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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Filed under BIM, BIM conference, collaboration, defining BIM, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD

Two Books to Transform the AEC Industry


This past week I had the opportunity to read two significant AEC industry books – one of which I had been meaning to read for several years, the other just having been published.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) are central to each of these books, whereas they were relegated to a single chapter in Barry LePatner’s otherwise excellent book, Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry.

I’ll start with The Commercial Real Estate Revolution: Nine Transforming Keys to Lowering Costs, Cutting Waste, and Driving Change in a Broken Industry, by Rex Miller et al, a quartet of construction industry professionals.

The Commercial Real Estate Revolution

I didn’t read this book when it first came out (July 2009) for one reason and one reason alone: it cost $40.

And for a second reason: I was writing my own AEC industry book ($75!) and didn’t want to be influenced by its findings.

And a third: I found a few words in the title (Commercial Real Estate + Revolution) off-putting. Sounded more 2006 than 2009.

And a fourth (I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Looking back, I should have ignored these reasons and read the book when the ink was still wet.Observations

The foreword by Metropolis Magazine’s Susan S. Szenasy alone is worth the price of the book  $39.95  ($12 used)

The book grew out of a wide-ranging group of dedicated industry players called The Mindshift consortium (the name was my fourth reason. It sounded vaguely un-construction-like.) That the consortium (not a think-tank but a “do-tank”) grew out of weekly discussions over pancakes (the Pancake Roundtable) at a local diner grounds the book in real people with real concerns.

This book has a big heart. It’s the kind of commercial real estate book that’s not afraid to quote Joseph Campbell on the power of metaphors to induce change.

Unlike LePatner, Miller and his cohorts are not only looking to fix what’s broken in the industry, but transform it. That alone distinguishes this book.

Read Chapter 2: What Every Executive Needs to Know About Low-Bid Contracting, and you’ll never use Design-Bid-Build as a delivery method again.

The Nine Keys

The second two-thirds of the book present The Nine Keys of Mindshift, including Four Principles, Four Tools, One Hidden Revolution

Key 1: Trust-Base Team Formation (Principle) – How you select your team, whom you select, and the process you use to form them into a team is the most important component of a succesful project.

Key 2: Early Collaboration (Principle) – Clear channels of communication and efficient ways of working together must be established to ensure ultimate success.

Key 3: Built-In Sustainability (Principle) – Sustainability becomes a natural result of better design and the elimination of waste.

Key 4: Transformational Leadership (Principle) – Leadership must be flexible, trusting team members to work together and empowering them to solve problems.

Key 5: Big “BIM” (Tool) – Building Information Modeling is a game-changing technology. It facilitates early collaboration and allows the team to rehearse and resolve issues in a virtual environment that carries over seamlessly to real construction.

Key 6: Integrated Project Delivery (Tool) – The “siloed” hierarchy of Design-Bid-Build becomes a round table in IPD as the planning, design, and implementation process integrate all team members’ input and participation. Lean Construction is an increasingly important tool for team members to identify waste and measure performance.

Key 7: Trust-Based Agreements and Client-Centered Incentives (Tool) – All team members assume an equal degree of shared risk and reward, and profitability is inextricably linked to the success of the project.

Key 8: Offsite Manufacturing (Tool) – Fabricating materials offsite and in advance provides an opportunity to change the nature, quality and future of construction.

Key 9: Workplace Productivity (The Hidden Revolution) – When buildings are uniquely designed and constructed with the end-user in mind, the space created can enhance the quality of life and work for those using it and will deliver higher value to the owner. Alternative workplace solutions are one example of the mindshift model that stresses long-term strategic value over short-term transactional returns.

The authors write: “Building, at its essence, is a relational practice. It is creative. And, when done well, it is restorative.” I believe, if you haven’t already done so, that reading this book will be an equally restorative experience for you.

You can find a good summary and background here http://www.haworth.com/en-us/Knowledge/Mindshift/Pages/The-Consortium.aspx

An article providing some background by the author in DesignIntelligence here

And read chapter 1 (“The $500 Billion Black Hole”) here http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/65/04704574/0470457465.pdf

Makers of the Environment

Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t heard of this book.

Makers of the Environment: Building Resilience Into Our World, One Model at a Time, by BIG BIM little bim author, Finith E. Jernigan was released December 15, 2011 ($9.99 Kindle, though you will want a hard copy of the book so you can scan the QR code-like tags. I’ll get top those in a moment.)

