Category Archives: collaborative working

be2camp goes live

BE2Camp, 10 October, London

be2camp

Web 2.0 meets the UK construction industry at a novel new event,

BE2camp, to be held on Friday 10 October at the Building Centre in London.

Having been part of the (international) planning team behind this event, I am delighted that we now have some details confirmed. If you fancy becoming part of the event, whether as a sponsor, a speaker or simply a participant (whether in person or virtually), please join in.

You can also follow developments on twitter by following @be2camp

There will be more here and on the site as the event shapes up. The other members of the planning team have blogs which will I am sure carry be2camp news as well:

EvolutionExtranet (London) Paul Wilkinson

Public Works Blog (Illonois) Pam Broviak

I have no opinions (Sydney) Jodie Miners

latest Grid Works issued

The latest issue of Grid Works has been issued and is available for download from here or from vendors on the Public Works area within Second Life.

Once again CivilE Writer (editor) has pulled together an excellent journal that illustrates how second life and other virtual worlds can be used to improve the real world built environment.

In this issue:

  • Conference in a sewer.
  • Using Second Life for architectural design and planning
  • Built Environment Tour to introduce you to Second Life
  • Job Seeking in the Virtual World
  • Website reviews of the UK FixMyStreet and FillThatHole from mysociety.org

The next edition of Grid Works will feature colleges and universities in Second Life offering engineering and related science programs in real life and/or Second Life. If you know of a school that should be included in this issue, let us know by e-mailing the following information:

•Name and real life location of school
•Location of school in Second Life
•Second Life contact information for school

(I guess I should declare an interest as contributing editor through my second life avatar Brand Woodin)

Grid Works is published quarterly for $L0 per year in Second Life.

on be excellent

Around 10 or so years ago I was part of a BE (now constructing excellence) development group which produced the Be Excellent document and tool.

The premise was to increase the awareness of constructions relationship within facilities management and excellence through collaboration by mean of a self, or facilitated assessment tool.

What is Be Excellent?
Be Excellent is a simple but rigorous examination of business practice for all disciplines within the construction industry using the EFQM Business Excellence Model as the platform and take on board the important criteria for Collaborative Working, Supply Chain Management and the “design through to operational requirements” of Facilities Management.
If answered honestly and thoroughly, Be Excellent will identify those areas which an organisation needs to concentrate on to improve performance. Whether the organisation decides to make these a priority is a question of where each sits within their overall strategic plan.

During these last two weeks I have support a number of organisations with Be Excellent, so, with ‘excellence’ being on my mind,  I share my thoughts here.

I continue to use this approach as a first step analysis, helping groups or organisations understand where to put improvement energies and efforts.  It works best as a consensus approach, with a number of assessments done across the width and depth of the organisation, providing an unique and revealing assessment of approaches, deployment and results.  An assessment I refer to as a peoples view of the organisation, which is often at odds with a purely management view.

And here is a main difference between this consensus approach and the top down ISO 9001 improvement or quality models.  People want to be involved, or at least have a voice in shaping improvements, not to be forced into improvements via independent audit non conformance’s.

EFQM ( European Framework for Quality Management) arose out of the 1980/90’s TQM (Total Quality Management) ideas.  The UK construction sector at that time flirted with TQM but never really made the initiative ‘stick’, as it was just that an initiative with a shelf life, and not sustained. Indeed one of the factors that moved me away from employment with large contracting was the lack of ‘stickability’ on improvement, flitting across what was in vogue or required by any client at any one time. It was, and still remains, an add-on to business.

And yet the orginal philosophy and premise of EFQM remains strong and sound, providing an holistic view of any organisation, and in particular the connectivity between functions, approaches and processes, often revealing the weaknesses in the typical siloed organisation.  For example EFQM and Be Excellent force you to address questions such as:

  • How are you strategies, objectives and policies founded on customer intelligence and requirements, now and into the future?
  • How do you manage, recruit and develop people in line with your vision and strategies, How does leadership act as a role model?
  • How do you procure resources to deliver your strategies, are finances, knowledge and information aligned to your strategies, or are they a barrier, and
  • Do processes really translate your vision, objectives and strategies into operations or are they there to satisfy some other ‘tick’ box?

There is an scoring mechanism alongside Be Excellent , but this serves as a device to prioritise actions, and it is the action planning that is the main outcome. From these action plans facilitated workshops can drill down to the real root of issues, using for example the Toyota Five Whys approach, a main ingredient of lean construction or six sigma. Its is amazing where you get to on asking the fifth why, for example a recent exercise identified an issue of poor recognition for good work, 5 whys drilled it down further as:

  • We don’t hear about good things
  • We don’t tell people about success’s
  • We don’t like to blow our own trumpets
  • We look for wrongs not rights in reviews
  • Our lessons learnt exercises focus on negatives and not positives

A programme was then put into place to review the lessons learnt process, to capture good learning points so they can be repeated, in addition to problems to avoid.

Over the years the trends from Be Excellent have become very clear:

  • we are good at approaches, new initiatives, new management systems, achieving ISO standards and other on the wall certificates.
  • we are ok, but not so good at deployment, that is deployment of the approach is not sustained, either over time, or across an organisation, and often suffers at the whim of changing management.
  • we are poor at learning, at analysing results for trends causes, and comparisons, and then on closing the loop to improve.

