Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Sweet Necessity of a BIM-IPD Group Meeting

David Ivey’s Chicago BIM-IPD Group meets every last Thursday of the month at HOK’s beautiful offices in Chicago’s Loop. Other cities have BIM-IPD groups: NYC, Seattle, San Francisco among a dozen others. But there’s something happening here on the 14th floor in the main conference room on these nights that can only be described as necessary and magical.

That’s not to say one city’s group is better than another. In the spirit of Integrated Design there is in fact a great deal of sharing of knowledge and information between the groups. Sometimes a member from one city’s group will show up at another and present what their group is up to. Case in point: Chicago’s group recently hosted special guest, Christopher Parsons, founder of Knowledge Architecture (www.knowledge-architecture.com) and the San Francisco BIM Users Group. 

The typical meeting has presentations, surveys, discussions, Q and A sessions in the light and expansive conference room pictured here – it’s hard not to be inspired. And the 90 minutes fly by fast. Best of all, for an hour and a half each month, you are made to feel quintessentially relevant and in-the-know.

 Headed-up by HOK’s David Ivey – an Associate and CAD and BIM Manager at HOK since 2005, a regular speaker at McGraw-Hill’s BIM and IPD panels and a leader in the ACE Mentor Program of America – Dave does a magnificent job of organizing and running these meetings. Dave’s a true firm leader-in-the-making and an inspiration to all who attend. He is completely onboard when it comes to sharing non-proprietary information with the group – much in keeping with HOK’s reputation for sharing, collaboration and transparency. It is almost impossible to attend one of his meetings and not walk away feeling smarter, more self-assured and excited to be part of a happening movement. As importantly, given that the Midwest – in comparison with the coasts – is somewhat of a latecomer to BIM and IPD, these meetings help assure that Chicago has in time caught up with his big city brethren.

Chicago BIM-IPD Group is a diverse gathering – Crate and Barrel’s John Moebes and University clients have attended, Kristine Fallon and Michael Bordenaro are regulars – made up of contractors, engineers, architects, IT specialists, firm owners, authors, trainers, educators, software resellers and consultants.

Last night, Mark Anderson, the enterprising, energetic and entertaining VP of IT for Environmental Systems Design – one of Chicago’s largest and consistently most innovative MEP consultants – spoke about ESD’s inroads into BIM. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • As it is best to start off with a pilot project, their first real Revit job happened to be the 3 million SF Masdar City, the world’s first carbon-neutral zero waste city, with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.
  • Finding that creating custom content takes a great deal of effort and time, they purchased an entire library of content – 3000 Revit fully parametric families in all to go along with their custom models
  • Mark was quoted as saying: “We’re making content like crazy,” with 2-3 people devoted to it at all times.
  • One key take-away from Mark’s talk is this: some design professionals complain that MEP consultants have dragged their feet when it comes to adopting and implementing BIM and the collaborative work processes enabled by it. Not the case at all, according to ESD. The software has lagged for engineers – behind architecture, structural and civil – and only of late has caught up. Not that that stopped them from taking-on the challenge and doing the hard work of change involved – though only recently has it allowed them to excel at it.
  • Of 220 current employees, 60 are trained in Revit and of those perhaps 20 could be put on a project today with the full assurance that they could run with it from go. And that number is growing.
  • Mark played a 3D animation of a BIM model ESD had created for Chicago’s Dirksen Building. Set to music, upon completion the movie set off a round of applause.
  • An IIT student who works in the firm discovered that Navisworks has many of the same visualization features as 3D Studio Max – and so suggested that they use Navisworks not only for coordination but for visualization and animation.
  • Not quite yet direct to fabrication, it became apparent, with one eye on future opportunity, growth and positioning,  that ESD has several in-house special task forces dedicated to taking the technology – and work processes – to the next level.
  • Mark played an informative commercial film, featuring Mark and his team, created by HP to play-up ESD’s use of their equipment.

