“To store half a million drawings in a paper-based business you would need vertical filing cabinets stretching along more than 600m of wall space,” says BIW chief executive Colin Smith, “or a plan-chest some 200m tall - that’s taller than the Post Office tower or twice as tall as the Big Ben clock-tower at Westminster.”
BIW’s figures are based purely on drawings submitted to its system, not on the number of people on a distribution list. Once a drawing is published it is immediately available to other team members for viewing and comment.
“This latest landmark underlines the resilience and scalability of our infrastructure, says Smith. “As well as the drawings, we also host over 333,000 documents. To give some idea of the growing traffic we handle, our service has been accessed over 3.5 million times since we launched it in 1999; to date in 2003, we have recorded more than 1.2 million user sessions.”
According to Smith, demand for BIW’s collaboration services shows no sign of slowing down: “We have started more than 500 new projects since 1 January; our user base is growing at over 800 a month; and more than 40,000 drawings and documents are being published each month.”
Clients include Sainsbury’s, BAA, Capital One Bank, housebuilders Crest Nicholson and the Peabody Trust, Marks & Spencer, Manchester Airport, the Ministry of Defence, Ikea, the Welsh Development Agency, Asda, the Wellcome Trust, Kajima and developer Garbe.- ends -
Notes to editors:
- Project collaboration services from BIW Technologies (www.biwtech.com) were first employed in 1999 on UK construction projects for Sainsbury. Independent industry research by Compagnia (June 2003) gave BIW a 26.4% share of the UK market; BIW believes it is the European leader in web-based collaboration systems for the construction and property industry, measured by numbers of projects and users and by volume of information exchanged.
- BIW Information Channel is a sophisticated web-based supply chain integration technology, designed specifically for construction projects. Each client is provided with a unique, project-specific website created around a knowledge database. Using this, all data can be made available to every project team member – from the earliest concepts and specification, through detailed design, buildability studies, pre-fabrication, construction, maintenance, operation and improvement to the eventual demolition or dismantling of the facility.
- Recognising that hosting involved complementary but non-core skills and expertise, BIW sought a ‘managed hosting’ partner capable of creating and managing the sophisticated technical infrastructure needed to deliver its software technologies. BIW’s managed host, Attenda procures, configures, installs and maintains the necessary servers, routers, firewalls and other devices. Once configured, Attenda then provides dedicated bandwidth for BIW’s applications, and connects the servers to the web via its own network, where the application is constantly monitored to ensure availability and optimal performance. With Attenda, BIW is able to implement, maintain and update services in less time and with higher reliability than other hosting methods. Moreover, managed hosting ensures BIW’s technology services remain easily and seamlessly scalable. This is vital as its user base grows, as demand for bandwidth increases, and as the applications are regularly upgraded.
- At 28 September 2003, BIW was hosting 517,218 drawings and 333,400 documents. BIW Information Channel had 28,001 registered users, drawn from 3,064 different companies. The total number of projects was in excess of 1500, with a total capital value conservatively estimated at around £12 billion.