisations and partnerships at the forefront of industry developments; including Bimstore, NBS, BIM Technologies, TwinView and BIM Academy. A bid is currently underway to establish a £40m International Centre for Digital Construction headed by Northumbria University, which would provide additional world-leading research, collaboration and innovation in the built environment.

Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group and co-founder of BIM Show Live, said: “It was great to welcome so many delegates from far and wide once again to Newcastle. There’s no doubt the city is firmly on the map when it comes to digital construction and the success of this year’s event proves that. At the same time as looking out onto the national and international stage, the importance of BIM to the regional economy cannot be overstated. For a number of years now North East businesses have been truly leading the way, creating jobs and attracting talent to the region.

“The full benefits of BIM to the North East economy are far bigger. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Economic Plan identifies digital as an area of strategic importance and within this BIM has been highlighted as an opportunity for development. With the skills and experience we have locally, we are already scaling and competing on a global scale. We are providing world-class innovation and technological integration opportunities and we can ensure we optimise value and the right long-term outcomes for major capital infrastructure projects to get the best return on vital investment.”

This year’s BIM Show Live was focused on the theme of ‘BIM For Good’, designed to lead the international debate around ways in which BIM can respond to social and economic challenges such as environmental management of carbon emissions, poverty reduction and an ageing population.

Delegates heard from keynote speakers Nic Palmarini (Director of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing), Timandra Harkness (BBC presenter, author, comedian and data expert), Oliver Heath (TV presenter and sustainable architect and designer) and Stuart Maggs (CEO of Scaled Robotics).

The conference has set a target to be Net Zero Carbon in 3 years. To help achieve this food was all locally sourced and vegetarian and vegan, the printed delegate programme was replaced by a digital app, all drinks cups were reusable, with delegates encouraged to bring their own, and the BIM Awards trophies were made from sustainable source of wood.

Rob Charlton concluded: “BIM Show Live was a real showcase for the expertise, passion and ambition around digital construction in the North East. We are rightly acknowledged as leaders in this field and have much to be proud of. There’s no doubting the strengths of the sector in the North East. BIM Show Live is further proof that we have the skills, ambition and determination in the region both to continue shaping developments on a global scale and delivering value for the regional economy.”

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