My vision on interoperability is both simplistic and idealistic, but I think it makes sense. Instead of opening RVT files in Revit, DGN files in Microstation and SKP files in SketchUp, we should be able to open BIM files in all of them (much like how I can open a JPG in Paint, Photoshop and Windows Picture Viewer - among many programs). The objects for the building models would be PIM files (instead of RFA, etc. files).
Too simplistic? Perhaps, but we probably won't find out for quite some time because software companies don't think that it would be beneficial to have that level of interoperability. Consider the recent Autodesk lawsuit against the Open Design Alliance. Clearly, they aren't ready to "play nice" with any other company (despite the fact that most companies have the ability to export to DWG format).
Again, I don't claim to fully understand this situation. However, I think that a little cooperation from and collaboration between software companies might not be a bad thing.
The Revit web library is mostly comprised of generic objects, but does have a few PIMs for use: Anderson Windows has uploaded PIMs of its 400 series windows and a link to the Woodwork Institute provides *.rfa files for cabinets on its website.
The concept of PIM is great in theory; it makes sense to be able to use the exact window you want instead of having to go through the hassle of creating families. There is only one problem with PIM: no one thinks they have a reason to create them.
I think that it could be beneficial for manufacturers to have PIMs of their products available; it would make it easier for architects to choose their product instead of a competitor. However, there probably aren't enough architects utilizing BIM software (never mind a specific software) for it to be cost effective.
It seems that manufacturers won't start creating PIMs of their products until BIM becomes the standard for architects; even at that point, they will have to decide which software platform their object should be created for. But one of the many excuses for avoiding BIM that architects give is that object libraries are not developed enough.
So, while manufacturers wait for architects and architects wait for manufacturers, owners will continue to be dissatisfied with the outcome (or at least the cost and timing of outcome). And I'm guessing they will continue to be unaware of what exactly is causing their dissatisfaction.
In the meantime, we're going to keep implementing BIM and saving the world, one virtually constructed building at a time.
In summary, Rich's article highlighted three (of many) of the lessons of the conference. We (which can mean either internal Tocci staff or the construction industry) have been talking about these things for quite some time, so it is nice to hear it coming from the architectural side.
- Despite common belief, most of the built world has little to do with architects.
- There is a severe shortage of craft workers and skilled tradespeople in the construction workforce.
- The delivery chain is broken to the point that the industry is faltering as it tries to implement and develop standards for BIM.
John's comments were more specific to his presentation and the response of the attendees, which was overall positive. People were excited about some of the things we are doing at Tocci (and some of the things that we are talking about doing - like presenting the architect/owner with NCR'sTM (notification of clash resolution) isntead of RFI's.One of the important questions (perhaps the most important) was from an owner:
Where do I tell my architect to go to get started with this stuff?
We don't have an answer for them; no one has produced anything like this for architects...yet.
Besides sounding (slightly) pompous, my definition introduces these new concepts while introducing new words, completing alienating the audience. So I decided to try something new:
BIM : What it is...
- A building development tool (like Timberline or a crane)
- A communication and collaboration tool (like a set of drawings or e-mail)
- Multi-dimensional (can be used to facilitate design, construction, manufacturing, O&M)
- Object-oriented (smart - objects know what they are)
- A method that relies on software interoperability (software programs need to "talk" to each other)
- Software (my personal pet peeve!)
- A replacement for people (it doesn't run itself)
- Flawless (BIM is just a baby; it will need some time to develop)
- Just a 3D model (it is a number of components working together)
I've spent some time paying around in Systems 2.0 for the past two days. I'm not completely convinced that it is ready; the library isn't fully developed. However, with an external consultant helping us build the library, we should be able to make this work. Wish me luck...
...have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
Within your Revit project, create views and sheets that you would like to share.
Select File -> Export -> Image. In the Export Image dialog box, select the "Selected views/sheets" option for Export Range. Then, check the check-box for "Create browsable web site with a linked HTML page for each view" option under Output. Make sure that all of the check-boxes under "Options" are checked, and modify the file path/name if necessary.
Click "Select..." (next to "Selected views/sheets" under Export Range), and in the View/Sheet Set dialog box, select the sheets and views that you would like to display. Click "OK" when you have selected all of the sheets you want.
When you are back in the Export Image dialog box, click "OK".