Sadly, this reflects the view of Deming back in the 1950’s, that we do not close the Plan Do Check Act loop, even less so see this as a spiral, with the Act taking us to a better, more informed Plan position for the next project or time period.  Be Excellent provides the peoples view to kick start and to sustain the improvement cycle.

A copy of  Be Excellent can be downloaded from here and you if would like to discuss this topic in more detail contact us here.

cities and intention and collaboration and community

It’s actually about people making things together. What’s going to come out of this is cities and intention and collaboration and community, because the capability this thing provides is mysterious in the degree to which is allows people to do things together.

This quote from Philip Rosedale Linden was the turning point in Second Life’s beginnings.

I had heard this before but was reminded from the Really blog in their story on I am in your web browser. – a great title for a blog!

By the way did you know there are avatars virtually present on your websites, your homepages, as you view them, chatting amongst themselves?)  I can see a couple of weblins below – weird and uncanny but a glimpse of Web3.0 perhaps?  If you happen across a weblin called Snape do say hello

wanted – intergrated construction manager –

A friend across in the US gave me the heads up on a job advert for an Integrated Construction Manager at Mortenson Construction .  What made me look twice at the job specification was the inclusion of all the themes and issues that we discuss today, as being the way forward, themes of virtual design, BIM, integrated management, collaboration and joined up thinking with facilities management. A sign of the times or a glimpse into the future of construction management?

Extracts from the spec:

  • The IC Manager is responsible for providing input and leadership to the design and/or virtual design and construction process.
  • Coordinates design team members and Preconstruction services (i.e. estimating, scheduling, project planning, constructability, site utilization, etc.).
  • manages the integrated delivery team’s resources
  • Oversees the preparation of models for facilities management.
  • Facilitator of project collaboration and integrated delivery activities

and basic responsibilities:

  • Oversees the production and management of 3D models
  • Establishes the scope of work for projects
  • Establishes the schedule and deliverables for integrated delivery services
  • Oversees construction coordination
  • Communicates model generated information to project team
  • Implements 3D technology during construction
  • Participates in the research and development of new technologies
  • Internal training
  • Develops project BIM models
  • Attends, participates and presents at conferences
  • Manages others
  • Business Development support
  • May lead the Operating Group Integrated Construction team
  • What is missing of course is the green sustainability theme, but then some would say that is taken for granted today, a given that an integrated construction manager would build green. (Discuss!)

    Tempted?  Seattle?  Very…

    collaboration makes construction lean

    Whilst sharpening up my knowledge on the latest lean in construction thinking I came across this excellent article by Karen Wilhelm which mashes up collaborative working, lean, BIM, 3D and 4D design, collaborative contracts, value chains and more. The brief for Karens paper reads:

    Lean in the construction industry offers some lessons for lean manufacturers. Collaboration among companies in the value chain is facilitated by 3D and 4D modeling of the product and process. This focuses the players on constructability, avoiding costly mistakes and assuring just-in-time availability of materials and workers. In some instances, collaboration and lean are being built into standard multi-party contract templates.

    sustainable construction commitments launched

    The UK Government today launches its Sustainable Construction Strategy, with a whole raft of targets, measures and reporting mechanisms. It seems like it has been a long time coming, the consultation period being most of last year. Construction minister Shriti Vadera comments “Our aim is to become a world leader in sustainable construction” (Building). Time will tell.

    Looking back to the response from to consultation we submitted from the Collaboartive Working Champions, it seems the emphasis on integrated and collaboartive working, as a means to sustainability is recognised .

    To achieve improved whole life value through the promotion of best practice construction procurement and supply side integration, by encouraging the adoption of the Construction Commitments in both the public and private sectors and throughout the supply chain.

    Parts of the industry – clients, consultants, main contractors, specialist contractors*, and product manufacturers and suppliers – to be engaged in supply chains on 30% of construction projects and for 40% of their work to be conducted through integrated project teams. (By 2012)

    It is also included with the construction commitments:

    A successful procurement policy requires ethical sourcing, enables best value to be achieved and encourages the early involvement of the supply chain. An integrated project team works together to achieve the best possible solution in terms of design, buildability, environmental performance and sustainable development.

    And note the reference to ethical sourcing, this is also picked up in the report as responsible sourcing, moving towards a cradel to cradle approach one would hope, maybe along the lines of BS6000, which will wake up a few people and organisations.

    And as fellow CWC and blogger Paul over at ExtranetEvolution comments it is good to see ICT within the Innovation section.

    I am not sure about the inclusion of the eco-town approach as a target though – has the strategy been hijacked, Trojan horse style, to embed political ambitions?

    however, and here is my main observation, admittedly after only a single read but….

    I am disappointed to see a lack of facilities management in the document. The strategy is as much about the use, the consumption of buildings as it is about their design and provision. (something about focusing on the 1, out of the 1:5:200 concept). I am now aware that the facilities management sector in the UK is just too weak as a voice to get involved and influence the built environment sustainability agenda. Something that must change.

