Can’t stop, won’t stop, last stop: BILT EUR – Aarhus

Singapore, Adelaide, Toronto and Aarhus. The BILT committee has been touring the world in 2017, placing their last stop in Aarhus, Denmark for the BILT EUR – and what a stop. Three days filled with learning, knowledge sharing, an interesting city centre and socialisation across professional competencies.

The purpose of BILT is clear, and it builds on the trinity of the three C’s: Conversation, connection and community. A trinity you feel from the very first second you place your shoes onto the carpet floors of the conference area. Usually, Danes are not known as the chattiest people, but this conference is filled with multiple more talkative nationalities, and the rooms are filled with a vague humming. The conversation has begun!


Day 1 – Conversation:

We, the delegates of DANISH™, have served ourselves a cup of morning tea and found a comfy seat in the big room with a dim lighting. Voices in different language from English over Norwegian to French meet here, while we wait for the official kick-off BILT EUR 2017.


Two hours later we are blown away by the introduction and the keynote speaker Anders Hvid, and now we are off and on our own. This is where it really begins. Our personal programs are printed and hang around our necks ready to remind us of the different sessions, LABs and for all we have planned to participate in during the next three days.


Around 50 joined LAB-sessions offering the possibility of learning by doing about Site Planning in Revit whilst the rest split up into more than ten different sessions. DANISH™ had the pleasure of skydiving into bridges followed by a class on Generative Design with project fractal by Anthony Hauck, Director of Product Strategy at Autodesk. He translates the use of Revit or similar BIM-tools into one simple explanation.


”It´s all about predictability. Like utilising Google maps to know how to go from A to B and how much time it takes and which obstacles you might meet, Revit does the same… Only to a group of people in the same industry from different businesses. It makes your project transparent and predictable,” he says.


Already from the first day most delegates seem very comfortable with the first C: Conversation. Everybody participating at BILT is here to learn about and share knowledge on how to improve the building industry, and the best way to do so is by talking. This is, of course, incorporated in the whole set up at Scandinavian Congress Centerin Aarhus, where the event is held. Whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee, waiting in line for lunch or taking a break at one of the folding table, you meet people like yourself, eager to converse about the experiences and struggles you share.


Which brings us to the second C: Connection.


Day 2 – Connection:

“Are we all good or does some have a headache after last night?”

The job as a speaker Friday morning is tough. Looking round, it might indicate that some of the participants went to bed a bit too late, to be a 100% focused on the sessions, but this is also what BILT is about: Connecting in a non-formal environment. Actually, the BILT committee encourage the participants to explore the city they visit either on their own or through the evening functions arranged – even though it results in some drooping eyelids.

The digital connection between architects, engineers and contractors is not only important for the ongoing development in the building industry and the focus on lowering errors and costs and enhancing efficiency. The connection is also important on a 1 to 1 level between persons across continents. It is these connections that grows into a community that the people and the industry can benefit from.


Day 3 – Community:

As we’ve reach the weekend, we’ve also got to the last day of BILT EUR. At this point DANISH™ knows a lot more about what’s going on in the building industry, than we did two days ago, but there’s still a long way. To Andrew Milburn, who is an Associate at Godwin Austen Johnson, Architects, with a special responsibility for BIMstrategy & Revit implementation this is due to the complexity of the conference subject.

“This whole work around BIM is about learning, sharing and connecting. It takes time. It’s like moving from handwritten letters to a texting app, just in the construction industry,” says Milburn, and he has a very efficient trick to push this in the right direction.

“Many architects see the pen and paper as a thinking tool, while I like to think of BIM like a thinking tool. If I want to make a diagram, I’ll use Revit, because that’s my thinking tool. It’s  easy, you can save the information, find it again and change it.”

With this in mind we cannot help noticing how the ties have been loosened and as well as the atmosphere in the conference area: The conversation and connection from the first two days has paid off, people are talking not only to their colleagues, but also with new like-minded people. This leads to the last C in the trinity: Community. BILT should be seen as one big family reunion, catching up on the year that has passed in the universe of Revit, Dynamo and BIM.


One of the last things on our program before the Gala was the forum discussing the work with multiple generations. A very including session, which in a perfect way showcased the importance of creating a community within the industry to get the most and best out of it! Here, the participants paid an active role in the discussion on how to make colleagues from different generations understand each other and work together.

One thing is the age difference, another challenge is to combine the learnings of the generations – no matter if you’re a part of the old school philosophy or have been taught the newest technology. It can be tricky, but all represented generations could agree on one thing: All, both old and young, should be willing to learn, but also teach what they know, and in that way create better collaborations and thereby a community feeling.

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