Category Archives: defining BIM

The Poughkeepsie Principles

pkpsWe are in a race now to produce better and better information, instead of better and better buildings. – Paul Fletcher, RIBA architect

There is a school of thought that contends that BIM is not an authoring tool or software platform or an industry standard, but an approach to creating and managing information.

This way of thinking has blossomed in recent years – from an emerging movement to accepted wisdom – in the AECO industry.

Not that architecture itself is getting the short shrift.

Despite the advent and subsequent diffusion of digital tools in the design process, some of which have a more intuitive design interface than others, we shouldn’t worry about losing our ability to design exceptional buildings anytime soon.

In fact, when it comes to architectural design, there is ample evidence that we are in the midst of a Renaissance (re-Renaissance? Re-naissance?)

Just scroll through archdaily or archinect or archidose or architizer or architonic or archello or abitare – or thumb through this – I think you’ll agree:

Architecture isn’t suffering.

This New Architecture is all about better buildings because we can produce better and better information.

Because we can use this information to convince clients to go along a path that they would otherwise – without the metrics, the benchmarking, the information and data – not take.

But before we can lead owners down this path, we ourselves have to make an important choice.

A Road Not Taken

Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, describes two paths: one well-trodden, the other less travelled.

You may remember this poem from school. The author takes the path less travelled – the one that “wanted wear” – and, for the author, that has made all the difference.

We, too, have the choice before us – to continue on the well-trodden path of practice –

Whether that means designing using our well-worn visualization tools, working in CAD, or delivering projects by design-bid-build –

Or going outside of our comfort zone, exploring a new way of working.

Our industry’s less travelled path.

Taking the less travelled path

A while back on a sojourn from NYC to Albany, due to inclement conditions I was forced to pull over on the side of the road.

Seeing that the rain wasn’t letting up any time soon, I made a mad dash to a lodge on the edge of the woods.

Inside, locals huddled over coffee weren’t in any hurry to head out. Nor was I.

Battened-down into a booth, I composed the following principles on a napkin.

Principles I swore to – and ascribe to – ever since that fateful day. I call these

The Poughkeepsie Principles

1. BIM is not an authoring tool or software platform or an industry standard, but an approach to creating and managing information.

2. BIM puts information in place to coordinate the digital process from design through operations and beyond.

3. That information comes from somewhere.

4. Digital processes in architecture not only enable, but also determine the way we design, construct, and work together – and relate with our tools.

5. Despite the near-constant temptation, don’t put your tools before people.

6. Everything points toward more expansive ways of digital production.

7. Digital processes alter how we work with one another for the good of all.

8. We collectively determine the meaning of the good of all.

9. Digital networks are there to improve communication and to assure that we communicate with one another. So communicate.

10. Those with digital capabilities work collectively, not autonomously, for the highest good.

11. We collectively determine the meaning of the highest good.

12. Those with digital capabilities will find themselves catalysts for a new organization and industry order.

13. Those with digital capabilities will not find themselves catalysts for a new world order.

14. Where you end up in that order will be determined by your capabilities and collaboration quotient (CQ).

15. Call it collaboration quotient, not CQ. Your colleagues will thank you.

16. Designers will continue to author the design of projects.

17. In the new digital workflow, everybody is a designer.

18. Semi-autonomous algorithmically driven design workflows deeply embedded in a collective digital communication infrastructure will continue to create alluring objects.

19. But designers will be needed to determine how these objects look, scale, function, shed water, stand up and meet code.

20. In other words, designers will still be needed to design.

21. The proliferation of advanced digital modeling tools has enabled designers to conceive and create designs that would be messier to do using Koh-I-Noor Rapidographs on mylar, Razor Points on napkins, 2/HB soft/hard black pencil in Moleskines, lead holders and electric erasers.

22. And drafting dots.

23. Digital modeling tools require less cleanup, therefore, save time.

24. There is a time and place to use Rapidographs on mylar, Razor Points on napkins, 2/HB soft/hard black pencils in Moleskines. This isn’t one of them.

25. Go ahead, experiment with algorithmic and simulation-driven design. Just remember your client and users are waiting.

26. They’re still waiting.

27. Computational design is considered to be a design tool, and also a series of instruments that can be applied in the creation of architecture.

