Newsletter 20:

Summer 2014 - London, Ealing

The June 2014 Community Day was hosted by Milestone in London, Ealing and was attended by 62 delegates.

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Salman Bhatti of Milestone welcomed us as hosts of the June 2014 Community Day.

We had an all-time record attendance of 62 delegates and welcomed thre new members:


  • AMT-Sybex

  • Conject

  • Mobilengine


We also welcomed 7 guest companies: Amey, Cadbeam, Clicks and Links, DotProdcut, Faro Europe, Streamtech and Web Forum.


If you wish to be put in touch with our new memebers or guests, please contact Gerry at


Chairman's comments

Iain Miskimmin, Chairman for Technology:

Challenged to describe BIM in 60 seconds to a non-specialist, Iain cam up with this video which can be found on the new BIM section of the COMIT website.


Iain's next challenge is to explain COBie in 60 seconds and he has called on other COMIT members to create similar videos for other

subjects. It would be great if we could populate the COMIT website with a wide range of good introductory material on BIM and mobile IT.


What issues are you facing?

Iain reiterated the need to collaborate and share our problems - together we have a much better chance of finding solutions. “A problem shared is a problem halved”


From Jason Scott (standing in for Stephen Smith, Chairman for Construction):

The general consensus is that the recession is over and construction companies are getting more work. However, faster growth in the South is sucking resources in from elsewhere and is causing problems for some of COMIT’s construction members.


Primary issues are still safety and productivity and with the latter collaboration in particular – whether in the form of traditional partnering or supply-chain integration. This is in part being fueled by the demands of BIM.


Increasingly collaboration involves the Cloud and Jason attended the Cloud World Forum 2014 in London on the17th & 18th June.

Jason was primarily there as part of his duties for MobiCloud but took the opportunity of quizzing the exhibitors about their relationship with construction. In particular he asked:

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  1. Are you actively targeting the construction industry?

  2. Are your customers concerned about cloud security?

The answer to question 1 was invariably YES, but surprisingly the answer to question 2 was usually NO (unless talking to those vendors offering security products or services).


Construction use of cloud based services is growing fast and currently it appears their value outweighs the perceived risks. One exception is cloud-based backup, where security is still paramount. However, suppliers of encrypted solutions such as Attix5 (who were at the show) are seeing strong growth in construction clients.


Jason also asked the delegates at the community day for ideas on how COMIT can better engage with smaller construction firms. They are currently not being reached by initiatives such as BIM but may have a lot to gain from better use of Mobile IT.


We are also looking for expressions of interest in our BIM-on-a-budget initiative which you can sign up for on our website.



CPD Briefing

Gerry was delighted to announce that COMIT Community days and the IT conference (to be held in October) are now CPD accredited. 

This means that attending COMIT community days can now count towards your formal Continuing Professional Development requirements (for becoming chartered etc.)


COMIT will issue CPD certificates to those delegates who request them. You should complete the feedback form provided on the day and tick the box to request a CPD attendance certificate.


If you have any questions or if you attended in June and did not request a CPD certificate but wish to do so, then please contact Gerry at


Tim DeBarro, Innovation Programme Manager at Crossrail, described this exiting innovation programme.

Embracing innovation on a project as large and complex as Crossrail was never going to be easy. The project involves multiple parties and Crossrail Ltd itself will cease to exist after the project completes in 2018. 


Time Eplained that the approach taken by Crossrail was to focus on the three "C"'s of

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innovation - Capability, Culture and Collaboration. Innovate18 aims to foster collaboration across the Crossrail community of organizations to nuture a culture where new ideas can be exploited to deliver the project safely and on budget.

Individuals may submit an idea and Tim's team will help connect them with experts in the community to help develop it - there is no such thing as a lone inventor! When the idea becomes mature it will be reviewed by a panel of industry and Crossrail representatives. If the idea is judged to be of benefit to Crossrail or the wider industry then Innovate18 may provide development capital or other resources to turn it into reality. The investment evaluation takes place twice each year in July and January.


Innovate18 is open to all Crossrail employees and colleagues from participating Tier 1 contractors, or nominated supply chain and stakeholder organizations. COMIT has joined the programme and Tim invited our members to join the website at


COMIT is collecting three contact names from each member company to be given access to the website. If you haven’t already done so, please give Gerry your three contacts along with their roles and emails.


