BIM sure to bring creative disruption: #BIM

I wanted to bring some attention to a recent article in the Daily Commercial News & Construction Record by Korky Koruluk, and included the first 2 paragraphs below.

Once in a generation, perhaps, a new technology comes along that enables rapid innovation and change. Sometimes, too, such change leads to a whole new batch of companies that pursue the changes aggressively, while their older, larger competitors are still trying to figure out what happened.

I’ve a hunch that Building Information Modeling—BIM—is one such technology. And I suspect that it is going to cause problems for some firms that have, perhaps, become too comfortable in their own markets.

Transformative technology has led to major disruption in the past, and there may still be a few construction veterans around who remember at least the tail end of one big one: the evolution of mechanical excavators.

Clay Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, wrote an influential book in 1997 called “The   Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail.”

I don’t think this is so much a warning anymore but a reaffirmation of what most firms in the A/E/C space realize which it is now time to invest in technology to help you manage projects better but also help differentiate you in the marketplace.  If last 1/4 is any indication of the next one, the market will remain squirrelly and cost at bid and cost controls will be the defining factor and whatever tool will help you lock that down, get it, use it, win it.


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Compiled List of GSA BIM and Laser Scanning Award Winners and Partners: #BIM #GSA

Here is a compiled list of the winners and partners/sub-consultants of the GSA BIM and Laser Scanning IDIQ  found by digging through press releases and the web.    It is by no means exhaustive as not everyone releases the names of their partners and/or sub-consultants but will augment the list if/when I find anything more.  I wanted to get a bigger picture of those participating and those who will be helping mold the Federal BIM and Laser Scanning Programs. Feel free to post if you got more info.

BIM IDIQ Winners

  1. Beck Technology, Dallas, TX 75201

    1. Raymond Goodson
    2. CADForce
    3. Langan Engineering
    4. Onuma
    5. Digital Alchemy
    6. Solibri
    7. Purdy McGuire
    8. Simpson Gumpertz and Heger
    9. Apex Cost Consultants
    10. Bohannon Huston
  2. Applied Software Technology, Atlanta, GA 30329

    1. DC Strategies
    2. Draper and Associates
    3. EDI Ltd
    4. Georgia Tech Building Lab
    5. Integrated Environmental Solutions, IES
    6. Lord, Aeck, and Sargent
    7. Neenan
    8. Optira
    9. Pruit Eberly Stone
    10. QientiQ North America
    11. Retrieve Technologies
    12. Smith Seckman Reid
    13. US Cost
  3. DPR Construction, Inc., Falls Church, VA 22042

  4. Ghafari Associates, LLC, Dearborn, MI 48126

  5. Hallam Associates, Inc., South Burlington, VT 05403

  6. KlingStubbins, Inc., Philadelphia, PA 19103

    1. Tocci
    2. Autodesk
    3. Bentley
    4. EMCOR Group
    5. Faithful & Gould
    6. JC Cannistraro
    7. Metco Services
    8. Raymond L. Goodson
    9. Simpson Gumpertz and Heger
    10. WSP Group
  7. HNTB Corporation, Kansas City, MO 64105

    1. Dimensional Innovations
    2. InterioReview
    3. Hinman
    4. M.E. Group Inc.
    5. MidWestern Consulting
    6. RCMS Group
    7. Regal Decisions Systems, Inc.
    8. Sanborn
    9. US Cost
  8. ONUMA, Inc., Passadena, CA 91106

  9. View by View, Inc., San Francisco, CA 94109

  10. Kristine Fallon Associates, Inc., Chicago, IL 60603

    1. Primera Engineers
    2. Coast to Coast
    3. Faithful & Gould
    4. Solibri

Laser Scanning IDIQ Winners

  1. Stantec Consulting Services, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

  2. Quantapoint, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA 15236

    1. Martinez and Johnson Architects
    2. EMO Energy Solutions
    3. Rolf Jensen and Associates
    4. Protection Engineering Group
    5. AMT Engineering
    6. Hinman
    7. Arnold Animations
    8. Certainty 3D
  3. Pharos Consulting, LLC, Orlando, FL 32835

  4. Coign Asset Metrics & Technologies, LLC, New Brighton, PA 15066

  5. Beck Technology, LTD, Dallas, TX 75201

    1. Langan Engineering
    2. Bohannon Huston
    3. CADForce
  6. Architectural Resource Consultants, Irvine, CA 92614


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Autodesk: User Upgrades : How many people actually do it : #BIM

I do not claim to be an analyst or play one on TV, however, I am interested in what is happening in this space from a business perspective and when I try to get clean answers on the question I am asking I find it is not always  easy.   So my most recent query was to find out how many people or percentage of users  actually upgrade?  Or start using the new stuff when it comes out.  As a software developer you want the needle pinned at 100%, as a user, I admit that I still fire up programs that have the ’05’ in the title.  Yeah that’s a long winded intro, but this is what pulled from Autodesk and my interpretation of it.

