Posts Tagged BIM

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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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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Hey Microsoft I’ve Got Your Game Changer; Right Here

So when we demo our software, inevitably for a lot of architects we are asked, usually at least once, so will this work on the ipad?  Fact is, not yet, not until Revit works on the ipad, which the only way I see that happening is that Citrix does an amazing job serving it through a 4G pipeline, so most likely Revit / BIM Models can be viewed in the field, but not yet interacting with one in a meaningful way.  Yes you might argue there are check lists, etc. but I’m speaking about dealing with the actual authoring tool.  So while architects ask if PKNail Pro works on the ipad.  Salespeople will say, “Hey have you seen the Surface?  That could be a game changer for you.” That is full blown windows working on a tablet that will run Revit in the field.  The review by David Pogue in the Times, states the Surface “On the hardware front, Microsoft has succeeded brilliantly… amazing, amazing hardware. Now the heartbreak: software.”  He argues that operating system is not here yet, but this is Windows RT.  I’m talking about taking Full Blown Windows into the field for some serious heavy weight mobile application throw down.  Building a Revit Model, a Building Information Model of an existing building, in the field, in real time with just your Surface Tablet, a laser range finder, and some software, some industry specific software that will make you 10x faster.  Yes, I’m saying PKNail Pro will do that.  It’s effective, it’s fast, and now let’s put a wrapper around it named Surface.

So Microsoft, send me a demo, if it’s what I’m expecting I’ll be singing your praises.  It’s time to get to work.

 

*I’m serious Microsoft, so hopefully an identity manager has picked this thread up, or someone wants to make introduction.  We are fired up for the Surface and not because we want swag but because it looks like its the size of a beach ball, teed up, and we’re swinging  hard.

**Why a picture of LT?  Well, it’s LT.  Further defined: Left Offensive Tackles are now prized possessions in the NFL and some of the highest paid. That happened when LT lined up.  LT changed the game.

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When BIM Falls Down : Call Me Maybe : It’s Communication

There was a headline grab, “Late-Arriving BIM Model,Overruns Cost US Almost $10 Million” a few days back.  I’d include the link through ENR but it’s already dead and only for paying customers. But who or what actually fell down?  Did the lateness of the model cause the cost over runs?  Was it a lousy model?  However, that prompts the question, or search “BIM Lawsuit“, and you know what,you do not get back many results.  The article BIM Offers Cautionary Tale from the Architectural Record comes up first and is from May 19, 2011.  A few bits from the article:

“The contractor sued the owner, the owner sued the architect, and XL brought in the MEP engineer. “It was a very costly claim to negotiate,” says Lewis. XL(the insurance company) did not litigate the claim because it would be difficult for any jury to comprehend.

But more importantly:

The problem was poor communication. “The design team never discussed the installation sequence with the contractor, and the contractor wasn’t sophisticated enough” to understand the importance of assembling the components in a certain order, says Lewis.

So quick over view, it was communication, not the model, but overall insight, we’ve got one law suit coming up and it was settled in May 2011, how long has BIM been around?  So that seems like a pretty good track record, or awesome legal representation and contractual agreements, or what?  Fast forward to this latest article and it still seems to be a communication and coordination problem, the BIM was provided late, the clash detections were late, and it seemed no one wanted to take responsibility for the development of the a ‘clash free’ model.  Now I am doing this by memory since I got one read in, linked it and now its gone so please forward a link or copy if you have one.  However, it comes down to communication, one still sees the power of BIM and the fact that it unearthed 50K+ clashes, still digitally so not sure if the cost over runs were due to change orders and time delays or redoing the whole BIM model.  What does this scream though, “it’s the process people.”

In most cases each contractor is going to work within their particular area of expertise and provide said BIM Model to the level of detail that they are contractually obligated to, in fact, I’ve been asked to do a Revit Model for a just built building because it was required at the end of the project, they wanted it for short money, tail light guarantee, just so they could check off a box.  Not necessarily what the process was supposed to be about, but they were filling their obligation.