This is a great way to share problems - to see if anyone has already solved an issue that you have or is in a position to help you to solve it. 

There are currently over 900 people involved online from the contractors delivering Crossrail.


Marie Gilmour, Innovation Projects Manager at Crossrail, described some of the projects that are currently under way. Crossrail recognize that there is a wealth of capability, experience and knowledge in COMIT and are excited to welcome all members.


Crossrail also have many ideas that COMIT members could develop on behalf of the programme. Members were asked to consider what technology or issues they might also bring to the table.

If you have any thoughts on this, please contact Tim DeBarro at or be bold and share them directly with the community at



Innovations Workshop

We want to generate some ideas that we can take to the Innovate18 team. Delegates formed 5 groups to discuss:


  • Lift Pro App - an Innovate18 idea to develop an App to automate the design of lifting plans.

  • New project ideas.

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General workshop observations:


  • We are increasingly using Cloud based solutions but there are many areas in the UK where connectivity is still poor.

  • Data storage – how will we cope with the increasing amounts of data? Will point clouds become unmanageable?

  • IFCs – huge files are cumbersome and do not always work. We need coding that can be managed regardless of the platform. How can we add coding into a model on an equal basis?

  • Manufacturers already have the data for Lift Pro but we need an independent body to coordinate it.

  • Lift Pro could be a great marketing tool, e.g. hire our cranes and you will get this free Lift App.

  • Continuity of data is still problematic – need interoperability and common data standards.


Potential Project Ideas


QR code Labelling (facilities management)

When we handover a project we produce O&M manuals, building user guides and carry out training. However one group often forgotten or not present at handover is the end user.


We find that when they start to use a building simple things like “what does this switch do?” has not been communicated effectively by the facilities management team. Consequently we are called back time and again to show people how to use simple bits of kit.


We are asking if a QR code or something similar could be incorporated into a label for equipment that then hyperlinks to a short video that the site team created to explain what it is and how it works. If these were dotted around on all bits of equipment that end users are likely to interact with it would bring large efficiencies in the early user acceptance phase when they start to become familiar with the building.

Wi-Fi network via lighting system

The idea is to provide cheap Wi-Fi network access by using the 110v temporary lighting circuits that run around the site. The technology already exists and just needs adapting for the construction environment. Martin Wing from Shepard is already looking at this and it may soon progress to a trial project.


Construction App Store

There are a number of “app portal” type websites which collate apps for particular purposes. They typically test/certify them for usefulness and compatibility with other software or applications. COMIT could do the same for construction focused Apps. This is something that COMIT is already considering as part of work on the MobiCloud project. In the past COMIT has trialed a “solutions centre” and is looking to develop this concept again.


Site Progress & Measurement Framework

It was proposed to look at the standardization of site progress capture/reporting. The aim would be to provide clarity and consistency to the relationship between the measurement of site progress and the rollup into project progress. BIM is driving the move away from bespoke per contract/project measures towards standardization and collaborative working. Complex projects need effective, standard measures that drive through the whole execution cycle in order to aid consistency. It needs to widen from standards such as COBie which focus only on static data and encompass transactional data as well.



Neill Pawsey is currently a Senior Project Information Manager at Crossrail and is also a COMIT director. In the past he worked for Jackson Civil Engineering as an IT Manager. Neill described how following a fatal accident he was tasked with finding a reliable way of keeping people away from construction hazards. Years later he is still looking.

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One promising solution is iBeacons. These are low-cost, low-power devices developed by Apple that can notify nearby iOS devices of their presence. To date they are used mainly in the retail sector for targeted advertising but Crossrail are exploring their use for proximity detection of people for health and safety.


iBeacons typically have a range of up to 50 metres and a battery life of a year (for those with embedded batteries). Neill explained how they can be used to identify where personnel are located and warn of incursions into hazardous areas. They offer the potential for low-cost indoor geo-fencing, but raise some issues – such as workforce acceptance. The biggest question is whether they are reliable enough to be used in a safety critical context.


Crossrail is also interested in extending iBeacon technology for use by members of the travelling public who have impaired vision. This group currently finds the underground almost impossible to use because of the difficulty in navigating and the risk of getting lost. Crossrail hope that strategic placement of iBeacons with the development of suitable voice-assistance applications could remove this barrier.