Billed as “the first information model in a book” (where BIM = book information model,) Makers of the Environment is a true 3D reading experience.

You can read the book straight through or, using Microsoft TAGs spread throughout the book, link to the book’s website for richer data, videos, related articles and a deeper look into the subject at hand.

You can imagine my surprise while scanning one of the codes to find it lead to one of my own blog posts (i.e. a surreal experience.)

Read more about it here. Observations

The book presents straightforward short chapters on various topics. These are followed by scenario plans that take place in the near future – or the recent past – and are populated by characters devised by the author. Here’s how it is described:

Makers of the Environment shows how an organization in a small, depressed rural county can pull together to take advantage of the opportunities to become a world leader in the management of information to change our world. With systems and processes such as Makers describes, we for the first time in history can define and manage real-world assets. The book’s central design future forms the backbone for three scenarios show how to use the information to improve the world.

Three of these scenarios are presented in the prologue, even before you hit the first chapter (which opens with another scenario.) It’s admittedly a bit rough-going, but well-worth the journey when you arrive at the expository writing and tags. That’s when the book really transforms (some, such as the tag on Georeferencing, are spectacular.)

The book presents a world of making or makers that is wholly inclusive and democratic. The book presents an industry where laypeople – real people – are participants who engage creatively and productively in the making and preservation of their world, and in doing so receive value directly from their involvement.

Technology is leveling the field for everyone. No longer must we rely on experts talking at us as we find solutions to today’s most vexing problems. We can all participate directly in the decisions, with real data, to get greater certainty of outcomes.

That said, one wonders if the title ought to have been Stewarts of the Environment or Makers of the Built Environment?

Some caveats: There is a great deal of repetition (whole sentences and even pages: p. 21-22, for example, are mysteriously repeated at length on p. 23-25) and the book, self-published, could have benefitted from some heavy editing and copyediting. Why, for example, are some chapters in grey background and others not? Some of the technology discussions come across as infomercials. Some of the scenarios sound as though they are taking place next week rather than in 10 years (this can be disconcerting for the reader who is constantly being asked by the text to place themselves in time.) The book’s sentences – that make up the paragraphs – don’t have a great deal of variation or differentiation in length. In this sense, the book sometimes feels as though it was in fact an information model in that it can feel as though it were written by a computer. This is a book that has enough valuable information to recreate the world – but, nonetheless, is still in search of a heart.

Kudos to the author for taking the innovative and creative route – it is always the more difficult to be a trailblazer.

It is very hard in a brief review to summarize what comes across as a comprehensive worldview – a view of the near-term future. Here’s how the book is described:

Makers of the Environment merges storytelling with everyday reality to offer a moment where we can rethink our expectations to understand how technology can and should be used to improve our world. The book makes the extraordinary ordinary, offering a vision on how society can take advantage of new and emerging technology to create a better, more sustainable world for our children.

I’ve barely touched on some of the major themes and ideas presented. You truly have to read the book for yourself to fully grasp it’s breadth, potential impact on your thinking and vision of the near-term future: the next steps for our industry and planet.

Forgiving some of the book’s more experimental and editorial shortcomings, I highly recommend Makers of the Environment for anyone and everyone working in – or around – the AECO industry.

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Filed under BIM, business model, construction industry, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people

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.

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

MoneyBIMball


With Moneyball in theaters, the playoff season in full swing, and the 2003 book by Michael Lewis climbing in standings, data geeks are all the rage.

This fact cannot be lost on architects and others in the construction industry.

In the movie and book, the 2002 Oakland Athletics overlook the former criteria for player selection (brawn, looks and stature) in favor of data and information.

Doing so was unorthodox to say the least. The equivalent of design professionals proceeding with a design based on data over visuals.

But in doing so, the Athletics managed an all-time record winning streak and made the playoffs with the major’s smallest budget.

Which leads us to ask of ourselves two questions:

  • Is it time we honor our inner geek?
  • Is it time we get creative with our data?

Information and Process Builders

In his brilliant undated letter to the profession entitled “BIM ball,” Kimon Onuma’s focus was not on the 3D nature of BIM, but almost entirely on the “I” of BIM:

“Information and data integrated with 3D” models.

