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Thursday, December 24, 2009

#AU2009 Day 3 – Thursday - My AU BIM presentation from someone else's eyes

I didn't really talk too much about my Autodesk University presentation before or after.  I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew beforehand.  It turned out that I could have used 4 hours to get through all of my material on how subcontractors and bidders could work together.  Below is a recap from one of my class attendees, Robin Capper.  First, Robin, thanks for taking the time to write about my class.  Second, as Robin pointed out, I was living on the edge.  Apparently without any thought to the possibilities, I used my own laptop instead of the presentation laptop.  I made that decision because I was going to run through several Navisworks Manage models at the end of my presentation and I had was going to run simultaneously Powerpoint, Mind Map, Navisworks, Picassa and Revit.  I had them all loaded on my computer which had Windows 7 64bit Beta and I had just installed Microsoft Office 2010 beta.  Apparently, beta software and presentations don't mix.

On my behalf, I've done all of the above before without nary an incident.  My computer just knew I was doing a presentation and decided to freeze a few minutes into the presentation.  The whole computer...just completely frozen.  It was ironic that my 4th powerpoint slide was a jpeg of a blue screen of death.  It was ironic that my computer actually froze while I had set out to pretend that my computer crashed.  I love living on the edge anyhow, so I rebooted and kept talking through my presentation.  The reality was that the powerpoint slides had nothing to do with my main topic and everything was in the Mind Map presentation which I've been living that conversation for the past 5 years, so I didn't even really need the material.

I'm about to release my Mind Map material to my students, but I really don't want to.  I've discovered something very interesting.  We're in the infancy of BIM for contractors.  There are no rules, no set workflows and no guidelines.  Every contractor using BIM is doing it their own way and there's no support from the Autodesk reseller channel in any meaningful way.  I'm pretty much it.  Being a general contractor and having been in construction and IT for the last 28 years, I've been doing this forever.  My company has created guidelines, an implementation guide and standards for general and sub contractors to use to help them with BIM for construction.  I can't just give away all of that information for free.  I've got a business to run and it's all too valuable.  On the other hand, the contractors really need a standardization methodology since they are sharing all of their modeling data with whoever wants it.

What's going on in the construction industry is the complete opposite of what architects and engineers are doing.  Contractors and subcontractors are openly and willingly sharing their Revit models with their teams in a collaborative effort to get the job done.  Architects and engineers could learn a lot from what the contractors have done to really drive home the value of BIM.  It's all about the clash detection.  I'll be posting a lot more about this in 2010, but I really don't want to give you all the details with something in return.  If you want to discuss it more with me, please email or call me and I'd be happy to help you.

Did I mention that I actually cursed when my computer froze?  Yes, captured forever in my AU presentation recording was me blurting expletives while waiting for my computer to reboot.  I'm afraid to even listen to my presentation, but the reality is, I had a great time with it.  Robin called me a BIMvangelist.  Robin, thanks!  I love that word and it's true.  Thanks for attending my class.  I appreciate your support.

#AU2009 Day 3 – Thursday: "

  • 08:00am - 09:30am Autodesk® Revit® for Film and Stage AB304-1
  • 10:00am - 11:30am BIM Bids Only! How to Get Your Subcontractors to Bid an Autodesk® Revit® Project CR308-1
  • 01:00pm - 02:30pm The Real Engineer's Workflow: MEP Massing for Pre-Design Analysis MP314-3
  • 03:00pm - 04:30pm Next Generation AEC Collaboration AB318-1
  • 05:00pm Integrated Architecture and Interior Design Documentation with Autodesk® Revit® AB322-3

Revit for Film and Stage

(image credit: Phil Read’s image of Bryan’s work)I wondered if this class would ever happen… thankfully sanity prevailed.
Phil Read presented a session based on the movie design work of Revit genius, it’s the only word that fits, Bryan Sutton. If you’ve ever thought “Revit can’t model that” then take a look at Phil’s notes for this class. You’ll see Bryan has already done it or something far more complex.
In addition to showing Bryan’s awesome modelling the Phil shared many of the presentation techniques used to create and communicate his designs. Extensive use of profiles/sweeps, solids/voids and nested families create the geometry. Merging hidden line and renders, image masks, clever use of phasing, render settings and artistic (not realistic) lighting techniques all combine to bring Bryan’s beautiful models to life. Although developed for film set work they are applicable to any conceptual work where form is important. Oh yeah, the point of all this is use of the Revit model for set construction and sometimes even downstream CGI work. While the modelling applications could do much of Bryan’s work Revit parametric control and documentation tools makes these models constructible. Isn’t that what BIM is all about even for a fictional world?
(image credit: Phil Read’s image of Bryan’s work)

BIM Bids Only!

