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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Live Webcast tomorrow - Revit Architecture Essentials 9am-5pm Est

I know it's short notice, but we have room for a few people to take our Revit Essentials class via live webcast tomorrow through Wednesday, 9am - 5pm.

I was thinking that you could at least take the first day and you could take days 2 and 3 next month if you can't take off 3 days on such short notice.

Our Revit instructor, Mark Rothman is ranked as one of the top 5 Revit instructors in the US, and we have a very high success rate because of how we teach the class.

You can sign up at this link for future classes or sign up and pay for tomorrow.  The class is $295 and includes the Autodesk Revit Essentials manual.  Contact me before 9am tomorrow if you have questions or want more information.

There are more details about the class here www.revit3d.com/class

You can pay as you go and just pay for day one for $100 if you're not 100% committed.

New report says green building design fundamental to carbon cutting

I'm glad someone else is verbalizing what I've been telling people. Essentially, this green building stuff is completely upending the world of architecture. It's now about physics, math, engineering, energy analysis, airflow, thermal dynamics and lots of other stuff.

Only one tiny problem. This is an entire new industry and no one knows the software, workflow, process. I'm sure everyone wants to hire experienced and qualified people in this field. I'll put all of this into my EnergyStarchitecture bin and hopefully we'll figure it all out very soon.

One of my software partners, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IESve.com) has been working in this area for over 15 years, so I think they're the best qualified company for energy analysis and helping you move ahead in this area. Autodesk needs to do something very quickly in this area if they expect to compete with Ecotect and Green Building Studio. They don't even have a training manual available for Ecotect. Just because they sell software doesn't mean they can offer a solution for it. I've got three of my techs working right now on creating our own training manual to fill the void. We do national training on IES and Ecotect so contact me if your local reseller doesn't have the resources (and most don't).

Source: http://www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?category_id=1&article_id=466
21 Jan 2010, 4:22 PM

Green bling - bolt-on microgeneration technology - will do little to cut carbon emissions unless the whole fabric of buildings is designed to use less energy, according to a new report by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The UK will not be able to achieve its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 unless it urgently addresses carbon emissions from the built environment, the report warns. Buildings currently account for 45 per cent of our carbon emissions and it is estimated that 80 per cent of the buildings we will be occupying in 2050 have already been built.

The Brighton Earthship - recycles waste, collects water, uses virtually no additional energy

Many 20th century buildings are totally dependent on fossil fuel energy to make them habitable - in the 21st century buildings must be designed to function with much lower levels of energy dependency, say the authors. The scale of this challenge is vast and will require both effective government policy and a dramatic increase in skills and awareness in the construction sector.

Report author Doug King commented: "The sheer pace of change in the regulation of building energy performance has already created problems for the construction industry and the proposed acceleration of this process, aiming to achieve zero-carbon new buildings by 2020, will only widen the gulf between ambitious Government policy and the industry's ability to deliver."

The report introduces a new discipline; Building Engineering Physics, which supports the existing professions of architecture, structural engineering and building services engineering. Building Engineering Physics investigates the areas of natural science that relate to the energy performance of buildings and their indoor and outdoor environments. The understanding and application of Building Engineering Physics allows us to design and construct high performance buildings which are comfortable and functional, yet use natural resources efficiently and minimise the environmental impacts of their construction and operation.

Before renewable energy generation is even considered it is vital to ensure that buildings are as energy efficient as possible, otherwise the potential benefits are simply wasted in offsetting un-necessary consumption. Creative solutions to make buildings more energy efficient include basic techniques, known for thousands of years, such as using daylight, natural ventilation and thermal mass, where masonry is used to store heat and moderate temperature variations. However, with the application of scientific analysis through Building Engineering Physics, these aspects of a building's design can make a very substantial contribution to meeting the performance and comfort needs of the occupants without resorting to energy consuming building services installations.

One of the most pressing needs in the construction industry at present is for reliable information on the actual energy and carbon performance of newly built or refurbished buildings, to validate new designs and establish benchmarks. Government, which has set ambitious policy on climate change, can lead by example, ensuring that full commissioning and post-occupancy evaluations against design targets are undertaken on all new publicly funded projects. Publication of this information would quickly build a database of successful low-carbon design solutions to inform other design teams.

Nevertheless, the construction industry faces a serious skills issue in meeting the low-carbon building challenge. Few in the construction industry know how to apply the principles of Building Engineering Physics in the design of buildings and low-carbon design is scarcely taught at university level. The industry and educators are often still struggling to get to grips with the 2006 revision of the Building Regulations, which first required cuts in Carbon emissions against previous practice. Yet within three years of the 2009 undergraduate intake graduating in 2013, they, and the rest of the industry, will be required to deliver not just reduced-carbon but zero-carbon new domestic buildings.

Dr Scott Steedman FREng who was at the launch, said:"Our homes and buildings are the front line for the UK to reduce its consumption of energy and to manage resources in a more sustainable manner - yet we are not going to solve this challenge with loft insulation and double glazing alone. We need measures that go beyond the traditional solutions - new materials, new installation processes, new controls that are based on a engineering approach to the thermal upgrading of existing buildings and the design of new buildings. This Academy report on building engineering physics points the way forward."

The Academy's report, Engineering a low-carbon built environment - the discipline of building engineering physics, is available to download from http://www.raeng.org.uk/ or on request from Ian Bowbrick, tel. 020 7766 0604, ian.bowbrick@raeng.org.uk

New report says green building design fundamental to carbon cutting Read more...

Revit Fix: Using the Scale Parameter with-in a Family

Here's another great Revit blogger all the way in Australia. It's nice to know there are people like Brian scattered all across the globe. Brian is a BIM Manager and posting some great stuff about real life Revit problems.

