Category Archives: Content Creation

The Case for CASE

In the Case Study interview I conducted with Kristine K. Fallon, FAIA of Kristine Fallon Associates in my book , BIM and Integrated Design, I asked her:

In the AEC Survival Guide, you wrote that there are three classes of barriers that inhibit the adoption of new technology: technological barriers, organizational barriers, and lack of understanding. Would you say that these are the same barriers to the widespread adoption of BIM and the collaborative work process enabled by it?

Kristine Fallon: These are definitely the same barriers. They’re almost exactly the same as the research I did for the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2007 on the subject of information exchange in the AEC industry. Those were (1) commercial issues (the business and organizational barriers), (2) expectations and change management (the sociological elements), and (3) emerging technology and inadequate technology infrastructure (the technological elements).

Have you found that there’s a hierarchy to these elements?

KF: There’s quite a bit of sociology there, but I really think it’s the lack of understanding. With a computable description of a building we’re dealing with things in very different terms. This is a schema—a framework—that’s totally unfamiliar and people are not taking to it or are not mastering or understanding it. This is what I am seeing even with people who are doing a lot of work on this. I see huge gaps in comprehension of how this actually works under the hood and what’s necessary to make it work well. To make this work you have to get two domains to work hand in glove: people who know how to build a computable description of a building, how to code that up and map it; and the folks who understand how the construction industry operates. The people who get the technology don’t necessarily get the subtleties of those relationships and the fact that you can’t just redefine them on the fly. The folks who are clear on the (construction) responsibilities don’t have a clue and don’t want to know what needs to be done to successfully define the technical aspects.

What would you say is the best method for someone unfamiliar with the technology to learn BIM?

KF: BIM is easy to use. It’s much easier than CAD. It’s pretty complicated under the hood but architects and engineers no longer feel like they need to understand what’s under the hood. I feel that’s a mistake—they do. The firms that are doing well with the technology—it’s because they understand what’s under the hood and they tweak it.

Making the case for innovators of BIM

Kristine of course does all of this and does it remarkably well.

But in making a case for who is a leading innovator of BIM, it would not be an individual but a team.

This would be in keeping with the collaborative nature of BIM, when used to its best and highest use.

The leading innovator of BIM would have to be innovative, not afraid to look under the hood.

Here’s the case for CASE:

To Kristine Fallon’s specs:

CASE understands how BIM actually works under the hood and what’s necessary to make it work well.

CASE has people who know how to build a computable description of a building, how to code that up and map it and folks who understand how the construction industry operates.

CASE gets the technology and the subtleties of these relationships.

CASE is clear on construction responsibilities and wants to know what needs to be done to successfully define the technical aspects of the projects they work on.

Partners David Fano, Federico Negro and Steve Sanderson previously worked at SHoP Architects and established CASE Design in 2008.

Joining them as partner is the formidable Ruben Suare, formerly of 3form.

And with Don Rudder as CTO – which, like Don Draper – makes this already stellar show unstoppable, unbeatable.

Despite their myriad backgrounds, they’re through and through New York, NYers, East Coasters and Ivy Leaguers.

Managing technologies and business practices

Their Twitter profile reads:

CASE is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) and integrated practice consultancy based in New York City

CASE is “a Building Information Modeling and integrated practice consultancy based in New York City” the way that the Yankees are “a ballclub based in New York City.”

Doesn’t say the half of it.

And misses the essence – their real value – altogether.

CASE does so many things so well that it is sometimes hard to tell what exactly they do.

But CASE does something critically necessary in our current working environment:

They help building design professionals – as well as contractors and owners – identify, implement and manage

  • technologies and
  • business practices

that enable more effective

  • coordination,
  • communication and
  • collaboration.

BIM and Integrated Design, this blog and my book, share a basic belief with CASE that BIM is not “a single model or software, it is the process.”

BIM is a process of managing geometric elements and the associated data in order to accomplish specific tasks.

