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The Dual Disruption Brought About by BIM

CultureWe should all know by now that BIM is considered a disruptive technology.

Chuck Eastman, Paul Teicholz and their cohort said as much back in 2008.

But “disruptive” to whom, exactly?

The person or persons who work in BIM, of course.

But what about those who don’t work in BIM?

Who – whether by their choice or another’s – work alongside those who work in the technology, but don’t work in the technology themselves.

Their work lives have been disrupted in innumerable ways.

For BIM not only disrupts those who work in the technology, but also those who aren’t using BIM.

Why aren’t they working in BIM? They may not be asked to work

  • on BIM teams because they are perceived as being too senior, often equated with being too expensive.
  • with the authoring tools because their skillsets are needed elsewhere, outside of the BIM workflow.
  • in BIM because there’s a perception that older works are slower learners, and there isn’t time to train someone who needs to be performing ASAP.

BIM Outliers

Other times, where the opportunity is left to the employee, BIM outliers may perceive themselves as being too far along in their careers to be learning a new tool.

Or too near retirement to learn something new that will only be utilized for a few short years.

For whatever reason they aren’t working in BIM, they are nonetheless dually affected by its increasing use in the organization. They are

  1. perceived as working outside an innovative, growing and continuously developing process.
  2. increasingly perceived as belonging to a culture that no longer exists.

BIM outliers are working at a time when “the way we do things around here” is no longer “the way we do things around here.”

BIM outliers are disrupted because the shared meaning of their organization’s culture has gone the way of hand drafting and CAD.

In other words, the organization’s stories and rituals have changed.

To the extent that a firm’s culture is defined by the encouragement to innovate and take risks, BIM outliers may be perceived as working outside this firm value.

To the degree that the firm’s culture is organized around teams, the BIM outlier may be perceived as working independently, as an individual among teams.

BIM haves and BIM have-nots

It is possible for the BIM outlier to be perceived by others in the firm as representing the firm from their pre-BIM era.

To the extent that this conjures-up pictures of dinosaurs is something to seriously consider.

Your firm may not yet have a BIM culture, with BIM haves and BIM have-nots. But just as one day in the not too distant future, when BIM will be the new standard of care in the AEC industry, so too BIM will be the status quo within most organizations.

And whether through attrition or other means, BIM holdouts will be a faint memory. And the social glue holding your firm in place will be replaced by BIM, just as Horizontal Glue was replaced by BIM 360 Glue.

Your firm’s old culture – like the old guard – played an important role when new technologies and work processes were first introduced. They kept the place together in a time of rapid change.

But chances are, change in your organization is part of the scenery today – no longer requiring the former entrenched culture for stability during uncertain times.

The new culture that BIM brought about has its own (war) stories and rituals, and only those who work with the tools or in the process, can understand and help transmit your culture’s meaning.

Which is doubly disturbing to those who are on the inside while remaining on the outside. Because the stories that make up the culture of the firm will no longer be in a language understood by all.

Unless, of course, you and your coworkers are as skilled at telling stories – in a language that can be understood by all – as you are as working with the technology.

– Randy Deutsch AIA, LEED-AP

In July 2013, I will be leading a 2-day seminar. To learn more, please click the link below:

BIM: Lessons in Leadership

Harvard GSD Executive Education seminar

July 8, 2013 – 9:00am – July 9, 2013 – 5:00pm

Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Earn 14 AIA/CES

http://execed.gsd.harvard.edu/programs/bim-lessons-leadership

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7 Reasons to Attend the Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction

Following the overwhelming success and enthusiastic feedback from the 150 plus participants and dozen vendors in the 2011 event, the 2012 symposium will feature even more timely subjects in the industry and provide more opportunities for networking, knowledge-building, and exposure to cutting edge developments.

7 Great Reasons to Attend this Year’s Symposium:

Reason 1: The real advantage in attending an event like this is to enhance your understanding of the current and future role of technology in design, construction, and facilities management from industry experts and those working at the cutting edge of their fields.

Reason 2: Included in the program will be such topics as augmented reality, legal insights on Integrated Project Delivery, GSA’s approach to facility management and technology usage in heavy construction. The assembly of world-class speakers promises to challenge your imagination.  Check out the schedule and presentation abstracts.

Reason 3: AIA continuing education credits will be available. Attend all three days and earn up to a total of 16 CEUs.

Reason 4: Professional discount extended for those who register by Friday, July 20. Architecture, engineering, construction, and facilities management students attend for just $25! Find complete registration fees here

Reason 5: The primary focus of this year’s Symposium is to improve project efficiency by reducing costs, accelerating delivery, improving quality, minimizing risks, and leveraging resources. In the spirit of the event, the presentations will be quick, short, and more concentrated with plenty of time for interactive Q/A.

