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
- communication and
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)
- Best Practices .
- BIM IT Infrastruction and Software Management .
- Technology Evaluations .
- BIM Standards .
- BIM Planning and Deployment .
- BIM Protocols .
- CAD Standards Migration
- Project Support .
- Development of Procedures .
- BIM Custom Library Creation .
- BIM Training .
- BIM Manuals, Case Studies and Best Practice Guidelines .
- BIM Performance Metrics and Benchmarking .
- Project-Specific Workshops
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.