28. The previous principle is both redundant and superfluous. It is redundantly superfluous.

29. Computational design enables architects to incorporate performance analysis and knowledge about material, tectonics and the parameters of production machinery.

30. That’s just a fancy way of saying information, alluded to in the first principle.

31. Computational design really needs to say what it means.

32. In the new world of integration, architects become hybrid- – not hyphenated- – practitioners.

33. In other words, hybrid-practitioners, not hyphenatedpractitioners.

34. Architects can counter the traditional model that isolates architects from the economics and construction of buildings by positioning themselves towards the operational center of each project.

35. To do so, architects need to become developer-architects or contractor-architects, (see hyphenated-practitioners.)

36. Architects need to define what it means to be hybrid practitioners without the hyphen.

37. Use nothing out of the box. All software shall be customized. See principle #6.

38. Customizing computational tools can create more responsive designs.

39. Learn how to customize software for your specific needs and the needs of the project.

40. New digital tools are new and shall remain so until they aren’t.

41. Computation is indeed changing the way architects design, only nobody can say how.

42. There are digital design tools and there are results. Focus on the results, and the tools will take care of themselves.

(To be continued: the napkin on which I was writing was full.)

Published works that inspire – and uphold – these principles include, but are not limited to:

– Digital Workflows in Architecture, Scott Marble

– Digital Fabrication in Architecture, Nick Dunn

– Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought, Xavier De Kestelier, Brady Peters 

– SHoP: Out of Practice, Shop Architects

– Inside Smartgeometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design, terri Peters, Brady Peters

– Material Strategies in Digital Fabrication, Christopher Beorkrem

– Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques, Lisa Iwamoto

– Material Computation: Higher Integration in Morphogenetic Design Architectural Design, Achim Menges

– Digital Manufacturing: In Design and Architecture, Asterios Agkathidis

– Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture, Branko Kolarevic  

– From Control to Design: Parametric/Algorithmic Architecture, Michael Meredith

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, construction industry, defining BIM, modeling, Uncategorized, workflow

Teaching Tyler Durden to Revit


My iPhone nearly vibrated off the nightstand.

“Mr. Deutsch?’”

Yes?

“I represent a client who is interested in rivet training.”

Revit…

“Is this something you do?”

I explained that I specialize in BIM consulting and what the difference was.

“So you can do this. You wrote the book on BIM, right?”

Thank you but actually there are several excellent…

“Will you come out to California and teach my client rivet?”

When are they looking to start?

Later that week, I found myself driving north from LA along the coast, address in hand. The house was smaller than I remembered from the spread in Architectural Digest.

Miss Jolie? (I almost said Mrs. Smith!)

“Please, come in – excuse the mess, we’re renting – Ellen’s got our old place – while we wait for our new house to be completed. Can I get you something to drink while I get Brad?”

Looking around, I expected to see Oscars or Golden Globes but the place was sparsely furnished, a few architecture photos and sketchbooks piled high on tables, sets of documents strewn across the floor. Not a computer in sight.

“My iMac’s in storage.”

At once both taller – and shorter – than I expected, we shake. He offers me a seat.

“Hey, thanks for coming on such short notice.”

Holding up one of the drawing sets, pointing out the initials “BP” in the title block, I ask: You do your own drafting?

“Always. You can always tell when a double does it. Right?”

We laugh. One drawing set in particular must have had 500 sheets. I try to lift it.

“You see Oceans Eleven?”

And 12 and 13…

“The Bellagio plans?”

Yeah?

“Who did you think drew them?”

Get off!

“Structural and MEP…even the security docs!”

Unreal…

“What they don’t know about me is that I do all my own CAD work. Its true!” He paused, suddenly looking grave. “And that’s the problem…”

Just as I thought: You’re designing your home and want to do it in…

“The house? We’ve actually got someone else on that.”

He cleared his throat, moving a couple inches closer on the divan. Speaking in a whisper:

“I used to be able to show up at a place, say Orleans, and be taken seriously. You know?”

I nodded.

“But now, all of a sudden, you’re not taken seriously unless you can show them that you can do it in BIM.”

I shake my head. Certainly they must make an exception…?

Looking down, shamefully: “I know!”

I hear you…

“So teach me, will you? Teach me Revit. Can you do that for me?”