Reason 6: Location. Chicago, on Northwestern University’s downtown campus on Lake Michigan, near Michigan Avenue. Here’s a map and list of nearby hotels.

Reason 7: All conferences boast the chance to rub shoulders with colleagues in an informal setting. The Symposium affords attendees the rare opportunity to network with researchers, academics, practitioners, software and building developers, vendors, IT professionals and university students working in architecture, engineering, construction, and facilities management – as well as leaders in the industry.

Sponsored by the Northwestern University Master of Project Management Program http://www.mpm.northwestern.edu/, and the newly created Executive Management for Design and Construction program, the 2012 Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction will assemble design and construction researchers, academics, and practitioners to discuss the present state-of–the-art and the prospects for future advancements in this field.

Check out the Symposium brochure.

Detailed information about the Symposium is at www.techforconstruction.com or inquiries can be sent to me, Randy Deutsch, at randydeutsch@att.net.

One last thing: Northwestern University’s School of Engineering would greatly appreciate your mentioning this content-laden Symposium to your colleagues.

Thanks!

The facts: Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction

August 15-17, 2012

Northwestern University, School of Law

Thorne Auditorium

375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago

www.techforconstruction.com

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me, Randy Deutsch, via email randydeutsch@att.net

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The State of IPD and BIM: an Owner’s Perspective

Since owners benefit as much – if not more – than contractors and architects from use of the new digital technology tools and collaborative work processes now used on many building projects, why is it that we so seldom hear about building information modeling (BIM) and integrated project delivery (IPD) from the owner’s side?

To help rectify this situation, I decided to conduct an interview with Symphony Partners.

Clay Goser and Dawn Naney served as owners at BJC HealthCare prior to starting Symphony LLC and are extremely knowledgeable about how these new tools and processes serve the entire project team.

Saying you can do IPD without regard for a contract is a recipe for disaster: True or False?

Clay: False. It’s not about a contract –

Dawn: –  it’s about getting people to behave differently.

Clay: A contract is a tool that has two purposes – to set business terms and conditions and to allow the team  to have the critical conversations around expectations.  The reason IFOA agreements often work is that they are different enough that they introduce risk and firms want to know what that means for them.  The Integrated Form of Agreement (IFoA) begins to define how a group works as an organization.  What we don’t have most of the time is a conversation about what we’re going to do and how we are going to do it. The nature of IPD is getting people to come back together – collaborating to a greater extent. Collaboration is the behavior.

Dawn: The contract has a different purpose. The purpose of IPD is to identify and proactively manage risk and capitalize on opportunity within the delivery process.  The purpose of the contract is different. It asks: what are you going to do, how much are you going to get paid to do it and the process outputs required (i.e. status reports, schedules, RFI turn around times etc.) and does not address how are you are going to operate as a team and the procedures to implement the project.   Defining what you are going to build and HOW you are going to build it is critical to successful integration outside of the IFoA contract.  This is the behavior change.

What do you see as the current state of IPD?

Clay: IPD is firmly in Gartner’s Hype Cycle©  as we try to define what IPD will do for us. We will head for the Trough of  Disillusionment© -[ meaning when inflated expectations are not met, there will be a threat of abandonment. All new technologies and ideas go through this cycle.  Some survive, some don’t and that is dependent upon how long and how deep the trough lasts.   The risk we introduce is that as firms start to market IPD and implement without completely understanding why it works those waiting for IPD to become mainstream before introducing this new delivery method to their organizations, will abandon the concept as unpredictable and risky and start to question the value of integration.

Dawn: One challenge we’re having as an industry is distinguishing what is – and is not – an IPD project. We need to change the question.

Whether an IPD project is pure or IPD-ish is not the right question?

Dawn: Right.  There isn’t a standard checklist of “do this” that makes a team “IPD”.

Clay: Here’s an example: some teams feel that you have to  do BIM throughout the entire project to be IPD.   However, a team, for example, that adopts BIM to answer key critical questions that the team deems important to their success without creating waste – such as using BIM to define how the exterior structure ties into an existing structure that’s ‘pure’ IPD or integration at it’s best.   I have seen many design teams implement 100% BIM only to have the trade contractors turn around and dismiss the model because the model isn’t useful to fabricate from. True IPD would define how much BIM is needed from the design team to facilitate understanding and fabrication by the trades, stop there and let the person best equipped to carry it forward, carry it forward.   It’s based on the project, time and circumstance.

What do you see as the impact of the economy on IPD?