Here are just some of the tasks CASE undertakes on any given weekday (or often, weekend)

CASE innovates – comes up with new software, systems, processes, tools, services, sites – almost daily. Here are just a few:

DesignByMany is a sponsored challenge-based design technology community.

 (Or an addictive, crowdsourced design site depending on whether you won an HP Designjet T790 24” PostScript ePrinter or not.)

WHObyYOU is the best way to find service professionals from your network.

Sfter provides content on your terms.

These are just 3 of (nobody knows how many exactly) innovations produced by CASE.

Then there’s their influential blog DesignReform

DesignReform is a digital design publication created & maintained by CASE exploring parametric design through 3ds Max, Revit, Rhino and more.

They recently relaunched the site with a whole new look and feel consistent with their brand.

Read about all things BIM and BIM workflow.

But truthfully, most go to DesignReform for the authoritative yet scrappy and free tutorials.

No innovation stagnation with CASE

As David Brooks in the New York Times writes,

“The roots of great innovation are never just in the technology itself. They are always in the wider historical context. They require new ways of seeing.”

 In making the case for CASE, it is easy to see that they do this. And do it well.

 One can only hope that their serial innovations continue to keep people – the end user, human needs and interface – top of mind, front and center.

Do you  agree? Who would you propose making a case for? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under analysis, BIM, BIM expert, BIM instructor, BIM trainer, collaboration, Content Creation, modeling, workflow

10 Changes in Project Management due to BIM

I just returned from the excellent, inaugural two day Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction sponsored by Northwestern University’s Master of Project Management Program.

The 3 biggest differences between this Symposium and July’s BIMForum 2011 Chicago and June’s 2011 Revit Technology Conference?

The pace: Each speaker was given 30 minutes to present and field questions, which kept the topics and delivery sharp and on-target.

The mix: The attendees included Owners, Researchers, Academics, Practitioners, Developers, Vendors, IT Professionals and Students from Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Facilities Management.

The cost: The event is very affordable at just $200 for full registration and $25 for students.

Be sure to mark your August 2012 calendars for what will surely be an annual event.

If you would like to speak at – or co-sponsor – the Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction 2012 please contact Professor Raymond J. Krizek jrkrizek@northwestern.edu

Contractors kicked-off the first day of the conference, Thursday, August 18, 2011 with a series of talks focusing on Building Information Modeling.
1:00-1:30pm Kevin Bredeson – Pepper Construction and John Jurewicz – Lend Lease/MPM Faculty
1:30-2:00pm Kevin Labreque – Limbach

Kevin Labreque’s talk on eliminating waste in BIM deployment included this gem (from Dennis Sowards’ Lean Construction Practices presentation): the “8 Basic Types of Waste to Attack”

8 Types of Waste (Muda) to Attack

  • Defects in products: Rework, Field orders & Punch Lists
  • Overproduction: Fabricating material or ordering it too soon, JIC thinking
  • Inventory: Material stored at site or yard, work in process, unused tools & parts, forms and stashes
  • Unnecessary processing: Double & triple estimates from suppliers, redundant or unnecessary reporting, multi signatures on forms, material requisitions or time sheets, any non-value added steps
  • Unnecessary movement of people: Treasure hunts, looking for files, poor layout of work area (ergonomics)
  • Transport of goods: moving material, tools or parts, handing off work between crews
  • Waiting: Crews waiting for equipment, plans, RFI’s, field orders, or material, payroll waiting for time sheets, equipment waiting to fabricate material. Plus an eighth:
  • Unused employee creativity

Kevin nailed it when he said: “Technology is great – but behind these tools is a person and therefore, the integration of all these people.” Amen.
2:00-2:30pm Sandy Damasco – Lend Lease

Sandy stated emphatically: “The biggest issue isn’t the technology – it’s the adoption (of it.)”
3:00-3:30pm Stacy Scopano – Trimble

Stacy’s talk was remarkably informative, entertaining and poignant – all in one.

