Archive for category As Builts

BIM: Do you use it on a house? Do you use it here or there? I won’t use it Sam I am! :#BIM

Moral of the story, Sam likes it.  Trolling through the variety of posts and discussion boards I came across this one about Is BIM the Future.  And if we take a step back we should ask is 3D drafting the answer, which I think everyone would answer with a qualified yes.  Working in 3D just makes everything faster, for presentations, for communicating with the clients, renderings, etc.  Hell I even heard the comment that architects who would not touch CAD, are using SketchUP, and since they are SketchUP is gaining traction in the marketplace.  BIM it is not, but communicating in 3D, it’s a snap and who wants to be against google.  So if we are going to work in 3D, why not implement all these great tools and data which is essentially what BIM is.  However, everyone is trying to jump, well not everyone, but most are trying to jump from a 2D world to try and fully implement BIM, and without getting your bearings in 3D first it’s a bit harder.  Trying to implement a fully realized BIM, 4D-5D, Google-D, much tougher.

… baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps…

But still I think you got to get started somewhere, because the expectation is you will have to deliver BIM, even if a lot might not be able to define it, but at least 3D.  Recently someone asked us for a proposal on 120,000SF building to an existing conditions / as built survey to which I gave him a quote, he then asked what file type to which I replied that it was for 2D CAD / Floorplans.  He then said I’d like in Revit.  To which I replied, that would be more.  His response, “Why?”

It will be the the coming expectations of everyone out there, and what’s tough, even with the all the ROI Case Studies of spending more money on the front end, very few want to do it.  We are very early in the process of selling BIM / Revit to the masses so education is still going to be a big part of it.  To get back on topic, is the future BIM?  Yup, but were going to have to do a lot more selling and educating for it to pay for the firms creating them.

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Revit Existing Conditions and As Builts Picking Up Pace : #BIM #Revit

My company’s primary focus is to document existing conditions and deliver to the client ‘something’ dimensionally correct.  This something has typically been 2D drawings, floorplans, elevations, sections, etc.  We have utilized Revit on jobs that have required such extensive documentation that it was simply more efficient to create a 3D model and export the 2D data then document and draw the traditional way.  In fact, we have documented existing conditions in 3D since 2003 because it was always simpler to be in and object oriented environment.  However, the deliverables remained in 2D.  However, almost everything we have done in the last 3 months has been Revit and delivering existing conditions building models in Revit.   And the uses of the model vary widely.

  • We surveyed and delivered a Revit model of two dormitories for a University in Revit, even though they did not have an installed seat, because they wanted to prepare for the future.
  • We completed a Revit model of a single floor of Class A Office Space to be used for new interior layouts and design
  • We are in the process of surveying and creating a model of a sprawling historic in built in parts starting with the main building in 1760 to a new hall built in 1984. This is to be used for master planning of the site which they will use for rendering and analysis and to integrate a new building that will house a new lobby and 50+ guest rooms.

So the uses of Revit are expanding, and even if they are not being used for 4D and 5D purposes its benefits for visual communication, analysis, and increased speed of design/drafting cannot be discounted.  However, when integrating among all disciplines the results can be outstanding across the board.

We were fortunate enough to be part of the successful team, through a fantastic effort put forth by HNTB, that will be involved with the GSA and surveying and modeling their properties nationwide. What we have seen is either through the ripple effect or from other companies just being proactive that Revit and BIM are making a lot of headway into the community.  Companies that we work with report that they hope to be doing all their projects in Revit by this time next year and with new ways of doing work, and changing workflow and even the environment comes opportunity.

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Summer Thaw, Projects on the Rise: #BIM

I have always thought companies like mine are like the canaries in the coal mine for part of the industry, like box companies as an indicator for the overall economy.  When companies start ordering more boxes they are expecting to ship more product.  Our company surveys buildings and provides as builts in both 3D BIM and 2D CAD formats.  When times are flush we operate much like others enjoying the benefit, but as projects start to dry up, firms will immediately pull back outsourcing to keep employees busy rather than laying them off.  This impacts us greatly.  When the economy turns the inverse is true, and firm wary of hiring yet or not having enough stuff turn to us to augment their services without increasing head count.  While I might argue that might be a prudent way to do business generally we ride the tide like everyone else.  Having said that there has been a very perceptible uptick in business and companies asking us for proposals.  More germane to the BIM world is people asking about Revit and asking for more Revit deliverables.  A University even asked us after our presentations to deliver their dorms in Revit even though they did not even have an installed seat of Revit but wanted to plan for the future.  Yesterday an architect I spoke to said they are now doing 70% of their work in Revit and that clients love seeing their projects in 3D, so even with the economic benefits of working in BIM are real no one should discount the importance of visual communication.  This has been a rough ride but I believe more strongly than ever that a fundamental shift has taken place in the building and design community and investing now in training in BIM will pay dividends well into the future.

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The Rise of Virtual Construction: #BIM

When I first started my company at one of our presentations after explaining we could capture as-builts in 3D, then ADT, now Revit, one of the architects in the room stood up and emphatically said, “we don’t want ANY Z-axis information.”  To which I replied, “not a problem we can flatten all the drawings.”  But that response still resonates with me, how could anyone not want Z- axis information, how come you would want me to strip all the meta data of an object to just a block, to which I have found out, you do not mess with the workflow of an architect’s office so it is of little surprise that construction mangers seem to be the current biggest adopters of BIM and Revit as they are ultimately on the hook for cost management.  With that said you have construction managers around the country opening up virtual construction offices to figure out the design, reduce collisions, schedule sub-contracts, etc. before a shovel is ever put in the ground.  This is a big change in the zeitgeist since before everyone looked at soft costs, (i.e. engineering and design) as some fuzzy math and did not appreciate it as much as pouring concrete or erecting steel, as that was at least the physical embodiment of the money developers put up.  Getting digital files that could fit on a thumb drive just did not seem big enough.  Virtual construction has proven itself to pay for itself may times over through quicker build time, less collisions, better decision making, etc and BIM is enabling it.  Viva la Z Axis.

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GSA BIM & Laser Scanning : Firms Short Listed

The GSA continues to move forward with the BIM Services and Laser Scanning.  Participating firms have been notified if they have been short listed, however, this has not been made public yet.  I’ll post when I find out, if anyone else knows, please follow up.  This move, with Wisconsin on board, energy analysis becoming required with construction, points well for those involved.

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Laser to Revit : Laser to BIM

PointKnown website www.pointknown.com has its splash page up and expects to be in beta within the next 6 weeks.  PointKnown has developed a system that takes laser range finder data and builds Revit models in the field.  Point to Point Laser Technology (PPLT)  increases the capture of existing conditions,  speeds the production of BIM and Revit Models of the built environment and decreases data gathering and draft time by over 50%.

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Building Green with BIM : Existing Conditions

I wondered ho much of the green movement would get sidelined due to the tanking economy, and how much acceleration LEED certified projects will continue to get.   Regardless of LEED though going green is proving to be cost effective, so effect on the bottom line are always going to get noticed.  BIM allows option analysis from an energy perspective.   You can perform solar analysis, heat gain/loss, options to replace glass with low-e, double paned, or triple paned, and run your ROI on a project by project basis.  What is the payback by re insulating  or  upgrading the power plant is much easier calculated with a BIM.  A recent article by Karl Heitman in the REournal goes on to say that you need to take into account the “embodied energy” in a building and that it would take 75 years of LEED Platinum Certified Building to repay the loss of tearing it down.  So need to refit and reuse, create great projects with your existing conditions.

How you can capture existing conditions in a BIM format?  So far, not so easy.

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