Dawn: When an owner goes for the lowest bid, they often just get what they pay for not what they need, which results in change.   We incent bad behavior when we, as Owners, award solely on lowest bid…i.e. we incent firms to hide the risk and submit change orders to course correct the scope instead of buying intelligent performance to avoid the risks and do it right the first time and eliminating the waste. Owners are under the impression that we’re in a buyer’s market, so they’re holding back from pursuing IPD. The market needs to look for better, smarter ways to be profitable and sustainable in a down economy and Owners needs to look for better, smarter ways to conserve precious capital.   Buying through low bid introduces risk to both parties.

Clay: As a percentage, all construction projects vs. IPD projects, the number of IPD projects is very small. There are a lot of conversations about how prevalent IPD is now. The industry is ramping up. Every IPD project is a petri dish from which we continue to learn. We’re at a very early adoption stage of IPD.

The economy is driving us to work and behave differently: smarter.

When people say “once the economy comes back we’ll consider change:” IPD won’t go gangbusters. When firms are busy they don’t have time to think about how to work better, more effectively: they are worried about how to get the work done.  People should be thinking about how to work more effectively NOW, so that they can differentiate themselves when the economy gains momentum.

What has been the impact of IPD case studies – those published by the AIA and University of  Minnesota? Is it your impression that owners are reading them?

Clay: Owners are interested in the IPD case studies, especially owners of robust and innovative organizations dedicated to continuous learning. Owners focused on keeping their head above water or adverse to risk aren’t as interested in the IPD case studies.

Owner-involvement in IPD is critical to a project’s success: Is owner-led IPD the only way to go?

Clay: Owners impact vendors – architects, engineers and contractors – by incentivizing and setting specifications, and not always in a good way. As for IPD, owners don’t always understand what IPD means.  Do Design-Bid-Build jobs go poorly? Yes. Do Design-Bid-Build jobs go well? Yes. What’s the difference? The team – how they cooperate, how they behave.

The question needs to be: How do we produce good collaboration and reproduce it?

Dawn: Owners must ask and seek out why IPD worked when it does work for them. Most of the time, it’s because the team wanted it to work well. The relationships were better and they problem solved in the best interest of the project, not themselves. Team formation is critical to successful integration.  Each new project is a melting-pot of different cultures melding together.    When you bring the right people to the table at the right time to best inform project decisions this integration occurs earlier in the process allowing for the critical forming, norming, storming and performing of the team to occur prior to construction when the cost of change escalates exponentially. IPD allows for time at the beginning for the team to create a team culture and define how they are going to work together.

Clay: When you show up early in the design process, IPD allows you to have a conversation about how you’re going to work vs. just show-up and perform.  Many firms are marketing IPD to Owners promoting the need for an IFoA agreement.  Many Owners don’t know what’s in the contract. What it involves or how it effects all of the team members as a group.

Architects, engineers and contractors say we have to do something different from Design-Bid-Build to remain profitable. Owners say: why don’t architects, engineers and contractors drive IPD?

Keep in mind, IPD after all, when it was first created, was used by the team without knowledge by the Owner!

Dawn:  Owners are asking: If IPD is so great, why haven’t you been doing it for 100 years?  Why do I need to incentivize you to “collaborate” by removing risk?

Owners are used to accepting the lowest bid. They have a hard time swallowing the IPD pill because it isn’t quantifiable or defendable to their Boards and Investors.

We need to educate Owners that IPD allows you to solve problems, avoiding risk and uncovering opportunities we didn’t know existed.   A lot of the time teams don’t know what the real problems are so they solve symptoms. What they need to do – and this comes from Lean – is identify the root problem and solve it.  We need to understand the cause and effect relationships of our behavior.

Clay:  An owner empowers an IPD team but doesn’t need to demand it.

Dawn: IPD is a smart way to work. If you don’t have the owner driving IPD, integrate anyway and reap the benefits as a best business practice.   It makes the team members more profitable, reduces risk and informs an improvement strategy that is sustainable and lucrative for future business. 

Can you do IPD without BIM?

Clay: You can’t divorce Lean from BIM from IPD. Lean is a not a methodology, but a philosophy.  BIM is a tool.   You don’t have to do BIM to be IPD. IPD is a means to an end. Lean is the end. BIM is a way to get there.   You can do IPD without BIM and have great results. BIM is a tool that helps facilitate communication – understanding what it is you are trying to achieve.

Likewise, you can use BIM without IPD but the benefits may be marginalized. BIM and IPD coupled together are stronger.

Rate obstacles in terms of most prevalent to least: owner involvement (thru ambivalence, skepticism, indifference); insurance issues; legal issues; blurring of roles; who owns the BIM; collaboration; need for education/processes; inflexible behavior; MEP/engineers; resistance to change.