The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A, one earnest inquiry after the other, each attendee hanging on every last word, trying to work out for herself this still mysterious process. How are we going to make it work? How are we going to make money at this? How do we best position ourselves for the future? What determines when a job is going to be a Revit job?

Perhaps it was just the thought of freezing wind and freshly falling snow that kept everyone in their seats well past 7PM on this cold winter night as Mark fielded question after question. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was instead because everyone sensed something quite magical and new was happening in this seminal and well-lit conference room above Chicago’s Loop. That, perhaps, we were really onto something here.

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Filed under BIM, BIM organizations, collaboration, Integrated Design, IPD, modeling, process, Uncategorized

BIM as though People Mattered

If you want to foster creativity and excellence, you have to introduce some boundaries. Teams need some privacy from one another to develop unique approaches to any kind of competition. Scientists need some time in private before publication to get their results in order. Making everything open all the time creates what I call a global mush. Jaron Lanier You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

 

This post will introduce you to a book that will change society and alter the future.

But first, some back story.

The other night I was parked outside a bike shop near my home whose storefront window read: Body Machine Integration (BMI)

Being at one with their vehicle clearly appealed to the somnambulist bicyclists inside.

Sometimes Building Information Modeling (BIM) has us feeling like Bodily Integrated Machines (BIM).

After a long day modeling it is easy to feel like we have to call someone over to our workstation to pry us away from our machines.

We now work and live in environments where the line between you and your screen is becoming thinner and thinner.

Promotional materials for BIM products suggests that they “think like an architect” but all too often you discover that you have to think like your software.

This is old stuff for those that have worked in CAD – who, after a long day at work, would fall asleep at night only to dream that they were inserted in a CAD drawing.

Thinking in abbreviated commands and talking in macros.

MIT’s William J. Mitchell has long warned – or promised, depending on your outlook –  about our evolving into cyborgs.

But that’s not the book, nor the author, that will make a sign post of 2010.

Voodoo Architecture

So I naturally googled Body Machine Integration for architects and came up with…Archibots? Archibots are the latest thing in the emerging area of “Architectural Robotics” – intelligent and adaptable physical environments at all scales.

It is somewhat comforting to know that this is about robotic technologies embedded in the built environment – not people. 

Soon you’ll have the opportunity to hire one of these to do your drafting – or better yet, input information into your BIM.

Archibots: a workshop on intelligent and adaptable built environments was held last Fall by students at Clemson U.

The second fragment of this stop-motion video from the event – from a collection of stop-motion vision videos created by participants in the Archibots workshop – indicates the possibility of modifying an as-built BIM model has the parallel effect on the actual built building the model represents. Almost like a voodoo doll.

Voodoo architecture where you modify the model and the building changes.

My office is missing! Who left the model unlocked again?!

Imagine where you drag-and-drop materials and textures off of your laptop screen onto adjacent surfaces.

And they become those surfaces.

Where the line between you and your screen disappears, the two become indistinguishable.

It gets you thinking about where things are going (holograms, artificial intelligence, singularity, according to designintelligence.)

One day, everyday robotics embedded in our built environment will increasingly support and augment work, school, entertainment, leisure activities – as well as the construction industry – in an increasingly digital society.

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Which brings us to Jaron Lanier, the 1980s Silicon Valley dreadlocked visionary who coined the term virtual reality and was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the internet would bring to the worlds commerce and culture, and has now written a long-awaited book: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, an editor’s selection Best Book of the Month.

You Are Not a Gadget is being called “a useful, respectful dialogue about how we can shape technology to fit culture’s needs, rather than the way technology currently shapes us.”

It is also being called a “most thought-provoking, human, and inspiring critique of the computerized world of information that has yet been written.”

In the book, Lanier discusses the technical and cultural problems that can grow out of poorly considered digital design, and cautions against the current Web 2.0 fad which elevates the wisdom of the hive mind over the intelligence and judgment of individuals.