With all due respect, you must have friends who could…

“Who? Clooney?! The old fart’s still stuck in CAD. Can’t seem to kick it.”

What I…

“And Damon? Jumped on Microstation and never looked back.”

…I think…

“Listen. PBS is thinking about not renewing my sustainability series unless I can show them I got my BIM chops.”

…you need…

“Obama returned my charitable contribution along with a note saying he couldn’t accept it seeing it was ‘CAD money.’”

…to do is…

“And, get this…”

…to learn how…

“They’re thinking of taking away my USGBC award unless I can provide analysis.”

…to put a building together.

Staring at me, incredulous. “What did you just say?”

BIM’s not like CAD. It’s not a drafting tool. Because you’re essentially building the building virtually in the computer before you build it out in the field, in order to work in BIM, you need to know how a building goes together.

“Crap.”

Later that day, on my way back to LAX, I realized what he was looking for was something I couldn’t help him with: “Hollywood BIM.”

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Filed under analysis, BIM, BIM drafting, BIM trainer, defining BIM

BIM and Integrated Design Top 10 Posts for 2011

2011 was an exciting year for BIM and Integrated Design.

For both my book and blog.

As well as for me, personally:

My book was published in September to great reader response and reviews

In 2011, I created the first-ever musical book trailer video for a BIM book, as well as:

  • Well-received speaking gigs on BIM, IPD, Thought Leadership, Lean Design and Construction at Berkeley, AIA HQ in Washington DC, Northwestern University, IIT and several others in Chicago
  • Not one but two BIM-related articles published in DesignIntelligence
  • Contributed to an article in Residential Architect magazine
  • Had a couple posts featured on Bob Borson’s blog, Life of an Architect
  • Co-founded an integrated AEC school in Chicago
  • Became a Top 10 AEC influencer on social media sites PeerIndex and Klout primarily through my involvement (and your support) on Twitter
  • Began writing a couple articles on BIM and IPD for AIA’s The Architects Handbook of Professional Practice 15th Edition to be released in 2013
  • Grew my consultancy, Deutsch Insights, that I co-founded 12 years ago by working with some of the best universities and BIM experts in the country

But none of this would have happened without you. Readers who continue to visit the blog and engage with its content.

For this and so much more, I thank you.

In case you didn’t catch all of these, here are the top 10 BIM and Integrated Design blog posts for 2011:

36 Arguments for the Existence of BIM

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/02/24/36-arguments-for-the-existence-of-bim/

Design and construction is made up of two kinds of people: 1. those who see BIM as an evolutionary tool and 2. those who see BIM as a revolutionary process. Or in more familiar terms there are BIM atheists and BIM apologists. Which are you?

How to Learn Revit in 1000 Difficult Lessons

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/03/01/how-to-learn-revit-in-1000-difficult-lessons/

There’s no getting around it – we each make learning difficult by not honoring the way we best learn.

For AEC Industry, Is Trust the Killer Mobile App?

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/06/21/for-aec-industry-is-trust-the-killer-mobile-app/

We’re all worried about how we’re going to build buildings when we ought to be focused on building trust.

First Fire, then the Wheel, and now BIM

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/05/16/first-fire-then-the-wheel-and-now-bim/

Owners didn’t ask for BIM. Nor for IPD. Never did. Not then and not now.

The Perpetual Improvement of Lean Design

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/01/05/the-perpetual-improvement-of-lean-design/

While much has been written about waste – resources, material, time, money – in construction, relatively little has been written about reducing waste in the design process. Here’s a start.

System Requirements for IPD to Flourish

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/03/09/system-requirements-for-ipd-to-flourish/

We all know with each release of software the computer system requirements increase. But how about for Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)?

BIM and Integrated Design: the College Curriculum

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/02/22/bim-and-integrated-design-the-college-course/

MoneyBIMball

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/10/02/moneybimball/

This movie raises two questions we need to answer: Is it time we honor our inner geek? Is it time we get creative with our data?

2011-12 BIM Conferences

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/08/12/2011-12-bim-conferences/

The announcement of the launch of BIM and Integrated Design: the college course gets me thinking about the role of BIM and IPD in academia.

Is BIM in 10 Words or Less Still BIM?

https://bimandintegrateddesign.com/2011/09/15/is-bim-in-10-words-or-less-still-bim/

When you pare Revit down, what’s lost in translation? Actually, very little.

