Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) recently formalized a partnership or made it more formal, actual details seem fuzzy even after reading the press release, sort of like IES and SketchUp agree to continue to working together. IES and EcoTect (now part of Autodesk) have been two of the longest standing players in the digital building analysis arena and what makes this really interesting to me is that SketchUp continues to gain traction. Users and developers are flocking to SketchUp and part of that is the magnetic power of google but also a fact is that I have architects say to me that they never used CAD in their life but now they use Sketch Up. It could be part of a larger migration to use SketchUp on the design end of the process. I can hear BIM purists, Revit Snobs and CAD managers groan and start cursing me already but hold and consider this.
- Many GCs are already building their own BIMs for projects as they have the ultimate responsibility.
- Architects are the first to admit they are designers and artists why not let them express themselves with the most intuitive tool.
- Architects want to manage the BIM process as much as they want paper cuts filled with lemon juice.
Have the architects design the project and then consult with the building of the BIM when the GCs put it together using their design as the template. The rise of virtual construction departments within the GCs themselves are well positioned for this transition and are already doing it for the most part. Why have an architectural BIM that might not be used for construction. If you can go through an iterative design process with SketchUP, utilize building performance tools from IES and then were just waiting for option analysis, rough quantity takes offs from Sketch Up you have a powerful SimpleBIM tool with a price point that is 10% that of the equivalent from Autodesk. Not that we give up on Revit, ArchiCAD, Navisworks, etc for the heavy lifting and actual BIM and construction coordination, 4D, 5D etc. but until everyone works on the same platform, ask yourself what’s the best workflow, best use of resources, best use of funds I don’t think it starts with conceptual work in Revit.