He acknowledged that other industries serve as a metaphor for our own and proceeded to use the example of Pac Man (us in 1980) and Gears of War III (kids today;) single-player vs. collaborative gaming; digital immigrants vs. digital natives.

Keep your eye out for Stacy Scopano and the work he’s doing at Trimble. One of our industry’s bright lights.
3:30-4:00pm Dan Klancnik – Walsh Construction
4:00-4:30pm Fred Cardenas – Meridian Systems
4:30-5:00pm Neil Parker – EcoDomus Inc.
5:00-7:00pm Reception

8:00-8:30am John Moebes – Crate & Barrel

As Director of Construction for Crate & Barrel, John Moebes kicked-off the Friday, August 19, 2011 talks focusing on Technology Management.

Moebes travels extensively presenting C&B’s dedication to and involvement with BIM, IPD, Design-Build, prefabrication and sustainability on their museum-like store projects.

I have seen him speak at least a dozen times and no two presentations have been quite the same. They have all been excellent and compelling arguments for the use of BIM and IPD to eliminate waste in design and construction.

Here are Moebes’ “10 Changes to Make to Management on Projects using BIM”

1. Establish what the BIM model will be used for

2. Have BIM standards at the very beginning

3. Push BIM and offer BIM

Crate & Barrel have become BIM evangelists. Your project team needs them too.

4. Get final BIM content as early as practical.

5. Use swim lanes and value-stream mapping

Crate & Barrel knows when to have their structural consultant and fabricator cross over the line to know where value can be gained. “The structural engineer needs to walk the fabricators line.” And vice versa.

6. Meet frequently but with results

Less “meetings” than (agile software development) huddles. “As the BIM gets larger you need to meet more frequently. Meet at least weekly or co-locate, if possible.”

7. Avoid re-modeling

“Know who models what. Assign  responsibility (to avoid redundancy.)”

8. Use a model umpire

9. Traditional 2D documents are very bad BIM

10. Get the BIM to the field and the field into the BIM


9:00-9:30am Jordan Brandt – Horizontal Systems

“For every BIM content creator there are 10-20 people who need that information.”

“It should be called conflict resolution, not clash detection.”
10:00-10:30am Andy Verone – Oracle
10:30-11:00am Steve Thomas – Lend Lease
11:00-12:00pm Paul M. Teicholz, research professor emeritus at Stanford University, co-founder of CIFE and co-author of the BIM
Handbook  (Wiley, 2011) has made revolutionary contributions to the construction industry through the use of information technology.

He and Atul Khanzode – DPR Construction – presented a case study on BIM and Lean in Construction via video conferencing.
1:00-4:00pm Healthcare Round Table

Be sure to visit the 2011 Symposium site for information on accessing all of the excellent presentations

1 Comment

Filed under BIM, BIM conference, Content Creation, education, IPD, modeling

When is BIM TMI? or Death by DataPoint

No one goes into a career in architecture because they love to crunch numbers or deliver hard data.

But once initiated into the tribe, it has increasingly become a reason for many to stay.

This is where we find ourselves today: instead of surviving on our wits – we’re surviving on analytics.

Practicing an art and a science, architects naturally run both ends of the spectrum. Some consider themselves artists first and foremost, unconcerned whether their designs ever see daylight. These paper architects, updated for the conceptual age as digital architects, perform primarily in pixels.

And give architects their not always positive reputation as artists.

At the other extreme are architects for whom it is all about the hard evidence.

For them a day at work is more CSI: Crime Scene Investigation than CSI: Construction Specifications Institute.

Feeding on constraints and ever-changing regulations, design for them is a matter of looking-up and plugging-in information that’s required and, if necessary, trimming off the excess – literally in the trim command, trim tool or by way of value engineering.

So when BIM came along, these hardscrabble architects pounced on it. They love the plug-‘n-play apparatus. They devour the dialog boxes and cannot feed enough information into them.