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BIM and Integrated Design – The Week in Tweets

Again, here are the BIM and IPD-related Tweets that my followers on Twitter have shared with their followers (retweeted or RT in Twitter parlance.)

Take a look. Click on the links to find articles, websites and other resources.

If you are not a Tweeter, by browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it. And if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch

Enjoy!

@fedenegro @AddThis ‘BIM Implementation Guide’ is a great book – you can read my short review (and others) here http://amzn.to/m7M16o

 

Revit Roles: summary of the basic tasks in a #Revit environment from the perspective of a project manager http://bit.ly/l3OQ8P

 

Oldie but goodie. The Freshman: levels of #knowledge required of users to be successful making content for #Revithttp://bit.ly/jYZh8g#BIM

 

School’s out? New Course to Explore #BIM Contracts & Risk Allocation http://bit.ly/jM0GDs

 

BIM: Designing tomorrow http://bit.ly/mrTPLy#BIM

 

7 key ways BIM will affect you and your work: De-coding #BIMhttp://bit.ly/kZGOrA

 

Designing for Failure in the Cloud http://onforb.es/ix0QKI

 

Proof that #construction industry is reducing costs stemming from waste & adopting open-standard #BIMhttp://bit.ly/lAvueX #AEC #IPD

 

Building owners: Construction Owners Association of America addresses #BIM & #IPD from perspective of the owner http://www.coaa.org/ #AEC

 

He will be missed: Ralph Lerner, former Princeton #architecture school dean, dies at 61 http://bit.ly/m4DIrx #architects

 

Driving #Construction Project Success thru Neutral Trust Based #Collaborationhttp: //bit.ly/baJkzA & comments http://bit.ly/l1yhhg #BIM #IPD

 

22 people have “liked” my book ‘BIM and Integrated Design’ at http://amzn.to/kCKUuP & it doesn’t even come out for 3 months!

 

Interested in Making Your Company BIM-friendly? Check out AGC’s #BIM Education Program http://bit.ly/kyVQJ2 #AEC

 

Tech Trends: On-Site iPads Change the #AEC Game http://bit.ly/knm5Ym

 

Set them straight as soon as possible: Have the #BIM Truth Talk with Your Boss @Cadalyst_Maghttp://bit.ly/mlakae

 

Visit the Knowledge Lens: Northwestern U’s Center for Learning & Organizational Change, a community of practitioners http://bit.ly/bfXiPd

 

Improving Building Industry Results thru Integrated Project Delivery & Building Information Modeling http://bit.ly/mxOlcv #BIM #IPD #AEC

 

BIM Viewing Comes to the iPad – Portable #BIM now fully implemented http://bit.ly/lHZAEi #AEC #construction #architects #revit

 

@Opening_Design Have you seen this? via @fedenegro Basecamp for architects? http://ow.ly/52X0a #mergersandaquisitions #AEC

 

Top 10 List of “What BIM is NOT…” Vote today! via @caddguru http://bit.ly/ma7Jqt

 

Blog prediction: Autodesk will launch an integrated, multidisciplinary version of its #BIM solution: #Revit Integrated http://bit.ly/kugzGt

 

Webinar provides guidance to #construction counsel for evaluating whether & when to use AIA or ConsensusDOCs for #IPD http://bit.ly/mn7wLf

 

Integrated Project Delivery Invites Innovative Insurance Model http://bit.ly/lp0DIR > ‘invites’ but doesn’t innovate or solve #IPD

 

Polymath, Renaissance person, Multidisciplinarian (!) – Why we all must become one http://zd.net/kRoKem

 

Interview w Vinnie Mirchandani author of The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology #Innovations http://zd.net/91pytu

 

#Revit – Family Standards and Best Practices Version 2.0 (Kindle Edition) for creation of Revit family files http://amzn.to/kF0tZ4 #BIM

 

Check out the Northern California Virtual Design & Construction (NCVDC) website & blog – just launched http://ncvdc.org/ #BIM #IPD

 

Reserve yr spot! 5th Annual USC Symposium on Extreme #BIM: Parametrics & Customization. Friday, July 8 small f(r)ee http://bit.ly/lBCUsL

 

N Cal Virtual Design & Construction (NCVDC) meeting May 26, 2011 5:00 PM (PT) @perkinswill_SF http://bit.ly/lVqh0E #BIM #IPD #VDC #AEC