In You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier argues that the idea of collective is smarter than the individual is wrong. Why is this?

Here’s Jaron Lanier on Collaboration: There are some cases where a group of people can do a better job of solving certain kinds of problems than individuals. One example is setting a price in a marketplace. Another example is an election process to choose a politician. All such examples involve what can be called optimization, where the concerns of many individuals are reconciled. There are other cases that involve creativity and imagination. A crowd process generally fails in these cases. The phrase “Design by Committee” is treated as derogatory for good reason. That is why a collective of programmers can copy UNIX but cannot invent the iPhone.

Biological cells have walls, academics employ temporary secrecy before they publish, and real authors with real voices might want to polish a text before releasing it. In all these cases, encapsulation is what allows for the possibility of testing and feedback that enables a quest for excellence. To be constantly diffused in a global mush is to embrace mundanity.

Here’s Jaron Lanier on Intellectual Content: On one level, the Internet has become anti-intellectual because Web 2.0 collectivism has killed the individual voice. It is increasingly disheartening to write about any topic in depth these days, because people will only read what the first link from a search engine directs them to…Or, if the issue is contentious, people will congregate into partisan online bubbles in which their views are reinforced. I don’t think a collective voice can be effective for many topics, such as history–and neither can a partisan mob. Collectives have a power to distort history in a way that damages minority viewpoints and calcifies the art of interpretation. Only the quirkiness of considered individual expression can cut through the nonsense of mob–and that is the reason intellectual activity is important.

A must read.

BIM as though people mattered

Here are 10 things you can do to keep the body-machine integration at bay – and help you to remain you human and keep your feelings alive – while building information models:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Sit in front of a favorite painting at the museum over lunch
  • Read a poem  
  • Keep your passion for architecture alive by revisiting the work you love & admire
  • Or get a daily dose of architecture here
  • Know yourself, your preferences, by cutting out things that appeal to you at a visceral level (no thinking required) and by keeping a file of these images
  • Keep a list of the things you know for certain that you like, love, enamor and return to it often for sustenance
  • Read The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
  • Keep your passion for work alive by remaining awake at work
  • Listen to your favorite music every day (you know where to find it)
  • Watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, A Single Man or another film directed by a visual artist

What are some of the things you recommend doing to keep it real and stay human in the face of the technological forces at work?

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, Integrated Design, modeling, people, Uncategorized

77 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Make Integrated Design a Reality

This time of year, when many find themselves indoors, is a great time to catch up – and even get ahead of the pack – on several neglected fronts. Here are my top 77 suggestions for getting ahead in Integrated Design. All pretested, these promise to be a good investment of your time. Best of all, many of the suggestions in this list can be read or watched or even had for free or for very little cost. The 77 things you can do right now to help make Integrated Design a reality will not only benefit the design profession and construction industry, but by helping to move the field forward you may also find that you have helped yourself along the way.

Do you have other links to favorite sources you would like to share?

1. Listen in on a free conference call with Stephen M. R. Covey on the subject of trust

2. Or read the book that the call is based on, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, with one eye on how practicing mutual trust makes Integrated Design possible.

3. Still not convinced that increasing trust is the answer? Check out this video or listen to this summary of the book

4. Pick up a copy and read George Elvin’s Integrated Practice in Architecture: Mastering Design-Build, Fast-Track, and Building Information Modeling The world’s only book dedicated to this subject.

5. Read Creating with Others: The Practice of Imagination in Life, Art and the Workplace by Shaun McNiff where a master teacher provides important lessons on how to create together in a collaborative environment.