Due to the threatening ‘evolve or dissolve’ resolve of the subtitle, this fact was lost on the average reader.

A few cogent lines from the letter tell the story:

  • We charge our clients 6% plus of construction costs to assemble information into documents
  • Most of the knowledge and information that is assembled for a project goes into the lines of a CAD file that essentially has only one use
  • The value in architectural services rests in the knowledge and experience to assemble information and execute projects
  • The only possible solution is to solve this using the technologies available in Building Information Modeling, standards and interoperability.
  • Architects are positioned at the center of the design and construction process not as the “master builder” integrating and organizing all the disparate pieces of the building but now as the information and process builders and coordinators in this process

From this we can deduce that information is at the heart of our evolution as a profession and industry.

Which leads us to ask:

What will we do with the information available to us?

To continue the base hits of visualization and clash detection or home runs of analysis?

Reevaluating Strategies that Produce Wins on the Field

Just as Moneyball 

  • focused on the general manager – our story ought to focus on the BIM manager
  • focused on the team’s modernized, analytical approach to assembling a competitive team – our focus ought to be on the BIM analytics
  • has done wonders for unorthodox analytics – our use of BIM ought to do the same for analysis
  • team used statistics that are relics of a 19th century view of the game – our industry continues to use methodologies for estimating cost and anticipating schedules and predicting accuracy that are relics of centuries past.
  • central premise is that the collected wisdom of baseball insiders (players, managers, coaches, scouts, front office) over the past century is subjective and often flawed – our focus ought to be on the fact that our own collective wisdom has not led to increased value or productivity nor reduced waste
  • isn’t really about baseball or statistics, but about challenging conventional wisdom with data – our understanding ought to be that BIM isn’t about technology, but rather challenging design and construction professionals to use information available to them to increase productivity and reduce waste.

Like the general manager in the movie, it’s time we give the data a long hard look.

Like the 2002 Oakland A’s, we as a profession and industry ought to be re-evaluating the strategies that produce wins on the field.

Anything but a Field of Dreams

There’s a fear that BIM does away with design in favor of data.

This of course couldn’t be further from the truth.

As long as architecture remains an art, it will always maintain the element of the will.

Architectural design is an essay in willfulness.

Design work that is described and then either justified (with information) or rationalized (with pedagogue and agendas.)

Or post-rationalize out in the field.

This last option – our industry’s history up until now – has been anything but a field of dreams.

In 1896, Louis Sullivan asserted:

Form Follows Function

In 2011 (and beyond) in order to reach home:

Firms Follow Information

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Filed under analysis, BIM, BIM manager, BIM organizations, modeling, people, process

Is BIM in 10 Words or Less Still BIM?


Recently I was
asked to summarize my 240 page book in a single sentence.

It’s the sort of reductionist thinking that can lead to some less than satisfying outcomes.

Analogically, new software is being introduced that promises to be the AutoCAD LT version of Revit. 

Interested in testing and providing feedback for a technology preview of a lighter version of Revit?

Thought so. Go here.

Or see A Revit LT-ish Product Available for Download from Autodesk Labs.

In other words, when you pare Revit down, what’s lost in translation?

Actually, very little.

That is, unless worksharing is important to you.

Then you’re out of luck.

Have no need for photo realistic rendering?

Good – because it doesn’t support it.

Nor view filters, groups, in-Place families, massing, analysis, trusses or shared coordinates.

Nor point clouds, sun path, API, parts/assemblies, design options, adaptive components, simplified export, links, content, phasing or materials.

To reach that agile level of lightness and simplicity – and pare the program down to essentials – much of value is lost along the way.

The whole emphasis on lean practices is to reduce waste and increase value. Right?

What is lost is this:

Communicating, sharing and collaborating.

In other words, what makes BIM BIM.

The same can be said of most reductionist definitions of BIM.

The focus of a recent Linkedin BIM group challenge asked:

Is it even possible to describe BIM in TEN words or less?

Is something lost when you try to pare BIM down to its essentials?

Are 10 words enough to meaningfully describe, explain or justify BIM?

50 words, maybe.

For 24 definitions of BIM in 50 words or less look here.

14 words?

Possibly.

But restricting a working definition of BIM down to 10 words means that people only describe what is important to them.

Not to each other.

Does BIM need to be enabled by bloated software?

If by ‘bloated’ you mean that it also communicates, allows for sharing and collaboration?