In Windows Explorer, navigate to the path you specified in the Export Image dialog box. Open the HTML file and navigate through the website that you created. (Until I can actually put this website up, enjoy a fuzzy demo of using it.)
If that isn't quite enough for you, navigate to the folder that has the same name as the file name you specified. You can play with the background, logo and other icons that are in the folder.
Andy is a full believer in BIM. At Skanska USA, they are currently using BIM for visualization purposes, safety/logistics plans and visual schedules. In the future, they hope to use it for clash detection and MEP coordination, estimating and compliance with LEED checks. He sees the as-built model as a possibility in the distant future.
Chris, on the other hand, is a skeptic; he believes in the concept of BIM, but wants the practical applications proven to him. Gilbane is currently using BIM for visualization purposes and constructibility reviews. His group usually does 40 reviews/year; their goal for this year is to use BIM for something on half of those.
Hearing the progress from both BIM-users from national and international GCs (who have tons of staff and deep pockets) was refreshing. Tocci, a mid-size CM firm with 2 building information modelers (who have to spend 30-40% of their time on traditional estimating) and a limited number of software licenses, isn't doing so bad.
In the past 6 months, we have modeled 8 or 9 projects to some degree. We have used BIM for visual scheduling on several of our projects. We have virtually detected clashes for part of one of our projects and are creating several more models that will be used for clash detection. Besides doing takeoffs for specific items on specific projects, we are currently setting up a streamlined process for quantity takeoff and cost engineering. We have created a logistics plan for several of our projects. And of course, we are using BIM for visualization purposes.
I was very impressed with the work that Andy and Chris showed. Their projects are impressive, and it is great to see other GC/CM firms who are implementing. It was nice to talk with some other BIM-ers and discuss setbacks and the such.
And of course, it feels good to know that while the big boys have been hesitantly wading in for several years and are still getting their feet wet, we jumped in just 6 months ago and aren't drowning. In fact, we might even have the doggy paddle down.
What about measured buildings?Jerry is referring to the idea of using BIM not only for simulation (of energy analysis, solar studies, etc.), but for optimization of systems based on the simulation. According to Jerry, optimization should be final objective of applying BIM to design; simulation is merely a method to real the end goal. Furthermore, he believes that if the results of a simulation aren't used to optimize the design, the team wasted both time and money.
As harsh as it sounds, I agree. There are certainly analogies in the applying BIM to construction. For instance, I can simulate the entire construction process by running clash detection. The results of that simulation might be finding 72 clashes that would save the project a $300,000 if resolved prior to construction.
Imagine if instead of working with the subcontractors and field staff to incorporate the resolutions to those clashes into the actual construction, I did nothing. I would have wasted the time and money it cost to model the project along with the $300,000.
If you aren't going to use simulation to optimize design and construction, why BIM?
the loss of information due to inaccuracies, incompleteness or unwillingness of BIM products to pass information appropriately.Brad Finck (of Cadsoft) introduced me to the term "BIM spillage". According to Brad, it will be the greatest barrier to adoption. Although I like the term, I couldn't disagree more.
BIM spillage is essentially the loss of information due to interoperability. And because interoperability is a measurable software-related problem, it can be resolved within time. I think there are other problems that will be much greater barriers:
- development of standards
- legal concerns
- current project structure
- resistance to change
All of these problems will be resolved over time. And none of these problems will prevent forward thinking AEC firms and professionals from switch to BIM. However, a firm or professional who is resistant to change won't be able to look for or agree with solutions to any of these other problems. So at first, they will be the greatest barrier to industry-wide implementation, but they won't hold the rest of us back for long. Because as Thom Mayne (of morphosis) said (at the 2005 AIA national convention in
If you want to survive, you're going to change; if you don't, you're going to perish. It's as simple as that.
The Extended Benefits of BIM discussed exactly what one would guess (clash detection, logistics plans, quantity extraction, energy analysis, facilities management) and then a few others that I had forgotten about from my original research began earlier this year (building code check, constructability studies). The speakers for this session were Chris Barry (of Gilbane), Andy Deschenes (of Skanska), Brad Finck (of Cadsoft Corporation), Richard Keleher (of Keleher Architect) and Geoffrey Langdon (of Architectural CADD Consultants).