 

What do part-time & executive MBA programs have in common with Integrated Project Delivery? They’re both alternative delivery models! #IPD

 

Manhattan Real Estate Software did a nice write-up on my blog today (take that, Altos Research!) #BIM Grows Up http://bit.ly/kIPQDN

 

Fact: Half of all presentation proposals for CoreNet Fall 2011 Summit were on Building Information Modeling #BIMhttp://bit.ly/kIPQDN

 

FYI my rss feeds https://bimandintegrateddesign.com//rss.xml http://architects2zebras.com/rss.xml http://thedesignstrategist.com/rss.xml

 

To compete in a knowledge-based economy business leaders need to reinvent themselves as innovators in services http://bit.ly/ixxU24

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BIM and Integrated Design Quotes

Looking for a good quote to get you moving? In search of some instant inspiration? Sometimes words can provide this more readily than images.

During research for my book, BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice (Wiley, 2011) I came across some pretty inspiring people and kept a record of the things they had to say.

And while the best quotes remain in the book, some quotes didn’t make it into the final copyedited manuscript.

Not all of these mention BIM or Integrated Design directly, but nonetheless they’re here to help motivate you in your pursuits.

Hope you find these editor’s cuts as inspirational as I do.

Let me know if you have a favorite quote – even one of your own. Thanks!

Evolutions such as BIM have the potential to facilitate—or further complicate—integrated work.

Julie Gabrielli and Amy E. Gardner

If only one book were to be written about BIM, it might have “DON’T PANIC” printed in large uppercase letters on the front cover.

Pete Zyskowski

BIM still continues to be very much at the forefront of our professional consciousness. This is hardly surprising, since BIM has been universally acknowledged as a ‘disruptive technology’ for the AEC industry, much more than CAD or even computing ever was, and it is causing us all to rethink our processes and identities.

Lachmi Khemlani

A tree growing out of the ground is as wonderful today as it ever was. It does not need to adopt new and startling methods.

Robert Henri

All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use.

Jared Diamond

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Attributed to Mark Twain

Evolution of BIM implementation came in parallel with willingness to collaborate and share project information, the move toward integrated practice that is much talked about in the industry.

Phillip G. Bernstein

Vision without execution is a hallucination.

Thomas Edison

A good idea is about ten percent and implementation and hard work, and luck is 90 percent.  

Guy Kawasaki

It’s never too late to be who you might have been.

George Eliot

The biggest thing about BIM is that it’s moving us back to interdisciplinary work.[i]        

Kathleen Liston

 Most firms begin their exploration of BIM doing comfortable 3D visualization and move systematically through more complex uses; the most advanced users integrate their project approach using BIM throughout the supply chain. Almost by definition, more advanced usage – such as analysis and production – requires collaboration throughout more of the project team.[ii]

Phillip G. Bernstein

The future belongs to the integrators.

Ernest Boyer

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!

Peter Senge

If architects do not take the leadership role on integrated practice, they will cede this turf to another entity.[iii]

Barbara Golter Heller

Followers are more important to leaders than leaders are to followers.

Barbara Kellerman

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo

The most common criticism leveled at the process of architectural education is that it does not adequately prepare students to be fully participating members in architectural practice. Students invariably do not gather all the skills necessary to create a work of architecture independently and must, therefore, endure a lengthy term of apprenticeship.[iv]

Carlin MacDougall

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those that may do well under the new. (Changing the “order of things” is difficult because the people who are certain of what they will lose will oppose it. And the people who are uncertain of their gains won’t support it.)

Machiavelli

We can’t become what we need by remaining what we are.

Max Dupree

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite quote?


[i] Liston, Kathleen, AIA TAP BIM Awards Jury Comments, 2009

[ii] Bernstein, Phillip G., BIM Adoption: Finding Patterns for a New Paradigm, Design Intelligence, 2006

[iii] Heller, Barbara Golter, http://www.di.net/articles/archive/red_business_blue_business/,  Red Business, Blue Business, 2008

[iv] MacDougall, Carlin, A Marriage of Ideals and Technology, www.di.net, 2001

 

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36 Arguments for the Existence of BIM

After riffing in this blog for over 18 months on the subject of BIM and Integrated Design, and after conducting extensive research for my book by the same name, I’ve become convinced that the world of design and construction is made up of two kinds of people:

1. those who see BIM as an evolutionary tool and

2. those who see BIM as a revolutionary process.