6. Share some info with someone you don’t normally trust or work with right now and see the results – if it negatively affects you or your firm (you might be surprised by the results)

7. Make it an effort to say “we” instead of “I” for an entire day. Get inspired by taking a look at The Power of We

8. Share AIA’s document on IPD with another practitioner and discuss its strengths and weaknesses.

9. Had a hunch that you could learn a thing or two about collaboration from understanding the secrets of improvisational theater? You were right and they’re all here in Keith Sawyer’s breathtaking Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, 60% off at Amazon

10. Or read it for free here

11. Read an interview with author Keith Sawyer, professor of psychology and education at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of the country’s leading scientific experts on collaboration, here

12. Start a IPD discussion group, select a resource to start with and begin a discussion.

13. Download the AIA IPD Guide here

14. Better yet, enjoy AIA’s veritable cornucopia of Integrated Design features, programs, initiatives here  

15. Read How to Make Collaboration Work; Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve problems and Make  Decisions  Read it here for free.

16. Click here for Experiences in collaboration: On the Path to IPD

17. Or here to download the PowerPoint: Lessons Learned from Applied Integrated Project Delivery – presented at the AIA Convention  

18. Share the AIA document site with 10 others

19. The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability by 7group, Bill Reed, Order it here or here but whatever you do, order it.

20. While you’re at it, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen or heard 7group’s John Boecker speak on the subject of Integrated Design.

21. Bill Reed’s also pretty inspiring, too. Check out some of his papers

22. Read the DesignIntelligence Thom Mayne Morphosis case study on being a design principal on an IPD team

23. Click here for a short (4 min.) video about IPD

24. Put down your current book and pick up Mastering the Art of Creative Collaboration by Robert Hargrove a copy of which can be yours here for 33 cents! Or get a summary here.

25. Think about why you originally went into your field and whether persuing Integrated Design will allow you to do what you originally wanted to do

26. Turn your firm into a collaboration factory. See how other fields are accomplishing it in The Culture of Collaboration: Maximizing time, talent and tools to create value in the global economy by Evan Rosen.

27. Look here to read Integrated Project Delivery and BIM: Changing the Way the Industry Operates

28. Visit and explore Evan Rosen’s blog  on Collaboration, Sharing Information and Trust.

29. Practice self-sacrifice while reading fiction. Mark Helprin’s short story collection, The Pacific and Other Stories, contains an incisive story entitled “Monday,” an honorable contractor willing to sacrifice other contracts and his own reputation to renovate the home of a woman whose husband was killed on September 11 learns “the power of those who had done right.” Read it.

30. Look for an opportunity to hear Choreographer Twyla Tharp discuss The Collaborative Habit at a theater near you.

31. Still not convinced collaboration works? Niether is Berkeley professor and author Morten T. Hansen in Harvard Business review book Collaboration: How leaders avoid the traps, create unity and reap big results. Read it for free here but after reading Good to Great author Jim Collin’s insightful foreword you’re going to want to buy  a copy for yourself and those you work with.

32. Still not convinced collaboration within your firm always a good thing? Watch this video

33. Cant afford the somewhat steep membership cost to join the Design Futures Council? Worry not. Spend a free afternoon perusing articles at designintelligence.com. Do a search on any of the following topics and marvel at the wealth of brilliance that can be found here: Best Practices, Client Relationships, Communications, Design/Build Project Delivery, Intelligent Choices, Leadership, Strategy, Technology, Trends and MANY others.

34. Check out this PowerPoint presentation: IPD It’s not your father’s architectural practice

35. Watch IPD wunderkind John Moebes in action speaking on the benefits on Integrated Design or check out this presentation by him.

36. Or this article about what John Moebes has to say about IPD.

37. Call a colleague that has worked in IPD and ask to lunch – discuss their experience

38. Take a look at architect Scott Simpson’s immortal blog post entitled Let’s Believe in Our Own Future. As Design Futures Council founder Jim Cramer writes in the comments, “Scott, you nailed it.”

39. Make a promise in 2010 to attend a 2- or 4-hour Culture of Collaboration workshop when it comes to town and learn 17 Ways to Move from Competing to Cooperating in Your Organization

40. Compare and contrast the AIA’s various IPD documents

41. Then compare them with ConsensusDOCS

42. Or compare the two here

43. In fact, check out President of Collaborative Construction Resources James Salmon’s blog for great insights into all thing related to Integrated Design  

44. Soak-up the great stories in choreographer Twyla Tharp’s latest bestseller, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together. The book is short – you could down it in an hour – but the anecdotes, quotes and lessons will live long with you and bear repeating.

