Archive for category ROI

BIM : Explode Value Engineering : #BIM #AIA #Revit

I am not an architect, nor do I play one on tv I simply have a small company that surveys buildings. While that may not qualify me to design one I have had the benefit of being in hundreds of buildings, surveyed them, see how they were put together, and they functioned with people in them, so with this little bit of information I feel qualified on commenting on architecture in general. And before I start I want to say that I believe architecture has the ability to transform and inspire like few other arts or disciplines because I can walk by a statue without noticing it (which I hope I don’t but were all in a hurry sometimes) but tougher still to ignore the building you are entering, or working in or even passing by, however, with that said I am unfortunately underwhelmed by most buildings I’ve been in or pass by, or have worked in. Too often we exist in a world that is value engineered, that is something has been designed to be produced as inexpensively as possible. I understand that, less expensively built; more people can afford to purchase; we all win, fine. Good in cars and televisions, unfortunate in buildings. We live in a center core, curtain wall efficiency that drains most of the fun, awe and art straight out of a building. And if you are trying to do something inexpensive, yet impressive this too can be a daunting task. But there are examples, artchitect turning shipping containers into homes comes to mind, like Adam Kalkin, Another is a home we surveyed designed by Carl Koch as part of community on Snake Hill. Now personally I thought it was fantastically ugly from the outside, looked like a box, seemed kind of cheap but as I entered the house, which still had all its original materials and finishes I was amazed how everything made sense, nothing wasted, coherent, took advantage of passive solar while providing lots of light and a great view, lines were simple, I was impressed but again this happens so seldom.

However, I have hope more and more architects are designing in 3D, even Architects who never once fired up CAD are embracing SketchUp as way to think and communicate in 3D. BIM allows design to happen digitally and with true BIM packages allows analysis and fabrication to build a building more cost effectively and real ROI metrics for making choices. Now this could be used for good rather than evil by providing hard bids on designs that were thought to cost prohibitive before, or proving new designs digitally and communicating them to developers and owners in 3D convinces them of their merit. What I hope is that ‘value engineering’ ceases to be a proxy for taking all the fun out out of a building but instead becomes part of the process that brings 3D digital design and BIM into reality and physical structures that continue to awe and inspire.

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BIM, There’s an App for that: #BIM

What is the future of BIM?  While this may seem premature as many people are new to BIM and IPD and their implications we can see parallels in the computer industry itself.  And we look at the computer industry what we are really looking at is the storage/management and use of data since the computer is only a tool and if we are not using it really its just a paperweight.

The computer originally was used to compute data, numbers, and one of its first big hits for mass consumption was Visi-Calc, an electronic spreadsheet that did the math for you, which took the place of paper.  That was good.  The spread sheets got more robust in power and features.  New entrants came in, remember Lotus 1-2-3.  It started getting really popular and more entrants came in, Microsoft brought out Excel, and now Microsoft Office, which Excel is a part of is the main revenue generator for the company.  Companies were created to add functionality to these programs, in templates and automated worksheets, bolt ons and the like.  It became such a big industry that a consortium lead by Sun created Open Office, free for the taking.  Google then created its own spreadsheet program on the Web utilizing cloud computing.  And google, if anything, is about the data, and cloud computing with its data available to all allows firms and individuals to add value with products and services and bid on projects immediately accessible to them.

BIM is the format for data that will allow this same revolution take hold in the A/E/C Community.  And its already starting to happen.  The building in 3D allows all sorts of data to be embedded or available in the project.  Revit, Microstation, ArchiCAD all allow you to build on a 3D platform.  Navisworks for collision detection, Ecotect or IES for performance analysis, etc.  Now with the adoption and creation a new data portability standards IFCxml, AGCxml, etc. it starts to become easier to work cross platform.  Companies like Onuma are working on BIM servers that will host the models so everyone can start to work together.  Once the BIM gets up in the cloud it afford more firms to add value through products and services.

Andersen comes up with an app that can pick out the windows and provide bids for replacement windows, with ROI and energy savings calculators built in, Trane same thing for retrofitting.  Contractors can bid on the digital projects, anyone who fabricates or installs building products can so digitally. Rendering firms, etc.  The building becomes the operating system that people build on.  This type of platform breaks up the hegemony that is Autodesk, but that acquire companies to fortify it, like the purchase of Naviswork and Ecotoect so you can program a building from design to destruction within their family but their business model will also have to shift.  IBM made the transition to a powerful services vendor.  But you need to get energy analysis on a building, get bids on a new roof, find a new commercial cleaner, yea there will be an app for that.

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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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Biting the BIM Bullet: Another Success Story #BIM

Winter Street Architects in Salem describing how Revit is helping them to achieve their best year ever.

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If you haven’t done it by now, you better get to it!  Or fall so far behind you may never be able to catch up.  Bite the BIM bullet.  It’s the future of the building industry and the future is now or just around the corner.  Our firm swallowed the BIM pill way back in 2003, a year after Revit was first introduced to the market by AutoDesk…(See the whole post)

http://winterstreetarchitects.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/biting-the-bim-bullet/

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40% of Energy Use Comes From Buildings : States Adopting Tougher Codes : BIM can help

According to the EPA buildings are responsible for up to 40% of all energy usage and carbon dioxide production, because of the increasing need to decrease energy usage and the US carbon footprint more stringent building standards are being put in place based on ASHRAE 90.1-2007 with some states adopting stricter standards.    Each state energy code is available here. Massachusetts had adopted one of the stricter standards and just wading through the stuff makes your head spin, I got sidetracked researching it by a thread discussing compliance concerning a sunroom and if it had to be added to the total exterior wall footprint of the house, and then there were tables with insulation factors, etc.  To add to the madness there is the HERS (Home Energy Rater System) system developed through energy star, and the ResCheck Suite developed by the DOE that ‘helps’ with home compliance.  Maybe you’ve started laughing by now or more likely crying.  All of this is well meaning but will take even more specialists to wade through it, understand it and comply with it.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were plug in components for energy analysis with BIM software..wait a sec, they got that, and then run scenario analysis so you can see what modification or additions you need to make to comply to this new and evolving standards, have the software figure it out so you can design and build.  Use a swiss army knife instead of a spoon.


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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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BIM : Contractors Reporting Big ROI

I the May/June Addition of Constructor Magazine, there are some excellent examples of Contractors using BIM.    One high light was that over 1/3 responded with over 100% ROI.  And more and more your finding contractors creating whole departments, aptly and somewhat spookily called “Virtual Construction Departments”.  I guess I find it spooky in the sense that so many in the disciplines  thought if you were not pouring concrete or putting steel up you were not adding value, however, with BIM we are starting to see a tremendous effort on the front end.

Gilbane Building in Providence found over 1,445 clashes in a 96,000 SF data center saving the owner over $800,000 in resolved issues.  All in they believed they saved the owner more than $1,000,000 while investing only $63,000 in BIM expenses.  Half of which was creating a BIM from 2D documents, etc.

Great Stuff, Read the Article.

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USC BIM ROI Survey

I just read that USC put up a BIM survey focussed on ROI.  The survey closed in April but I hope those results will be made public shortly.

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