Build LONDON Live 2009 was a unique mix of virtual collaborative event, architectural competition and BIM exhibition. It was held over three days between December 15th – 17th as the largest real-time engineering showcase & collaboration ever to have been staged. Several 'world first’s’ were achieved including fastest, largest and most engineering applications deployed on a single project.

New technology is revolutionising the way buildings are designed and how the public are engaged in the process. Build LONDON Live showcased what BIM really means for architecture, engineering, planning and construction. BLL2009 welcomed teams and observers from all countries in the world and reached a truly international audience on six continents. A key objective was to show that new techniques in collaborative working and interoperability make it possible for engineers from different countries and cultures to work together on a single project. Most importantly BLL2009 set out to demonstrate that BIM excellence is to be found in abundance all over the world.


The Build LONDON Live project is committed to the principle of software interoperability and is completely independent by not being tied to any particular software vendor. The organisers strived to ensure that the mainstream 3D BIM design & analysis application was represented. This target was achieved with the notable exception of teams using software from Bentley or Vectorworks. Software vendor independence and interoperability was achieved by requiring the teams to submit BIMs in the IFC (Industry Foundation Class) format. Once uploaded to the Asite portal, the BIMs were amalgamated into the enlarged scheme.


The competition demanded the highest standards. Instead of submitting conceptual storyboard style presentations, teams were required to provide detailed multi-discipline BIMs. These included architectural & structural designs, building services designs & calculations, sun & wind analysis, energy analysis & consumption data, constructability analysis, model checking and much more. No single vendor covers all these disciplines and success could only be achieved through interoperable software.


BLL2009 was set on a hypothetical man-made island in the Thames Estuary just off Southend. The Studio TOAST and BIM Products master plan was conceived to augment other proposals in the Thames Gateway including the proposed Thames Estuary Airport Island. Each team was allocated an identical site on ‘Thorpe Island’ and provided with a 3D context model in the form of a BIM. The challenge was to design a mixed use scheme that included a hotel, office, retail and residential space in accordance with the design criteria. Massing was entirely up to the teams, provided that the required spaces were delivered.


The Shoebury-Wix Lagoon master plan was conceived by Paul Goodman-Simpson, Mik van Leeuwen (BIM Products & 3DMODELBUILDING.com), Eleanor Atkinson and Kris Adelade (Studio Toast).


A 3D context model of the Thames Gateway covering an area from Battersea in central London to 45km East of Essex was built by 3DMODELBUILDING.com. The context model has been prepared ready for a Build Live event for an airport off the Essex coast. Consequently all infrastructure including major roads and railways have also been modelled in 3D.

The extent of the context model for the land adjacent to the master plan included Southend and an accurate BIM of Southend Pier.


All 7 islands that make up the Shoebury-Wix Lagoon were created in 3D as a BIM using Swiss EliteCAD BIM software.


BLL2009 was set on Thorpe Island. A number of identical plots were created in 3D. Each team was issued with a CAD file that located their plot in 'context'.