Clay: The need for education and a consistent definition of what IPD really means, not how but what you are trying to accomplish is very important. 

Dawn: Most often, people want to jump into IPD and make it a revolution – not an evolution. Most owners don’t have the flexibility to change to IPD right away. IPD requires a change in process and considerable amount of change adoption.

People don’t resist change – they resist risk.  Remove the risk, remove the resistance.

Clay:  The collaborative nature of a nimble-thinking team approaches obstacles as problems to be solved.

Integration is the “leaning” of the entire delivery process wherever people and process touch each other.

We need to reframe “obstacles” as just “problems to be solved.”

Clay Goser has been responsible for projects in nine hospitals and over a half billion in medical construction in and around the metropolitan St Louis area. He left BJC Healthcare to start Symphony LLC, a company consulting in strategic improvement in portfolio, program and project management. Read more about Clay here.

Dawn Naney has over 15 years of experience establishing and managing teams responsible for the successful planning and execution of portfolios, programs and projects in a variety of fields including design/construction, information technology, clinical interventions and process improvement, primarily in the healthcare industry. Prior to serving as consultant at Symphony LLC, Dawn served as an owner in the area of Portfolio/Program/Project Management for the Center for Clinical Excellence. Read more about Dawn here.

Symphony LLC is a consulting firm providing collaborative leadership, education and management of capital portfolios, programs and projects primarily for the design and construction industry. Symphony balances tradition and innovation to lead high performance teams focused on delivering the best value for a fair price. Best value for capital expended is derived from improvements resulting in better quality and performance, reduced cost and competitive differentiation for owners and service providers. Learn more about Symphony LLC here.

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The Architect (2012)

Speaking of Hollywood, last night I had the opportunity to see Oscar contender, “The Architect,” a film whose story begins in the late-CAD era.

“The Architect,” whether you consider it a screwball comedy, a sentimental melodrama or a spoof, is a 2D black-and-white film that has received a great deal of praise from critics.

The story is a simple and familiar one

 The story focuses on a declining male starchitect and a rising starletchitect, as CAD grows out of fashion and is replaced by BIM.

A valentine to early computer-aided drafting and design, “The Architect,” stars leading man Jean Dujardin as a CAD-using starchitect named George Valentin.

At the top of his profession, Valentin meets eager would-be architect, Peppy Miller.

She dreams of success in architecture, invests time in learning BIM, and as her demand rises in the industry, Valentin’s shine is eradicated.

Architect Valentin faces untold obstacles: the fickleness of the public’s changing taste, the adoption of disruptive new technologies, waning powers that come with age, competition from fellow industry professionals and unemployment, among others.

Faced with the economic insecurity of the Great Recession and technological change that threatens to make him obsolete, George is being crushed in a vise grip all too familiar to mid-career architects.

Refusing to adapt to the onset of BIM, he puts all his money into one last CAD production.

And pays for it.

George has owners in the palm of his hand, at least until BIM arrives

It turns out George isn’t well-suited for BIM, not least because of his mindset and attitude, dependence on 2D CAD and archaic drafting style.

But BIM is perfectly suited to vivacious ingénue Peppy Miller, who crosses paths with George, first as a fangirl, then as an intern in the office of his firm.

In 2009, just after the economy crashes, George’s studio stops making CAD documents.

The studio head announces the end of production of 2D CAD documents, but Valentin insists that BIM is just a fad.

It’s fitting that the next time he meets Peppy, on Rapidograph Studio’s main stairway, she’s on her way up and he’s on his way down.

When the studio head lays-off all his 2D CAD starchitects, George decides to open his own office where he could work in CAD.

His project is submitted on the same day as Miller’s new BIM project, and Valentin is ruined.

His wife kicks him out and he moves into an apartment with his valet, while Miller goes on to become a major 3D star.

“If that’s the future, you can have it!”

However reassuring excursions into bygone golden ages may be – whether drafting in pencil or CAD – they carry with them the potential for revisionism, soft-focus complacency and the refusal to embrace uncomfortable but necessary change.

This is why some critics are grumbling about “The Architect,” which has won a cache of critics’ awards and looks to be a contender for the Best Picture Oscar.

Whereas naysaying design professionals can appreciate the fond look back at the medium they adore with equal devotion, they inevitably see “The Architect” as an all too-comfortable 2D nostalgia trip that represents stasis rather than genuine innovation, provocation or artistic risk that working in 3D enables.

Those skeptics may be missing a modest but meaningful truth buried under “The Architect’s” surface and story, which is that George’s plight could easily be transposed into any modern-day profession or industry.

In one of “The Architect’s” most poignant scenes, George plays a character sinking in a cement pour, an aptly desperate metaphor at a time when so many architects feel they are in over their heads.

