Archive for category BIM

Google X : Project Genie : Vannevar Technology -> Wants to Change AEC, Change the World

gren buildingsThere seems to be little known about what’s going on at this century’s Xerox PARC, Google X and it’s Project Genie, but a small amount of information was unveiled at ArchDaily.  Google’s commitment to sustainability is apparently going to reach into the AEC industry and possibly trample into Autodesk’s campsite.  While other software firms are hampered by their own internal growth and sales and what they can commit to marketing, (Autodesk wins there) and R & D.  The folks at google, know no such bounds.  The spinoff Vannevar Technology (which sounds suspiciously close to Vandelay Industries,) is working on creating…..who knows. Their website states “Reimagining building design for a more sustainable future.” Which is about as exciting as the 5th slide in a time share deck. However, google has the clout and cash in what can be a very stubborn, hesitant to change,” what are you talking to me ” culture.  Typically the principals in architecture firms don’t care about technology, they have minions to get it done so why invest in software or new tech when my current pricing, business structure, ROI formulas are working and set in stone, plus I don’t like business that much I like designing building so the less I get involved the better.  Engineers will analyze and without comparable metrics to analyze, then…paralyze. Construction managers will embrace tech if it saves the time, which equals money, so time and money but they have to live with the consequences, so embracing new tech….tough crowd.  Which is far from saying that things can’t be done better.

The small bit of copy on the web site rightly touts that buildings, yes buildings produce the most greenhouse gases, 40%, so what is google going to do about it?  Systems, software, construction methods, materials, vertically integrate and go borg on the industry.  My guess is whatever they do, they will be building some buildings with Vannevar Tech for proof of concept and case studies.  My guess it’s got be some integrated design and FM system to produce tangible CO2 / greenhouse gas savings, plus energy savings.  Some have guessed it might be a SketchUp on steroids, but then why did they sell it to Trimble. And who cares about the design process, what part of that is the current lifecycle of a building, very little, I’d want to own the building for most its life, it’s operating life, and want to own the management of it, and the data.  There ya go, so then, IBM and Maixmo, meet google, you might know them.  These are the crazy kids floating balloons for internet access. loon

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Great People, Great Pilot: PKNail Pro and Burns McDonnell #BIM #Revit #Existing #Speed

Burns McDonnell I was told was tasked with capturing the existing conditions of numerous buildings for the VA.  They had first seen PKNail Pro demonstrated at the the KC RUG (Kansas City Revit User Group) by Seiler Instrument and wanted to learn more.  I flew down for the pilot on Sunday night.  In office training Monday, on site at Leavenworth VA Tuesday and Wednesday. We were to compare two technologies, head to head for capturing existing conditions.  I was excited for the opportunity but also to learn about new field technologies, and while I have horse in this race and want it to win, I realize there needs to be more tools for everyone to assist in this often overlooked yet critical task.

Burns had gone through the process of scanning/converting/drafting a Revit model from existing drawing, brought CAD files created from the model to the field, and were running tablets that could take pictures and allow you to draft directly in the CAD so the model could be updated later with that data.  My team was running Revit Architecture, PKNail Pro on standard laptops, on a tripod outside, AV cart inside.  My team, within the first 90 minutes had created the entire shell of the hospital with customized windows/doors/openings and all floor levels, and within those same 90 minutes the Burns McDonnell team had decided to go with the PKNail Pro.

There is no rocket science involved, there is creating improved work flows, using the right technology, and having the personnel committed to doing the job, with Burns McDonnel we had all three.  They had to learn a new technology, incorporate field surveying techniques, and learn a new way to do things.  That is a lot to heap on a team in three days, yet they were up and running creating a Revit model, when on Tuesday morning all they had was a blank Revit screen.

I have never claimed PKNail Pro as a cure all for every circumstance, and as a company I have used Pointclouds (more on that later) to capture difficult and hard to reach geometry, but you need to have as many tools at your disposal as possible and I will argue that PKNail Pro that allows you to measure and model directly in the field will give you speed gains you never thought possible.

Thanks Burns McDonnell for the opportunity, and thanks Steve, Vicky, Jeff, Thomas, Mary, Dave and Brian for your work ethic, your hospitality and your willingness to try something new.

Give me a call or email to learn more.

617.575.2222

sales (at) pointknown.com

Leavenworth122

 

 

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Freezing the Federal Footprint #gsa #bim

redtapeThe Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management meets this morning to discuss ‘Freezing the Federal Footprint’.  This comes from an Office of Management and Budget memorandum that stated “ all Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act Executive Branch departments and agencies (agencies) shall not increase the total  square footage of their domestic office and warehouse inventory compared to the FY 2012 baseline.”  

