The government has said that all construction projects must use Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) by 2016. West Midlands businesses are encouraged to attend a big networking event this autumn to learn more …

On Thursday 9 October hundreds of delegates from West Midlands businesses will converge on the Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich for ‘Meet the hospital bidders’.

The all-day networking show is being jointly organised by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Birmingham City Council. They want to champion the region’s talented supply chain to bidders for the development of the £353m Midland Metropolitan hospital in Smethwick.

The event will also see the launch of the West Midlands Virtual Hospital (WMVH), a digital procurement tool to show how West Midlands businesses are capable of supplying every component, piece of technology and service required to build and run a 21st-century hospital.
WMVH_png-logoWMVH has a BIM platform to help manufacturers and engineers get to grips with the new technology. Local businesses can use it to present their designs, drawings, dimensional tolerances and CObie data-formatted specifications using easy-to-configure 3D analysis.

Attendees at ‘Meet the hospital bidders’ will see the WMVH in action for the first time when it is launched by Lord Digby Jones.

David Emery, director of architectural and design consultancy Virtechs – which specialises in BIM – will be running a 30-minute practical advice seminar on the day: ‘Help! I don’t know what to do about BIM: Practical advice for SMEs’.

David said there are several reasons why manufacturing and engineering SMEs should embrace BIM techniques in the near future:

“Building Information Modelling is at the heart of the government’s 2011 Construction Strategy which seeks to drive down costs through innovation and collaboration.

“Far from being purely a technology, BIM is, first and foremost, a business process which – although it exploits technology – requires the building of long-term relationships and trust between businesses for their mutual benefit.

“By sharing data, businesses can have access to the information they need at the time they need it.”

Councillor Ian Jones is Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for jobs and economy. He said it was essential for the region’s SMEs to keep up with technological advances such as BIM.

“The West Midlands is a hotbed of manufacturing, construction and engineering talent, and we see BIM as a new and creative way to give our businesses a competitive advantage.

“We really do have a world-class manufacturing base and it’s important to see innovation, continual advancements and specialist skill sets being channelled into making our region’s supply chain more competitive. We are keen to support the skills development of small companies with practical assistance to ensure they can meet the legislative requirements of becoming BIM-compliant by 2016.”

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Councillor Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for development, transport and the economy, said: “We are delighted to be co-hosting this event, which will serve as a showcase for the very best that the Birmingham and the West Midlands’ construction supply chain has to offer.

“I hope that as many of the region’s businesses as possible will sign up to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to win new business, build strong relationships and ensure that they are up to date with the latest technological advances, giving them a real business advantage going forward.”
‘Meet the hospital bidders’ takes place on Thursday 9 October 2014 at the Bethel Convention Centre (Kelvin Way, West Bromwich B70 7JW) from 8:30am to 3pm. David’s seminar will take place from 12-12:30pm in the Skills Development Zone.

To book your free place complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WMVH (which automatically registers you for the WMVH) and then email stephen_massey@sandwell.gov.uk with your details.