It’s a film that taps into our anxieties as we encounter seismic economic and technological transformations.

Having just witnessed his first BIM model, George says at one point:

“If that’s the future, you can have it!”

He could be speaking for an entire generation of architects who feel as if they’re in mortal danger of being left behind, forced into early retirement they can’t afford — literally or psychologically – or leaving the profession altogether.

At the risk of revealing a spoiler, it turns out all is not lost for George.

Disappointingly, it involves a work-around – when everyone recognizes the only way out is the way through.

“The Architect” may be drenched in the romance and visual values of CAD’s bygone era, but it’s a motion picture uncannily of its time.

(Apologies to critics of “The Artist,” which – like this post – is a shameless pastiche.)

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Q&A with Author of BIM and Integrated Design

A short interview has just been uploaded to my BIM book’s Amazon page and I’m reproducing it here for your convenience.

Responding to questions such as “Can you summarize your 270 page book in a sentence?” is a nerve-wracking but effective way to focus the mind – and to see if you can get at the heart of your massive undertaking in short order.

While short, I feel like this brief repartee captures the essence of what I was trying to achieve when first setting out to write BIM and Integrated Design.

Q: How would you summarize your book in a single sentence?

A: The focus throughout this book is on people and the strategies they use to manage and cope with the transition to the new digital technology and the collaborative work process it enables as they initially adopt and then take the technology and process to a higher plane.

Q: Why do we need a book like this now?

A: There’s a crisis not only in the economy but in the profession. Buildings are becoming more and more complex and the way we communicate knowledge to one another is changing. At the same time the construction world is going through enormous changes, so is our environment.

We’ll only be able to tackle today’s complex problems through collaboration, and that takes work and a prepared mindset. You have to be disciplined, can’t just show up and wing it. Your teams’ efforts have to be coordinated and integrated. I noticed that there is a gap in learning along these lines in the profession and industry and this book seeks to fill it.

Q: There are a number of books that cover the subject of BIM. How is this one different?

A: Most books on BIM cover the technology or business case while this one focuses on the process that enables the highest and best use of the technology. BIM and Integrated Design focuses on the people side of the change equation, addressing BIM as a social and firm culture process and does so in four distinctive ways:

  1. it addresses people problems, human issues, issues of communication and collaboration, firm-culture issues, issues of motivation and workflow related to working in BIM;
  2. it explores the most commonly encountered obstacles to successful collaboration, as well as the challenges this technology and process create for individuals and organizations in their labor toward a comprehensive, successful BIM adoption and implementation;
  3. it describes the social impacts and implications of working in BIM on individuals and firms, and how to overcome real and perceived barriers to its use; and
  4. it discusses challenges to BIM collaboration including interoperability, workflow, firm culture, education, technological challenges, working in teams, communication, trust, BIM etiquette, one model versus multiple models, cost, and issues concerning responsibility, insurance, and liability.

Q: What else led you to write this book?

A: There were two lingering questions that I had not been able to answer for myself and that I noticed many architectural firms were also asking: How can BIM advance the profession of architecture? And, how can collaboration assure the survival of the architect? As a result of my research for the book, I was able to uncover some surprising takeaways.

Q: What are a couple of these takeaways that readers would be surprised to find in your book?

A: I think many will be surprised to discover how the introduction of BIM into the workforce has significant HR implications – including education, recruitment, and training – and will welcome the book’s comprehensive review of the most effective ways to learn BIM, no matter where they fall on the learning continuum.

Additionally, readers get to hear arguments in favor of and against the return of the architect in the master builder role, as well as arguments for the virtual master builder and composite master builder or master builder team. Most of those interviewed for the book had a strong opinion on this subject and the result makes for some good reading.

Did you find this Q&A helpful? While I realize only by reading the book will I come to learn whether I achieved what I had set out to accomplish, let me know whether this post gives you a better understanding of what the book is about. Thanks!

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First Fire, then the Wheel, and now BIM

Owners didn’t ask for BIM.

Nor for IPD.

Never did.

Not then and not now.

Its part of the disconnect we’re experiencing in the profession and industry.

BIM may be purpose-built,

But nothing’s purpose-driven until it’s owner-driven.

And right now, other than healthcare and government mandates, very little is being driven by anybody.

So while owners didn’t ask for BIM or for IPD,

What they did ask for was less waste and adversity, more predictability and value.

We said we can give you that.

And we did.

Or so we thought.

Because we didn’t give them less and more of what they asked for.

We gave them BIM and IPD.

To us – they’re the same.

One leads to the other.

But to them – there’s a difference.

And that difference takes the form of a gap.

A gap we’ve yet to fill.

