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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vitruvius in the Lego Movie

9 July 2014

Derek Thomson


Great character! Shame he had the argument back to front. Or did he? ;)

Rethinking the Build Process at NWBicester

11 February 2014

Derek Thomson

Finally, after over a year of setting this project, I’m happy to announce that myself and peers from Loughborough University are working with the NWBicester ecotown team to improve the predictability and repeatability of ecohome performance at scale.

Funded by the Technology Strategy Board through their ‘Rethinking the Build Process’ programme, we’re part of a team taking a process view of construction activities to help site operatives work with the new technologies. We’re feeding back from early phases of construction into the design of later phases so that construction costs can be lowered and environmental performance (e.g. energy consumption) can be assured. Central to all of this is an interactive learning cycle which the activity of process modelling (rather than the models themselves) creates opportunities for the sharing of insights and the agreement of better approaches. We’re combining BPMN2, FMEA and Social Network Analysis to achieve this. Should be fun, interesting and with genuine impact!

The team comprises: A2Dominion; Silver DCC; Willmott Dixon; PRP Architects; and BioRegional.

This video shows what we’re creating.

Three Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates

18 May 2013

Derek Thomson

Here’s a really interesting presentation (and the inevitable plug, but overlook that) on tricks to building a career.  If you’re one of my graduating students, have a look:

Why does the Olympic Stadium look like it does?

6 August 2012

Derek Thomson

Answer: To be adapted to enable an – unknown at the time of its design  – ‘legacy’ stage.

And, as for the Orbit, the less said about an Architect who has to utter “I suppose” when explaining their design rationale, the better…

I suppose [sic], these Architects have technically broken the terms of their appointment by contributing to the above video.  A terrible state of affairs.  Apart from the 500 notional construction workers who participated in the opening ceromony, our industry – to ensure clarity of the voice for corporate sponsors – have been prevented from sharing their success.

And what a success it was.  Zero deaths, early and under budget.

Derek Thomson

What is BIM? a.k.a. 10 things BIM is not.

20 June 2011

Derek Thomson

With the mandating of BIM on every public sector project, rather than just those of cost greater than £50m, this debate is timely.  While I agree with their position that “BIM” is really just a collection of useful tools that address the spatiality of buildings, I did get lost on the more technical stuff.

Buried in the discussion (for the TL;DR’ers out there…), this gem is forwarded: ten things BIM is not.

Problem based learning works!

5 June 2011

Derek Thomson

So, over the past few weeks I’ve been simulating some value management workshops for our final year students.  Based on the level of engagement, positive attitude, and genuine emails of thanks recevied, I think we can say that it went well.

Here they are in action (the photos are by the students themselves):

Group A, compiling a FAST Diagram:

Group B, organising an affinity diagram:

Group C, identifying project functions:

Group D, affinity diagramming:

Group E, rating primary functions:

Group F, brainstorming:

Group G, searching for project functions:

Group H, reviewing the design:

Group I, thinking hard:

Group J, eliciting the client’s value system:

Group K, also working on the client’s value system:

Group L, making some pairwise comparisons:

Group M, searching for project functions:

Group N, also searching for their project functions:

If nothing else, I think these workshops will have taught the students the usefulness of the humble post-it note!

They’re back.

29 April 2011

Derek Thomson

Remember this fantastic video laying down the principles of the Keynesian (the predominant model currently informing policy) and the Austrian School of Economics?

They’re back with another exposition of the thinking.  Sadly not as detailed this time and with too much focus on Keynes, but still *well* worth ten minutes of anyone’s time:

Our PhD students, working hard.

30 March 2011

Derek Thomson

Well, at least they have a good community going.  I would have killed for that when I was doing my PhD.  That, and the quality of the space they enjoy. 

Oh yes, I’m working for Loughborough University these days!  :)

The diffusion of students…

26 January 2011

Derek Thomson

I finally managed to get the time to produce this network:

It represents the social network of undergraduate students in the “third year” of their studies.  However, those highlighted in red are students who have joined the programme directly in that year having either prior education or appropriate industry experience. 

They’re obviously quite isolated, but this is to be expected as the data was – after passing ethics committee – collected in their first few weeks at the University.  The plan is to update the data set now, some four months later, to see if they have integrated into the cohort.

At the same time, I surveyed their attitudes toward academic study and a marked difference between their perceptions between new and “time-served” students was observed.  This survey will also be repeated to see if a process of acculturation or assimilation has occured. 

These issues are important as the injection of notable numbers of direct entry studies into the later years of an established cohort has consequences on social cohesion and, it is hypothesised, attitudes to academic endeavour.  It will hopefully be possible to infer some understanding of this influence from this data.