Or in more familiar terms – despite this blog being vendor agnostic – there are

1. BIM atheists and

2. BIM apologists.

One doesn’t need to be a person of faith when confronted by the fact that their copy of Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 takes up 560MB of space in their hard drive.

And one doesn’t need to be an angel to long for the day when we’ll free ourselves by computing in the cloud.

The thing is, no one uses BIM.

Not really.

And no one learns BIM.

They learn, use and implement software.

I can see and touch Revit. I can only imagine, envision and sermonize about BIM.

I can laud the praises of BIM to high heaven.

But only ArchiCAD, Revit, Bentley and Vectorworks can deliver results.

So what then does BIM do?

Ask yourself this: If there was a BIM then why wouldn’t ArchiCAD – that has been around for decades – have been called a BIM program?

ArchiCAD was 3D and object-oriented and building-product modeling.

ArchiCAD 14 may be as close to heaven as some of us will ever get. But it was never BIM.

To look at how BIM is defined you wouldn’t necessarily think it exists.

BIM is 100% aspirational. Something that may happen, that we can wish will happen.

But isn’t happening now – not now, nor any time soon.

BIM is faith-based as much as it is virtually-based.

How can this be?

Here’s how:

  • More than half of what it says it does nobody is doing.
  • More than half of BIM’s benefits aren’t being recognized.
  • More than half of BIM’s promises, it doesn’t do yet.

If we were to base our beliefs on facts, on Evidence-based BIM, the evidence is scarce.

All rise and turn to page 12,236,489 of Wikipedia. Let’s read in unison:

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing building data during its lifecycle. BIM is a digital technology and a business process for life-cycle facility management, from concept thru disposal.”

Addressing the building’s lifecycle was deemed today in SMARTBIM and Reed Construction Data’s webcast Lessons in Integrating BIM “the Holy Grail.”

Unfounded and like the holy grail, unfound.

“BIM provides the potential for a virtual information model to be handed from Design Team (architects, consulting engineers, etc.) to Contractor and Subcontractors and then to the Owner, each adding their own additional discipline-specific knowledge and tracking of changes to the single model.”

The potential? BIM has…the capacity…the possibility. Even likely, but may not come to pass.

“As computers and software become more capable of handling more building information, this will become even more pronounced than it is in current design and construction projects.”

Not there yet.

“BIM goes far beyond switching to a new software. It requires changes to the definition of traditional architectural phases and more data sharing than most architects and engineers are used to.”

Still not there yet.

Interoperability of all and for all – through the creation of IFCs – is the goal.

You get the idea…

BuildingSMART describes the BIM model as a “single operating environment.”

As appealing as that would be, very few – if anyone – today would consider working off of a single model a good idea.

Six years ago Jim Bendrick of Webcor Builders wrote: “What building information models allow us to do that we couldn’t do effectively before is what Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering (CIFE) calls Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). In a nutshell, this is the use of models coupled with analysis and simulation tools to prototype the building on the computer—to simulate the building, its performance, and its construction before breaking ground.”

BIM for testing and building simulation is still a ways off.

My goal here isn’t to shake your faith in BIM, nor to confirm its existence, but to help make you a believer in the power of BIM.

Can BIM do all we say it can? Does BIM live up to its potential?

How long must we argue for BIM’s existence?

Revit and ArchiCAD exist. I can see them (and feel their presence) on my hard drive.

Whether or not BIM exists, in moments of transcendence, we who labor away at our BIM models all feel we are working at, for and toward something beyond ourselves.

And this ought to be enough.

At least for now.

BIM is our best hope.

BIM is our best chance.

BIM is the right way to design and construct buildings.

BIM is the best way for us to work together, compatibly, civilly, toward mutually shared outcomes.

I don’t know how it’s likely to go better.

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2011 BIM Resolutions

Don’t worry.

I’m not about to list two thousand and eleven separate BIM resolutions.

But I will share with you 11 really important questions that you ought to ask yourself as you enter the year ahead.

Start off by asking yourself:

What will you accomplish in the next year?

Will this be another year of the same ole, same ole?