Then afraid so.

Here’s a smattering of the 10-word definitions. You decide if any capture the magic of BIM.

In terms of software:

BIM

“generates and manages building data throughout the building lifecycle”

“provides coordination to the nth degree”

“is a federated data models of an asset throughout its life cycle”

“creates, develops and manages all building information digitally”

“3D + Data + Relationship”

“is an acronym for construction utopia”

“forces people to communicate throughout the building process”

 “is the digital representation of a facility’s physical and functional characteristics”*

 “is 3D coordination before construction prevents surprises in the field”

“is everything you need to know about your building, forever”

“is the bridge between design and close-out at your fingertips”

As an activity

BIM

“is building a building twice: first in 3D, then real life.”

In terms of a process

BIM

“is the process of gathering and managing building lifecycle information”

“is a process that federates information for a buildings lifecycle”

Some are contrived

BIM

“digitally builds the facility before gets built”

Some are downright tortured

BIM

“prebuild virtually with end-user mentality, incorporate product data, add value”

In terms of information

BIM

“is complete information about building and that can be repossessed anytime”

In terms of knowledge

“is structuring and relating data to maintain information and generate knowledge”

Some unnecessarily obfuscate

BIM

“is an ontology based knowledge management infrastructure for virtual construction based on standardized business process workflows”

Some define BIM in terms of what it is not:

BIM

“isn’t Software it includes people, processes, standards and methods”

“IT’s NOT SOFTWARE, it’s process, methodology and collaboration”

My favorite

I like this (albeit a compromise at 14 words)

“Regardless of the tools you use BIM requirements enforce that you collaborate with others”

But for BIM to succeed, perhaps a little compromise is in order?

* a reworded version of the definition provided by the National Institute of Building Sciences.

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BIM’s Blue Ocean


After I give one of my talks on building information modeling the question I’m most often asked is:

What’s the best BIM business model?

What is the best way to make a profit utilizing building information modeling on projects in their organization?

In other words, how can we leverage the technology to reap the greatest financial reward?

It goes without saying that they have invested a great deal of money in soft- and hardware – and time in getting comfortable with each – and now want to know what the return is on their investment.

Is it the Free business model?

The Long Tail business model?

Or something altogether different?

It’s actually a lot simpler than any of these.

It’s called “coupling.”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

First, let’s take a quick look at two books that use the sea metaphor to help explain how businesses can best address our industry’s ongoing sea changes.

Then we’ll turn this metaphor on to design and construction professional’s situation to see how they can best benefit from the emerging technologies in their organizations.

C-Scape

A book every design and construction professional ought to read is

C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today, a book that shows how businesses can survive and thrive in the digital media revolution.

Don’t be turned-off by the book’s emphasis on media – especially digital and social media.

It’s the metaphor that’s applicable here.

The book’s storyline goes something like this:

Not so long ago, the business landscape was easier to chart.

That landscape has been upended, and in its place a “C-Scape” has emerged—a world where

  • Consumers, not producers and marketers, make the choices; where
  • Content, not distribution, is king; where
  • Curation becomes a primary currency of value; and where
  • Convergence continues to revolutionize every part of every business.

Taking a more in-depth look at each of these 4 Cs:

Consumers choose what, how, and when they consume information. This has given consumers more power than ever in the relationship with content creators and information sources. Those who don’t respect this new relationship will perish.

Content becomes king. With the Internet able to directly bring the buyer to the seller, the need to have a better product, not just one that is distributed better, will become paramount. Those who had distribution advantages will struggle so long as they are averse to focusing on competing with direct distribution.

Curation cures information overload. Businesses will need to monitor and curate conversations about their brands in order to prevent major blunders.

Convergence revolutionizes every form of communication. New forms of storytelling will emerge as all forms of communication converge on a single platform for the first time. Companies need to learn these new ways of telling stories about their products and brands.

You’ve probably experienced some of these forces yourself, on your teams and in your organizations.

There are some obvious overlaps with the construction industry.

But that’s not where we’re going with this.

While these concepts are astute, they represent the digital media’s C-landscape.

Not our own (unless you consider the idea that every organization is now in the media business.)

Design and Construction’s Seven Seas

Design and construction has its own seascape or C-Scape.

But its seven C’s don’t stand for consumers, content, curation and convergence.