Source: http://revitfix.blogspot.com/2010/01/using-scale-parameter-with-in-family.html

I’m sure many of you have always wanted to get a Scale Parameter working in some Families. A good example would be a detail component family of a 2D tree (plan or elevation). You may want to insert several instances of the same tree but at slightly different sizes. You would think it should be easy to do.
If you have ever inserted a .dwg (Import Symbol) file, you will notice you have a scale parameter in its type properties. By adding a number parameter in the family file inputting the scale factor in the .dwg (Import symbol) you should be able to make the dwg import symbol whatever size you want. Flexing the parameter and dwg with-in the detail component family works perfectly. However when you load the family into a project it won’t work!
From a post on AUGI back in the start of 2007 this was a know bug with no workaround (i.e. Revit 9.1). We are now in Revit 2010 and we have 2011 coming out in 3 months. What’s the chance it will be fixed in the 2011 release?
Revit Fix: Using the Scale Parameter with-in a Family


Friday, January 29, 2010

BIM & BEAM: What kind of pile cap can be identified by Revit Extensions for reinforcement?

....What a pile of BIM. I mean, look a BIM pile.

Source: http://bimandbeam.typepad.com/bim_beam/2010/01/what-kind-of-pile-cap-can-be-identified-by-rex-for-reinforcement.html

There is functionality in Revit Extensions that could add reinforcement to pile caps and piles, shown as below,

But you may find sometimes that the piles or pile caps can't be supported for reinforcement. Just like below image, from the geometry, category, structural material type settings, there is no any difference between them. But one can be identified by Revit Extensions, the other one yet cannot. What's the reason?

The reason for this is just because whether or not the nested piles are shared or not.

For the 2 pile cap families, the piles are created as nested family and then nested into the cap host. The only difference between them is:

So there is difference when adding reinforcement using Revit Extensions.

BIM & BEAM: What kind of pile cap can be identified by Revit Extensions for reinforcement?


Decals and Multiple Faces - The Revit Clinic


Let’s look at this scenario below:
You add a decal to an object where the geometry stops at a certain point. Think of a split face on a wall, or a double door where there are 2 panel extrusions.
When you render the scene, a portion of the decal does not render. For example, if the decal is placed like this over a door it will render as follows:
The face the decal was applied to will render to the edge of the geometry. So in this example the decal renders to the edge of the first door panel extrusion.

For a situation like this with a component family, you could edit the family and use the Modify > Join Geometry between the 2 panel extrusions.

The decal will render as expected afterward as the face will be treated as 1 extrusion.
For another more complicated situation, if you apply a decal to a wall with split regions, you will notice the decal will not render.
Instead you can host the decal on another thin extrusion directly in front of the split face wall. Here’s a quick video below [no sound] on a similar situation:

Video Example

If needed a transparent material can be applied to the thin extrusion if there is some overlap around the decal. Hope this helps!

Source: Decals and Multiple Faces - The Revit Clinic


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Portable BIM app for iPhone - Cool Technology

Hi Kids. Any of you out there have an iPhone? Ok, if you use Revit, keep your hand up. Ok, if you'd like to see BIM models on your iPhone keep your hand up. What are you doing. Get back to work. You need both hands for the Revit shorcut keys and the mouse for the ribbon. If we associate the iPhone with Revit and BIM, do we use AutoCAD with a rotary phone or morse code? Thoughts?

This is very cool. Portable BIM.

There are two parts to the installation process. You must install the goBIM Revit Exporter and the goBIM iPhone Application. This installation requires Autodesk Revit 2010 and an Apple iPhone.

Installing goBIM Revit:

  • Copy the “goBIM” folder provided to your C:\Program Files\ folder.
  • Using your favorite text editor, edit the C:\Program Files\Autodesk Revit Structure* 2010\Program\Revit.ini file to include the following:
    EAAssembly1=C:\Program Files\goBIM\goBIM_menu.dll
  • If you have any other external applications already installed, then add this text after the other external application calls and increment the number “1″ appropriately. When you start Revit, you should now have a tool called “Export to goBIM,” in your “Add-ins” menu.

Using goBIM:

We’ve tried to make goBIM as simple to use as possible. Everything you need to get your geometry onto your iPhone should be available in just a few clicks. Currently, the goBIM exporter is only available for Revit. Exporters are under way for Rhino and Digital Project, so please keep checking back.

goBIM for Revit:

  • goBim for Revit will appear as a button in Revit 2010’s “Add-Ins” menu. When you click on the “Export to goBIM” button a dialogue will appear asking for a file address. This is the location where your goBIM file will be saved.
  • When you click export, the selected Revit geometry will be exported. It’s up to you to put it in a location on your server where the goBIM iPhone application will have access to it.*

goBIM for iPhone:

  • When you start goBIM iPhone for the first time, you’ll be pointed to a default model. To see your models, you’ll need to enter your model URL and model name. These settings can be accessed in the application by pressing the gear icon at the top of the screen. Enter the location of your goBIM file, which will be something like “http://www.myDomain.com/models/”. Then enter the name of the model like : “myAwesomeModel.gbm”.
  • Click the “Load Model” icon. The task bar in the app should show the percentage of the model that has loaded. Depending on the speed of your data connection and the size of your model file, this could take up to a minute. We recommend not attempting to load large goBIM models using the Edge network, because it’s pokey. Wi-Fi and 3G work great though.
  • Your last loaded model location will be saved in your user preferences, so if you need to answer the phone, when you come back the model will already be cached.
* Unfortunately, the goBIM application still can’t access secure server locations using FTP, so you’ll need to put your files somewhere with “public” access. We recognize that this isn’t great for people who don’t want any Tom, Dick, or Harry to access their models, but without setting a complex server which we would have to host (and you would have to pay for), this was the most efficient way to handle model sharing. Future versions of goBIM will undoubtedly include security features, and we welcome our early-adopters’ input as to how to make this work best with their work-flow.


BUG - Vista SP2/ Win7, Copytrak & Autodesk - Jason Grant Blog - Adaptive Practice by Jason Grant

I hope this helps someone out there.

Source: http://jasongrant.squarespace.com/jason-grant-blog/2010/1/27/bug-vista-sp2-win7-copytrak-autodesk.html

So when Vista SP2 came out last year all my Autodesk products stopped working. I could run as admin but all the settings were messed up. Can't find template, families and add-ins. Now Windows 7 came out and one of the IT staff had no issue running any Autodesk product. We put it on another machine and the same thing happened with the bug. Without running as Admin, Autodesk products would just not open.