Or will you attempt to accomplish something great?

Will you make it your goal to take BIM to the next level in 2011? If you are stuck in third gear of 3D BIM, do what is necessary to re-familiarize yourself with BIM scheduling. Move your game up a gear to 4D or 5D BIM.

Who will you teach BIM to this year? How well do you understand BIM? Really understand it? They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Do you understand BIM well-enough to teach it to someone else? To someone who is eager to learn? To an individual or a whole class?

What will you do in the next year to promote and help spread the word of BIM? Will you participate on online conversations or add your comments to LinkedIn discussions? Will you write an article for an online or print journal? Will you guest-post on a BIM blog? Or better yet, if you haven’t already done so, start one of your own? Will you be willing to give a presentation on the topic to your own firm? Already on board? Are you willing to take the show on the road and present on the topic at Autodesk University (AU) in 2011? AU call for proposals to be announced in March 2011. Look here for updates.

Here’s what I’ll commit to in 2011. On April 27-28 I will be giving a talk about what went into the making of my new book, BIM + Integrated Design: Strategies for Practice – at KA Connect 2011 – a knowledge and information management conference for the AEC industry where thought leaders from all over the world come together to share best practices, stories and ideas about how they organize information and manage knowledge in their firms. KA Connect 2011 will be held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA. And this should be just the first of several talks I give in 2011 on the subject of BIM.

Will you determine to work on improving your BIM weak spots or on substantially reinforcing your already considerable strengths? Most people resolve to improve their weaknesses, while experts advise that it is a far better use of your time, energy and resources to make your strong suits even stronger. Which will you commit to?

Will you make it your goal to always bring your BIM A-game to work? What does it mean to bring you’re A-game each and every day? To bring your A-game means that you need to bring your best attitude and best abilities to each an d every situation. Are you willing to give this a consistent go at it? 

Will you embrace change in 2011? Are you committed to exposing yourself to the latest technical and business information concerning BIM? And how it is used by both professionals and, through case studies, owners? A new, updated edition of The_BIM_Handbook comes out on April 19: will you make it your goal to get your hands on a copy? And once you do, to read it? Available for pre-order here.

Will this be the year you give away what you know? Are you hording information that would do others a world of good to be aware of and to know – if only you were willing to share what you know? You may not even recognize or appreciate that you have an unusual grasp of a certain topic or skill set. Transparency is the name of the game. Don’t go down with your knowledge intact. Spread the word, share what you know, and see how by doing so it all comes back to you – many times over.

Here’s how I’m giving  away what I know in 2011. Later this year – sometime in summer – John Wiley & Sons will publish my book, BIM + Integrated Design: Strategies for Practice, exploring the collaborative work process enabled by the new technology and resulting social impacts on individuals, organizations, the profession and industry. I pull out all the stops on this one, not holding anything back. And that goes for the many people I interviewed for the book, too. We’re giving it away – for a nominal price – so that others may benefit.

Will you define BIM for yourself once and for all? The other day I overheard a colleague explain to a client that “BIM is essentially AutoCAD on steroids.” It took a lot of self-control on my part to restrain myself from jumping in and fleshing-out his definition for the benefit of all involved. What would you do in this situation? How would you respond if asked to define BIM off the cuff?

What will BIM mean to you? Whatever BIM means to you now, will you commit to a clear definition for yourself in 2011? One that you are willing and able to convincingly communicate to others, and defend if necessary? Is BIM just a tool – a vehicle for getting you to meet deadlines and achieve your goals? Is BIM a process, impacting workflows, performing best when used collaboratively with others?

Some additional questions to consider as you kick-off another outstanding year working in BIM:

  • ·         What makes you interested in working in BIM? How has that changed from year to year?
  • ·         Why does it matter to you? What personal values of yours does working in BIM fulfill?
  • ·         What’s your long-term vision for how things will change as you – and others – continue to work in BIM?
  • ·         What is the first thing you are going to do to work toward your goals?
  • ·         What small daily changes are you going to make (think kaizen)?
  • ·         What strengths do you bring to working in BIM? Do you have a firm understanding of where you contribute the most? How have you communicated this to others you work with? How will you do so more effectively moving ahead? (image courtesy of larsonobrien)

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Filed under BIM, defining BIM, process, Uncategorized, workflow