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Colour Urban Design Ltd

Consultancy and research

Colour - Newcastle and London-based urban designers, landscape architects and masterplanners - are finding new ways of implementing the latest technology in its work thanks to a partnership with Teesside University.

The company has used a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and a Knowledge Exchange Internship (KEI) to investigate ways of implementing Building Information Modelling (BIM) within its business. KTPs typically last for two years and are a collaboration between a University and a company. They are part-funded by Innovate UK to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.

Colour has also taken on two members of staff at its Newcastle headquarters with the help of different schemes run by the University to help companies recruit talent and develop new skills in their business. Henry Fenby-Taylor was taken on by Colour in November 2013 on a KTP as a BIM system designer to apply BIM project management standards and to enhance software productivity and efficiency. Adam Hay has just completed a 12 month KEI at Colour and is now employed permanently at the company, where he has helped to integrate BIM into its projects.

BIM is a concept that uses a combination of processes and technologies to develop a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a building. The project has already proved so successful that Henry has been appointed by the Landscape Institute, the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape Architects, to write a major new book on BIM for landscape.

'BIM for Landscape' will be the first book of its kind, and is aimed at landscape practitioners, project leaders and decision-makers working with landscape on a BIM project.

Henry Fenby-Taylor
'Having the chance to work with both professionals and academics in this area is unique and we are doing some cutting edge work. My role is more research focused and so I can afford to experiment and try new things. It means I can look at new models of doing things and it's not going to impact on the company.'

Adam Hay
'Over the course of my 12 months at Colour I have applied BIM to a live project, the new Newcastle College Gateway faculty, and collaborated with Ryder Architecture on their winning bid in the Build Sydney 2013 virtual design competition for a new convention centre in Australia. I've been using the technology to help the landscape architect. It's meant I've been kept very busy with lots of new problems to solve and fix, and also learn new knowledge and skill sets. It's really helped to move me on in terms of furthering my skills.'

Stephen Blacklock, Technical Director, Colour

'We’re extremely pleased with the work that we’ve been doing with Teesside University. Adam’s KEI has allowed the company to take on more complex BIM projects and is also helping the company drive efficiencies and work towards ISO accreditation which will help secure more work. The KTP is more of a problem-solving position with a lot more academic support but hopefully it will enable us to develop solutions which will allow us to stay at the forefront of our industry. It’s fantastic that there are these different ways in which Teesside University has been able to support our business. We’re now thinking of running another KEI project in our London office.'

Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Mohamad Kassem, KTP and KEI academic supervisors, School of Science & Engineering, Teesside University

Professor Dawood said: 'The use of BIM technology in landscape architecture projects is quite rare so the work being carried out at Colour should have some extremely interesting outcomes for the industry.' Dr Kassem added: 'This is benefiting the University through an increased understanding of current and emerging technologies used in landscape architecture and potential and limitation of BIM technologies. It’s also very pleasing that Adam and Henry have been able to collaborate and feed into each other’s individual projects.'

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