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Asite Results 2009 - Twelve Straight Quarters of Growth

Posted by Nathan Doughty on January 14, 2010 12:48 PM GMT

Whew, it got a bit personal yesterday over there on the BIW blog in response to my previous post.

That aside, Paul Wilkinson did raise some queries about the Asite results for 2009, which I am more than happy to be able to answer by pointing to a trading statement released this morning which shows a profit for the year of £0.256M on double-digit revenue growth.

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Hi, Nathan.
Sorry if it got a bit personal. Wasn't intended to be. I was just trying to give a bit of perspective as someone now outside the vendors.

And while we're on the subject, extranetevolution.com is not "the BIW blog". It was (and is) a personal project started after I wrote my book on the construction collaboration technology sector. It has always been independent of BIW; I have always paid my own blog expenses, and - in any event - I ceased BIW employment almost a year ago.

Best wishes - Paul

Posted by: Paul Wilkinson | February 5, 2010 7:12 PM

BIW on the back foot?

Posted by Nathan Doughty on January 11, 2010 10:44 AM GMT

I was surprised to see last week that BIW Technologies released their accounts, albeit late, and that they appear to be in decline. I was also confused that they appear to have released two years worth of accounts at the same time (for both the year ended 30th September 2008 and the year ended 30th September 2009).

The headlines for the most recent accounts (year ending 30th September 2009) showed a 19% reduction in revenues compared to the same period for the previous year and an operating loss of £731K. BIW's revenue figures seem to have suffered in the face of stalled and cancelled customer projects during the last year. In the face of worsening losses the company made significant cost cuts incurring £0.6m in restructuring costs. Its order book fell by 20.3% to £9.4m from £12.8m. Staff numbers fell to 47 (down from 63 in 2008) and to keep costs low they have set up a development and support team in India. Total salaries fell 11.3%. Overall BIW Technologies reversed from an operating profit of £928K to a loss of £731K.

As reported in November by Paul Wilkinson on Extranet Evolution (previous employee and shareholder of BIW) - the parent company of BIW Technologies Ltd, BIW Plc, went into administration during the most recent financial year. In the Director's Report of their latest accounts BIW Technologies has been able to put a brave face on it and position this as a profit of £3.37M. As a part of the administration process BIW Technologies had its debt waived; and is now effectively 100% owned by Nova Vest.

This is in contrast to the recent healthy news coming from other construction SaaS vendors (Asite continues ascent (my employer), 4Projects and profitability...). This may have something to do with the fact that these companies both use purely multi-tenanted architectures!

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US Election 2008

Posted by Nathan Doughty on October 20, 2008 7:06 PM GMT

I received my absentee ballot last Friday after a month or so of worrying that the good folk in Georgetown, Texas may not have received my registration or that it may not arrive in time back to me in London. However, arrive it did and I now have it all filled in and ready to post back tomorrow for what I hope will be early counting.

I have voted Obama/Biden in the headline federal race for President / Vice President.

I am not historically a solid Democrat. I was a fan of Reagan as a boy. As a teenager I volunteered for the Bush/Quayle campaign in Dallas - stuffing envelopes and doing my bit for the democratic process. In university I cast my first presidential vote for Clinton/Gore - and then voted for Clinton again in 1996. In 2000 I voted for Bush - I'm a Texan and he was a good Governor of Texas - especially in how open and engaging he seemed to be relative to our relations with Mexico and how progressive he seemed on immigration - and still pro-business and regulation-light. By 2004 I had realised my mistake - maybe his role in Texas where the legislature only meets for a bit every two years didn't translate all that well to the Oval Office - where we really need a Great Communicator - and so I voted for Kerry/Edwards - only to see Bush pull out what I thought then an unlikely victory. As a voter in Texas there often seems little or no reason to get too wound up about the vote - so overwhelming is the likelihood that the state will be a red one - regardless of how you vote as an individual. The only other place I have been registered was New York when I lived in the city there - and New York is just as much a sure bet to the other side.

Nonetheless, I continue to believe it is important to participate in the democratic process. I have now lived abroad for more than eight years - and in the non-military expat community there is an overwhelming tendency towards voting Democratic. I know I, for one, have witnessed firsthand the huge decline in the reputation of the U.S. abroad and the huge increase in negativity in the way citizens of other countries speak about the United States since the year 2000. Unsurprisingly, this has contributed to my current position of leaning well Democratic. George W. Bush's inability and/or unwillingness to engage the country in meaningful dialogue for the past eight years has certainly helped.

Also, I like Barack Obama. He is inspiring and I hope he wins and wins in a way that gives him sufficient mandate to put the country on a totally new track. It will not be an easy job at the best of times. The current economic maelstroms will make it all the more difficult - but it is important and so I hope he has the ability to win and then push us forward.