45. While you’re at it, reread Tharp’s inspiring and peerless The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

46. Visit the DesignIntelligence.blog from time to time for inspiration and insight into integrated design trends and best practices.

47. I recently interviewed architect Paul Durand of Winter Street Architects for my forthcoming book, BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Practice (Wiley, 2011) after reading Paul’s inspiring article about his firm’s adjustments to and eventual mastery of the technology and work processes involved with Integrated Design.

48. In fact, BIM and IPD have their very own blog

49. Watch this Harvard Business Review video of an interview with Daniel Goleman, Psychologist. See how you can use emotional and social intelligence to improve your own and your organization’s performance

50. Find a question or problem that you have been noodling on and share it with your network by posting it on a LinkedIn group discussion.

51. Calibrate your progress: If you haven’t in a while, revisit your threadbare copy of Finith Jernigan’s BIG BIM little bim – The practical approach to Building Information Modeling – Integrated practice done the right way! The book that started it all.

52. Assess yourself in this video from the bestselling author of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE and SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE author Daniel Goleman on how socially intelligent you are.

53. Dust off your copy of The Wisdom of Teams and see how much you’ve learned from it and have integrated into your own practice 

54. Listen to Cisco CEO John Chambers explain how abandoning command-and-control leadership has enabled his company to innovate more quickly, using collaboration and teamwork.

55. Connect with other Integrated Design cohorts on LinkedIn

56. Reread Working with Emotional Intelligence – this time with an eye on IPD. Don’t have it? Read the first chapter here.

57. Ask a contractor to lunch or for an after work drink – discuss their observations and insights about the architecture profession – they’ll appreciate it (Recommendation: stay on their turf, take them to Carmichaels or another contractor hang out)

58. Reread your copy of Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry from the viewpoint of how integrated design promises to fix what ails the AEC industry.                                                                                         

59. Read an interview with Barry LePatner on the promise of integrated design in the construction industry in the article, “Unreconstructed,” by Zach Patton published in Governing magazine

60. MacArthur Fellow, New Yorker staff writer and acclaimed surgeon Atul Gawande’s fascinating new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, has a chapter entitled The End of the Master Builder where he argues that Integrated Design is the one way the construction industry will contend with ever-increasing complexities. Read it. Amazon has it on sale for 65% off.

61. Still too expensive? You can watch a presentation Atul Gawande gave at the New Yorker Festival this past October. His talk was entitled Death of the Master Builder

62. And even read post about Atul Gawande’s presentation at The New Yorker blog.  

63. Already mastered Integrtaed Design and all it entails? See Beyond IPD: The Integrated Enterprise Challenge

64. Wondering how to market IPD for your firm? See this this or better yet this

65. Overlook the misleading title, pour yourself a cup or glass and dig into Bauman Lyons Architects highly entertaining and enlightening book on integrated design practices and outcomes, How to Be a Happy Architect 

66. Or watch this video of integrated design architect Irena Bauman [of How to be a happy architect fame] taking the Guardian editor, Martin Wainwright, for a stroll around Leeds.

67. Learn ways how you can become an ENFP (you might have an easier time in IPD)

68. Read, really read, Thom Mayne’s penetrating and quite scary warning to the tribe, Change or Perish 

 69. Or even better, visit the AIA’s incredibly rich and rewarding site featuring this essay as well as Thom Mayne’s 2009 follow-up amongst many others: 2009 and Beyond | Revisiting the Report on Integrated Practice

 70. Still skeptical? Do a comparison of IPD and other delivery methods D+B, DBB, etc – list pros and cons and to see how IPD holds up

