In a recent article for the IBTimes, David Fano, Practice 2.0: Work Smarter Not Harder, brings up a good point about working together and developing open source systems and standards. He uses creating a national CAD graphics standard as a jumping off point.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects held about 141,200 jobs in 2008 (source). Hypothetically, if each architect in the U.S. spends 30 minutes a year on average working on standards, as a profession we spend 70,600 hours on standards every year. Just for reference there are 2,080 hours per year in a standard full-time work week (52 weeks x 40 hours). That’s like a firm of 34 full time architects working on nothing but standards every year.
This same thing is happening on a larger scale with BIM. Each camp developing its own standards, objects and regardless of IFC, are not really good at speaking to each other. Even within a BIM platform, such as Revit, you have modelers who will build window families different from each other, now I’m all for artisans, but this seems to be going a bit far. Now if we want to get to a liquid marketplace where each contractor can bid on a building, or component of a building for construction, fabrication or service we need an open platform that everyone can tie into. What we have are ‘readers’ or ‘compilers’ like Navisworks or now BIM Sight from Tekla/Trimble which can suck in disparate information and display it, good, that’s a good step, but you then don’t do ‘something’ in these products and are they added back to the model, it’s another step to update the model with work that might be done, in stead of giving specific permission to a ‘contractor’ to update the model with the work that was done. Perhaps, will have a ton of translators doing the work of minions, but for now there is still a ton of customization, which is good, but without a common standard, a lot of re-work and cross entry and translation (which is bad).
But the short answer to John’s query about an open source approach to the industry, “yeah, right on!”