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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Contractors Building Models? Just do the opposite of everything you know [BIM] [Contractors] [Humor]

Well this a post near and dear to my heart. Since my company has been doing BIM consulting and modeling services for contractors and subcontractors, I thought I'd share this post with you. It's 12:20 AM and I'm way to tired to write everything I want to right now, but I'm going to circle back to this one very soon. This whole sharing or not sharing of the model is complete BS. Liability, copyright, your hard work, the content and all of the other excuses are just making it worse and worse on the teamwork approach. I don't know how any of you are ever going to do an IPD project which requires you to share the model.

Let's put it this way. Take everything you've been doing for the last 26 years with CAD, and consider that the only way you'll ever make it through the recession and be profitable when business picks up is very simple. JUST DO THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING YOU'VE BEEN DOING. Yup, the opposite. Share the model. Work with the contractor. Bring in the contractor early. Pay your lighting rep to give you lighting calcs. Take everything you've been doing, and just start doing the opposite. I know, what a concept. You're going to be forced to do it anyway, so you may as well get used to it now.

As a reference, there was a Seinfeld episode called "The Opposite" (link here)

Here's a part of it...
George : Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but ... I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong.

( A waitress comes up to G )

Waitress : Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.

George : Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing's ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of on toast. Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted ... and a cup of tea.

Elaine : Well, there's no telling what can happen from this.

Jerry : You know chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, 'cos salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.

George : Good for the tuna.

( A blonde looks at George )

Elaine : Ah, George, you know, that woman just looked at you.

George : So what? What am I supposed to do?

Elaine : Go talk to her.

George : Elaine, bald men, with no jobs, and no money, who live with their parents, don't approach strange women.

Jerry : Well here's your chance to try the opposite. Instead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going right up to them.

George : Yeah, I should do the opposite, I should.

Jerry : If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.

George : Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do


( He goes over to the woman )

George : Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice that you were looking in my direction.

Victoria : Oh, yes I was, you just ordered the same exact lunch as me.

( G takes a deep breath )

George : My name is George. I'm unemployed and I live with my parents.

Victoria : I'm Victoria. Hi.
So, do the opposite. Design in 3D instead of 2D. Hire an engineer using Revit instead of LT 14. Agree with the contractor instead of fighting him. Try it for a day. The opposite of the recession is a BIM BOOM!

Finally, my favorite time of the year is here! The heat of summer is starting to wane and that means no more sweating to death out on the golf course or on the Harley! But even more important is NLF and college football are finally back in full swing after a 7 month hiatus! Go Steelers, Georgia, and Clemson (feel free to admonish or cheer along as needed).
But I digress.
Driving back from Pennsylvania this past week I saw a bumper sticker on a really spiffy sports car that read: “Get in, Sit Down, Shut up and Hang On!” (if you have ever been on a jobsite, this is how it seems sometimes) And I was reminded of something; that many contractors (CG and subs) are determined to embrace BIM regardless of whether or not they are getting a model from the Architect or Engineer… That's something I have always admired about contractors, the ability to get something done. I mean Architects and Engineers do task contractors with figuring out how to construct a building after all.
Over the last year or so many construction companies have been kind enough to allow me to come in and learn a little about them. They range from being experts at BIM to just getting started on the adventure. But there was one thing that rings clear, when the AE’s do not provide a model (and this is by no means the ideal way to work or happens in every case, but it does happen) the contractor finds a way to model the items needed for coordination. They may do this by working though the necessary subs, or completing the work themselves.
9-14-2009-Navis2So why does the contractor do this? Its because of the enormous value in having a model. They use it to identify possible areas of conflict in a building and then solve those problems long before they happen; saving time and money during the construction process. They are also interested in the creating a model to understand building quantities earlier to analyze potential cost impacts differently. Of course let’s not forget another good reason: models look good and make for a great marketing tool.
I write this because I often get this question from the contractors that I visit: What can they do to improve communication with the AE community to obtain models? (Other than legal of course, let’s leave those at the door). Here are a few things to consider and comments welcome of course:
  • So I am going to ask the construction community if you would share a few success stories. What can the contractor do to facilitate communication?
  • What does the AE want from the contractor in return?
  • If you are an AE, do you have concerns/issues to have sharing the model?
From: dODDS and ENDS: Contractors Building Models?


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