Rather than being exhausted by the umpteenth request to provide information they’re energized by it. As though to say, hit me with another question.

It’s not that BIM has done away with RFIs; they’re now embedded in the program.

These are the people who grew up watching game shows and love to answer trivia.

I’ll take Creating New Types and Templates for $1000 and Instance Properties for $1500.

The reality is that we need both types of architects. I have argued here that in the best of worlds the two would reside in the same person. Others have argued elsewhere that it’s good for project teams and organizations to have both types of people, to provide flexibility and agility, and to serve as a checks and balances function to assure the work stays in line.

But how much information is too much?

Could there be a fear of too much information (TMI) – too much I in BIM?

For that is the crux – to know how much information is needed and when it is needed.

And while this has been addressed, particularly in some of the better contracts, it’s a mindset and skillset that needs to be developed that we’re talking about here.

It’s like when a sales rep calls on you at an inopportune time – say on your way into a design presentation and you unadvisedly or unwittingly took the call. It’s not bad information that they want to impart – it’s just not the right time for it. A week later that same information may come through for you and help you get your design approved. Just not now.

This ability – to gauge how much information is needed and when – is not a new skill but it’s just never been more important than it is now for individuals, teams and firms to acquire.

It’s not only a matter of knowing where to hit the hammer, it’s a matter of recognizing and acknowledging the context so you can nail the the question: of the project phase, who will use the information, what they will use it for and when they will need it.

And this ability is age-related: it is easier for senior team members than still emerging talent to see the bigger picture.

Malcolm Gladwell in Blink called this ability to see information in its wider context: coup d’oeil or court sense or “giss,” the power of the glance, the ability to immediately make sense of situations.

Information Intelligence (II)

Call it Information Intelligence (II) the uncanny ability to gauge when, how and to whom to apportion information.

Developing this ability in your staff – and hiring for Information Intelligence or II skillset – will save more time, fee and headaches than any other single move you could make right now.

It takes an understanding of the technology, as well as how buildings come together.

But the higher science of this knack is a people or social skill: understanding how people receive information, how much of it they can consume at one time, what the best format for the information is so that it finds its highest and best use.

We have all had the opportunity to work with people who have the II gene. They possess the uncanny ability to gauge and deliver just the right information, at the right time, to the right person, in the right way.

When LOD becomes LOL

I am not asking here whether you can get to level of detail (LOD) 300 in Revit or ArchiCAD without working in 2D or whether these tools are ready to take-on LOD 400 for fabrication (they’re not.)

While important to know, what we’re discussing here is a higher order matter.

In an interview for my book, BIM + Integrated Design: Strategies for Practice, a BIM manager and project architect described the process thus:

The process should be like an onion where you’re building an onion backwards. You’re putting on the overall scope and slowly putting in each layer inside until you get all the way down. It’s very difficult to do that in BIM because the first time you put in a wall it asks you how thick is your drywall?

Think Lean

What’s the least amount of information that is needed at this moment to get the design intent across?

What’s the role of “hard facts” and just how hard are they?

Owners see data this way: the facts, pure and simple.

Constructors and design professionals know better, because they know more.

This is where things get more complex and uncertain.

Contractors put their own spin on the data when they indicate other contributing factors to consider – adjacencies, impacts to schedule, availability of labor, codes, etc. They see the data within a larger context.

Architects are wont to bring up the sociological impacts, the social impacts, psychological impacts and not mention the equally important aesthetic impacts of the decision-by-data point.

Death by Data Point

Statistics are definitely in. Evidence the evidence-based everything.

The New Yorker’s June 7 2010 issue lists the top jobs for the coming decade. Most involve information, metrics, data analytics or statistics.

But last time I looked architecture remains an art and a science.

And while it is foolhardy to justify subjective, aesthetic predilections by any other means than by invoking hard data – it will make you this much, it will improve quality, it will get the project done on time – it does nothing to stop an underlying and critically human need for subjective, aesthetic predilections.