We as a profession and industry may be making great strides in adopting, implementing and using the technology and collaborative work processes necessary to make BIM and integrated design a reality.

But we’re doing little when it comes to explaining what BIM and IPD can do – what they’re capable of – to the client.

Go on.

Take them out of the box for the owner.

Give them a demonstration of how they work.

Put in the batteries and turn them on.

BIM first.

Then, once you got that going, show them how BIM enables IPD.

In giving owners BIM and IPD, we gave them exactly what they wanted and needed.

We gave them fire.

And we gave them the wheel.

Only they don’t know that yet.

Because we haven’t told them.

And until owners know what BIM and IPD mean to their goals and to their businesses, they won’t value them.

After taking BIM and IPD for a spin, they’ll be back into the bin with the other toys.

Folks,

This wheel’s on fire
Rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode!

Bob Dylan, who wrote these lyrics, an evocation of chaos, turns 70 this week.

If BIM and integrated design hope to see their 70th birthday

We need to do a better job of describing, explaining and justifying just what they mean.

What they do.

And who they do it for.

Design professionals and constructors are visual types.

If words were our strong suit, we’d be on the owner side ourselves.

But what is obvious to us may not be clear to them.

We need to become better storytellers – for that’s really how one learns best.

And not by berating with bullets and numbers.

The LinkedIn group, BIM for Owners, and James Salmon’s Collaborative BIM Advocates are a start.

We need to convince our owners to not only join, but join the discussion and participate.

We need them to understand how they, and their project, can benefit.

And while data and hard numbers help, in the end it’s not a rational choice.

But one of trust, gut and intuition.

Above all, we need to enchant and woo and wow our clients,

So that they in turn proactively request BIM and IPD on every job.

Until owners no longer have to ask for them.

Because BIM and integrated design will be – a foregone conclusion – part of the atmosphere.

As ever-present, prevalent – and necessary – on design and construction projects as windows and doors.

Then, and only then, we’ll have something to celebrate.

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CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies and T-Shaped People

What’s with the weird title, you’re wondering?

“T Shaped People” I have written about here in the past.

“CAD Monkeys?” Most readers of this blog are aware of the term and probably wish they weren’t, having at one time or another in their career either served as one or know someone who did.

But “Dinosaur Babies?”

I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first I want to address a subject most people think about this time of year: namely, change.

We all want to make changes in our lives. Most of us for the better.

Not everybody, though, is willing to do what is necessary to make these changes for real.

So they take shortcuts. They embellish, they pad.

Back to the Title

The other day I ordered what appeared to be a new book by Warren Berger

The title of this post is also the title of the book.

CAD Monkeys Dinosaur Babies and T Shaped People

A book I almost bought – yes, I admit, in part because of its suggestive and quirky title – among other reasons.

In fact, I did buy it – until I realized that I had already read it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s is a great book with great thoughts and ideas about design thinking. One that would warrant several readings.

Some who design for a living complain that the book didn’t teach them anything they didn’t already know.

I design for a living – and have done so for 25 years – and still got a great deal out of the book.

One wrote that the book is “for the beginners only – designers don’t waste your time.”

But isn’t that the point? When we design it is best to put yourself in the position of beginner’s mind – to see yourself as a beginner, not an expert.

We’re all – in other words – beginners.

See for yourself.

Or check out these “Glimmerisms” excerpted from the book.

The Glimmer quotes are truly amazing – I promise. Here’s one more chance in case you missed it.

But I had no need for 2 copies of the same book.

So I cancelled my order.

I “un-bought” it. Something you can only do online.

I read a lot of books. A lot. Almost one a day.

So how could I not remember having read a book called CAD Monkeys Dinosaur Babies and T Shaped People?

Because that is not what it was called when I read it…just 6 months earlier.

At that time, the book had a different title.

Glimmer

Glimmer, the hardcover, has just been issued in paperback as CAD Monkeys Dinosaur Babies and T Shaped People

Glimmer’s subtitle is: How Design Can Transform Your Life, and Maybe Even the World

That had also changed.

You would think with a title as ungainly as CAD Monkeys Dinosaur Babies and T Shaped People would at least have a shorter subtitle.

Nope. The new subtitle is this:

Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovation

I know. There are books that change when issued in paperback.

They have new chapters, a new foreword or epilogue.

Or have been revised based on new information.

This is not one of them.

In fact, if you look in Glimmer’s index, there is only one (1!) mention of CAD monkeys in the book.

Ascribed to Architecture for Humanity’s Cameron Sinclair. Describing the role he found himself in before being inspired to make a change for himself.

One subsequently having a profound impact on our world.

Sometimes books do change their titles – for marketing reasons. That’s fine.