First he must win. I have been very nervous about this election for the past month or so. The memories of 2000 and of 2004 are still fresh. There is a lot of over-egging of the strength of Obama's position right now in the press with 15 days still to go before Election Day. I know my country - and I would not be surprised even now if McCain was to win the election from here. Not one iota.

McCain has been a popular politician for a very long time. I respect him myself - and have never discounted his candidacy. I only became 100% Obama when McCain appointed Sarah Palin as his choice for VP. I could not in good conscience now vote for McCain and open up the country to the possibility that she might become our next Commander-in-Chief. I don't want to dwell on her. I don't know her and I would be astonished if she is anything other than a very intelligent person and a wonderful human being. I just haven't seen anything that says she is up to the job. And it makes me think McCain's choice was purely cynical - a political calculation (or miscalculation, I hope) - and damn the consequences.

Some in the press are so eager for a fresh start that they seem to have already convinced themselves that no other outcome is possible but an Obama victory. I nearly threw the Sunday Times out of the window of my London flat this weekend as they jumped on the bandwagon and published a long piece about the potential cabinet appointees in an Obama administration. Christ guys - let's have the election first. I hope they were touching wood.

Nonetheless, I saw a couple of hopeful signs this past weekend. Firstly, the Obama endorsement from Colin Powell. What a speech. If you haven't seen it and are remotely interested - check it out on msnbc.com. Secondly, my hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle (www.chron.com) - came out in favour of Obama. This is the first time the Chronicle has endorsed a non-Republican candidate in more than 40 years. A sign, I hope, that times are changing and right-thinking folk - even in fly-over country in the US - are pulling together and saying enough is enough.

This is the first time I have ever openly espoused a political view on a campaign in public. In the Southern culture within which I was raised it's not really the done thing - unless you are after benefitting personally from the result. The ballot booth is anonymous for a reason - not least to keep the peace around the dinner table. But I am nervous enough about this election - and I reckon I will benefit personally from a sea-change in American government and a refocus on dialogue with the world - at least enough that I just wanted to use the limited reach of my blog to say let's keep sane until the election is done and if you do have a vote then please use it.

It's important.

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National Platform part 2

Posted by Nathan Doughty on June 21, 2008 8:24 PM GMT

I might add that we are making inroads towards addressing the other two as well:

  • Mass Adoption and Application of Off-Site Manufacturing, Automation & Mechanisation Processes and Systems
  • Well Trained, Well Qualified Workforce able to use the Latest, Best Practice Technologies

The tools that enable virtual design and link the model to the systems down the supply chain within the suppliers and manufacturer base - will be key to integrating off-site manufacturing and just-in-time materials supply into the industry.

And, of course, I hope that one positive output from Build London Live is bound to be an overall increase in awareness of tools and best practices for BIM - and that this will be at least a small contribution to the overall qualification of the workforce.

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BLL - National Platform for the Built Environment

Posted by Nathan Doughty on June 21, 2008 7:56 PM GMT

Jeff Wix has sent me a mail noting the following--

48 hours of Action Oriented Progress
In the 'ICT and Automation (ICTA) Scoping Study Report' published by Constructing Excellence for the National Platform for the Built Environment, five key research topics have been identified for the 'ICT and Automation' priority area to achieve the industry's long-term vision of itself. Three of these key topics are being directly addressed in Build London Live.

They are:

  • Collaborative Prototyping to Define and Deliver Client Requirements
  • Efficient, Seamless Sharing of Information Across the Built Environment Stakeholders
  • Ability to Interact with Real-Time Information Regardless of Physical Location or Timezone

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Link Entry

Posted by Nathan Doughty on June 18, 2008 10:07 PM GMT

This is little more than a redirect (!) - but Build London Live is progressing apace. If you are interested but have not gotten involved then please do so by registering online..

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Build London Live - Site Context and Design Brief

Posted by Nathan Doughty on June 3, 2008 11:21 PM GMT

All of the preliminary info about the site on Greenwich Peninsula is now available online including a Google Maps interface, a Google Earth interface using the newly available Google Earth browser plugin, and an excellent video that shows the site context in some detail.

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Build London Live - Update

Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 28, 2008 10:22 AM GMT

We now have a number of sponsors on board and two teams officially formed. We are just receiving details of a third team forming which is comprised entirely of US-based architects. That means so far we have a Finnish consortium versus American Architects versus a pan-Northern-European group which are taking up the design live gauntlet!

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Build London Live - Updates

Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 18, 2008 9:41 PM GMT

The BIMStorm Build London Live event has its first sponsor and has formed its first official team.

Synchro has donated a fancy new Alienware laptop to the prize fund - guaranteed to make a BIM Designer somewhere very happy at the end of the event...