Still, there’s a point when TM is definitely TM.

Just as “Death by PowerPoint” is a criticism of slide-based presentations referring to a state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload during PowerPoint presentations, Death by DataPoint is the state we feel as design professionals when relegated to feed the beast by plugging-in infinite streams of information.

So let’s put an end to TMI and work towards just enough, just-in-time information.

Start with Seven Simple Questions

Before imparting our infinite wisdom, before sharing or over-sharing, start by asking these seven simple questions:

  • What do I need to know?
  • How can I get this information?
  • How reliable is it?
  • What do they need to know?
  • When do they need to know it?
  • Can I help them get this information?
  • How can I best communicate this?

By doing so we’ll do everyone, including ourselves, a favor.

11 Comments

Filed under BIM employment, Content Creation, design professionals

An Early Holiday for 16 Fortunate Design Professionals

In need of some good news? Or better yet, a job? As reported today in the New York Times, the nation’s employers not only have stopped eliminating large numbers of jobs, but appear to be on the verge of rebuilding the American work force, devastated by the recession. Additionally, there’s increasing evidence that the jobless rate may have already reached its peak.

So what does this mean for architects?

The good news is that the job increase appears to be no less true for the architecture profession, in fact for all design professionals and others in the construction industry.

At long last, there are architecture jobs to fill – and a lot of them at that. And in most cases one doesn’t have to move to the other side of the earth to fill them.

In what can only be seen as a sign of optimism, in the past month there are more BIM-related job postings nationwide than at any time since the start of the recession. Due to the increase of firms adopting and implementing BIM work processes, it looks like there’s going to be an early holiday for at least some design professionals and others in the construction industry.

This news will inevitably serve as a win-win for those who took the time during the first years of the recession to invest in training, had opportunities to either train others in BIM and related applications and plug-ins, were fortunate enough to have worked on BIM projects, or otherwise have concentrated their efforts on helping to facilitate the adoption and implementation of the BIM process for firms just starting out in the new technology.

Anecdotally, if the recent uptick in the number of inquiries by the staffing and recruiting industry for this one architect is any indication…things are beginning to look up.

In an admittedly un-scientific sampling of various LinkedIn groups’ postings, the following BIM-related jobs are either currently available – or were available in the month of December 2009:

Looking for a REVIT MEP expert (chul_ulyana@yahoo.com)

Wanted – Revit and / or AutoCAD MEP 2010 Instructors

Posted by Rick Feineis

Perm Job Opening in NYC – In-House Revit Trainer/Architect

Posted by David McFadden

Revit Electrical Drafting position located in the Bay Area
Posted by Anthony Selden

Looking for BIM content creation experts

Posted by Marc Goldman

Architect (Revit Experience Essential)

Posted by Matthew Upton

Architectural CAD Director Revit and AutoCad
Posted by Rachael Pierri

BIM Specialist-Northeast Wisconsin

Posted by Tim Eichstaedt

Architectural CAD Support Specialist REVIT and AutoCAD
www.blackshire.com. 535.blackshire@hiredesk.net

BIM Director- SoCal

Posted by Mark Horridge

Senior Structural Revit Design Drafter

David Turnbull on + 61 2 93508301 or dturnbull@constructive.net.au
Postedby David Turnbull

Project Manager, NY Metro Area

973-298-6117.
Posted by Robert Bazewicz

3D Visualization Engineer

Posted by Christian Greuel 

Sr. Project Manager/Energy– Chicago $140K-$180K
Sr. Construction Manager Major Projects– Chicago $150K-!80K

Posted by Ron Schroeder

MEP Estimator for large General Contractor in Los Angeles area

[Note: This post has been edited due to time-sensitive material.]

6 Comments

Filed under BIM, BIM Director, BIM drafting, BIM employment, BIM expert, BIM instructor, BIM jobs, BIM trainer, construction industry, Content Creation, design professionals, people