This session was fun. I’ve read Greg Arkin’s blog for a long time but met him for the first time at AU. The “BIM’vangelistic” style of his writing reflects his personality, presentation style and passion for BIM.
I ran into Jason Howden in the hallway heading to this session so arrived a few minutes late. It wasn’t a problem as all I missed was Greg’s machine crashing! He restarted only to have PowerPoint 2010 freeze (lesson of the day, don’t use beta software for presentations!) but recovered from that by using MindManager for most of the session. I think it worked better than PowerPoint (would have even if it had worked).
BIM Bids Only  CR308-1 NotesGreg had a “brain dump” map with lots of topics, thoughts and questions to kick off a fun discussion on BIM for subcontractors, tender and project management. It allowed a non-linear presentation prompted by discussion. I was taking “non-linear notes” with MindManager in this session!
I found the discussion interesting as came from the sub-contractor, project manager and owner point of view rather than the usual BIM for design. Maybe it was just the sessions I chose but “non-design BIM” seemed to be the theme of my AU. Some comments from the audience highlighted the role Government/State/Regional Authorities could play pushing BIM for projects, some even specifying .rvt format as a deliverable. BIM makes sense when the client is the owner.
It was also refreshing to hear subcontractors who wanted to do BIM, for their own benefit, pushing the design side of the business to enable it. There was also a mention of how to overcome the obstacles, present even if you can mandate BIM. Imagine the client supplying software, data hosting or implementation support to get subcontractors into BIM?
This was another non-typical AU session, no real technical content, but enjoyable all the same. Unfortunately the recording doesn’t really capture much of the audience input, in spite of of Greg literally running around the room to get his radio mike within range of the audience.

The Real Engineer's Workflow…

Simon’s session focused on using MEP BIM with a variety of projects. In the rarefied world of “Pure BIM” everyone will be modelling perfectly with compatible platforms so all you need to do is link the building and get mepping. Simon dealt with the real world where the incoming “Building” could be anything from a 2D CAD file or a “less than ideal for MEP” BIM model. He showed how massing and tracing can turn 2D documents into a model. Even a simple mass model can provide valuable results early in in a project when analysis could yield the most benefit.
If an architectural BIM is supplied Simon outlined approaches to reviewing and, if necessary, “healing” the model to ensure its suitable for MEP. The apparently fine design model can have all sorts of problems with MEP if rooms aren’t properly formed (vertical overlap) or “holes” in the structure allow leaks. Although not a MEP designer much of it was applicable as we have a variety of old projects to migrate to Revit (from legacy data) and I have been using Revit MEP spaces to track retail space allocation.

Next Generation AEC Collaboration…

I had discovered a thing called Bluestreak on the Autodesk Labs site just a week or so before heading to AU. I fired off a few questions about it to the generic “contact us” email and they were rapidly answered by Mark Evans. It wasn’t until I got to AU it clicked that it was his session I had booked at AU (Doh!).
Bluestreak is a technology pilot that combines design applications, file sharing and a “social media like” conversation. One goal of Bluestreak is to facilitate and capture the discussion around project changes and allow the related information to flow. I see it as Buzzsaw meets Twitter but bundled into the UI you design in. I’m not sure how far that will go but imagine clicking on a model element and finding the discussion that relates to it. It’s an extension of BIM to capture more than design intent but also design resolution.
I felt a bit sorry for Mark that his presentation was impaired a little by the, event supplied, computer only running IE6. Although Bluestreak worked it prefers a newer browser. Try Project Bluestreak - bluestreak.autodesk.com and tell them what you think!

Integrated Architecture and Interior Design…

The last, but definitely not least, formal session of AU for me. Scott, Doug, Keith and Damian showed how they are using a variety of approaches for Revit projects. This was demonstrated using project examples with some stunning modelling and resulting documentation. They discussed project structures, linking methodologies, worksets and group/family approaches.
Also of interest to me were approaches to space allocation/planning and how “incomplete BIM” could still deliver many benefits of full BIM for far less investment. One example was a hotel plan traced in room separation lines as the deliverable was only furniture placement and room allocation scheduling.
It was a great finish to the formal part of Autodesk University. I’ll have more on “the Autodesk University” experience in future posts.
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Robin Capper December 28, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

I can't claim to have created the term BIMvangelist (if Google is right Miguel did in 2007 link below) but looking in from the outside (as not an Architect or Contractor) agree with your views on how the various parts of the industry are approaching BIM. One seems scared to share the secret sauce to try and preserve the "magic". The other are making their own sauce as it's seen as a tool to do their real work, building buildings, better. Maybe that's a bit unfair to the Architects but when a contractor has to model their building to find the construction issues it makes you wonder...


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