Our seven C’s stand for:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Community
  • Complexity
  • Co-location
  • Co-creation

C-words, make note, all beginning with “co” – for “together.”

While Construction is another one (Coupling is as well) these 7 C’s represent our seascape or blue ocean.

Why?

Because in our profession and industry collaboration and the other six concepts are virtually uncharted waters.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant,

You might recall is a book where the blue ocean metaphor represents a vision of the kind of expanding, competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate.

Unlike “red oceans,” which are well-explored and crowded with competitors, “blue oceans” stand for “untapped market space” and growth.

A few of the book’s basic concepts – implying where we are today and where we are headed – can be summarized as follows:

  • Compete in existing market space >>> Create uncontested market space
  • Beat the competition >>> Make the competition irrelevant
  • Exploit existing demand >>> Create and capture new demand
  • Make the value/cost trade-off >>> Break the value/cost trade-off
  • Align the whole system of a company’s activities with its choice of differentiation or low cost >>> Align the whole system

BIM isn’t our blue ocean.

Collaboration is.

Why?

Because BIM has become – or is fast becoming – ubiquitous.

And collaboration is still largely uncharted territory.

For BIM to live up to its promise, we must make it our goal to use emerging technology to address analysis such as building performance and energy use.

As Phil Bernstein FAIA predicts, “as these platforms get more robust and analytical algorithms get more sophisticated the whole analysis problem moves from things we understand right now – things like airflow and the modulus of elasticity – to building codes and air quality.”

To accomplish this we’ll have to share what we know with one another.

There’s no other way for our industry – and for us – to move forward.

In order for us to achieve our goals and in order for BIM to realize its promise, we will have to first accept, then relearn, how to communicate and share information.

The best way for design and construction professionals to accomplish this is by working together.

By leveraging each other’s experience and expertise.

By keeping an open line of communication and exercising it constantly.

By looking to one another for insights and solutions.

If we are to survive and overcome the forces that are remaking the design and construction landscape, we will do whatever is in our power to learn to work compatibly and effectively.

Together.

Coupling Design and Construction

Design professionals, especially, like to go it alone.

They find the idea of sharing design input, and more so, responsibility threatening.

“Let me take it back to the office and study it” is their onsite mantra.

Concerning our desire to peel away and sequester ourselves, I love this quote from the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.

Four small words that were barely noticed when she said them at the Jackson Hole Symposium:

“Decoupling is a myth.”

Making the case for the key issue for the world economy:

Everything is coupled to everything else.

As futurist and iconoclast Stowe Boyd notes, “the steps taken to date have not decomplexified the economic tarball. No real steps have been taken to make the world economic system less connected, and that is the only path to a safer world.”

Like the rest of the world and economy, we are all in this together.

Connected.

There’s no extracting any one entity from the collective.

For design and construction professionals, it’s all “co” from here on out.

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This Week in Tweets


Here’s a smattering of the BIM and IPD-related tweets that my followers on Twitter have retweeted to their followers.

In addition to technology and collaboration, my tweets focus on creativity, architecture, design and construction.

Oh, and books, writing and poetry.

We’ll save those for another post. The following tweets are on BIM and IPD.

By browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it.

If you like what you see, please follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch

Collaborative #Learning for the Digital Age http://bit.ly/q7jsiH#SM#education

The End of the #Architecture Firm? http://lnkd.in/FR6th7#AEC#architects

Stewart Brand: “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” #BIM

Giving a talk about my #BIM book http://bit.ly/oHqJJ0 in #Chicago 9/12 at IIT Architecture | Master of Integrated Building Delivery

Lateral thinking and problem solving, perhaps. But #creativity is one lesson you ‘can’t teach’ http://bit.ly/qFUxBC

#BIM for Infrastructure http://bit.ly/o9I19I#construction#AEC#engineering

Building performance as brand http://bit.ly/qwaK1Q#performativity

Conference Addresses #Performativity of #Architectshttp://bit.ly/oMNrkQ#ACSA > SHoP Architects http://bit.ly/pOQl8v

Attend Integrated Project Delivery: A Catalyst for Collaborative #Design & #Constructionhttp://bit.ly/qdG9jl#IPD#architecture

Barriers to Successful #BIM by BIG BIM little bim author Finith Jernigan http://bit.ly/r1ctWH & http://amzn.to/ra2vTb > helpful checklist