Using Autodesk FY 2010 as a guideline.

Combined q1 and q2

Total Revenue – $841 Million

License and Other Revenue – $477

Maintenance – $ 366

Upgrade – $70 Million

On a percentage basis Maintenance Revenue is at 44%, Upgrade Revenue is roughly 8%.

So at any one time at least 50% of Autodesk’s installed base is either using or has the opportunity to use the latest software.  I say the opportunity to use because if you are on a maintenance program that includes the latest releases it is highly unlikely that every organization would upgrade the software every year.  Rather they made a decision that it costs less to be on the maintenance program and have the upgrade option even if they only do it every other year, etc.  So sell it once and turn 1/2 your user base into an annuity.

I also know Autodesk has a lot of interest in creating the software sales model into subscription only, making that figure 100%.  However, that sounds a lot like putting a lot of bees in a jar and shaking it.  Better make sure that lid stays put.


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Revit User Groups

While I know there are group lists everywhere, I had not seen one that grouped Revit User Groups , so if you are searching for one and looking to get involved I included them below. If you know of one not listed please post, and get involved.  I have the Revit User Groups forums to be an excellent resource of users committed to getting the most out of the program.

Revit User Groups / Local Chapters

United States / US


Charlotte User Group

New York            


Kansas City www.

Inland Empire

Cucomunga, CA



Southern, Nevada 


Tampa, FL


Baltimore, MD

Phoenix, AZ


Austin, TX

Boston, MA

San Anotonio, TX

Washington, DC


Sydney, Australia

Victoria, Australia

West Australia http://www

Wellington, New Zealand

ChristChurch, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand





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BIM Helps with Ontario Hospital

Recent article on how BIM was used in the construction of a Woodstock, Ontario Hospital.  Article discusses the need to put as much information in the model to assist with fabrication, material information such as fabricator, design specs, track the life cycle of mechanical and electrical systems, etc.



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Vela Systems and Tekla : Utilizing Field BIM

While one might argue what entails Field BIM Vela released a case study where they integrated their process on top of Tekla’s BIM.  DPR Construction replaced all their paper logging and tracking systems with VELA’s field software for digital tracking, specifically the doors and frames.  Inventory was tracked the entire way through delivery and installation, plus deliveries could be checked for completeness and damaged products.  All this information was then made available in real time to all parties.



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Nemetschek and Tekla Join Forces : #BIM

Tekla and Nemetschek recently announced a ‘mutual agreement on cooperation’ while I’m not sure what that means, the press release states it provides the framework for collaborating on future projects.  Tekla mainly focuses on the design to construction of steel and concrete structures where as Nemetschek focuses on the BIM authoring side with Vectorworks.



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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 on The Front End : GC’s Paving the Way :#BIM

Most likely if you’re reading this post you’ve drank the cool aid and believe in BIM and Revit, you’re a convert, but what has been come fantastically apparent is the need to educate the need for it on the front end, and why the 20/80 rule may not apply, that is 20% soft costs, 80% building.  We have seen where productivity has been stagnant within the construction industry, because more elaborate buildings, systems, etc. using the same technology for scheduling, drafting, design negated any other positive gains.  On the flip side people are reporting such massive prodcutivity gains by using BIM and Revit you would think that any owner/developer would be demanding it on the front end and willing to pay for it, cue the GSA, State of Wisconsin, State of Texas, etc.  However, there is still a huge knowledge gap.

GC’s are paving the way for BIM.  They know that in order to do the work that is being created they have to be on board with Revit and BIM and they will be the ones ultimately responsible for the task, coordination and updating of the BIM.

The GC will use Revit as a cost savings tool.  How does this effect the developer/owner?  Might be invisible to them, as in, the process works like they expect it to, more often than not projects coming in on-time and on-budget, more competitive bids with firms knowing they can reduce problems (see zero defect building) digitally, and schedule better.  It’s a nail gun instead of a hammer.

Which brings me to the legal liability side of BIM, which I know nothing about but feel like I need to comment on, and I will tell you why.

I was preparing for a meeting with a University we did some work for, as they wanted to see what Revit could do for them as they asked for existing conditions plans in Revit just so they had the information/data about the building.  This was an architectural BIM with an RCP.  I called a friend who has nice sized GC firm that does a lot of academic work and asked if they could share some success stories about using Revit that I could share in my presentation.