The memorandum also states that “Each agency should work collaboratively with other agencies and GSA to find opportunities for smarter space usage through co-locations and consolidations.”  Ha ha ha, woooha, maybe it doesn’t mean anything, and I can’t say how much power a memorandum has vs. an office action, vs. an order but certainly can effect those depending on the largess of the GSA for a living.  One wonders if the GSA ever moved forward with the GSA BIM IDIQ, that could have given them a solid assessment of properties they have etc. BTW did anyone ever make a dime off that?  I found out the hard way that getting the award and having it funded are tow different things, so I guess it looks good in a frame.

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Architectural, Engineering, and Related services: Top 5 Fastest Growing Industry For Small Business

GrowthA recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, has Architectural  Engineering and related services in the Top 5 Growth Industries for Small Business with growth pegged at 11.4%, #1 was Residential Building Construction.   Now this has to be year to year growth but that factor was not mentioned in the article.  It also is not so surprising considering the complete ass kicking these industries saw 2008-2010.  However, it is encouraging because if the AE portion of AEC is busy, and stands to reason Construction is either in lockstep or not far behind.  And this AEC ship is a big one and carries lots of people.

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Gehry Gets Into The Box : GTeam and BOX AEC Collaboration : #BIM #AEC

LOS ALTOS, CA–(Marketwire – Feb 14, 2013) –  Sales in this (AEC) segment more than doubled over the course of 2012. Box today announced a new technology partner and preferred Box OneCloud apps to better serve customers in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) services. The new integration with Gehry Technologies‘ GTeam cloud-based BIM collaboration service, together with the company’s extensive mobile ecosystem, will make it easier for Box’s growing AEC customer base to securely access, manage and share critical information like blueprints, CAD files and contracts in the field. Sales in this segment more than doubled over the course of 2012.

This whole cloud based AEC collaboration, especially with digital punch lists, central BIM files, etc. just seems to make too much sense for anyone to ignore.

Why the cats in the box, well, the interweb loves cats.

 

 

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86% of Building Construction Expenditures Relate to Renovation of Existing Buildings

“As ASHRAE President Gordon V.R. Holness noted in the  ASHRAE Journal, “Approximately 86% of building construction expenditures relate to renovation of existing buildings, not to new construction.” Holness estimated that “over the next 30 years about 150 billion sf of existing buildings (roughly half of the entire building stock in the United States) will need to be renovated.” Historically, new construction only adds about 2% annually to the U.S. commercial building stock, so the real opportunities for reducing operating costs must be found in building retrofit and renovation.” –  Glumac Blog.

The 2030 Challenge:

Buildings are the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change and keeping global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

To accomplish this, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge asking the global architecture and building community to adopt the following targets:

 

    • All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% below the regional (or country) average/median for that building type.

 

    • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.

 

  • The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to:
    • 70% in 2015
    • 80% in 2020
    • 90% in 2025
    • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy.

Please visit  Frequently Asked Questions section for more in-depth information on the 2030 Challenge.

******

 

*Note: This was stated in the January 2008 Edition of the ASHRAE Journal.  When we polled permitting for Boston, we found 75% for construction in Existing Buildings.  25% New.

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We Now Have The Time and Inclination To Do Things Right : BIM Adoption Reaches 71% In North America

Boom_1“We now have the time and inclination to do things right,” this phrase was uttered by a client of ours, a construction manager, after the 2008 economic implosion of the real estate sector.  The time portion was meant ‘unfortunately’ as few of us were as busy as we wanted, but what he was referring to was his firms move to Revit/BIM.  It just did not make sense from a coordination or phasing point of view to work in CAD anymore because he saw the savings and potential advantages for his firm to move to Revit.

Now according the latest Smart Market Report from McGraw Hill BIM Adoption in North America has reached 71%; that’s up roughly 300% from 2007 when it was 28%.  Give or take a few percentage points.

“I think there’s going to be a huge shakeout.  Those who practice the old way are soon going to find themselves without work.  Either change, get with this program or go out of business.” -Patrick MacLeamy, CEO HOK

Strong words, and I can’t say that the legacy tail of 2D is not a long one but the benefits of BIM are real, and if the reasoning for a firm not to make the move is simply, well we’ve always done it this way.  It may be time to initiate a new planning regimen.  Also in this report is information provided by JC Cannistraro, a MEP Constractor in Watertown, MA wqhich saw change orders drop from 18.42% when working with 2D CAD, to 2.68% with collaborative BIM, that’s as a percentage of total cost, and very real money.

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Reality Capture, for Real. Autodesk Completes Capture of Allpoint Systems : #BIM

autodesk borgAt the end of this month Autodesk announced it completed the purchase of Allpoint Systems, this adds to the ‘Reality Capture’ stable now including Alice Labs.  Although much like the borg, you google Alice Labs and not much comes up as the technology and seemingly most of the talent has been absorbed into the mothership.  As with the purchase of Alice Labs it does not appear that anything from Allpoint will be available for purchase anymore as the technology is incorporated into existing Autodesk products.  From the Press Release:

The acquisition of Allpoint Systems reflects Autodesk’s continued investment in developing sophisticated, easy-to-use reality capture technologies. Reality capture is the practice of creating digital models of physical objects and spaces using photography, laser scanning and other technologies.

