existing conditions, part 2

Last month, I left off with the deliverables that we received from our surveyor.

Our first step was to convert all of that information into an existing conditions Revit model. We started by converting the 3d AutoCAD model.

Our two priorities in the conversion were (1) maintaining geometric accuracy and (2) creating a usable Revit model. There was no option: they could not be mutually exclusive. And we did it. It was not easy. And it hurt. Furthermore, the results are not ideal - mostly because the model is really finicky. But it was the best we could do.

To maximize our results, we had to develop a unique (but integrated) process for converting each type of object.

The existing building mostly contains 1567 CIP concrete columns (all unique); 476 CIP concrete beams (again, all unique); 31, 492 LF of various walls (mostly CIP concrete and brick); and 816,995 SF of undulating concrete floors.

And we did it, all while referencing the TruViews to make sure we were interpreting everything as accurately as we could.

I've simplified the process quite a bit - there was a lot of planning, organizing and optimizing that went into it along with a lot of technical skill. This entire conversion took about 3 weeks, with one person actively modeling and a secondary person doing some modeling and some organizing.

The next step: laying in new structure and architecture, which was designed based on inaccurate existing conditions.

Tracks at AU

Preface: I am aware that there are many people at Autodesk who want to work to support the construction portion of the AEC industry. I appreciate those people who provide us (specifically Tocci) so much support. I am also aware that in general, designers purchase more seats of AutoCAD, Revit, etc. than Builders.

But what message does it send that there is no "Construction" track at AU?

Reconsidering AU

Autodesk is forcing me to eat my words: they have pushed me to attend. So, I'll be there.

I hate saying this, but of course I'm excited.

Owners Love the Model

This morning, the Virtual Construction Coordinator (site liaison person) for one of our projects emailed me the following:

Architect and owner [of the project] have decided, "No more 2d drawings; they are too difficult to pick apart. Everything should be in 3d going forward."

For this project, the entire design team
works in CAD. We have modeled everything in-house, and are continuing to model to reflect updated information and help the owner make design decisions. Below: design options for a specific area.

more on prefab residences

Much like Powerhouse, Flatpak provides residential solutions, based on prefabrication. Flatpak is a system of prefabricated components that are combined to meet specific site and personal requirements.


Currently, I am listening to the leader of DPR's VDC group speak about how they are using VDC, specifically for self-performed work.

The most striking thing about his presentation (for me) is that we aren't that far behind DPR. This is striking because DPR is one of the most advanced VDC adopters, along with Swinerton, WebCorp and Mortenson. Some of the things they (and we!) are doing is layout directly from the model, working to set up 4d & 5D the right way, and giving dimensions from the model to the field.

Because DPR self-performs, they are also providing information on formwork and shoring - and really detailed information!

One of his major points is that the superintendents (in his words, "the guy who is actually building it") needs to be a part of the creation of the model, so that they can actually use the model.

Another really interesting thing that he said was that "BIM is not paperless." So true - we, too, are providing 11 x 17 drawings to the field with dimensions and 3d views.

A few other points from him:
  • BIM isn't faster. A traditional estimate at a certain (early) stage takes 6 days and uses a combination of multiple methods. A 3d model-based estimate at the same stage takes 6 days: 4 days of modeling and up to 2 days of building the estimate from that model.
  • A way to get people to adopt is to use the technology to facilitate their current workflow, not change it.

Posted hasily from the BIMForum Boston Working Meeting - excuse any typos or grammer errors.

How Revit Should be Modeling

According to one "Associate Virtual Construction Engineer".


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