As long as they mention it – so would-be customers don’t make the mistake I almost made. (And have done so before…)

And mention it in something larger than 4 pt. font at the bottom of the postage size stamp image if the book.

There’s a message here.

Make it your cause to become more of who you already are.

If you are dedicated to truly changing then do so. Be transparent about it.

Don’t go around changing your status and headline, your resume and bio, when nothing has really changed.

In other words, don’t go around changing your online identity.

Change – for real.

Don’t opportunistically change because you think that’s what the market wants.

Where are the BIM monkeys?

This incident got me thinking

If there was such a thing as a BIM monkey, what would that be?

Why aren’t there BIM monkeys?

It’s simple, really.

There are Reviteers – a cross between Revit, Musketeers and Imagineers. But it’s too vendor specific.

Someone working in BIM is empowered from the start – gets a first look at what they’re creating – often before anyone else.

Are they often tired, overworked, overly-challenged by the technology? Sure.

But they’re at the front lines.

Strategizing, creating, not just picking up someone else’s redlines.

BIM monkeys? Never.

Call them BIM guerillas.

As for “Dinosaur Babies?” That’s a term coined by IDEO designer Paul Bennett.

They’re the early design efforts (read: quirky and idiosyncratic) that, well, only its designer can love.

“Destined to be loved by only its creator,” Berger puts it.

Kind of like the title of his book.

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Filed under BIM, people, Uncategorized

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

Is IPD dead?

Le IPD est mort. Vive le IPD!

So where are we with Integrated Project Delivery?

Is IPD losing steam?

Yes.

The evidence – however anecdotal – is threefold.

First, Google Alerts containing the term are sparser and less frequent.

There are fewer content providers, with rare exceptions, writing on the topic.

Back in January 2010 AIA issued IPD Case Studies.

These provided what everyone was seemingly eagerly awaiting:

An examination of real-world, completed building projects that used Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in as pure a form as possible.

Projects illustrating – showing, not telling – the successful application of IPD in a variety of building types and scales and in diverse regions of the country.

These were followed by dozens of posts announcing the release of the IPD Case Studies.

Followed soon thereafter by an inexplicable silence.

R.I.P. 2010. Case (studies) closed.

Since then, there have been what seem to be fewer and fewer activities related to IPD.

Which brings up the second reason:

No doubt due in part to the economy.

In the doldrums (where doldrums = dumpster.)

Face it: there are just plain fewer opportunities to use the IPD delivery method.

Even if they were building, there is a tendency for already risk-averse owners – who need to lead this process – to go all conservative on us in tough times.

Translating as conventional design-bid-build.

Without educated, intelligent, willing owners to drive its use – not only is IPD dead, but so is building, and by extension, architecture.

Hedging on IPD

My blog (and book) were deliberately called BIM + Integrated Design, not BIM + Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) for two reasons.

To call attention to the fact that Integrated Design is not only a delivery method but a collaborative work process enabled by technology.

But also because I was hedging.

Hedging on the fact that IPD would one day give way to something else.

Some other way of working together, one with a different name.

But why hedge?

With the exception of fellow Wiley author George Elvin,

Who remembers the term Integrated Practice?

(Markku, no cheating.)

Exactly.

R.I.P. 2007. Case closed.

What would we truly miss if IPD would go away altogether by, say, tomorrow afternoon?

Wiped from our collective memory, Google searches and treasure trove of resources.

The whole shebang wiped out as though a giant D/B meteor hit it front and center.

Where it hurts.

Gone forever are all the IPD seminar presentations you never bothered to see.

The Next Great Delivery Method

If not IPD, what then?

Let’s be honest.

The basic tenets – the fundamental principles that form the basis of IPD and NGDM (Next Great Delivery Method) – are what made IPD something special.

And perhaps difficult to enforce contractually.

You: “The contractor’s not being trustworthy!”

Attorney: “Umm…?”

Principles that have been around a lot longer than 2007.

Because they are not only part of IPD’s DNA (t/y Zigmund Rubel) but because they are part of our own DNA.

Familiar to everyone by now, they include:

  • ·         Mutual Respect and Trust
  • ·         Mutual Benefit and Reward
  • ·         Mutual of Omaha
  • ·         Collaborative Innovation and Decision Making
  • ·         Open Communication
  • ·         Organization and Leadership

As well as others perhaps unique to IPD:

  • ·         Early Involvement of Key Participants
  • ·         Early Goal Definition
  • ·         Early to Bed
  • ·         Intensified Planning
  • ·         Appropriate Technology 

As to this last one, while it can include communication software and management tools, what is meant by Appropriate Technology is a not so subtle reference to

BIM.

Why?

Because BIM is most valuable when shared across disciplines.