MIT Unravels the Secrets Behind Collective Intelligence – HINT: IQ Not So Important http://www.singularityhub.com #collaboration

Enjoyed doing the panel yesterday with @newvoodou & @pwnakazawa at #SMPS2011 on “Trends: What to Look for When You Don’t Know What’s Coming”

If each GC firm wore their #BIM Score on a jersey, what would yours say? Where is your firm along the spectrum? http://bit.ly/pjP3le

 “Is Integrated Practice Taking Hold?” http://bit.ly/h7fpwL#IPD

 “People may accept or resist a technology not for what it does but for how it makes them feel.” Sherry Turkle in http://amzn.to/qML0XV

@threefourteen New in that it involves all stakeholders from earliest stages each of whom has input into what goes into making the decisions

@threefourteen Can get confusing…with integrative design, integrated buildings, integrated design process, integrated practice & IPD!

#BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice available pre-publication as an eBook http://bit.ly/pxOcxp#IPD

@Neil_BIM Great question. Due to length I had to cut the international BIM chapter but the remaining content is still applicable. Thanks.

Program Management Integrated with #BIM, demonstrating use of BIM-based PM tools via @jvandezande@HOKNetworkhttp://bit.ly/nZ31xp

Finding Your Way Around #BIMhttp://bit.ly/pqlKnb#IPD

Read Finith E. Jernigan’s book, Makers of the Environment, free http://bit.ly/rndf1q executive summary http://bit.ly/qbwA3Q

Design futures: Finith E. Jernigan’s blog, Makers of the Environment helps us look into the future http://bit.ly/reeZwM

Makers of the Environment is an information model whose foundation is a printed book. A book information model http://bit.ly/reeZwM#BIM

How seriously has recession damaged the construction industry? 65 markets suffer #construction declines of >75% http://bit.ly/rqCNMb

read the first chapter of my book free http://bit.ly/pIdOc1

#BIM & #IPD have a 8-in-10 chance of completing a project on schedule & within budget, an improvement fr previous stats http://bit.ly/pIdOc1

Let’s collaborate: AUGIWorld August 2011 #Collaboration issue is out! @AUGIhttp://bit.ly/fpjryJ http://www.augi.com/ #BIM#IPD

John Moebes, director of #construction at Crate & Barrel, will be a presenter at Integration Utah ACEO 9/20 http://bit.ly/mYO5xp#IPD

John Moebes highlights successes & challenges of #IPD. Crate & Barrel’s presentation on Integrated Project Delivery http://bit.ly/mYO5xp

Is IPD the right fit across the board? What It Means to #IPDhttp://bit.ly/nhv9qI#AEC#construction

As you start to integrate projects, remember Communication—Integration—Interoperability—Knowledge—Certainty drive #BIMhttp://amzn.to/qbFIxX

Tradition and legacy systems must not overshadow good business decisions. http://amzn.to/qbFIxX#BIM#CAD

You can only become expert in a limited range of issues. This makes #collaboration others a necessity not a luxury http://amzn.to/qbFIxX#IPD

Scripting Cultures: Architectural Design & Programming. Computer #programming integral to the digital #design process http://bit.ly/pHC30K

Mastering Autodesk Revit MEP 2012 from @WileyDesign – best tutorial & reference providing coverage of #BIM#MEPhttp://bit.ly/qBWS8i

Good discussion on whether #architecture school is the best place to learn #BIM and #IPDhttp://bit.ly/rkSZk3#AIATAP

One architect’s favorite iPad apps for #architects and #architecturehttp://bit.ly/odqWdT

@case_inc brought on board by Advanced Cast Stone to provide all LOD 400 #BIM#fabrication modeling > see the results http://bit.ly/hZmJ3y

Due to seismic shift, #BIM Migrates to Apple Platforms | Building #Design + #Constructionhttp://bit.ly/pIZoHg

eBIM™ Existing #BIM launches in UK > focuses on growing demand for accurate surveys of existing buildings http://bit.ly/o21h1i#AEC

What is #BIM about? Is it about software? Is it about technology? Is it about #Revit? > It’s about people @revit3dhttp://bit.ly/oK3Asy

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

Finding Your Way Around BIM


Michael Korda, in his brilliant and entertaining
memoir, Another Life, tells the story of his first day of work at a publishing house.

Upon arriving at work he notices a bronze plaque on his desk bearing these words:

“Give the reader a break.”