Finally, I saw on a forum about someone having a similar issue and it possibly being linked to Copytrak which is out plot/print tracking software. It finally clicked, the machine that worked did not have this software and the one that did not work had it installed. We got a test upgrade of this software and the first test is looking very positive.

Can't believe this eluded me for months... I knew it must have been something within the office when the AUGI Forums and Autodesk Support had no idea.

Hope this helps someone else out there.

source: BUG - Vista SP2/ Win7, Copytrak & Autodesk - Jason Grant Blog - Adaptive Practice by Jason Grant


Update on a funny thing happened on the way to AIA.org - Another trainwreck

While I was talking to the executive director of an AIA chapter today trying to figure out how to bring BIM to the members and put on a conference for principals, I asked her to go to AIA.org and go down to the 20 questions for architects links that I wrote about recently that led to a broken link that said 'error'.  I was hoping that she would be able to contact someone about fixing it.  Too late.  I hope my post had something to do with it.

Congratulations to the AIA for fixing a broken link and I'm glad it was fixed because it leads to an even bigger more ironic problem. Here's a screen shot of the top of the page

 My questions is, what is wrong with you people?  Make a mental note about quantities and credibility.  When putting a link on the front page of your website, and devoting an entire section to "20 Questions", can someone please explain to me why there are 21 questions on the page?  I guess it's the same problem with door schedules that don't always match the number of doors on the plans. 

Perhaps question #17 was added recently.  It's the one asking if you'll see models or computer animations.  A little vague, but better than nothing.

Uh, #20...how long will it take to complete?  Wouldn't that be a question for the contractor?  How disruptive will construction be?  See question #17 and ask if they're using Revit or AutoCAD.

Well, that was fun.  Let's see how long it takes to have a little revision cloud put on that web page.  The beauty of this is that you can't make this stuff up.  I wonder if there's any sort of technology for BIM for web sites. 


Dept. of Obscure: Edit Verticies - Revit

Obscure Verticies...was that command available in AutoCAD 10?

Seriously, I think I've uncovered a bit of the fear of BIM. It's simply that since learning and using AutoCAD (and 2D) is so complicated, then learning Revit and 3D must be really complicated. If they only knew that if you just modeled buildings in Revit the same way you build the actual building, they'd love the workflow. Of course, it requires knowing how to build a building, but that's never stopped anyone from approving a set of sealed drawings.

Anyway, this is a cool repost of some great massing features. Please don't forget that if you actually create a building that looks like this, you'll never be an EnergyStarchitect because it'll be complicated and expensive to build.

Source: http://insidethefactory.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/dept-of-obscure-edit-verticies.html

In the process of reviewing some tool-tips I came across a command that really felt like a blog post waiting to be written. What is this command, where does it live, and why would one need it?

Essentially this command allows you to control triangulation on the surfaces of a blend. The two forms below are made from the same blends but the edgy guy on the right was worked over with the "Edit Verticies" command.

Note: The workflow in the new massing environment is different. This command applies only to general family blend forms of non-mass categories.


When working with blends I typically make some "Bones" using model lines. These can be made parametric and live in nested families that are placed at different heights in the parent family. Not a requirement but powerful (An extreme example of this "rig" technique using the new modeling tools can be found here on David Lights blog and here on BIM Troublemaker)

Once you have your bones use the "Pick Lines" method when sketching the top and base of the blends.


While making the blend, or later editing the blend top or base, you will see the "Edit Verticies" command. When clicked you'll get the 'Twist" and "Reset" commands as well as toggles to control where the vertice controls appear.


Here is what the controls look like in the view. The controls are either hollow (no vertice) or filled (vertice). They kind of point to an intersection where they will try to connect to. The best way to learn how they work is just start clicking them until you get the shape you desire. If you go too far use the "Reset" command.

Below I enabled eight vertices on the base of the blend.

Continuing on editing eight vertices on the top of the upper blend. Voila.



Source: Inside the Factory: Dept. of Obscure: Edit Verticies


Wall-Based families and the Elevation Instance Property - The Revit Clinic

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/wallbased-families-and-the-elevation-instance-property.html

By default when you load a wall-based family into a project, an Elevation instance property is created. This controls the elevation of the component family from the associated level.


Say you’re creating some casework wall-based families and you want to control what this elevation dimension is based on. For example the top of the cabinets versus the bottom on the cabinets.

If you want the elevation set to the top of the cabinets, open the family and go to one of the elevation views. Locate the Top reference plane > Instance Properties.


Check the box for Defines Origin.


This will set the Elevation parameter to be based off the Top reference plane when loaded into the project versus the default reference level of the family. You could then model your geometry based off this reference plane.

Source: Wall-Based families and the Elevation Instance Property - The Revit Clinic


Revit Tech Support - Location for Revit 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack KeyboardShortcuts.xml file

Published date: 2010-Jan-28
ID: TS14465055

Applies to:
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2010
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2010
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2010


You want to know where the KeyboardShortcuts.xml file is stored after installing the Subscription Advantage Pack for Revit® 2010 products and customizing keyboard shortcuts.


The KeyboardShortcuts.xml file is stored in the following folder locations. Substitute the current Windows login name for %username% :

Windows XP

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010

Autodesk Revit Structure 2010
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Structure 2010

Autodesk Revit MEP 2010
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit MEP 2010

Windows Vista

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010

Autodesk Revit Structure 2010
C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Structure 2010

Autodesk Revit MEP 2010
C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit MEP 2010

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support - Location for Revit 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack KeyboardShortcuts.xml file


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of Texas BIM Guidelines and Standards Published to Website

Wow, I just got the most amazing birthday present ever and it was only an email. When I was presenting at Autodesk University, one of my attendees came up to me before the class to introduce himself and told me that he enjoyed reading my blog. He's a BIM Rock Star and I'm truly honored that our paths crossed because of all of my hard work on the blog and that people like him are actually reading it.

I always wonder who out there is reading this, not that each of you is not important, but there are some huge advocates and heavy hitters in the BIM world that really are noticed. People like Steve Jones of McGraw-Hill, Phil Berstein, IPD Guru of Autodesk, John Tocci Jr. (no, the son, not the owner of Tocci Construction), Laura Handler, BIM Goddess (who gets a huge round of applause for being chosen for the 40 under 40 award from Building Design + Construction Magazine), and last but not least, the star of this post, Chris Tisdel, Director of BIM for the State of Texas.

