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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Revit / CSI / e-SPECS and the joys of a full BIM world

I just wanted to share with you a small part of my day.  It started three months ago.  One of my clients, who's my favorite BIM architect and president of CSI Miami chapter, asked me if I could do an IES demonstration at their October meeting.  To kick it up a notch, I did a side by side demonstration with the South Florida manager from Lightolier.  I did my demo using IES' daylighting and lighting calculation software and he used AutoCAD and AGI32.  Everyone was impressed and quite simply, using Revit and peripheral software really made the lighting design so much easier and it's just more accurate. 


The presentation was fun so I was asked to do a presentation on Revit and e-SPECS for this month's meeting.  A copy of the newsletter is below and apparently the words "Live Revit Demo" had the effect of a record breaking crowd for a CSI chapter meeting.  Apparently powerpoint presentations have gotten a little stale.  


I'll be honest, I've never used a specifcation writing program in my life. My company has been an e-SPECS reseller for Florida for 2 years and we've never been asked to do a presentation or demo to date (darned recession).  Being a GC in my earlier life, I've read plenty of action packed specifications, and I must say it's not an exciting venture.  I went to Larry's office three weeks ago to discuss the workflow of getting specs written from CAD drawings and how it's different with Revit.  Although Revit makes it easier, writing specs just plain sucks, but you all knew that already.


I took it upon myself to download and install e-SPECS on Saturday.  On Sunday, I spent 2 hours watching the training videos.  Yesterday, I spent another hour and a half watching the video on Building Product Manufacturer e-SPEC intetgration and today I read their brochures and practiced importing specs from manufacturer websites.  I'll have to admit, by 6:30PM tonight, at the start of my presentation, I really had no idea what I was doing.  


Lucky for me, e-SPECS is so nicely tied into Revit, that the software made me look brilliant.  You literally click one button and it exports everything from the Revit model into a e-SPECS data file.  Then you simply open e-SPECS, update the link and you've got your entire spec book created.  


Yes, there's a lot of customization of specifications and lots of items to massage for each project, but the majority of the work is done.  There were reps from Ingersol Rand, GAF, Lightolier and USG at the presentation and I must have mentioned USG about 30 times.  If you haven't been there, go to USGDesignStudio.com.  Everyone one of their walls and ceilings are available as Revit families and you can also download all of their specs.  e-SPECS uses Masterspec and USG is already included in all of the proper spec sections.  


It was a lot of fun and most of the people had never seen Revit live so I did an off the cuff demonstration using Lightolier lights and USG ceilings and walls.  With hardly any experience I created the specifications with the e-SPECS integration.  The entire audience was wowed with what BIM can do to automate the process.  


I did some research and found that while you still have to do work with e-SPECS it would save at least 30% of your time.  If you spent 80 hours on a project, if you used e-SPECS, you'd save 24 hours.  If you bill at $100/hour for your time, you're saving $2400 at which point e-SPECS pays for itself on the first project you use it on.  All this talk by architects about how much all these different programs cost is complete BS.  Everyone one of these BIM products saves time and makes the process more efficient and accurate.  


I can't wait to do my next e-SPECS demo, now that I actually know how to use it and can answer questions about it.  Tomorrow I get training on one of our newest products, SiteOps.com. The fun never ends in my BIM World.  Oh, I almost forgot, e-SPECS can help you integrate LEED specifications for your projects an d you can even link e-SPECS back into Revit so when you click on an object, you can click a button and see the spec sections attached to it.  That's an amazing feature for contractors bidding on projects.





*****CSI Newsletter******

Hello All – CSI Members and Friends

Its hard to believe 2010 is not too far away.  For many of us it has been a tough year as we witnessed ourselves, colleagues, friends, and family lose their jobs.  A very few found jobs in their same fields, some found jobs in other fields and many are waiting for the turn-around and the opportunity to be employed again.   One of our goals for 2009/2010 is to provide you with an opportunity to learn new skills and network.   As we wrap up this year and head into 2010 the CSI Miami Chapter thru Checklist and its monthly meetings remain on track to do just that.

Our focus recently has been on educating our members about BIM.  In September we enjoyed a very interesting presentation and discussion comparing Revit’s IES integration with AGi 32.    We were amazed at the amount of information and data that can be extracted and used for analysis with a BIM model.

In October I hosted a National Panel of BIM users sponsored by Building Design + Construction magazine.   The panelists included a GC and Mechanical Engineer who showed very detailed slides of projects designed and constructed using BIM technology.  We saw examples of linking schedules and pricing to a model and learned a little about the next era of design/build – the Integrated Project Delivery Method.

This month, we go live with Revit and E-Spec.   For those of you who have not had the opportunity to see a BIM model live, or have never put together a specification section this is a presentation you will not want to miss.  E-Spec is a program based upon Master Spec that claims to be able to extract data from a BIM model and create a specification section.   I saw a demonstration on E-Spec about 2 years ago and found it pretty amazing.  Seeing it live and being a part of this interactive presentation should be a blast. 

Our November meeting is Tuesday, November 17.  

  • There will be Board Meeting (that you are all invited to) from 5:30 till 6:00.  
    • The Board will be deciding what our “Give back to the Community”  December event will be, as well as selecting our topics and presenters for the first 6 months of 2010.

  • Registration and Hors d’Oeuvres is from 6:00 till 6:30.
  • The E-Spec presentation from 6:30 until 7:45.    
Attend our meetings, voice your opinions, get involved, and network!
See you there.



Lawrence S. Cohan  AIA, RA/NCARB CSI/CCS, LEED AP
Managing Principal
BCA r c h i t e c t s AIA, Inc.      #AA0003360
Architecture    Planning    Construction Administration

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