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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blog Comment: Construction Software State of the Industry Report

I just received a response to tonight's blog post and we have an actual name to go with it. Bob, thanks for taking the time to make your great comment. I first want to say, you're absolutely right. Revit MEP has a way to go before it's as robust as Revit Architecture. Like the realtors say, it's all about content, content, content. Until all of the MEP manufacturers get on board, it takes more time to create your own content instead of placing circles and squares on the plans.
We're at that crossroad where continuing to use AutoCAD is a dead end and starting to use Revit can be frustrating. At the end of the day, Revit will overcome it's obstacles and is definitely the better choice, but some are bastardizing it the same way there are 7 million different sets of CAD Standards.

As far as small firms versus large firms, the large ones have the resources to migrate to BIM, but there are so many people that it's an overwhelming task for them. Then there's the committee that decides who will be on the committee to pick the committee to decide if they need to have a committee to fight about what color lineweight the toilet partition anchor bolts will be. How do you implement a firm with 8 offices and hundreds of computers. On the other hand, it pains me that the smaller firms can't afford all of the software the need to make them more productive. Autodesk should help the little guys compete against the larger firms. It's such a catch 22 for the firms with only one or two seats.

Perhaps the recession will thin out the herd and BIM, LEED and IPD will allow you to raise your fees back to where they need to be. There's so much brutal competition now for the few scraps of jobs out there, people are dumping prices to just get some cash flow to try to make it to through to the end. Can someone tell me what happened that got your industry to this point? Where did things go so wrong?

Like I said earlier today, I wonder what things will be like 10 years from now. Bob, I think the smaller firms have more practical reasons to start using BIM now to reduce their salary overhead. If you don't start practicing with it now while things are slow, how the heck are you going to do that when things get busy again? They'll just keep repeating the same 2D cycle while the more flexible and daring firms will have moved to BIM and win all the projects.

Bob, your comments were great because they are real life. This morning I was at an ABC BIM conference at Balfour Beatty's South Florida office. There were four panelists. An Autodesk construction specialists (who was passed off as employee of a reseller who didn't know enough about BIM for construction to make their own presentation), the principal of a BIM architecture firm who's actually doing IPD projects and BIM modeling for contractors, the BIM IT guru for Balfour Beatty and then the owner of a fire sprinkler firm. It progressed from the future vision of BIM and ended up with the reality of BIM. It was a room mostly made up of subcontractors all trying to figure out how to convert your AutoCAD drawings into BIM shop drawings. The subcontractors were all business people trying to solve problems, stay in business and use technology to have a competitive edge. They all know they have to move into BIM for construction and they're making the investment. I guess you have the choice as an architect to not adopt Revit and watch the GCs become design builders and watch your fees drop even more, or take action, embrace BIM and take control of the design and construction process.

I'll acknowledge that a lot of what I say is my vision of BIM and i can't fathom the pain you go through to adopt BIM. Well, let me clarify that. Watching you try to figure out Revit on your own without our training and implementation is painful to watch. The workflow and process is too foreign from line circles and arcs to even compare. Bob, keep the comments coming. You're a breath of fresh air from some of the anonymous comments I've received in the past few days.

PS. We're up to $700 for Shaan's charity and me shaving is head. How about this. I'll raffle off free Revit training for the rest of the people who make a donation (link). One of you will win $1100 worth of Revit training.

Bob Tinsley, November 12, 2009 10:59 PM
"BIM has moved out of the A/E realm as so many architects and engineers have blatantly refused to invest in technology, training and implementation, especially in regard to Revit and peripheral software."

Careful, I resemble that remark. We (MEP firm) invested in Revit MEP at the 2008 release. What a pain in the touchas! Revit for architects has been around for at least 10 years and has benefited from that time in use. Revit MEP is in the baby stages and is a pain to use. We have two clients (architects) that use Revit, one who insists we also use Revit and one who doesn't. Neither of these clients uses Revit the way it was meant to be used. To them it's just a fancy, hip, politically correct way to produce traditional 2-D paper bid sets. They don't even use it to check for interferences! It is really nothing more than a marketing ploy.

For smaller firms the investment in time and money to implement BIM, or even Revit, surpasses what they can get out of it given the present fee structure, so they don't do it. Design is the red-headed stepchild of the construction industry. We don't produce anything substantial like the GC does, so we don't deserve any more money, even if it would make us, and the project as a whole, more efficient. A short-sighted viewpoint, to be sure, but it is reality among owners who build one building every five or ten years. Especially so among the "turn and burn" guys.

So, yes, architects and engineers, especially firms with less than 50 people, are reluctant to jump on the BIM bandwagon, but there are good practical reasons for that reluctance.

Revit3D.com - BIMBoom Revitlution: Construction Software State of the Industry Report


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