If you have any questions about this technology please contact


Enable My Team: Asset Information Management at Paddington Review

Stuart Young (COMIT) and Sandeep Jain (MobiBiz) described the Enable My Team project. Whilst Costain has been involved in this TSB-funded collaboration project it is a solution that is open for other contractors.


Asset labelling is being trialled at Paddington with a role out planned for July. The aim is to make asset information available throughout the various stages of the project – including 

maintenance of assets. Data is stored and retrieved via the Cloud.

For more information about Enable My Team please visit or contact Sandjeep directly at or Stuart Young at


You can also follow on twitter @enablemyteam.


Milestone and Costain – Solutions Showcase


The Milestone Journey
Salman Bhatti explained Milestone’s journey. Primavera Project Planner (P3) was launched in October 1983 and Milestone Incorporated April 1994. To start with people mainly worked alone and sales were usually to individuals.


However technology has changed hugely. Now information is shared from a variety of sources and people work as disparate teams. Now the focus is on information and not the individual.

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Although customers and suppliers understand their own business they have differences in understanding. There were many lessons learnt by Milestone over the years and the journey continues. Clients now come forward with their problems and ask for solutions. Usually these involve increasing collaboration and reducing process inefficiencies.

Milestone is currently celebrating 20 years of providing Project Management Solutions.  If you would like more information, please contact Ann Craig at Milestone on


Phil Budden from Costain continued the Milestone story. Phil has been involved with Milestone for the full 20 years and gave the Engineering Solutions Provider’s view of the Enterprise Planning Environment.

Phil echoed the shift from individuals and local teams to internationally dispersed project teams. He emphasised the effect of cultural issues and observed that “one can no longer just blame technology”.  Collaboration is now a major factor with benefits such as improved planning delivery – both internal and external.

If you would like more information, please contact   


Hand Held Laser Scanning

Tom Greaves of DotProduct3D demonstrated their Android-based, handheld 3D scanner. It is fair to say that those delegates in the room who are familiar with normal 3D laser scanning watched the demonstration open-mouthed.


As tablet computers got more powerful and depth sensors became smaller and cheaper DotProduct3D realised the potential of putting the two together. The result is a self-contained handheld unit that captures colour point clouds at up to 4m in real time.

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At 2m distance the point cloud density is 3.4mm and DotProduct3D’s compression technology means that the point cloud file size is up to 50 times smaller than standard formats.


The device has some impressive abilities. The device pose is calculated 30 times per second and it can recognise locations from previous visits. It can append scans to previously recorded datasets – including those captured with a traditional tripod scanner.


You can see a demonstration video of the device in action here.


If you would like more information please contact


Annual Conference 2014

We are doing something new this year! Our conference is a two-day combined event with FIATECH. The date for your diary is Thursday 30 and Friday 31 October and we have a great location – The Crystal in London. Rather than have a member versus non-member fee, this year we are doing an Early Bird fee (£150) for both days. After September the fee will increase to £300. 

COMIT members are urged to book their place early to take advantage of the lower fee. There will be an on-line booking facility on the event website but if you already know that you want to attend then Gerry can book you on and invoice you directly.


We are also looking for sponsors who may like to have a stand / exhibition place, with some marketing collateral and delegate passes. If you would like to be a sponsor then please contact


2014 Community Days

(Both on Thursdays)

25 September - Loughborough University

4 December - Waterstons, Durham


Don't forget to take advantage of the early bird (member fee) booking for the conference!



See you all at Loughborough University on 25th September!

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Registered Address: BSRIA, Old Bracknell Lane West

Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7AH

Registered in England No. 7475561

COMIT is a company limited by shares but currently run on a not for profit basis

for the benefit of its members


COMIT Financial Director: Mrs Gerry (Geraldine) Samuelsson-Brown - Mob: 07775 677 547


COMIT Director, Chair for Technology: Iain Miskimmin - Mob: 07814 007 731

COMIT, Chair for Construction: Stephen Smith - Mob: 07774 017968


COMIT Director: Neill Pawsey - Mob: 07792 074 163

COMIT Acting Director of Professional Services: Jason Scott - Mob: 07710 634 676


COMIT Director of Consultancy Servics - Mob: 07786 110 669


Management Committee:

Representing construction:

Steve Slater: Shepherd Construction –

Glyn Matthews: Speedy Services –



Representing dissemination:

Paul Wilkinson: pwcom 2.0 –

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