Singapore, Adelaide, Toronto and Aarhus. The BILT Event has been touring the world in 2017, with its last stop in Aarhus, Denmark for the BILT EUR – and what a stop. Three days filled with learning, knowledge-sharing, experiencing an interesting city centre and socialising across professional competencies.
The purpose of BILT is clear, and it builds on the trinity of the three Cs: conversation, connection and community, a trinity you feel from the very first second you place your shoes onto the carpet floors of the conference area. Usually, Danes are not known as the chattiest people, but this conference is filled with multiple more talkative nationalities, and the rooms are filled with a vague humming. The conversation has begun!
Day 1 − Conversation:
We, the delegates of DANISH™, have served ourselves a cup of morning tea and found a comfy seat in the big room with dim lighting. Voices in languages other than English can be heard, from Norwegian to French, while we wait for the official kick-off of BILT EUR 2017.
Two hours later we are blown away by the introduction and the keynote speaker Anders Hvid, and now we are off and on our own. This is where it really begins. Our personal programmes are printed and hang around our necks ready to remind us of the different sessions, LABs and forums we have planned to participate in during the next three days.
Around 50 people joined LAB sessions on ‘Site Planning in Revit’, offering the possibility of learning by doing, whilst the rest split up to attend more than ten different sessions. DANISH™ had the pleasure of delving into the topic of bridges followed by a class on Generative Design with Project Fractal by Anthony Hauck, Director of Product Strategy at Autodesk. He explains the use of Revit and similar BIM tools in a simple and clear way.
“It´s all about predictability. Using Revit is like using Google Maps to find out how to go from A to B, how much time it takes and what obsticles you might encounter, except it’s for people in the same industry from different businesses. It makes your project transparent and predictable,” he says.
From the first day most delegates seem very comfortable with the first C: conversation. Everybody participating at BILT is here to learn about and share knowledge on how to improve the building industry, and the best way to do so is by talking. This is, of course, incorporated in the whole setup at the Scandinavian Congress Centerin Aarhus, where the event is held. Whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee, waiting in line for lunch or taking a break at one of the folding tables, you meet people like yourself, eager to converse about the experiences and struggles you share.
That brings us to the second C: connection.
Day 2 – Connection:
“Are we all good or do some of you have a headache after last night?”
Being a speaker on Friday morning is tough. Looking round, it seems that some of the participants went to bed a bit too late to be completely focused on the sessions, but this is also what BILT is about: connecting in a non-formal environment. Actually, the BILT committee encourage the participants to explore the city they visit either on their own or through the evening functions – even though it results in some drooping eyelids.
Digital connection between architects, engineers and contractors is not only important for ongoing development in the building industry and for lowering errors and costs and enhancing efficiency. Connection is also important on a one-to-one level between people across continents. It is these connections that grow into a community that the people involved and the whole industry can benefit from.
Day 3 – Community:
As we reach the weekend, it’s the last day of BILT EUR. At this point DANISH™ knows a lot more about what’s going on in the building industry than we did two days ago, but there’s still a long way to go. To Andrew Milburn, who is an associate at Godwin Austen Johnson architects, with a special responsibility for BIM strategy and Revit implementation, this is due to the complexity of the conference subject.
“Understanding BIM requires learning, sharing and connecting. It takes time. It’s like moving from handwritten letters to a texting app, but in the construction industry,” says Milburn, and he has a very efficient trick to push this in the right direction.
“Many architects see pen and paper as a thinking tool, while I like to think of BIM as a thinking tool. If I want to make a diagram, I’ll use Revit, because that’s my thinking tool. It’s easy, and you can save the information, find it again and change it.”
With this in mind we cannot help noticing how men’s ties have been loosened, as well as the atmosphere, in the conference area. The conversation and connection from the first two days has paid off; people are talking not only to their colleagues, but also with new like-minded people. This leads to the last C in the trinity: community. BILT should be seen as one big family reunion, catching up on the year that has passed in the universe of Revit, Dynamo and BIM.
One of the last things on our programme before the finishing gala party was the forum discussing work with multiple generations. It was a very inclusive session, which in a perfect way showcased the importance of creating a community within the industry. Here, the participants played an active role in the discussion on how to get colleagues from different generations to understand each other and work together.
One thing is the age difference, while another challenge is to combine the knowledge of the generations − whether you’re a part of the old school philosophy or have been taught the newest technologies. It can be tricky, but all generations represented there could agree on one thing: both old and young should be willing to learn, but also to teach what they know, and in that way create better collaborations and, thus, a community feeling.