You're all amazing people, and I'm glad I've been able to meet and know each of you and that each of you lives and breathes BIM.

So, here's the email I got today from Chris.  I've even gone so far as to ask his secret for getting Texas to require BIM so that all states are created equal and we can create better designed and more sustainable buildings.

Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 5:41 PM
TFC BIM Guidelines and Standards Published to Website

Good afternoon Greg,

First, let me say that your website and blog are some of the most informative sites on the internet when it comes to all things BIM and beyond! My biggest problem is that once I start reading and hyperlinking this way and that, I end up forgetting what I was looking at in the first place...

Second, I thought that you might be interested in our BIM Standards and Guidelines:


Download Form #23, "PSP Guidelines/Standards, Revised 1/15/2010"

TFC will be updating this document quarterly. Further, we will be adding specific sections that concern structural, MEP, civil, and landscaping disciplines.

All new contracts have this document as an attachment and all work is expected to be done within the BIM platform.

Presently, TFC is in the midst of "constructing" its BIM central server environment to allow A/E/C's to connect to TFC servers and work within one BIM model.

I hope this email finds you well and I enjoyed meeting you at AU... nice presentation and great discussion!


Chris Tisdel, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Director - Building Information Modeling
Texas Facilities Commission - State of Texas
1711 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701

There you have it....what happens in Texas should be repeated everywhere else.  Thanks Chris for the awesome job you're doing and for sharing this great info with me and the rest of the world.  It's only a matter of time before CAD is extinct, so if you still have any doubts about the future of Revit and BIM, please tell me what exactly you don't get about using real technology in the design and construction process.

Well, my birthday is almost over, and it's time for me to get ready for my son JR's 2nd birthday tomorrow.  He will be learning Revit this year just so you can hear me say that Revit is so easy, even a two year old can use it.  


40 Under 40 - More BIM Rock Stars

Source: http://www.bdcnetwork.com/article/444348-40_Under_40-full.php

By Jay W. Schneider, Senior Editor and Jeffrey Yoders, Senior Associate Editor -- Building Design & Construction, 1/1/2010 12:00:00 AM

The 40 accomplished individuals profiled on the following pages are some of the brightest stars in the AEC universe. What makes them all the more remarkable: they're all under the age of 40. Our youngest, Laura Handler, is a 25-year-old BIM expert in Boston.
This amazing group includes young architects, engineers, contractors, developers, and an inventor—all of whom stood out among a group of more than 261 outstanding entrants in our fifth annual “40 under 40” competition.
We proudly introduce you to the AEC industry's next generation of leadership:

40 Under 40

See the whole list:


Texas Facilities Commission recommends Autodesk products for its BIM standards - BuildingTeam360 | Blog on Building Design & Construction


January 25, 2010
BIMBoy’s Blog reported that the Texas Facilities Commission would be requiring BIM models for all its projects last summer. Since then we’ve anxiously awaited the TFC’s new BIM standards. This week they were published on its website (#23 PSP guidelines). Notice this particular section:
“All BIM Models are required to be created using BIM authoring software in native file formats readable by the current software versions in use by TFC as indicated below:
1. Autodesk Civil 3D 2010
2. Autodesk Navisworks 2010
3. Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
4. Autodesk Revit MEP 2010
5. Autodesk Revit Structure 2010
B. PSPs are responsible for providing proper software training for their staff members assigned to TFC projects.
· Civil 3D
· Navisworks
· Revit Architecture
· Revit MEP
· Revit Structure”
That’s right, the TFC has standardized on Autodesk products.
“That is our preferred method based on our central BIM server process and these guidelines are geared toward that method,” said Chris Tisdel, director of Building Information Modeling for the Texas Facilities Commission. “However, we may also work with the IFC format on a project by project and case by case basis. The data loss associated with the IFC format is still too great to holistically adopt the format. We are very concerned with getting correct and valid data for our use as an owner and until the IFC format is found to be more capable than in its present form, we have internally adopted the Autodesk suite of BIM authoring software titles. As a rule then, we would require that all files presented to us be in the Autodesk format.”
Tisdel also said that when the TFC’s central BIM server is online that format will not be as much of an issue, and the central BIM server will be the TFC’s preferred method. Until that time, he said, the TFC will work with the AEC community in a traditional manner of accepting discipline models based both in IFC and Autodesk methods.
Posted by Jeffrey Yoders on January 25, 2010

Texas Facilities Commission recommends Autodesk products for its BIM standards - BuildingTeam360 | Blog on Building Design & Construction


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Revit Tech Support - When opening a Revit local project file after a crash an unrecoverable error occurs

Published date: 2010-Jan-26
ID: TS14447376

Applies to:
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2010
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2010
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2010


When opening a Revit local project file after a crash you receive an unrecoverable error has occurred message and the file fails to open.


When a local project file crashes and is not properly closed out, the workset option is not written to the file. When attempting to open a project in this condition with the Open > Workset: > Specify option, an unrecoverable error will occur.

Instead open the project file with the Open > Workset: > All option. This should allow the file to be opened without the error message. Once the project file is properly saved and closed out, the Open > Workset: > Specify option can be later used.

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support - When opening a Revit local project file after a crash an unrecoverable error occurs


Alias Sketch Add-in for AutoCAD Now Available - It is Alive in the Lab


Product Line Manager, Thomas Heermann, contacted me about making a technology preview available on Autodesk Labs. He wants to get feedback on the Alias Sketch experience from the AutoCAD user base.

Thomas was keen to note:

  • The add-in version is for AutoCAD users who have a creative part of their job and will use the Alias Sketch add-in for integrating sketching and image editing capabilities into their current workflow for tasks that they currently user Photoshop or Corel for today.

  • Since AutoCAD is already vector based, the benefit is that AutoCAD users can now add image manipulation and paint workflows easily to their workflow with an Autodesk product. Alias Sketch is for AutoCAD users that need to integrate hand written annotations, create sketches, modify images, or create composite imagery. They can now communicate via illustrations versus a DWG file. It would not be useful for AutoCAD users who simply create drawings and send out DWG files.