Work on the site and the detailed design brief are progressing rapidly and full details will become available on the site over the next two weeks.

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Build London Live

Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 15, 2008 2:26 PM GMT

Asite is working with AEC3, CADVisual, and ONUMA to organise a London BIMStorm event June 24-25 to coincide with the 2nd London BuildingSmart International conference at the RIBA.

The website for BUILD LONDON LIVE was launched last week. You can register online (participation is free and includes free access to the collaborative systems) and there is a mini-blog for the event on the website as well.

Please get involved either as a designer/participant or as an observer!

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Chartered Institute of Building Innovation and Research Panel

Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 14, 2008 8:48 PM GMT

I attended a meeting of the CIOB Innovation and Research Panel today at the CIOB headquarters in Ascot. On the way there I got to drive past Ascot Racecourse - the reconstruction of which was delivered in 2006 using Asite as the collaborative platform - so is not only a beautiful structure but one I take some small personal pride in.

The panel is the body within the CIOB charged with focusing research and development activity across the building industry and advising the UK and European government funding policies and strategies for construction. There is a cross section of contractor, consultant, and academic representation in the group and Asite has been asked to bring the perspective of collaborative working and of technology to the fray.

The meeting held my interest well despite being close to 5 hours long (which is saying something and is testament to the engagement levels of those in the room!). There was of course the enticement of getting an advance peek at the award winners for this years CIOB Innovation and Research Awards (which I shall not divulge!).. The Awards dinner is tonight (as I type these words) and so the info shall become public knowledge shortly in any case.

Of course in my recently acquired status as the father of an infant daughter I was required back at home rather than in evening attire at an awards dinner. Trade-offs must be made!

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Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 14, 2008 8:39 PM GMT

I was unable to attend today's quarterly NCCTP Steering Committee meeting, which was a facilitated session run by Constructing Excellence with the goal of determining the "way forward" for the organisation and how we as a segment of the construction industry can best position ourselves to maximise our contribution to moving the industry forward. I did however get my input into the mix ahead of the meeting and I look forward to finding out what conclusions were reached.
I can see from Paul Wilkinson's twitter feed that the technical standard has survived (in what form we shall see) and that a new marketing effort has been agreed. We shall find out more in due course...

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Loughborough University

Posted by Nathan Doughty on May 14, 2008 7:45 PM GMT

I had the pleasure last Thursday of delivering a lecture to about 60 students in two Masters Programmes in the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University in the Midlands. They were about 10 MSc Construction Management students and the rest third year students in the MEng Civil Engineering programme.

I spoke to them about the Egan Agenda and how it has and has not changed the industry over the last 10 years - and how collaborative working and collaboration technologies have helped to enable partnering in the construction industry. I do these kinds of lectures fairly often - as the "construction technology" company launched by Sir John to help push the Rethinking Construction agenda Asite gets these requests on a regular basis - and inevitably I end up spending a large part of my talk (two hours in this case!) speaking about contract forms and all the different ways in which companies in the industry contract with each other. I do enjoy seeing some of the keener students twig when they look at these contract forms and the relationships through the supply chain from the raw perspective of a "selling off of risk" - and start to think about the subbie to subbie to subbie (ad nauseum) relationships in that way rather than in the more touchy-feely ways which are the public face of construction contract forms.

I have yet to encounter a Masters programme student in a construction-related field who has heard of "partnering" or "collaborative" forms of contracts, so clearly there is much work to be done on pushing those into the mainstream. Turns out that the lecture was very timely as I got to the office the next day to the weekly edition of Building magazine in which the cover article was "THE PROPHET WE LOST - Who cares about Rethinking Construction now?" - about where the Egan Agenda has got to over the 10 years since the Rethinking Construction report was delivered to government. See a precis from the editor of Building here.

Of course it would not be a group of 60 university students on a Thursday morning if we didn't have one or two nodding off! I was of course in university once and so have sympathy with the poor souls stuck listening to me...

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Paper Space... Model Space... Earth Space

Posted by Nathan Doughty on July 2, 2006 3:04 PM GMT

Avatech released an earth connector for Autocad back in January which allowed a model to be exported into the Google Earth file format (KMZ) and placed in "earth-space" using GIS coordinate data held in the model. Now they have done the same for Revit - which is Autodesk's main BIM solution in the mechanical and electrical space.

Revit also has support for the BuildingSmart IFC standard, as was confirmed to me when I put the question to Paul Stefan of Autodesk after he gave an end-of-day presentation about Revit BIM to the IT Construction Forum annual conference back in May. I know Paul from 2000 when we were colleagues at Citadon. He confirmed that Revit had "been on-board with standards since the beginning".

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