But at many firms there is no sharing.

BIM is used for narrow purposes rather than for the benefit of the project.

What can be done about that?

Scrap it, Sell parts

The third and last indication that IPD may be losing its way was triggered by something said at a panel discussion I recently moderated at the NTAP conference in Washington DC.

With Phil Bernstein FAIA, Howard W. Ashcraft Jr and Jonathan Cohen, FAIA.

Cohen, who conducted the research and authored the report for the AIA Case Studies, said:

“I don’t think ‘pure’ IPD will predominate by 2015 – but all of the project delivery methods will have learned something valuable from IPD.”

Cohen continued:

“Should we not find ways to apply elements of IPD to CM@Risk, Bridging Design-Build, etc? Owners, particularly in the public sector, are asking for this.”

What is a Lamborghini without an engine?

An Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato without wheels?

I was a bit surprised, even taken-aback (full disclosure: also shocked and dismayed,) by the NTAP panelist’s assertions that IPD will not catch on whole cloth.

Even among those who created it.

Not that IPD is DOA.

Not that when we search “ipd” Google will henceforth ask: do you mean “iPod?”

But that there are perhaps only parts of IPD that work.

In a recent post, Hafez Daraee states,

“Integrated Project Delivery (‘IPD’) has been the topic of much discussion over the past several years. Despite being heralded as revolutionary, IPD has not become the gold standard in construction project delivery; it remains just a great idea that is sparingly used.”

But due to the economy and dearth of imagination you could likewise say:

Architecture has not become the gold standard in building; it remains just a great idea that is sparingly used.

Heck, for the past 12 months I have been sparingly used.

Daraee concludes,

 “IPD is gaining a foothold but more slowly than it should, and the economic upheaval of the last few years has not yet ended. Until contractors believe they will be more efficient and more profitable by using IPD, it will be hard to convince them to take a chance and bet on IPD.”

There might be something to say after all for all the IPD-ish and IPD-lite projects being pursued.

Perhaps we ought to scrap IPD and sell off the parts?

IPD is dead. Long Live IPD.

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

Are We Productive Yet?

The message was clear.

The way we – as a profession and industry – were going about things was self-destructive and unproductive.

It wasn’t working. Not for us and not for owners. Something had to be done.

Enter BIM and Integrated Design

Together BIM (Building Information Modeling) and IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) would save the day.

No longer would construction be the lone industry to not see any increase in productivity over the past 40 years.

Our troubles would be behind us.

Together this dynamic duo would optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste and cost, shorten project schedules, improve working relationships and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.

Together, cost overruns would be overcome; delays and late changes would be history.

Or so the thinking goes.

Where are we headed?

Take a look at the above chart.

The orange line indicates construction productivity.

The blue line, the one edging upward, is everybody else.

If you look closely, the above chart takes us through 2004. Maybe 2006.

That’s roughly around the time IPD was first being discussed and soon introduced as a full-fledged delivery option.

We’re in need of a new chart – to see if BIM and IPD together are working.

Are making us more productive.

If all works as planned, the next release of this chart will look something like this

But we know these things take time.

We hear every day even if we were to turn on a dime and change our wasteful, harmful habits that global warming would take decades before we saw improvement.

It’s a bit like unemployment where we need to create jobs just to stay even.

Where even if we were to create 90,000 jobs per month that we would just break even and see no decrease in the current unemployment rate.

So why should we expect to see any improvement in the years since this chart was issued?

Because we started to work with BIM?

Because we have the first evidence of teams working with some success in Integrated Design?

No one believes things will take a sudden turn for the worse.

This is not even an option.

We will all be shocked and dismayed should the next release of this chart show that despite our changes and intentions and best efforts that things have started to go south

 

Has our industry flat-lined?

While we need to be patient to see results and an improvement there is still much we can be doing.

Unless we want to see our productivity remain flat well into a fifth decade, and accept the consequences, we will have to change.

100% adoption and implementation across the industry of BIM tools and work processes.

We need to move swiftly and expertly up the D ladder – using BIM not only for the low hanging fruit of coordination but working collaboratively, to reap the real benefits of using these tools on integrated teams.

And most importantly, we need to do this together.

 

We need to work for the project – not for our own private gain.

With the faith, belief, understanding and irony that when you work for the project, all gain.

We need to commit to making our teammates successful and look good and believe that by doing so we will look good as well.

We need to give up our self-regard when it comes at the expense of the team and the owner’s goals.

The project comes first.

We will not suffer any consequences if we maintain this as our mantra heading into the foreseeable future, one blessed with increasing workloads, design and construction opportunities.

Uppermost graph courtesy of Paul Teicholz, founding Director, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, Uncategorized