  • The add-in features: Fully integrated with AutoCAD desktop and interface, color and image processing/manipulation, drawing tools (paint brushes, pencils, must be stated in a way as those who can take advantage of pen based interfaces, take advantage of Alias technology directly in AutoCAD software. Adding value to current AutoCAD customers with new technology.

So take this add-in for a spin and let us know what you think at labs.acad.aliassketch@autodesk.com. We would love to see samples of what you create.

Letting our creative juices flow is alive in the lab.

Alias Sketch Add-in for AutoCAD Now Available - It is Alive in the Lab


Monday, January 25, 2010

BIM GC ROI: Enterprise Construction Field Mobility Blog «Construction Field Mobility Blog

The presentations at January’s AGC’s Winter 2010 BIMForum “Model-Based Buildings: A model’s life both during and after the project” in Phoenix covered the real-world use of BIM (Building Information Models) from the design phase through fabrication. They included CNC and an owner’s use of BIM for ongoing maintenance. There was one particularly interesting presentation that covered what is probably an uncharted area — the use of BIM for insurance and claims.

Rather than providing a run-down of everything that happened during the two-day event, there were a few highlights that the speakers hit on that made a lot of sense to me and that I’d like to share:


at BIMForum

at BIMForum

Christof Speiler, the Director of Technology and Information at Morris Architects presented the kick-off session about “Standards

for Construction and Ready Design Models.” He spoke about the collaborative nature needed to maximize the value between the design and document models, or what he called “sharing models.” He continued that to realize value in a best-case scenario, you need to think about standards for everything from authorship to granularity, timeliness and accuracy. To this I would add integrated data from the jobsite, say from mobile applications such as Field BIM because the standards help to increase consistency so that when you’re looking at a model containing your QA/QC inspection data, it can be organized the same way as your last model. This makes it easier to analyze and understand as you go from one project to the next.. Christof was not the only presenter to mention the need to focus on the “I” in BIM. Chris Fischer of Schuff Steel echoed the same point. Though, I particularly enjoyed the way Christof crystallized yet another three-letter acronym called BPM (Building Pretty Models), which describes the contrast or temptation to focus on the the sheer visual nature of models rather than the real benefits they drive. You can read his exact quote and more but that was part of my takeaway on the idea.

The “Ring of Fire”

Ring od Fire

Ring of Fire

While I don’t think Johnny Cash would sing about BIM, we all got a look at the “Ring of Fire.” It’s a CNC (Computer Numeric Control)-driven, plasma cutting and arc-writing machine from Peddinghaus Corp that can be fed directly from a Tekla (a Vela Partner) model in the production of nearly any kind of steel member. While the machine itself saves tons of time in the fabrication process (taking the cutting process for each piece down from 25 minutes to 3 minutes), what I thought was really interesting was that the model can be used to drive the machine and the machine itself can also mark the piece. That means that folks in the field can be looking at a number on the steel that is tied directly to the model already. This would make it super easy for someone in the field doing, say, a QA/QC inspection on a field weld to read the piece mark number, jot down their inspection results in Vela’s mobile QA/QC application, and link it back to the same model that was used to actually produce the piece itself. All without having to worry about how to get data from all of the various systems involved. Boom (or “zap” I suppose)! You now have a history of your steel and your QA/QC inspection results data in your model too.

“BIM After Construction”

I’ve given presentations a few times now where I’ve said how you can easily sync data from Vela’s field applications (such as iPodCommissioning) into models. In fact, I’ve often referred to it as being “as easy as synching your iPod.” That said, I was kind of surprised when Birgitta Foster of Sandia National Laboratories started her presentation on the Owner’s use of BIM after construction by describing how she wanted all of the data in her FM (Facilities Management) system to work with her models, and that she wanted it to work “just like plugging in my iPod but with no cords.” At Vela Systems, we get that and we’ve done it too. At Sandia, the business case for what I call the BIM iPod (sorry Apple) is pretty compelling. Birgitta’s business case for linking into her models all of the O&M manuals, panel schedules, and various other information that would typically come from the commissioning process, and further link the models to her FM systems, is that Sandia could save two hours per work order for their facilities team. The average work order consumes that time in collecting the right documents and verifying the right location or asset to service. At a rate of $50/hr and around 14,000 work orders per year for the 900 buildings at Sandia, that’s a $2.4 MM savings.

Are you already working on a project or multiple projects that use models as the enabler for process improvement by accessing data from mobile applications? Or, are you working with “retro-grouches” (another new term I learned about at the BIMForum which, by the way, is open for someone to claim on Wikipedia) that need some additional persuasion to get on board? We’d love to hear your stories. Let us know and comment here.

Source: Enterprise Construction Field Mobility Blog «Construction Field Mobility Blog Read more...

FREE Unlocked LEED 2009 Checklists That Don't Suck!

Since I know you're all working on LEED projects, this great find should help you create green buildings more efficiently. So, I have a question for all of you CAD users. Why do you use such an inefficient technology to create construction documents? Don't even try to say that you can do it just as fast in AutoCAD as you can in Revit. I had the most amazing conversation with a BIM Manager from a firm who has 80 people working there. Nothing made me happier to hear than him telling me about how he single handedly got his firm moving in the BIM direction. I have this metric that at any firm, when a reseller first comes in and shows you Revit, and even after you get training on it, that 20% of the team will embrace the technology and the rest will fight it kicking and screaming, sabotaging, bad mouthing and generally try to prove that Revit isn't right for their firm. Today that was confirmed for me, in at least one firm.