    Yes we may have here a viable construction strategy , but without the link to the end users and management of the facilities (note I avoid the word buildings) we may not have a strategy for a sustainable built environment.

    Oh, and why a sustainable document that has a solid black cover. The additional quantity of ink that will be used every time this document is printed or copied will be huge. The answer of course is not to print – but we are not all in the mindset of reading from the screen yet.

    Score …

    wikitecture wins international open source competition

    A web2 collaborative project I have been following through second life and wiki architecture has been the open source architecture design competition via Open Architecture Network.

    Delighted then to receive the following good news alert from Ryan at Wikitecture:


    Wikitecture Wins International Competition: 3D-Wiki Used to Compose an Open-Source Entry

    Chicago, IL, June 09, 2008 – Out of 566 registered entries from 57 countries, Studio Wikitecture won the overall ‘Founder’s Award’ for their open-source entry to a competition hosted by Architecture for Humanity on the Open Architecture Network. In keeping with the collaborative spirit of the Open Architecture Network, their entry for a tele-medicine facility in Western Nepal was chosen “for embracing a truly collaborative way of working using online crowdsourcing and Second Life as a way to create a highly participatory design approach.” Source


    Having conducted a number of experiments over the last year into the feasibility of applying an open-source paradigm to the practice of architecture, the Studio Wikitecture group developed a 3D-Wiki plug-in on the virtual reality platform, Second Life, that they used to help build consensus among the numerous contributors in this open-source project.

    The ‘Wiki-Tree’ as it was called, acted as a version tracking system that worked very much like a conventional Wiki, but instead of tracking text documents in a linear history as you see in Wikipedia, the ‘Wiki-Tree’ tracked versions of 3-dimensional models and saved them within a continually evolving 3-dimensional digital tree ‘canopy’. Similar to Wikipedia, this 3D-Wiki allowed this loose, self-organized group of contributors to share ideas, edit the contributions of others, and vote on which design iterations should be considered for further refinement.

    Over and above the actual building design, Studio Wikitecture’s entry proposed that the wiki-tree and virtual model live on pass the competition and be used to help incorporate feedback from the Nepalese community and end-users into evolving design.

    In addition, they proposed that the virtual platform would allow individuals from around the world to experience the local site and conditions as the project evolves over time, further expanding the outreach, awareness and support for this project to a global audience.

    The winning entry was the result of Studio Wikitecture’s 3rd Wikitecture experiment to explore the procedures and protocols necessary to practice a more open and distributed approach to architectural design. Of those, the group explored prediction market voting procedures to assure consensus or ‘Crowd Wisdom’, as well as developed a contribution assessment system to divvy up fair ownership among all the contributors.

    The Final Competition Boards: http://flickr.com/photos/studiowikitecture/sets/72157604038184909/show/

    A time-lapse video of the evolving design:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=amCi90zH3VI

    A video illustrating how the ‘Wiki-Tree’ works:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z3eWKIJxzyc

    A journal article outlining, in detail, the three Wikitecture experiments:

    http://crescendodesign.com/103_chase.pdf

    The accompanying website:

    http://studiowikitecture.com/ (click on ‘go’ twice to enter anonymously)

    The Blog:
    http://studiowikitecture.wordpress.com/

    rethinking construction – ten years after

    From Constructing Excellence:

    Reviewing change in the UK construction industry and the next ten years, your chance to shape the future of the industry by learning from the past

    CE are reviewing the last ten years of improvement and its impact, kick-started by John Egan‘s landmark report – Rethinking Construction – and before that the Latham Report – Constructing the Team, llooking forward to the next ten years as well, and seek your views as an opinion former in the UK construction sector.  Looking for your views, on how the projects you work on have changed over the last decade or so and what you think the drivers for change are, or should be, for the future.

    We aim to discover what has been achieved; who has benefited, and how; and what now needs to change. Our findings will form part of the basis for a major new industry report which seeks to set the agenda for the next ten years, so in completing this survey you will be helping to set the future agenda. The survey can be found at: http://www.constructingexcellence.org.uk/survey/EganPlus10.jsp

    You can register at the end of the survey to receive a copy of the report, so you can see how its findings may affect you and your company in the future. Thank you in advance for your help, in enabling us to continue the process of improvement essential for the future prosperity of the UK built environment sector.

    second life building

    I have been talking about building within second life recently to a number of people and groups. Without actually experiencing second life it is difficult to grasp how individuals, all working from computers in different countries can work collaboratively to design and construct a building.

    The following time lapse video may go some way to help vision how second life can work for designers and builders. One of these avatars could well be the client – making design and function decisions with the design / build team. This approach can be used to show potential clients new build designs prior to real life construction as was the case with Aloft hotels and others. Once completed visitors can walk through and experience the building and feedback comments for improvement.

    Wanted – eco home builders for second life project

    And if you get the bug to design and build in second life:

    Design Build Expo – May 17th @ the Monogram Virtua Convention Center. Enter to win L$20000, publicity and lots of advertising. Get the recognition you deserve and show off your building skills at the Design/Build Expo. Display your builds/services & products.