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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rebuttal to a BIMuda Triangle post comment

*Post Addendum* 4/28 8:22 AM to

Below, you'll see a blog comment from a reader.  Here's my rebuttal.
It's typically a drafter who first sees Revit and wants it and the principal say no.  You're actually against a principal who embraces new technology?  You've completely missed that point.

Hire motivated people?  In this economy?  With people who are happy with status quo and never want to adopt any new technology?  This is the problem most of your industry faces.  It's about the process, workflow and information now and CAD just doesn't cut it. Look at the adoption rate of Revit at architectural firms and tell me that's all the principal's fault?  

Need to do a quality job for you clients?  When's the last time you had a CAD job with no RFIs, Change Orders or Addendums?  1872?  BIM is a much better tool if you're looking for quality.
I'm not exactly sure why you're so angry about this.  For once, there's a principal willing to take a risk, invest in new technology, willingly pay for training and implementation, try to get all of his people on board and you say he should run a fast food restaurant?  I hope your firm is a CAD firm.  That way you won't be around much longer to put out this sort of negative venom. 

You're sadly mistaken.  It's the CAD production factories using CAD and putting out inferior CDs that you really should be addressing.  I'm curious Mr Anonymous.  Do you and your firm use AutoCAD or Revit? 

About the black vs white backgrounds?  Yes, when you're drawing lines all day long and dealing with layers with different colors, a black background really makes the lines easier to stare at.  Looking back on the DOS days of drafting, in the beginning we had black/green and black/orange monitors.  Name one other program you use on a daily basis with a black background?  Email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation makers?  Everything has a white background.  Anyone out there who's used Revit for more than a year still using a black background?  I'd love your comments on this.

I'm sorry but this "principal" sounds like a real jerk! It would be a cold day before I would work for the likes of him . If he bought the software and no one used it for 2 years, then shame on him. And maybe he should hire motivated people so he doesn't have to scare them into learning new skills. And the bit about the black -vs- white screen, are you kidding me with that crap!?! We need to do a quality job for our clients weather it is with AutoCAD, on a Drafting Board, or yes even useing Revit on a black screen. Sounds like this guy should run a McDonald's rather that an engineering firm.


kubs!x April 29, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

I would agree on using a white back ground if all of the elements were black, but as colors are applied to elements the use of a white background may not be preferred by the user. Many colors show up poorly on the white background, which can cause eye strain. The bulk of work in those other application that use a white background is text that in most cases is one color, black. Comparing those other applications to Revit may not be a fair comparison if colors are being applied to elements and the majority are different colors.

Colors can be applied to elements as visual aids or enhancements to the design process. Using black only elements limits those opportunities. Some examples on the application of color:

Applying colors to the different pipe and duct systems is a nice enhancement when routing systems. With large groups of these elements together seeing distinguishing colors aids in quickly identifying the correct system to make a connection.

Changing the color of elements as they are connected to systems is another means to quickly identify elements that have not been assigned a systems.

Applying colors to tags helps to identify "smart" text versus regular text.

When we first plowed into using Revit MEP I too desired to use a white background. As we discovered the benefits of applying color to enhance Revit MEP we soon found the black background to be more beneficial.

Anonymous,  April 29, 2010 at 9:27 AM  

I get your point, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I get it. And you can call me Bob, thanks. Our firm uses Revit (Arch, Struct & MEP) we also use AutoCAD, Microstation, and Bently BIM products. We are an employee owned AE with offices all over the country. I’m all for people –anyone & everyone that embraces new technology.

Yes, if there is a need to threaten your employees to get them motivated, then perhaps it’s time to look at the people you hired. In this economy, there are many skilled, experienced people looking for work that would love the chance to learn new skills. If this principal is so motivated himself, then why did it take him two years to open the Revit box and get started? Who’s fault is that, blame it on the CAD drafter? I have no idea what the industry adoption rate is for Revit, I only know what we are doing. And that is, staying on the cutting edge of design by using new tools, new methods, and developing new skill sets all while delivering quality projects to our clients. Thou this has not been easy, and at times has been very frustrating, to my knowledge, no one in our firm has been fired, threatened or otherwise terrorized through all our efforts.

Your telling me right now, today, you are turning out BIM projects with 0 RFI’s, 0 CO’s and 0 Addendums? WOW you are really good, we aren’t there yet, but maybe in a few years after more software development, and the skills are improved with experience, and the models are more widely used by contractors in the field, maybe then we will catch up with you.

Principals are risk takers by nature, they but their profession on the line every time they sign and seal a drawing, so I would think and hope that risk is not what is holding any firm back from moving forward with any new technology. In this economy and very competitive market I can see where many firms are in a financial state that would not allow them to adopt new software with all the training and other associated costs, but risk? I’m not buying that one.

This “Principal” wants to fire his staff if they use a black screen for Revit work? I would hope he has bigger fish to fry that that! So yes, reading this kind of thing does make me angry. Isn’t there enough stress involved in learning new tools and really perhaps in everyday professional and personal life in general without having a goon walk around the office threatening you? As for use of black screens, I’ve been using a black screen for close to 20 years and I like it, I see no reason to change it (unless of course I got fired!) Most if not all CAD/BIM software gives you the option of screen color. I’ve used black screens for PDMS, Microstation, and Bently BIM. I’d say our office is about 50-50 on the black vs white screen. And I sure hope the half of us with the black screens are safe! So it’s not really “negative venom” it’s just the way I see it, plain as black and white.

Hey Mr. Principle, you want fries with that?

Anonymous,  April 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

My piece of insight, is that people aren't upset about the principle wanting and forcing everyone to use Revit, that is just a dream come true! What they were upset about was being forced to a black and white background. I understand that Revit has this idea that black and white is better, but I have found that using color is very helpful. Where are my critical circuits? Yup, they are colored Red. Where are my plumbing fixtures, they are magenta... By doing this, we allow more information to be read from our workspace. We can see at a glance what things are, just by using some color. And this color is just to help the operator, it doesn't show up on our prints. Sorry, my point is, we are glad a principal shows some intelligence, but we are upset that this principal is a micromanager.

Anonymous,  April 30, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

OK so far you are all fired.
It wasn't about using a specific background color or setting, it was about changing the mindset. The black background represents all that was and should be gone (CAD) while the white represents all that is and yet to come (BIM). Change it is going to happen with or with out you. Get on the bus.

Anonymous,  May 5, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

Greg, I enjoyed the original story. That said, I'm glad someone chose to focus on this point. You have to be careful with mandates. If everyone is on board, it's fine (although that kinda makes them superfluous), but if not they can be a serious blow to morale. Honestly, for the principal to say, "OK, everyone is going to learn and use Revit" carries just as much weight and authority as, "We are using Revit now, and if you choose not to, you're fired," but without the negative side effects.

Case and point:
I was out of work for 6 months and was offered a job with a number of mandates. You had to use the mouse with your LEFT hand (I'm right-handed). You had to work massive amounts of OT in the busy summer months, during which time vacation requests would not be approved. Mandatory unpaid time off for 3 or 4 weeks in the winter, when work is slow, "but that's ok, because your vacation time and all that OT makes up for it."
I declined the offer.

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