Even nicer was finding out that he's been reading my blog for over 2 years and even agrees with "99%" of what I write here. So, to that BIM manager, I'd like to personally thank you for the chat and let you know how appreciative I was of the time you gave me today. It's been one of the benefits of my blog in that I've been able to engage in some incredible conversations with people that wouldn't normally give a Revit salesperson the time of day. But me, being a BIM consultant, I get to knock on some doors that are typically closed. Thank you to those who I've had those chats with, up to and including Steve Jones, the BIM superhero who creates the McGraw-Hill Smart Market BIM Reports who when i introduced myself at AU, knew who I was. That was a real blogger treat. Enough about me, let's talk about your needs on LEED projects:

Source: http://www.reallifeleed.com/2010/01/free-unlocked-leed-2009-checklists-that.html

You may have heard me rant about the credit checklists the USGBC has released, and I've finally gotten around to doing something about it. Below you'll find links to Excel checklists for each of the five v2009 (aka v3) rating systems (...if you think I'm going to try to revamp the LEED-Homes checklist you're insane). Each prints to a single page, has an area for notes, and is COMPLETELY UNLOCKED, so if you don't like something you can edit it on your own. I use the notes all the time to keep track of consultant comments and changes... it's the best way I'm aware of for tracking changes in LEED points over time, just put a date in front of the filename and you have a snapshot in time!

NOTE: All five checklists were setup to use the whole page, and you may need to adjust the margins for them to print properly. All five use 0.0' for header and footer, .35' for top and bottom margins, and .25' for left and right margins. Admittedly, those with poor eyesight probably aren't going to like how they print, as the text gets pretty small. I would simply recommend changing it from a one page print to a two page print and adjusting the notes width to get it back to normal proportions.

New USGBC Official Checklists

In the USGBC's defense, they have released (without telling anyone that I can see) new and genuinely improved Excel checklists that feature two tabs: a one-page simplified printing option and a more detailed view similar to past editions. Unfortunately, they're still hung up on forbidding editing of any kind and for some reason have bathed the checklists in a disgusting yellow color. Some may find these new checklists preferable for their purposes though, so I've linked to those directly below for your convenience:

Do you have a pressing need for similar unprotected checklists for older LEED systems (e.g. v2)? Do my checklists stink? Let me know how to make them better by leaving a comment!


BIM on the cloud - Project Butterfly - just the latest SaaS installment - It is Alive in the Lab

After my post about being able to edit AutoCAD drawings on the interweb tubes, some people inquired about when that would be available for Revit. Apparently, they missed my previous posts about Project Twitter which includes a web based version of Revit. We're so close to full cloud computing.

Of course, this is just another way to screw up your workflow and processes. Also, for you pirates out there, cloud computing is going to make it impossible for you to use Autodesk software illegally. No more multiple installations and key generators, hacks and cracks. I think it would be cool for Autodesk to do a pay as you go plan so you can use any of their products on an as needed basis with a maximum price per year. Since Revit subscription is $725/year and that works out to 35 cents an hour, if you had a small project, it could cost you $200 to use Revit and you wouldn't have to pay so much. Maybe they charge by the size of the project so smaller firms don't have to pay as much as larger firms.

So many possibilities. Of course, net neutrality and all the jerky internet providers are going to start charging more for higher bandwith use of the internet, so now you can be pissed at someone other than Autodesk.

In the meantime, start playing with these programs and get used to them.

On another related note, I posted last year about Sugarsync, which does backups on the cloud. I was talking to one of my clients on Friday who told me it's changed his life. He's on the road a lot and has an iPhone with the SugarSync app. All of his documents, pictures, data and Revit models are available for him to email a link to a client. What's even better is that he's able to pull up images of blueprints that he uses for references on jobsites. Since he's viewing them on the web, he doesn't need to have gigabytes of files on his phone.

We now have portability of our collaborative capabilities. For those of you who spend your life running around from meeting to meeting, this would even allow you to save your files and have them accessible for your team back at the office automatically. Think of the possibilities. For those of you who never share your files because of the "Liability" of sharing information and data, I don't know what to tell you.

I love the name Autodesk picked...Project Butterfly. Think about it. You're a catepillar crawling along, you go into your cocoon (recession) and come out a beautiful flying being. Consider CAD vs BIM to be the following:

CAD - Catepillar BIM - Butterfly.

This is all part of the Borg's master plan.


At Autodesk Software as a Service (SaaS) is not just a set of buzz words. For over a decade, Autodesk has been a leader in SaaS applications for the design industry, starting with Buzzsaw, the world’s largest project hosting service. Many of you might remember it as ProjectPoint as it was called back in the day when I worked on it. Project Butterfly Technology Preview adds to Autodesk’s long tradition of investment and operational experience with SaaS solutions.

As Carl Bass and Jeff Kowalski noted in their AU presentations, our view is that desktop software and online services will interact and that the lines between desktop applications and Web applications will be a blurred continuum over time. We are excited about the possibilities for cloud computing to potentially introduce new users to our software or allow firms to use specific software tools on demand. A cloud computing approach frees companies from installation as well as opens up access to more powerful computing than would be available on a single desktop or laptop.

The Project Butterfly Technology Preview is an on demand software tool aimed at the individual AutoCAD user who wants to view, edit and collaborate in real-time on his or her DWG files with colleagues and clients over the Web. This is our latest foray into the world of SaaS. Examples of Autodesk’s other SaaS offerings include:

  • Project Twitch, which began September 18, 2009, offers some of our design applications via remote access over the Internet. It is a user alternative to traditional product trials for AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Maya and the Autodesk Revit Platform. This test marks the first time Autodesk has run its products in the cloud using a new delivery technology. Hosted trials are only available to those with sufficient bandwidth - typically those who are located within 1,000 miles of the Santa Clara data center where the applications are hosted.

  • As far back as November 1999, Autodesk Buzzsaw was delivered as an on-demand service that helps organizations simplify, centralize, and streamline all project-related documents and information. Although some customers originally used it as "glorified FTP" they soon came to realize its full benefits by taking advantage of its forms based workflow processing for bid collection and analysis, construction administration, and facility management.

  • Project Freewheel is a technology preview to experiment with the idea of design visualization and collaboration. Customers post 2D and 3D designs as DWF files to an Autodesk server. Project Freewheel then allows users to view and markup the DWF files. This service became so successful that a production version of the viewing portions is available as Autodesk Freewheel.

  • Project Draw provides a versatile, web-based vector drawing application. It could be used to create simple floor plans, electronic circuit and network diagrams, user interface mock-ups, and more. Diagrams could be saved in a variety of formats on the Autodesk Labs server or locally.