71. Be the change you want to see – do a presentation for your firm on IPD – or organize one with outside speakers, if only to start a discussion

72. Invite a contractor into your office to speak about their experiences working in IPD, BIM, architects…

73. You still feel like IPD is just a renaming of something you’ve been doing for ages? List what is the same – and what is different – so that you have an accurate tally in your assessment

74. Look into what additional equipment, resources and facilities/space you might need to take-on an IPD project in your office – make your office IPD friendly BEFORE you need it

75. Look for ways to merge – integrate – your religious or spiritual life with IPD

76. Watch this video and learn about IPD from the perspective of an acclaimed surgeon

77. New Yorker also blogged about this event.

And a bonus suggestion: Take an online personality self-assessment or other on your communication type – to see how you relate with others, identifying areas for improvement (FYI historically most architects are ENFJ’s with 10% as ENFP’s.) Free reliable assessments are also available with a little searching.

These are my top 77 suggestions for invigorating your commitment to working collaboratively in an Integrated Design environment. Do you have other links to favorite sources or suggestions you would like to share?

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Filed under collaboration, construction industry, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people, Uncategorized

BIM’s Great New Frontier

We stand on the edge of a New Frontier—the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and dreams, a frontier of unknown opportunities and beliefs in peril. Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space… John F. Kennedy

It was almost exactly 50 years ago, in his acceptance speech in the 1960 United States presidential election, that the then recently elected president spoke these words.

Today, with the all-out emulation of that time period – An Education, Mad_Men and A Single Man come to mind – there’s a sense, with that decade of promise and passion, something great and profound has passed forever: something elegiac, full of promise, teeming with anticipation.  

A direct line could be drawn from the speech heard round the world and events just nine years later at the end of that decade when man had landed on the moon.

We find ourselves today at the threshold of a similarly new era. Take counsel when marveling how quickly the past decade drew by.

As a profession and industry what will our man on the moon moment be?

            “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”

Great discoveries surely lie in store for architecture, engineering and construction. There will be marvels as yet undreamed of as there always are.

And yet we find ourselves living in a time convincingly telling us to set aside our preoccupation with the design of objects and things in favor of processes, systems and flows.

BIM and Integrated Design and LEED together are our stimulus and our infrastructure.

It has been a while since we’ve had a frontier to discover, a frontier commensurate with our capacity to wonder.

Today BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our great New Frontier.

            “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

Nonetheless, some stand at the threshold looking back, approaching BIM and Integrated Design and LEED with skepticism and cynicism.

Well-earned, no doubt, after many years in the business.

They say these are just tools. Today’s CAD, a newer and better pencil.

That Integrated Design is unrealistic and LEED cumbersome and self-serving.

As assuredly as we will see technologies surpass BIM, processes pronounce Integrated Design obsolete, and superior means to sustainable buildings and places than LEED – today as a profession, as an industry, as a country – BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our Manifest Destiny.

Together they are our rallying cry, our call to expansion of the design professions into new territories that lie in wait beyond, neither by imperialistic expansion into territory belonging to others nor devolving into their slaves.

            “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? Cried Daisy, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”

As the great new frontier BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are ours for the taking by eminent domain.

Our expansion into the unknown, into the future, should be something fierce and exciting – untamed and new.

A means by which to rediscover our territory – and other worlds – all over again.

Enter with trepidation – enter with anticipation – but whatever you do, enter.

You do not become stronger by protecting and contemplating your core. You become stronger by opening up to what lies in store.

            “There was the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning briefcase of enthusiasm, thinning hair.”

This, right now, is our moment.

How you approach BIM and Integrated Design and LEED is how you approach anything.

With mutual fear and trepidation, distrust and unwillingness to share?

Or with an open mind, anticipating, expanding into new ground, growing ever outward, a small Kaizen step at a time?

When others are progressing while we are wait-and-see, approach this new territory with small steps if you must. But approach we shall.

By summer we will have jumped fences, barriers, cubicle walls.