He put me in touch with their MEP coordinator, who first told me his history.  He had his own HVAC install company for 20 years, went back to school to be trained in AutoCAD, and got other certificates (too many acronyms for me to remember), and then got trained up in Revit 2 years ago.  He had been with this firm for 10 years, so figure at around 50 he’s knocking this stuff out of the park.  He explained how he used to coordinate all the plans in AutoCAD, put each discipline on a a different layer/color and then go to work determining the issues in 2D.  Using Revit he would model everything in 3D, and since he was from the industry knew drain slopes, HVAC runs, etc. and without using collision detection software was finding stuff, such beam penetrations and drains intersecting with footings that you could imagine a ton of time/money.  GC’s will use it because it is a better tool.

Here’s the legal part for those of you scratching your head.  In his most recent project the architect said they had modeled the whole thing in Revit but would not share the model with him and only sent out the 2D plans.  Somewhere there’s a screw loose and it has to be on the liability front.  His thought was they were using young modelers that were not grounded in the profession so the interaction between everything would not be completely apparent to them so assumptions when modeling were not correct.  The contractor themselves might want to model it themselves because they would then have more confidence in the model.  However, when #1 cost for interoperability which is in the billions is the manual reentering of data you would hope this issue is being worked on to be resolved.

How’s this breaks out financially between firms and how much of a building’s cost moves to the virtual construction department?  Well I’ll start digging but if any reader out there has some data please post, as it will help us all sell projects.


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Synchronous Lateral Excitation: What?! Get out of the Box, Get Back in the Box and Ride It.

So for fun I was reading this article on Synchronous Lateral Excitation, okay I am kidding I wasn’t doing it for fun but the author used the opening of the millennium bridge to make a point that that people created a synchronous feedback loop, think walking in lock step, that made the bridge start to sway uncomfortably, the bridge was then closed for 2 years as the figured out and solved the problem.  The author, Josh Cassidy, then went on to use this analogy for the capital markets and how it makes them crash prone.   Like a continuous self reinforcing feedback loop that makes them inherently more stable, as one bank stops lending, individually sounds prudent, as a group they shut down the credit markets, companies sell assets to raise money, one company selling assets to raise money, okay, everyone doing it floods the market with assets, whether stocks, bonds, etc and the value of these assets then decline, and get on for another round.

I then read something about Google, remember they do no evil, see #6 but their argument for mining as much personal data from you as humanly possible, even if it is done under the cloak on anonymity, is to give you results that are tailored to you.  That is when you search for cars, they might serve you not just generic information about cars, but they certainly will give you adwords based on cars, and maybe they even tailor it to Volvo because they new you were searching about Sweden earlier in the day, or maybe because of your web wake the found you to be ‘like minded’ with another sub-group that not only liked Volvos but were liberal democrats, or made the assumption because of the visits to Green Peace web site, and because of that when you searched for things began to serve your choices based on earlier predilections and habits, which to me is no different than synchronous lateral acceleration, that is if someone groups you with others that are like minded and that’s the info you get, this self reinforcing feedback loops only serves to bolster whatever view point you came in with.  (sidebar: I think the argument that it is anonymous is specious at best because although they do not, supposedly you are Bob living in Topeka, they know exactly who you are on the internet, I’m not arguing good or bad here just the anonymity angle).

So getting back to the ‘box’ in the titile.  What getting out of the box to me means is take in other view points, speak to  other people go to a tradeshow, presentation, meeting, forum, etc. that has people not in your industry, just to see what people are doing, problems they are facing, solutions they are using, and you start getting a better perspective, interesting how this whole crowd sourcing thing is taking off, which could be viewed as a way to compress this type of interaction.  But getting out of the box does not mean show up to work in clown clothes but rather how can we think differently about a problem, how do we bring a new perspective, and just getting out and talking to people in different venues starts to help, or e-mail, blogs, forums, and it gets too easy to stay in your comfort zone, and I’m guilty myself.  Next time getting on the plan pick up a magazine or paper you’ve never read before any maybe never had any intention of reading again, see what you get out of it.  Maybe you won’t get anything out of it, or maybe you’ll just see a cool ad for a volvo.

As for being in the box and ride it, how do we pick up on this momentum or recognize this momentum shift, internet bubble, real estate bubble, and we all know there will be another bubble, and what are you going to do about it.  It shouldn’t be, ‘I’ve seen this before and I’m not playing’ it should be how best to take advantage of this without being standing when the music stops, or not even that, it’s how can I play and not be stupid to buy into it.  Like during the internet bubble when I saw an interview with a young guy who owned the domain, and I think it was, and for the millionth time I hear someone say, you know how big the pantyhose market is, I am going to be the Amazon of pantyhose, I think I knew right there that the music stopped.  Hopefully we can all be bright enough to do both.


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