  • Project Dragonfly is an easy-to-use home design application delivered over the web, providing an intuitive and highly engaging experience that makes home design accessible to anyone. Using Project Dragonfly, homeowners can design, visualize, and experiment with changes to their living space, while building product manufacturers and professional designers can take advantage of the application’s flexible web delivery to engage with this targeted community of potential customers. Whereas our design applications are geared towards design professionals, Project Dragonfly is for the average consumer.

  • Project Showroom is a web service that provides scalable, on-demand delivery of synthetic photography on home and building product manufacturers’ websites. Using Project Showroom, manufacturers can create immersive photorealistic experiences that allow homeowners and designers to experiment visually with different combinations of products. This type of visual engagement drives sales by boosting customers’ confidence in their product selections. In 6 words, it helps them make purchasing decisions. Model-based synthetic photography is also less expensive for the manufacturer than photography of physical objects in scenes and vignettes - no more constructing a set and swapping appliances in/out as photographs are taken. So Project Showroom is for design professionals and consumers.

  • Project Bluestreak is a relative new kid on the block. Autodesk Project Bluestreak is a web-based collaboration environment for accelerating building information modeling through the open exchange of design information and ideas between desktop applications, web-based services and people. Whereas Buzzsaw users are invited to participate by becoming a member of a Buzzsaw site, Project Bluestreak is different in that individual users sign up for the service and then aggregate as they work together. In one sense, Project Bluestreak is an experiment in community and social media. As such Project Bluestreak is oriented towards design professionals.

These examples show that Autodesk has a long history with SaaS.

Getting SaaSy is alive in the lab.

Source: Project Butterfly - just the latest SaaS installment - It is Alive in the Lab


Sunday, January 24, 2010

5 Green Building Trends to Watch : Industry Market Trends

On the rare occasion that I like to mention the death of 2D drafting for designing buildings and systems (while noting that you can use it for detailing), here's more about BIM and LEED.  This one's nice because it says that BIM is a part of the green building trend.

Have you ever considered how much less computer use or paper you use using Revit versus AutoCAD?  Anyone have any metrics on that?  If you could design a project with fewer people because of the Revit modules, Revit should qualify for a LEED point for saving energy.

Source: http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2010/01/5-green-building-trends-to-watch-in-2010.html?t=recent
By David R. Butcher
2009 was a tough year for the building industry. Yet green building has been a rare bright spot, according to a new report. Engineers and architects may want to take note of the following emerging trends.

During the first 11 months of the year, construction spending in the United States amounted to $868.9 billion, 12.7 percent below spending in the same period in 2008. The dismal housing market had a rippling effect that affected not only homebuilders, but also cement companies, truck manufacturers and thousands of small businesses that cater to contractors and construction firms.

Yet the dismal housing industry has not diminished the interest in energy-efficient and environmentally-sensitive homes.

In fact, green building has been a rare bright spot, particularly in Northwest design and building communities, according to the nonprofit Earth Advantage Institute.
Sustainable techniques, once considered something of a luxury, have become a value-adding aspect to building. The process begins with the selection of materials, the use of natural light and space, proper insulation, flooring and responsible techniques for disposing of waste.

The Earth Advantage Institute developed its predictions for 2010 green building trends based on discussions with builders, architects, real estate brokers, appraisers, lenders and homeowners late in 2009. Engineers and architects should take note of these emerging green-building trends, excerpted from the Earth Advantage Institute's new Top 10 Green Building Trends to Watch in 2010 report:

Smart Grid-Connected Homes — While the concept of a "smart grid" is gaining traction in the utilities sector, the development of custom and Web-based display panels that show real-time home energy use, and even real-time energy use broken out by individual appliance, could significantly help change homeowners' energy usage and drive energy conservation.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software — In building design, CAD software is providing new tools and better accuracy for energy modeling, as well as embedded energy properties for many materials and features. Sophisticated users of BIM, which can be used for all phases of the work, are creating significant efficiencies in the documentation process and have even been able to eliminate the need for shop drawings during construction, according to DesignIntelligence. BIM developers may soon be offering more affordable packages aimed at smaller firms and individual builders.

Water Conservation — Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the WaterSense specification for new homes to reduce their residential water use indoors and outdoors. WaterSense-labeled new homes are expected to be 20 percent more efficient than conventional homes. U.S. performance scores may soon incorporate mandatory energy labeling like the kind that documents water efficiency in buildings in Europe. Water will be the essential resource in the next decade.

Carbon Calculation — Progressive elements within the building industry are looking at ways to document, measure and reduce greenhouse-gas creation in building materials and processes. Lifecycle assessment (LCA), the science of measuring the environmental effects of a building "from cradle to grave," is underway by third-party technical teams, while others are working with federal and state building authorities to educate staff, create monetized carbon credits and develop effective carbon offset policies.

Net-Zero BuildingsNet-zero buildings generate more energy than they use over the course of a year, as a result of size, efficiencies and energy sources. The American Institute of Architects' Architecture 2030 Challenge sets carbon-neutrality as the goal for all buildings in 2030. According to Earth Advantage, that goal is within reach: "Building extreme efficiency into a structure is highly cost effective, and achieves the bulk of the net-zero effort."

For architects and engineers, the decision to build green is still a challenging one to make, as they want to know more about the features and economic benefits of sustainable construction, Residential Architect Online recently acknowledged. This way, they can place an appropriate value on a green building.

A November 2009 study from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Booz Allen Hamilton estimates that green building will add $554 billion to the U.S. economy over the next four years (2009-2013). Green-construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages.

The study also found that the USGBC's more than 19,000 member organizations generate $2.6 trillion in annual revenue, employ approximately 14 million people, come from 29 industry sectors and include 46 Fortune 100 companies.

"In many ways, green construction is becoming the standard for development," Booz Allen Hamilton's Gary Rahl said in a statement. "As a result, it is expected to support nearly 8 million jobs over the next five years, a number four times higher than the previous five years."

"Despite the severe economic contraction of the A/E/C [architect/engineer/contractor] market," DesignIntelligence said earlier this month, "designing projects for a LEED rating or comparable standard is allowing firms to enhance their sustainability offerings and providing a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy landscape."