The panel for Implementing BIM were Len Charney (of the BAC), Andy Deschenes (of Skanska), Geoffrey Langdon (of Architectural CADD Consultants) and Jeffrey Millet (of Stubbins). Each of the speakers briefly spoke about various aspects of implementation (training, software, process, etc.) and then the panel answered questions from the audience (topics ranging liability, sharing files, licensing, training, managing, etc.).
The workshops that i didn't attend were "Overview of BIM" and "BIM in Architectural Practice".
Over the next week or so, I intend to address specific concepts/methods that really affected or inspired me - there were too many stimulating topics to effectively cover in just one post.
I know that v1 wasn't quite ready for modeling; it lacked content and didn't efficiently support plumbing. Although we have a license to v2, I haven't had a chance to check it out.
So, where did I turn to find out if v2 was ready to support modeling? First Autodesk, then Google. And what did I find? For all intents and purposes, nothing! Autodesk has a page on features, but it didn't really tell me anything. Furthermore, I couldn't find a review of it anywhere; not in a blog, not on AECbytes, nowhere!
I'm surprised that Autodesk hasn't publicized the update more - I assumed that they would want the AEC community to know that they added more content and more features to a new software.
I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about evaluating v2; I don't have the time to test it out and review it myself. But if anyone wants to prove me wrong by finding (or writing...) a review, feel free to.
Laura, Nice work. I have a few questions.In short:
- What did you get from the design team?
- How long did it take? If you did a similar project again, how long would it take?
- Did you use Revit Building, Structure or other?
- What were the reactions of the superintendent, owner, and steel sub?
- Will you take a look at the quantities/time (tons per week)?
- The design team provided us with schematic drawings - *.dwg format.
- It took approximately 100 hours to model the structural steel and then a few more hours to schedule it like we did. It would probably take 70 hours if we did the same project again - the drawings weren't too clear and it is a large project with minimal repetition between floors.
- We used Revit Building 9.0
- Since the job hasn't been awarded, there is no superintendent assigned to it. We have also yet to present it to the owner and steel sub. However, everyone who has seen it has been very impressed.
- We haven't discussed looking into tons/week, but I think that it is a worthwhile exercise that I might go through for the experience
My purpose at the meeting was to introduce BIM, show the model (in DWF format, see below) and discuss what how we intend to use it for their project.
We started the meeting with a brief presentation of the current Revit model (which is maybe 40% complete). The subcontractors were interested in seeing the model, but were also hesitant about having to actually use it. A few had experience with 3D modeling, but felt that the process is too expensive and time-consuming. Surprisingly, the architect seemed really interested in and impressed with our effort to date.
Most of the subcontractors agree that 3D modeling and BIM are the future of the construction industry, but believe that it is about 10 years away. Despite that, most are willing to cooperate and collaborate as long as I do all of the work. Thanks guys.
With the file in NavisWorks, I can see all the detail they put into the model. The intelligence didn't import in - I'm going to try to have Chasse create a *.dxf file to improve the import. But, at least the the geometry is there.
A PM from SL Chasse (out of New Hampshire) sent me a SDS/2 model of the steel in one of our projects. Granted, it's a wood frame job, so there isn't a whole lot of steel, but it's something! Now, I just have to figure out how to import it into NavisWorks.
One of the things we discussed was all of the groups the AGC has relating to BIM adoption and standards:
And then there are all the non-AGC organizations that are talking about the same thing:
To me, all of this seems very disconnected and extremely un-BIM-like. Isn't segmentation between the building industries exactly how we got into this litigious mess?
BIM is about more than utilizing new technology; it is about changing the way construction happens. It is about working together with one goal. I'm not sure how all 8 of these groups intend to simultaneously (but independently) implement one solution for the industry.
My vision for industry implement starts with the consolidation of all of the AGC BIM groups (ideally into the BIMForum). The BIM groups within other organizations will do the same.
After each organization has one group focused on the implementation of BIM, those groups will get together to form a large multi-disciplinary group that can work together to figure out one set of standards, one interoperable file format, one flexible best practices plan, etc.
The BIMForum is looking to address this issue, but there is only so much we can do; other organizations need to do the same.
Some characterize my 'vision' as idealistic, but if that is idealistic, so is BIM. Do BIM-proponents really think that once BIM is implemented, all of our problems are going to be solved if we cannot work together?