Why ‘Reality Capture’ or the ‘Documentation of Reality’, well let’s talk about cars, hang with me.  According to our good friends at Wikipedia, there are about 254 Million passenger cars on the road or registered in the United States and compared to new car sales of almost 13 million that’s a rough ratio of 80/20, that is new versus used.  Interestingly, last time I pulled numbers and the Boston Redevelopment Authority of new construciton permits vs permits for improvements etc. in existing space it was 80/20, in favor of the existing space.  So, look where the work is done, used cars, maintenance, improvements, after market, selling gas, same for buildings, infrastructure (bridges, tunnels) etc.    And the best way to start a project is to document building, bridges, etc. accurately.  The smart money buys used. Or let’s have Autodesk PR Recap.  “….continued investment in developing sophisticated, easy-to-use reality capture technologies”

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5 Firms Converge on New Orleans to Document The Royal Sonesta

 “Jim your a go….” 2:40 PM, New Years Eve 2012.  Text from our client; Mark at Looney &  Associates  

Our work window was January 3rd through January 9 2013.  Travel arrangements and team needed to be assembled for flights in two days.  The only thread holding this together was PKNail Pro.

Team members included individuals from Langan Engineering, Turis, TrueScan3d, LandAir Surveying and my company Interioreview.  The Job: Survey and Document Floors 2-7 of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon Street.  Include structure, electrical objects (Duplex, Com Ports, Thermostats, Wall Lights, etc) and Fire Protection.  450+ Rooms, Common Spaces, Administrative Spaces, +200,000 SF.  1 Week.   From Blank Screen to Floorplans and RCP.

“This is innovative stuff…”, Greg Jensen, Langan Engineering

“…Boom, your done.” Brady O’Brien, Turis Systems

“This certainly opens the door for future teaming efforts, and we’ve already begun to push PK Nail on some of our interior projects – integrating it with scanning and traditional survey.” – Paul Fisher, VP Langan Engineering.

This project could not have happened without the participating firms willingness to deal with such a tight deployment deadline and with the excellent individuals that arrived in New Orleans.  It also could not have happened, and I do have a horse in this race, without PKNail Pro and Revit.  There was simply no other way to coordinate multiple personnel field surveying without both.  We were able to deploy resources as needed since everything was being surveyed and modeled in real time.  4th Floor, South Wing, Greg get on it.  Brian, 2nd Floor with Nico etc.  This also allowed us to create a punch list in real time.  Reflected Ceiling on 3rd Floor, etc. as all the files were compiled daily, if not more often into a central file.  Although the deliverable will eventually be in 2D Autocad, all the initial documentation will be in Revit, so even though it was not part of the scope, we will be able to deliver a typical section through the building with only a small post processing effort.

Lastly, thank you to the good folks at The Royal Sonesta, New Orleans for treating us so well.  They understand hospitality and have a great team.

More and more firms are relying on PKNail Pro for documenting buildings whether they need the final deliverable in Revit or 2D Autocad.  PKNail Pro can deliver.

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Adopting New Technologies and Business Practices : When’s a good time?

Is there ever a good time to adopt a new technology or business practice? No. Yes. Today. First, ask yourself these questions, “Will it make me or our organization more profitable? Will it lead to new business opportunities?” One broad way to measure profitability is ROI in the investment. How much will it cost to introduce a new technology or business practice, what costs are involved, how quick is the pay back. Are there metrics in place to measure this? One can argue during downtime or between large projects is the best time to invest so they can be incorporated from the beginning of the next project. Cost center issues get caught up with the CFO or whatever other gate keeper that is out there because they cannot be assigned or passed on to a client. Why is this an argument? It might not be said out right, but this type of accounting is just easier and no one ever gets in trouble going with the flow. You were not the one who approved such expenditures so it can be pinned on you. Be an evangelist. Things need to get done. If there is a better way to do it. Do it. You know eventually your competition is going to and will either be A) more profitable B) more efficient or both and start making money at a lower cost than you are. You’re an artist, and it’s always worked this way. Okay, maybe, but that doesn’t scale. The organization is you. And maybe that’s okay but I don’t know how you hire and keep talented people. People like to solve problems and they want the tools to solve them. You have to build a house. Tough to argue for the hammer over the nail gun.

One business proverb always comes to mind when dwelling on this issue.

“If you don’t like new technology you’ll like obsolescence even less.”

Next Time: “It’s all Organization Behavior”

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