It was the publisher’s view that their job was to make things as easy and clear for the reader as possible.

And they wanted him to know that.

It is in this spirit that I provided what I hope will be helpful guideposts throughout the text of my book.

I did this to help the reader find their way around what can be treacherous territory in a book that concerns itself largely with technology.

I wish more technology – and architecture – books would give the reader a break.

In organizing my book, BIM and Integrated Design (John Wiley & Sons, 2011,) I divided the information into roughly three parts: a triptych of sorts.

I find that organizing a book into parts helps with wayfinding – providing the reader with a much-needed big-picture view of the content they’re about to delve into.

So here’s a bit more detail – part by part – about what you’ll find in the book.

Part I: BIM AS THOUGH PEOPLE MATTERED

In Part I of BIM and Integrated Design, you will uncover mistaken beliefs surrounding BIM and the social co-benefits of BIM.

Here you will explore 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.

You will discover the social impacts and implications of working in BIM on individuals and firms, and how to overcome real and perceived barriers to its use.

Read these chapters to discover proven strategies for managing the disruptive change brought about by BIM, how to assess your team’s progress, and how to own not only the software but also the process.

You will learn about the recent proliferation of BIM-related professional titles and roles, the current state of transition of the industry from CAD to BIM, and what the real distinctions are between BIM- and CAD-, and IT-related roles, including distinctions between BIM managers, CAD managers and IT managers.

In this part,

  • you will read about a design firm that struggled with adopting BIM, only to find itself growing through the recent downturn due in large part to its attitudes and approach to BIM; and
  • how firms have successfully implemented BIM, from the varying perspectives of a consultant with extensive experience working in BIM with designers, a clinical and organizational psychologist who works with design and construction professionals who are contending with constant change, and a firm owner who has strategically and successfully worked with BIM since the application’s inception.

Part II: LEADING INTEGRATED DESIGN

In Part II of BIM and Integrated Design, the focus is on working alone and with others in BIM; obstacles to successful BIM collaboration and how to overcome them; and why collaboration is the way forward for our profession and industry.

Read these chapters to familiarize yourself with 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.

Learn about the one critical skill set design professionals need to master if they are to survive the current professional, economic, social, and technological challenges, as well as strategies for making collaboration work.

Read these chapters to better understand why owners and design and construction professionals have been slow to adopt integrated design and how we can rectify this situation.

A brief but incisive overview of integrated design is offered to help you promote the process to owners and your team, and learn how BIM and integrated design together help design professionals achieve their ultimate goals: well-designed, high-performing buildings that deliver value to owners while benefitting all involved, including future generations.

In this part,

  • learn how a major architecture firm’s chief information officer is contending with near-constant change brought about by BIM;
  • learn from a major constructor regarding their experiences working on more than one hundred integrated BIM projects; and
  • hear from the author of the industry’s first integrated project delivery (IPD) case studies on where IPD is headed.

Part III: LEADING and LEARNING

In this last part of BIM and Integrated Design, you’ll learn how BIM changes not only the technology, process, and delivery but also the leadership playing field; how to shift into the mindset essential to lead the BIM and integrated design process in turbulent times; and how to become a more effective leader no matter where you find yourself in the organization or on the project team.

You’ll discover how the introduction of BIM into the workforce has significant education, recruitment, and training implications, and review the most effective ways to learn BIM.

A brief overview of three approaches to the topic of BIM and the master builder is offered, including arguments in favor of and against the return of the architect in the master builder role, and an argument for the composite master builder or master builder team.

In these chapters, you’ll

  • meet an architect and BIM manager who successfully made the transition from pencil to CAD to BIM of the greatest complexity; glean several significant insights from a regional director in the Office of Project Delivery at the General Services Administration (GSA); and
  • hear from two educators—one a designer and an ethnographer of design and technology who brings a background in architecture, computing, and anthropology to the study of human-machine-environment interaction; and the other an educator and industry technology strategist with firsthand experience working in integrated design on a significant IPD project, who shares his perceptions of what is on the horizon for professionals, organizations, and the AEC industry as it concerns BIM and integrated design.

Hopefully you now have a better sense of what the book is about and how it is organized.

If you have any questions about the book, please let me know by leaving a comment and I’ll try to answer them. Thanks!

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, Integrated Design, process, writing

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

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