Digital Built Week North America

April 27, 2019

CanBIM is proud to announce our partnership with this year’s Digital Built Week North America, which encompasses BILT NA, Building Content Summit, Data Day and Design Technology Summit. As part of our partnership CanBIM are providing continuing education points for the sessions that you attend. With this week of events fast approaching, we felt it would be perfect to interview the man behind what is arguably one of the best BIM Conferences in North America and is run by users, for users. For those of you that have never been to a BILT, these events have been held annually in North America since 2011. Originally called the Revit Technology Conference (RTC), the BILT conference now covers the entire building lifecycle across multiple software platforms and looks to improve day to day processes and push the boundaries of technology in the AEC industry so that we as users may be more efficient and further our knowledge and capabilities.





Q. Please provide us with a brief biography about yourself. Who are you and what do you like to do for fun?


I am a Sydney-based architect, and the founder and Executive Chairman of RTC Events Management and the Digital Built Environment Institute. As a long-term user and advocate of BIM (starting with Archicad in 1996), I have been speaking and teaching in the field since starting to play with a pre-release version of Revit.


I have worked directly with software developers on software development and implementation, built content for manufacturers and end-users, and implemented multiple BIM tools into well over 300 practices throughout South-East Asia. I speak around the world on technology, facilities management and process change; founded (and chaired for 5 years) the Revit User Group, Sydney; and am now focused (outside the institute) on Smart Cities development worldwide.


What do I do for fun? Hmmm, well apart from spending time with my kids, and sleeping (I’m a bit of a binge sleeper, feast or famine…), I love to travel. I can never grow tired of meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, foods, sights (and sites) and more. This is a very good thing, as I currently spend between 40-50% of my time travelling for work! The office will also tell you (correctly), that I like anything fast – cars, boats, planes, trains, over-stimulated koalas. Doesn’t matter, if it’s fast, I like it.  Ironic I suppose, as I also love curling up in a comfy chair to read a book for the evening. Life is about contrasts, right?


Q. Who is the Digital Built Environment Institute (DBEI)?


DBEI is a global not-for-profit with a mission of “advancing people, processes and technology”, in aid of improving productivity, efficiency and effectiveness across the whole of lifecycle within the Built Environment. To do this, DBEI runs a portfolio of conferences and other events, and will also take on further activities on behalf of the community over time.


The Institute was founded in 2016, as an evolution of RTC Events Management (the company that setup and ran BILT) and its core mission to build and mentor communities dedicated to the built environment. RTC itself grew out of the Revit User Group, Sydney, back in 2005. Even then, as an event built by and run for users, we were all about the whole ecosystem: No one tool can do everything you need, and we need to collaborate and coordinate regardless of which tools we use. Today, the Institute and BILT (The largest of the events that we run) showcases best practices and processes across all software platforms, and all stages of a project lifecycle.


DBEI is what we now see as the best and most direct way to support the broad AECO/FM community. Community is about more than a few days of event time per year, and DBEI can respond to, and build on those needs and opportunities. If YOU can think of things we should be doing within the Institute, or as part of DBW, to help advance this mission, please do reach out and let me know: . We need your voice!


Q. Tell us a little about the new Digital Built Week North America


The Digital Built Week (DBW, because everybody could use with Yet Another Acronym (YAA), right?) is an umbrella term for a full week that encapsulates all of the events and activities that DBEI will run in Seattle in July. Starting on Saturday, July 13th with the DBEI Hackathon (see next question, below) and concluding with the Gala Dinner on Saturday, July 20th, DBW is an 8-day buffet of people, process and technology. Some events will have attendee profiles that differ from the typical, say, BILT attendee, while others will feature significant overlap. Either way, we hope that this larger and broader demographic of attendees will work to continue the process of increasing the community and the connections between its’ members. In the end, we need to make sure that all those who have a stake in our community have a voice in these communities and DBW is a step towards making that happen.


Q. What is new and interesting about the week of events?


The Digital Built Week has within it the 4 separate events that many attendees have experienced over the last several years (BILT, the Design Technology Summit, Data Day, BCS) but now also includes two further elements:


Last year we held an open door event for the first time in North America. Started in Europe as part of the Aarhus, Denmark event, this is an opportunity for those attendees joining DBW from out of town to connect with local practices and to see the types of work and methods of practice employed in the local community. Of course, it also serves as another way for the community to build stronger connections!


We are also excited to announce the introduction of a DBEI Hackathon to kick the week off. This will be held across the weekend before the event, will be focused on ‘Generative Design in Practice’ (take a look at the ANZ hackathon page for some early ideas…), and will also have the opportunity for the winning team to show off their outcomes at the conclusion of the BILT event itself.




Q. Are there any presenters that will attend the event or new and innovative technologies that you would like to call special attention to?


There are always so many new and exciting things to experience at these events! One item on the hardware side I am looking forward to trying out is the new Microsoft Hololens 2 hardware teamed with the software development work being carried out by Greg Demchak and his colleagues at Synchro. Given what they have achieved already, I think it will be amazing to see what they have by July.


On the software side, I am keen to learn more about PowerBI and how I can better leverage the massive volumes of data that all organisations struggle with on a day to day basis. There are many many classes focused on data in this year’s events, and not just within the Data Day event itself. If you have an interest in better understanding and using data, you need to be there, sitting next to me! I’m especially looking forward to the panel talk at Data Day featuring David Haynes, Ryan Cameron and Anthony Hauck.


Within BCS I hope to sit in on the session by Ricardo Rodriguez and Justin DeMarco from BASF on Business Transformation. If you want to learn more about local projects, don’t miss out on ‘Emerald City Jewels’ by Philip Bergsieker and Dale Stenning of Hoffman Construction Company. Finally, in the labs, check out the class on Hypar by Ian Keogh if you want some hands-on time with the cutting edge of design computation.


With 179 activities across 6 days, there is literally something for everyone, and I could go on and on about the things that I want to see, to learn, to do. Instead, let me just encourage you to attend and to share what you have experienced afterwards. I look forward to comparing notes!