The ratio of BIM Success v. BIM Cautionary Tale is 143,238.2 to 1, but I can see where the cautionary tale makes people question the technology? Wrong.  Question the process

 

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3D 4D 5D Go! : The 5th D of BIM Cost Coming Into Focus

To reduce costs for any project or product, look at the inputs;  can they be improved?  Break out the Cost of Goods Sold, or Cost of Sales.  In construction the Cost of Sales (which will include material and labor)  is at a whopping 84%.  This leaves leaving only a 16% gross margin for everything else. To put this in perspective Walmart operates at around a 25% Gross Margin.  So is it any wonder the need to lock down costs and reduce waste is more extreme in this industry than most?  Compare it to its aligned industry the AE (Architecture Engineering) industry whose gross margin is 3 times as high and there is good reason that BIM was initially more widely adopted and implemented by the construction trades.   Any advantage in reducing costs, improving margins or making a firm more competitive in the marketplace will find a receptive audience in construction.

Cost saving were first realized with BIMs starting with the 3D coordination of the digital model, clash detection and then scheduling(the 4th D) of construction and the reduction of the cost of labor.   Downtime for crews due to change orders or having material unavailable was reduced.  Now we are starting to see more firms focus on the cost of materials and how they can be managed and best integrated into a project.

RIB Software , based in Stuttgart Germany is a leading provider of technical ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solutions for the construction industry recently announced the acquistiono of MC2 one of the leaders in cost estimation software for the construction industry or the 5th D of BIM.  In the official press release RIB stated ‘Major step taken in the US market for 5D-BIM technology’.  In July Trimble acquired WinEstimator another leader in cost estimation in the United States.

 

 

 

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Bespoke Homes : Facit Design Using BIM to Design Homes for Assembly

Design and Build have not always been the best of friends, honestly.  While you don’t have one without the other there is still a separation, like oil and water, sure you can shake it and it stays mixed for a bit and can make a tasty dressing but without adding something they always separate again.  An architect might create a BIM to use for construction but then the CM (construction manager) might take the BIM and say, ‘oh yes, I see what you want to do,’  and then design it for constructablility.  Before entering the AEC part of the world I was in product design and manufacturing.  Parts were designed to have less waste, to be less complex, to use simpler molds, to reduce cycle time, to have less operations, all to create an easy assemble, cost effective product.  There was a version of 3D printing called SLA (Sterolithography) that used lasers that hardened resin a millimeter at a time to create 3D models and CNC machines to hog ABS plastic out, among other materials, to create prototypes of a part and product before you went to mold, because creating the molds was expensive and you wanted to know the parts worked together, and the right tolerances before you cut steel.  These processes and machines were expensive but when it was right, all that expense would allow to create inexpensive repeatable parts that could be easily assembled and voila, your buying a blender for $29.99.  But the cost for these technologies has plummeted from ZCorp’s 3D printing, to being able to build or buy your own desktop CNC machine or 3D printer.  However, this process is still in its infancy in the design/build world of homes, building and architecture.

Sure you see full scale BIM’s with clash detection and the different disciplines coming together to seeing into the one model, and sequencing and scheduling and for the most part it is on larger projects, under the the guise of IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), but still rarely do you see component parts built off site and brought on to be inserted into the building, although prefab is gaining more steam.  Still you have a lot of people creating buildings on site, by hand.  And usually they do a fantastic job of it, but imagine if you had a machine creating custom cuts, etc. for assembly, direct from the design, allowing for tighter tolerances, less waste, reduced manpower, better scheduling, well that should be a fine addition to the toolbox of architects and builders.

When I read An Entire House That You Can Snap Together Like a Toy, I was very interested, but more excited to learn about the process.  Which brought me to Facit Homes, out of London and then watching their videos.  They design for assembly, that is, the thought put into the design is from the product design world, how it goes together, how will it work, how is it most effective, and, AND, this is big, there is a portable CNC machine/truck making custom cutting wood for assembly into the home they designed.  That’s awesome.  And while they don’t seem to be advertising the fact, they are using Autodesk Revit for the process, as you can see the ribbon in the videos.  Regardless of what technology they are using, that’s awesome.  Less waste, tighter fits, built for assembly.  They get it.  Integrated Design Build. Cats and Dogs Living Together. Now That’s a Tasty Burger.

 

D-Process from Facit Homes on Vimeo.

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