By fall, we will have reached all the way across the table.

Who knows where we will be this time next year…if we do not take these first small steps.

This is our moment. Our moment will soon pass.

             “For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder.”

BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our new frontier, a land to explore, a territory to discover – and to conquer. So be bold.

Settlers first came to America with one ambition, a better life.

What came of this better life?

As the American Dream is a life in pursuit of opportunity, freedom, equality, community and wealth, ours is one of collaboration, mutual trust and sharing. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, these dreams soon diminished as materialistic values superseded all.

Soon owners will arrive on our shores. What will we do?

BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are at once our green breast of the new world and our green light at the end of the dock.

The green expanse before us offers a better way for owners and a better way for all.

BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our continent to discover, explore and experience. They are our promise of a new way to work and prosper so that we all may reach our dreams together.

            “Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock….his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

Together the technology and process paint a picture of a bright new world.

The opportunity they portend is endless. Let us not forsake it.

BIM and Integrated Design and LEED together are commensurate to our capacity to wonder.

They have the power to transform us into who we once envisioned ourselves to be.

Let’s not beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

 

All quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby” dealing with the failure of the great American dream.

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, construction industry, design professionals, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people, process, Uncategorized

BIM and Integrated Design’s 17 Most Pressing Issues for the Decade

“The most fruitful and natural exercise of our mind, in my opinion, is discussion. I find it sweeter than any other action of our life.”

— Montaigne

Before we can all work cooperatively and compatibly, sharing information and models, working together for common goals, several pressing questions must first be addressed.

These are the most critical BIM, IPD and LEED issues I am currently wrestling with. Your insights here would not only be appreciated – they’re necessary – to keep the ball on track and moving forward. Are these the most important questions to address as we start 2010? Are there more urgent inquiries requiring our attention first?

BIM User Interface and Learning Curve – this may seem preposterous for those who have been working in a BIM environment since the stone age but newcomers and those still wrestling with stair design and object creation are left to ask: who designed this software (engineers, marketing teams?) why is it designed this way (to mesh with our product line, not human users like you,) and what are they going to do about it? For these reasons BIM has been more readily adopted by emerging professionals than by those in mid-career.

BIM and Gender – at the risk of coming across as sexist – it is a widely known observation that males have an easier time visualizing 3D models and spaces. “A male advantage in the ability to generate and mentally manipulate spatial representations of geometric and other figures has been well established in studies conducted in North America and in a host of European nations.” Results from these studies support male superiority in 3D spatial cognition independent from culture.  Anyone that has been privileged to spend even 5 minutes at Laura Handler’s blog will think this to be ludicrous, but does BIM, unlike CAD, put female design and construction professionals at a disadvantage, requiring additional effort on their part to achieve the same – or better – results?

Designing in BIM – currently BIM software is overly answer-dependent, requiring too much exacting data at a time when designers need to be loose, flexible and open-ended with their questions to be most effective. Conceptual and Schematic Design will continue to be worked-out in Rhino and Sketch-Up until BIM learns to truly think like an architect – as it purports to – and less like a contractor. If the architect’s core competency continues to be comfort with ambiguity, BIM will need to make room for uncertainty, mystery and other vagaries of creation.

Learning BIM and Integrated Design – the topic of my last two posts: Where BIM, IPD and LEED ought to be learned? In school, in the workforce, or on our own? With school curricula already overburdened and slow to change, is BIM and IPD work processes, mindsets and attitudes something best left to each student and emerging professional to pick up on their own?

Will Integrated Design Succeed only by Coercion? Or instead, altruism? For IPD to work must we resort to force? Will it only be utilized as a delivery method and BIM-enabled process when the Owner demands it? Must Integrated Design wait for attorneys and insurers to work out the details? When will participants willingly, proactively – w/o coercion – work with others in a cooperative manner? What does the ultimate pay-off need to be to see this succeed?

