Tag Archives: Autodesk

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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Filed under BIM, collaboration, construction industry, definition, workflow

How to Learn Revit in 1000 Difficult Lessons

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. – Eric Hoffer

No matter where you fall on the BIM continuum, there is always more to learn, further you can take the tool and process.

You may know the program but can you, for example, get it to address the entire building lifecycle?

And there have never been so many ways to learn.

Books and , tutorials, webcasts, gurus, on-demand video, pilot projects, in-house and out-of-housetraining at local tech school or software reseller, regional training centers, bootcamp, side-by-side training and DIY.

Our friends Eddy Krygiel, Phil Read and James Vandezande are working on a Revit series for new users.

(I am so excited I get to write another spoof!)

Learn tips and tricks in forums such as AUGI forums.

You can order dvds and videos and learn at your own pace in pajamas.

Paul Aubin even has a Revit Architecture 2011 quick reference guide that doubles as a reusable dinner placemat for $4.95

It depends on what you are looking to learn.

And where you are on the BIM journey.

And whether you’re the office or in the field.

You alone know how you learn best and how you retain what you learn.

And that is key to learning.

So chose the method that is a good fit for you and your needs wherever you are on the learning curve.

There is no one size that fits all when it comes to training, retraining and retaining.

Take Revit (please)

You can actually learn it quite easily – several places offer ½ day, 1 day and 3 day training sessions.

Some offer cut prices for those out of work, both onsite and remote learning in the privacy of your home.

So why is learning so difficult?

The way we make learning anything difficult is by any one of  four reasons:

  • stopping and starting.
  • forgetting what you learned by not using it.
  • using a method that isn’t a good fit for your budget, lifestyle, mindset.
  • doing it for the wrong reasons,

such as being forced by your employer before you’re ready, through peer pressure, fear of not keeping up or being left behind.

There are those who will read the title of this post and either 1. feel justified in their having worked in ArchiCAD, a perhaps more intuitive BIM program or 2. empathize because they too struggled with learning the program and then struggled to keep up with the inevitable changes with each new release.

Take a deep breath

Before you pounce – this site is vendor agnostic.

Revit was merely used in the title to provoke and incite a riot – two requirements of any effective blog post headline.

So take a deep breath.

It is not that the lessons themselves are difficult.

Or even that the program application is difficult – though once you do learn to work in BIM you may find some advanced uses difficult to grasp.

The fact is, we each make learning difficult by not honoring the way we best learn.

And by ignoring other basic signs and practices.

Professional practice is hard enough – don’t also make the learning hard.

You owe it to yourself to make learning interesting.

Some training sessions meet from 8am to 5pm in a plain vanilla box of a room.

Not for you.

Can you sit still for that long, let alone learn a new application?

Ask yourself some basic questions

Ask yourself: What’s the best environment for you to learn in?

Doesn’t exist? (Then make it your pilot program and design it in Revit!)

Ask yourself: How important is it that your instructor be fun or at least interesting? Making the information and learning process interesting?

Make sure you are challenged – it is important that the instruction isn’t too easy (you’ll be bored) or too hard (you’ll feel defeated and give up.)

Look for a challenge worthy of your effort – one that will maintain your interest and engage you.

Get your hands dirty.

Work in the program as you go.

And be prepared. Have everything you need at hand before class begins.

Your instructor ought to be prepared as well – for students who are quicker or slower at picking-up the software – and be prepared to make adjustments accordingly.

Ask yourself: How do you know you’ve learned the program?

Having endured the tutorial many only mean you can produce what you were told to do in the tutorial.

Real projects have many more nuances.

The best way to know whether you’ve learned something?

Its very old school.

Take a test.

“To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test” found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.

“One of those methods — repeatedly studying the material — is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other — having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning — is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.”

But don’t take my word. Read the blog post and its over 320 comments.

Ask yourself: How do you know you’ve learned the program?

Teach it.

