Belated Holiday Card

This year, Tocci sent out an e-card. I meant to post it, but then I forgot. Oops. Better late than never... In any case, we've had a lot of feedback, including Mark Sawyer's thoughts on it, which we truly appreciate.

Next BIMForum Meeting

The meeting will be on May 28th & 29th in Dallas at the Omni Mandalay. Registration isn't open yet, but please save the date.

The theme of the meeting or topic that we will be digging into is "BIM: Now, More Than Ever". In our discussions about this theme, we have discussed presentations, workshops and working sessions related to practice "how-tos" for company implementation, how to speed up payback, and additional services to offer because of your use of BIM. We will also discuss both the need and strategies to educate PMs, PAs and mid- and high-level employees.

So save the date, and look for an email from BIMForum for registration.

Cleaning Up on Site

One of the features of “full” IPD contracts is that project participants (who are involved in the IPD team) bill “at cost”. For us, this includes architecture, design MEP, CM, MEP/FP subcontractors and drywall. This creates an interesting dynamic on site – where the most appropriate and cost efficient participant performs work that may not traditionally be considered in their scope. This forces all to focus on optimizing the whole. This includes tasks from layout to using lifts/equipment to cleaning up on site.

Traditionally, we require our subcontractors to clean up on site. However, in this case, we didn’t want a trained specialty contractor spending time cleaning up on site when we could have a Tocci laborer do the same work at a reduced hourly rate. So, we “bought back” that typical scope component and are adding to the project savings for everyone by spending less.

BIM for Electrical

Yesterday morning, John Tocci presented on the Autodesk Waltham project. When one of our co-location images was shown, Jim Bratton (Dyna Electric) leaned over to me and remarked that he was disappointed that the only person not using a computer was the electrical engineer.

I was really excited to clarify the image for him. During the working meeting, it didn’t make sense for the electrical engineer to bring his computer over to model – his actual desk was right around the corner. After we resolved items through discussion, he went back to his machine to model in Revit MEP. Furthermore, the electrician had access to both PDF/DWF of the design documents as well as the Revit model. Even though they aren’t technically BIM-enabled, they were so excited about the process that they staffed a full-time person, on site, to navigate through the model for extra information as needed.
This just goes to show that even subcontractors that aren’t BIM-enabled can utilize the model in some capacity. Additionally - the "E" in Revit MEP is functional.

Audit Trail

Something that people tend to discuss is the need for an audit trail in model authoring tools to facilitate IPD. But I believe it was Wayne Muir (from SCI) countered that point during the Software Vendor panel discussion. He made the case that only lawyers want and benefit from an audit trail. We all need to understand what has changed in the model, but have no need for who did what. These tools enable collaboration; we don’t need to add features that send us back to the traditional litigious process.

On the Autodesk Waltham project, we don’t have any audit trail. We don’t need one (also we couldn't have one even if we wanted one). Because there is trust between all the team members. KlingStubbins trusts that we won’t modify anything without discussion it with them, and we trust that they will notify us of changes they are making, so we can implement them.

I agree with Wayne – it is not about the technology; it’s about the process. Although, as someone else brought up, is that just giving the vendors an excuse not to resolve dysfunction? (Actually, probably not – I don’t believe that vendors want to create less than functional tools that prevent companies from purchasing them.)

Read the Contract

Mark McDonald, from NBBJ, gave an interesting presentation on Tools for Effective IPD. One of the most interesting points to me was his insistence that the entire team read the contract. This is something we are preparing our team for; although, there is some resistance to reading 70+ pages of “lawyer speak” (as one of our modelers says) for each project. We are having the team read all the available IPD and BIM Addendum-like contracts, and then scheduling discussions in order to ready them to read project-specific contacts. Hopefully some exposure to “lawyer speak” will make it easier to read project-specific contracts.

Mark gave several reasons for why the entire team should read the contract, but the most important is that it: defines what it is expected of the team. I agree with this wholeheartedly.

He also said not to worry about company manuals because the contract is the guide; the team should align the tools to the contract. Although I agree that the team’s tools and processes should be aligned to the contract, but I don’t think that company-specific protocols and manuals should be thrown to the wind.

In a more traditional project, company-specific protocols will most likely govern the interaction and process on the project, because the contract probably won’t. And on IPD projects, the team needs to be prepared to hit the ground running, and experience and company standards will facilitate the integration with other project partners. On of the things that both Sarah & I say about working together is that it was easier to develop standards and work together because of our experience with Revit and company standards. We knew that the other had a lot experience and could be trusted.

Obviously company standards do need to be modified to meet contract requirements (or vice versa), but it is critical to have a base standard.

Steel Penetrations

One of the stats given on the Solaris project (presented by the BIMForum SCI and Weitz) was the number of steel penetrations incorporated into the model: 18,000 (5,000 reinforced). The number of penetrations enabled the design team to locate ceilings directly at bottom of steel. The reason: to add an extra floor to the building while meeting Vail height requirements. I think these images speak for themselves:

Structural Model for Permit Review

Another interesting use of the model for the Solaris project (presented at the BIMForum by SCI and Weitz) was during the building permit review process. After discussions with the team, the town of Vail agreed to review the structural model as part of the building review process. The team helped the town navigate through the model to understand and visualize areas.

This use of the model is impressive; there is significant value in speeding up the permit review process by supplying information that is easier to understand and more consistent.

Of course, as towns move in this direction, this may require all of to model to standards specific to permit review. At the very least, we may have to model additional components for the process. I guess we all need to practice with Solibri (which I have been doing for the past few weeks – more on that later).

Metrics from Structural Modeling

One of the early presentations at the BIMForum meeting discussed the use of structure model on Solaris, a 420~,000 SF mixed used project in Vail, discussed by Wayne Muir (President of Structural Consultants Inc.) and Chris Allen, (Manager of VDC at Weitz). The structural model was used to a great degree on the project, and many specific noteworthy points were brought up. I will touch on just a few of them in a few posts.
On the project, SCI (the structural engineer) contracted directly with the owner, and it was determined that the model would be used by both design and construction team members.
Because of the modeling during design, SCI delivered more accurate information to the construction team during DD. In fact, at DD, the deliverables for Weitz and the subcontractors was drawings, specs AND the 3D model. And for specific components (for instance, the complex roof structure), the model governed when there were discrepancies between the model and drawings.
The metrics: Sub bids for the steel package, budgeted at $30,000,000, were within $100,000 of each other. Sub bids for the precast package, budgeted at $8,000,000, were within $5,000 of each other.

Defining IPD

The theme of the January BIMForum meeting at La Quinta was the Path to IPD; although, when the theme was first selected, it was referred to as “BIM-Enabled IPD”. Why the change? As the conference chair, David Morris (EMCOR) explained in the keynote: the conference planning committee was comprised of 6 people and 8 different opinions. Some people defined IPD strictly as a contractual form, much like the AIA295 (the Project LLC contract) and Consensus Docs 300. Others saw IPD as integrating design with construction in any fashion (i.e. design assist).
It seems like the fate of IPD is similar to that of BIM: it will mean something different to everyone.
For what it’s worth, I define IPD as a specific tri-party form of agreement/contract that sets up a framework for people to work together more effectively.