On Wednesday 25th September, I travelled down from our Nottingham office to attend this year’s BE2awards and BE2Talks event at the building centre in London. CONJECT’s Project Control platform had been nominated by key customers Balfour Beatty and Wates Construction in the “Best AEC Collaboration Application” category and having won this award last year we were keen to retain the title.
The BE2awards are unique in that the nominations and votes are cast online from the users and supporters within the AEC community; this differs from other awards in the sector where the winners are chosen by a panel of judges.
The BE2Talks began with an interesting take on “Growth through BIM” by Richard Saxon CBE in which he compared the introduction of BIM in AEC to that of the use of combustion engines and propellers in aviation – the point being that, like modern day flight, efficient construction was controllable and wasn’t reliant upon good will and luck like the conditions (uplift and thermals) required by gliders. It was then time for the announcement of the winner of the category we’d been entered in for – many of our competitors were also present, eagerly awaiting the news, which made the announcement by social media fanatic Bernie Mitchell of CONJECT’s success even sweeter.
Having received our award it was time to relax and listen to a series of other talks (which tended to have a joint AEC and cycling theme). Carlton Reid’s talk on blogging and his photos of ridiculous UK cycle lanes was probably the most entertaining moment.
Shortly after, the award for the “Best AEC community, network or application” was announced. We were particularly interested in this award as among the nominees was a LinkedIn group called “Project planning under the NEC3 contract”, which CONJECT actively support. CONJECT’s NEC3 Contract Management software has for the last 7 years supported projects under the New Engineering Contract (NEC) framework and several of our team are members of this online community. The group shares ideas, best practice and experience of working with the NEC3 and it was pleasing to find out that the group had won this award.
Following on from this, Phil Sorrell gave a talk on Geo-blogging demonstrating how mobile communication is advancing the world of mobile blogging and tracking. He showed that communication on construction sites requires mobile technology as land lines are often not present during the design and construction phases. He stressed that cloud storage and collaboration was essential and that we should expect to see lots of changes despite it not being clear where we’re going. Nick Katz was on next and he demonstrated “Honest Buildings” capabilities as a professional networking tool in the AEC sector.
The next presenter, Mark Stodgell (director at Pozzoni architects) made the observation that collaboration tools need to be made easier to use – he claimed there were many (platforms) available to users, with a variety of great features, but a great user experience was missing. I found his observations to be most insightful and will be taking this topic up with my team.
Then it was Tim Oldman’s (a founder of the Leesman Index) turn and he argued whether coffee was essential in a good work place – the conclusion being that on its own it didn’t make a difference, but when included within a series of factors, it can help to improve the workplace environment. It seems that when it came to coffee giving employees choice was a key factor.
Liz Male chairman of not-for-profit organisation Trustmark presented the final slot, detailing the rise of the RMI (Repair Maintenance and Improvement) sector. Liz noted how the markets growth can be alligned with the rising number of skips that are kept on the front gardens and drives of domestic properties!
In summary my trip to London to the BE2award and BEtalks was most rewarding. We were delighted to pick up the “Best AEC Collaboration application” award (two years in a row now!) and we’re grateful to our supporters and users who voted for us. Roll on next year!