Those who are fortunate enough to attend training are sometimes asked to go back and teach those back in the office who did not, could not or would not attend training.

No better way to learn than teaching. If given this opportunity, jump at the chance.

Teaching BIM to others is a great opportunity to discover just how well you learned – and retained.

Turn off distractions including smart phones (you can leave this blog on.)

Kids might be able to study algebra while posting on Facebook.

You? Not so much.

In The Power of Mindful Learning, Professor Ellen Langer suggests that all of the all-nighters we pulled in college were for naught.

Why?

According to Langer, real learning takes place in a “mindful” environment, one that provides a context for the subject we are studying and allows us to bring something of ourselves into the process.

Make your training an extension of you.

Know what motivates and what de-motivates you.

Know why you are learning and have some sense about how far you want to take it.

Know who you are doing it for. As with anything you’re going to indulge time and effort in, you’ve got to own it.

Not only the tool but the process.

 

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Filed under BIM, BIM expert, BIM instructor, BIM trainer, education, modeling, process

Confessions of a NYC-RUG rat

Meetings – like building projects – that start well usually end well.

Last night I had the opportunity to sit in on the New York City – Revit Users Group meeting. And boy am I glad that I did.

You might recall a couple months ago we featured Chicago’s BIM-IPD Group here in these pages in The Sweet Necessity of a BIM-IPD Group Meeting. The NYC group meeting doesn’t leave you with the warm and fuzzy feeling of its Chicago cohort and counterpart. Chicago – and most of the Midwest – is still playing catch-up so has all the charm and appeal of an underdog, like the Cubs.

The impression with the NYC group is that they have been there and done that – all business, all the time. Once it started, the meeting ran like a machine – a finely-tuned, well-designed and very-expensive machine. But first there was some housekeeping to tend to…

6PM sharp: The evening’s host, James Vandezande, welcomes everyone and then just as suddenly signs-off for 15 minutes of networking. “Those online can enjoy the slide show”

So the first 15-20 minutes of the meeting was occupied by networking –– which in-person is a great use of such a gathering, but for those of us on muted standby, a bit awkward. I attended the March 2010 Meeting – NYC-RUG is a Meet-Up group – via the miracle of the GoToMeeting webinar. Try as I might to make small talk in the tiny GoToWebinar dialog box, mingling with my muted colleagues, I took my seat and waited for the show to begin.

6:13PM: James tells us to stay tuned for another 5-10 New York minutes.

Just like New York itself, the meeting with its take-no-prisoners approach promised content that would give the participant a leg-up on others in the industry. If you want to know what is happening right now in the world of BIM and Revit, with a whiff of what’s happening next – this is the place to be.

6:17PM: They start the background slide show – just like at the movie theaters before the coming attractions and featured film – only for construction industry computer geeks. Promotional images of local architect’s BIM renderings and trivia questions flash forth.

Q: What was the first release of Revit for Autodesk? (4.5)

Overseeing the festivities is James Vandezande – known to some as James Van – AIA President of NYC-RUG, prolific blogger at All Things BIM at http://allthingsbim.blogspot.com/ where he has recently featured the London RUG.

6:22PM: Weird subterranean webinar sounds emanate from my laptop. Someone doesn’t realize that they have their microphone on.

Q: Revit Structural can render which of the following materials? Wood, Steel, Concrete or All of the Above? (All)

James Vandezande, along with industry leaders Phil Read and Eddy Krygiel, is also one of BIM’s three musketeers at the Architecture | Technology blog Arch | Tech where the team approach to blogging is perfectly in sync with the collaborative work processes of the blog’s content matter, if not with the times.

Q: John Travolta starred in which feature film… (OK, not actually)

For those already familiar with this firepower blog, make note: along with the creation of a new domain address architecture-tech.com, they have a new email address for tips, suggestions and commentary on their upcoming and highly anticipated book. Imagine Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio collaborating on a book about mastering baseball. Mastering Revit Architecture 2011 will be out in August. It’s a must-have.