IPD Contractual Issues need ironing-out before industry-wide adoption – or require a delivery method rethought from scratch? If the owner, contractor and architect are to share information, risk and reward – the stakes need to be more evenhanded. Currently, the architect has the most to lose when considering that they are taking-on more of the responsibility, means and methods (normally contractually prohibited to the design team) and financial risk – territories outside their jurisdiction and expertise not to mention comfort zone. Next the contractor and lastly, the owner.

The Role of Midcareer Professionals Working in the BIM Environment – will they find their place sitting alongside BIM operators, applying their experience, willing to mentor-up and mentor-down? An especially critical question for those that have hoped to make it to retirement without having to take-on a whole new technology and way of practice. Will these more experienced professionals – with the unique ability to see the big picture and minutest detail all at once – be willing and able to adopt and adapt to this new environment?

The Impact of the Recession on LEED, BIM and Integrated Design Adoption and Implementation. Those recently laid-off – or underemployed – will they be able to seek and receive adequate training in BIM and IPD processes? Will this effort translate to jobs? If not immediately put into practice, as so often happens to the newly trained, will these individuals lose all they have gained and in doing so, lose hope as well? Will these candidates opt to find work, if and where available, in non-traditional practices or even outside the profession and/or industry?

Will Architects be able to Adapt to the Changes – of BIM technology and work processes – so effectively adopted by contractors in the last year? Will this decade see the architecture profession dissipate, morph into something else, or grow in resolve despite – or even because of – these changes? Will contractors take the lead – creating some kind of hybrid practitioner? Will architects rise to the occasion – taking on a leadership role in the process, returning to some version of the Master Builder, or instead be willing and able to participate in a new formation of the Master Virtual Builder team?

Who Will Lead the BIM and Integrated Design process? Architects, Contractors or Owners – or some new combination of these entities? Repeat clients get the benefits of working with the Integrated Design process, while newcomers and first-time Owners don’t. Who will master the communication skills necessary to describe, explain and justify a process that potentially can benefit all involved?

What Will the Next New Technologies and Work Processes Be? And will architects become disciplined and proficient enough with the current technologies and work processes to be able to identify, adopt and implement the next big thing – such as design-by-computation, drawing-free design – on the horizon, in  an effort to bring greater results for the owner and public-at-large?

BIM and LEED – Will harnessing the power of BIM and the integrated work process enabled by it ultimately result in a positive impact of the built environment?

Who Owns the Rights to the BIM Model? Who is responsible for the information contained in the model? When does the hand-off occur between the architect and contractor who often need to refine the model for use in construction as well as for use in clash-detection and coordination? Does a hand-off even need to occur? How can architects ask this question without resorting to protection of ownership and territory – helping the team move forward and reach its goals together? How can architects be encouraged to share their models with all involved? Who will make the first move?

The Question of Insurance – Still in a “wait and see” mode, insurers are supposedly awaiting the results and outcomes of the first IPD contracted projects and how they hold up under real life conditions. How long will this take and will someone introduce a workable workaround to bypass this impediment to progress?

One Model ideal vs. Many Models – For a truly integrated project – the one comprehensive model project, shared by all parties, would seem to be ideal. File size can be dealt with quite readily – and interoperability is on its way. That said, must we resolve to live in a multiple model world?

Existing Buildings, BIM and LEED – What impact, if any, will the widespread reuse and restoration of our existing structures – and infrastructure – have on improving energy use and the environment? And what role will BIM and Integrated Design play in this purview? Will design professionals be the keepers of the data and metrics serving as evidence of BIM, IPD and LEED’s impact on owner’s next projects?

How and When Will Architects Get Along? With everyone, not least of which, each other. Architects need to relearn how to play well with others and together. Whether that means going back to what Louis Kahn called “Volume Zero” or kindergarten, relearning to share, communicate orally and verbally, accept some risk, trust and collaborate ought to be front and center concern and focus for every architect willing to enter this bright new world before us.

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Filed under collaboration, design professionals, education, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, modeling