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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Cost Quality Triangle - The BIMuda Triangle.

I'm sure you're all familiar with this
  • Design – Completing the build to plans and specification.
  • Cost - Completing within budget.
  • Time - Completing within the designated time frame.
  • Quality - Ensuring a satisfactory quality of workmanship.
  • Legal - Complying with legal requirements.
How much time you spend on the project increases the quality and the cost. I think this is the inherent problem with CAD. I'm finding that it's not AutoCAD versus Revit, but more about the workflow and process of the software and how that directly impacts the triangle.

The triangle works on the principle that as more emphasis is placed on one element, less is placed on the others.
Example - If you want a very low cost design, then you will have to sacrifice quality and the length of time to get it done.
It is generally accepted that it's only possible to achieve two of the elements at the same time, so you can have a high quality design and you can get it done quickly……. but it’ll cost you somewhere.

We know that clients want to pay less money. That means you have to lower the cost of the project. That affects the quality of the construction documents. During construction, that leads to more time spent on the project. That costs you more money. We won't even discuss the legal aspects of all of this.

So, what if the secret of Revit is that it's about how it makes a better workflow and improves the process. So many people are fighting that specific change. The don't want to change. But why not? What if there is a better way? Wouldn't you want to embrace a change of workflow that could lower your cost and time, but increase quality?

Thus, we wind up in the BIMuda Triangle. Of course, I've just registered www.BIMudaTriangle.com. It seems that many are caught in the CAD triangle. What is the phenomena of Revit and BIM? Why do you think so many people are moving to it on a daily basis? Think about that linear workflow of how you interact with your engineers. When do you give them your backgrounds? How much time do they have to react to changes you make downstream? What if the owner hires outside consultants? Who's responsible for the time to coordinate their work?

In the BIMuda Triangle, it is the opposite of what you go through today. When the time goes down, and the cost (less salary needed) go down, quality actually goes up. How is that possible? We, who use Revit daily, already know the answer. You would think that after so many years of errors, omissions, RFIs, Change Orders, delays and every other problem that you've had, you would want to try something different, even if it had the remotest possibility of making a positive difference.

On the bright side, the GSA, Contractors and some states, Wisconsin and Texas (hi Chris, hope you're doing well), get it and see Revit/BIM as a business decision, and not just another piece of software. These are executive level conversations. It's not about the software. It's about the process. Did AutoCAD really change anything from hand drafting? Isn't it pretty much the same process, only on a computer screen instead of a piece of paper? Did you really change that much by switching to AutoCAD over the past 28 years. I just love having these conversations with myself on the blog. I do use them in every conversation I have, so hopefully one more person reading this will finally switch to Revit.

Should we discuss Integrated Project Delivery and LEED in regards to the current CAD process?  Is CAD a process?  Computer Aided Drafting.  That just sounds like a tool, not a process.  With all of these complexities, how do you plan to survive once the recession ends.  Can you keep doing it the same way?  Does Computer Aided Drafting equal Project Delivery?  What does it take to deliver a project?  Do you consider the project the set of blueprints or is the project the actual completion of the building?  Where do you draw the line? 

Your thoughts?


Trent March 29, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

I'm on the MEP end of things now, and realizing that what you have said is too true. Our Engineers look at Revit as another software to use much like CAD, they aren't looking at it as a new way of approach. For example, starting a project, everyone wants to start in CAD, then go to Revit, but then they are losing all the valuable information and time saved using Revit. Then other's say we will use CAD while there are a lot of changes going on, then when the plans get solidified by the Architect, we will create in Revit. I laugh and scoff, because Revit handles these constant changes much better than CAD, and thus we could save many man hours by using Revit.

Although I have found that the biggest time loss in Revit is the initial setup, getting everything to look like you want, getting your symbols and objects to display properly, and setting up an office standard. I wasn't around for the switch to CAD (well, I wasn't in this industry then...) but I can assume there was a lot of time lost for similar reasons. So when we have people complaigning about the time it takes, we need to remind them that CAD looks the way it does because it has been refined across some 12 years or so of trial and error. For most of us, this is probably our 2nd or 3rd year (for the "experienced") and more likely our 1st year. So as this blog says, take the time to re-evaluate how we do things, get Revit to work for you and your Engineers.

Martí March 30, 2010 at 3:56 AM  

I agree with you, BIM is the process of the future.
A challenge I see though is the scope of work of many architects, specially of those working internationally. Many Practices that rely on an international protfolio of projects stop their real involvement at DD phase, becoming just a sort of "overlooker" or advisor of the CD and construction phase done by a Local Architect.
This poses a big challenge, why do BIM if the local archietct will not continue with it? International owners might not be as fast as US owners/developers to adopt BIM as a corporate process. The ratio between US and International projects might be the key to decide if a company goes BIM or waits for the international market to be more receptive.

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