A senior associate at HOK (as was David Ivy in the previous Chicago’s BIM-IPD Group post) James Vandezande was the NYC-RUG’s first presenter at the 1st meeting 2 years ago and a very good person  in the industry to know and follow http://twitter.com/jvandezande. Last night’s meeting took place at the Pratt Manhattan Campus, 144 W 14th St Room 213 – check here for future locations. You might start to get the impression that HOK has a monopoly on these groups. That’s your prerogative. HOK is an industry leader in many ways – making early and exceptional use of Web 2.0 among many other categories – but this is surely a matter of timing or coincidence.

6:25PM: The meeting is about to begin – please take your seats. There’s a full house – standing room only – which speaks to the popularity of this group and the importance of the topic presented tonight. Those attending on webinar are made to feel welcome.

As organized as an executive board meeting, the NYC-RUG meeting started with an agenda

6:00-6:15PM               Networking

6:15-6:30PM               Welcome and Announcements

6:30-8PM                    Presentations

8:00-8:30PM             Q/A and Comments

This particular meeting is a joint event with the NYC metro BIM group, headed-up by Hosney Abdelgelil, NYC BIM lead organizer and co-founder. Hosney explained that BIMPlex is a regional institution which in its completed format is a collaboration forum for academia, industry and the legislature, with a mission to find the best means to guarantee lowest overall cost, optimum sustainability, energy conservation and environmental stewardship through Building Information Modeling Technology. You can learn more about it here.

Before getting to the meat of this blog post – and meeting – we have some housekeeping to tend to.

Those attending received a digital copy of the just-released BIM Deployment Plan: A Practical Framework for Implementing BIM.

Ideas for future meetings can be suggested, discussed and voted upon at the NYC-RUG Meet-Up site.

Which brings us to next month’s do-not-miss meeting: Beginner’s Guide to Revit presented by Revit specialist, Trainer and BIM Architectural Consultant and NYC-RUG member Michael Horta.

Next up is a slide that tells the group who they are and why they are meeting in the first place. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. These guys are good.

The slide says that we are a group of professionals from the construction industry, academia, design and the media. NYC-RUG is a buildingSMART alliance (bS a) interest group, which itself is part of the National Institute of Building Sciences NIBS which has over 5000 members of its own. The group – comprising 550 members and counting – was formed about 2 years ago to meet and network with industry professionals. To see if there is a group that meets in your neck of the woods, the list of 15 current buildingSMART alliance’s Interest Groups can be found here with more on the way.

6:42PM: The presentations are about to begin.

Chuck Mies, Autodesk – BIM Solutions Executive presented BIM and the Application to Lifecycle Management.

Richard Thomas and Aaron Phillips, both of SHP Leading Design, presented BIM Design and Construction Requirements on their experience working with Indiana University, an early BIM owner adopter.

How good were the presentations? Suffice it to say I took 12 pages of notes and the latest bid for a copy is $615 on eBay. The presentations were top-notch, fact-filled, far-reaching, future-oriented, fast and best of all, free. The quality and content was AU level. Here’s my confession: I can honestly say I am a positively changed industry professional for having participated in NYC-RUG. What possibly more can you ask from a meeting?

The recording of the meeting will be posted soon here. Watch the NYC-RUG Meetup Message board for an update as well as for members to submit an idea for an upcoming meeting with the Ideas tab in Meetup.com. Here’s something nifty: If you want to know how to create a GoToMeeting/Webinar recording and how to convert it at a later date you can do so here.

8:07PM: A lively Q/A and closing comments.

It’s timely that next month’s meeting is the Beginner’s Guide to Revit because attending a NYC-RUG meeting is a lot like learning to use Revit. You have to put in some time upfront – some housekeeping to tend to. But once it starts moving the pay-off comes in droves.

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Filed under BIM organizations, collaboration, education, people