Source: 5 Green Building Trends to Watch : Industry Market Trends


Study shows that better gamers have bigger brains, are better learners too -- Engadget

Study shows that better gamers have bigger brains, are better learners
While we can't say for sure that videogames, as your grandmother insists, do indeed rot your brain, thanks to research conducted at a variety of Universities around the States we know that better gamers tend to have more gray matter than others -- at least in certain areas. Kirk Erickson, Ann Graybiel, Arthur Kramer, and Walter Boot worked together to form a study in which 39 participants' brains were scanned before those subjects were asked to play a game called Space Fortress (which looks a little like an Atari-era Geometry Wars).

Players with larger nucleus accumbens did better learning the game early on, while those with larger caudate nucleus and putamen did better at playing with distractions. There was no sign that playing games actually increased the size of those areas of the brains, meaning some people are just born with a Power Glove on -- and that it's only a matter of time before MRIs replace aptitude tests.

Study shows that better gamers have bigger brains, are better learners too -- Engadget Read more...

Out-of-Work Architects Turn to Other Skills - NYTimes.com

Repost: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/garden/21architects.html

Michael Hanson for The New York Times

BARGAIN BASEMENT John Morefield is one of thousands of unemployed designers who are reinventing themselves. Last year, he put up a booth at a farmers' market in Seattle, advertising his skills for a nickel, and ended up earning more than $50,000 in commissions.

AT the Ballard Farmers’ Market in Seattle on a recent weekend, passers-by could be forgiven for thinking John Morefield was running for political office. Smiling, waving and calling out hellos to everyone who walked by his stand, he was the picture of friendliness. All he needed was campaign buttons and fliers.

Sally Ryan for The New York Times

Unable to find design work, Richard Chuk of Illinois, above, began truck-driving school this month.

Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

Natasha Case and Freya Estreller have an ice cream truck in Los Angeles.

In fact, Mr. Morefield, 29, is no politician, but an architectural designer looking for work. He was seated at a homemade wooden stand under a sign reading “Architecture 5¢,” with a tin can nearby awaiting spare change. For a nickel, he would answer any architectural question.

In 2008, Mr. Morefield lost his job — twice — and thought he could ride out the recession doing design work for friends and family, but when those jobs dried up, he set up his stand. As someone in his 20s without many contacts or an extensive portfolio, he thought he might have an easier time finding clients on his own.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Mr. Morefield said. “I had no other option. The recession was a real kick in the shorts, and I had to make this work.”

A troubled economy and the implosion of the real estate market have thrown thousands of architects and designers out of work in the last year or so, forcing them to find or create jobs. According to the latest data available from the Department of Labor, employment at American architecture firms, which peaked last July at 224,500, had dropped to 184,600 by November.

“It’s hard to find a place to hide when the economy goes down,” said Kermit Baker, the chief economist at the American Institute of Architects. “There aren’t any strong sectors now.”

And it’s not clear when the industry will recover. Architecture firms are still laying off employees, and Mr. Baker doesn’t expect them to rehire until billings recover, which he thinks won’t be until the second half of this year at the earliest.

In the meantime, many of those who have been laid off are discovering new talents often unrelated to architecture.

When Natasha Case, 26, lost her job as a designer at Walt Disney Imagineering about a year ago, she and her friend Freya Estreller, 27, a real estate developer, started a business selling Ms. Case’s homemade ice cream sandwiches in Los Angeles. Named for architects like Frank Gehry (the strawberry ice cream and sugar cookie Frank Behry) and Mies van der Rohe (the vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate chip cookie Mies Vanilla Rohe), they were an immediate hit.

“I feel this is a good time to try new things,” said Ms. Case, who did a project on the intersection of food and architecture while studying for her master’s in architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2008. “You do things you always wanted to do, something you’ve always been passionate about.”

Since she and Ms. Estreller rolled out their truck, Coolhaus, at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs last April, they’ve catered events for Mr. Gehry’s office, Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney Channel.

Their initial investment was low: they bought a 20-year-old postal van on Craigslist and had it retrofitted and painted silver and bubblegum pink, all for $10,000. With seven full- and part-time employees, they now make enough to support themselves and have plans to expand (a Hamptons truck is in the works and they are trying to get their products into Whole Foods stores).

Leigh Ann Black was working as an architectural designer in Seattle when she lost her job over a year ago. After a long struggle to find work, she finally moved back to her hometown of Water Valley, Miss., in June, to take care of her sick grandmother.

Ms. Black, 30, is now living above her parents’ garage, but she finally has time to indulge her love of pottery. She recently converted an old horse barn on her family’s farm into a studio, plans to apprentice with local potters and has applied to several post-baccalaureate ceramics programs, with the hope of selling her wares at farmers’ markets and someday teaching art.

“This is not where I imagined I’d be when I turned 30, but I feel really inspired being back,” she said. “There’s something about being with family and not feeling upset about meeting rent, car payment and groceries every month. Now I have some breathing room.”

When Debi van Zyl, 33, was laid off by a small residential design firm in Los Angeles in May, she decided to do freelance design work for as long as she could, and she picked up jobs doing exhibition design for the Getty and Huntington museums. In her spare time, to relax, she started knitting what she describes as “kooky” stuffed animals like octopuses and jellyfish. Then, at the urging of the readers of her blog, she began selling them on Etsy. Les Petites Bêtes Sauvages, as she calls them, have helped her pay the rent and other bills for the last few months.

“You think you’re in charge of your profession, and then the recession hits and you realize that your career is market driven,” Ms. van Zyl said. “It’s forced me to push myself and become more individual. My motto is don’t say no to anything.”

Richard Chuk, of Lombard, Ill., said that since he lost his position as a commercial designer a year ago, when two of his firm’s clients — both developers — lost financing for their projects, he has been looking for any job he can find to support his wife and children, ages 6 and 7.

Mr. Chuk, 38, began his job search in a good mood because of the wave of optimism surrounding the presidential election. During the first three months, he sent out nearly 150 résumés, applying for many jobs he was overqualified for. (Sears, Home Depot and Lowe’s all turned him down for jobs as a designer because he was overqualified, he said.) He had only one interview.

After that, he said, he applied for the rare job that popped up but spent most of his time taking care of his children, studying for his architectural licensing exam and renovating his basement.

This month, he began commercial truck driving school.

“You feel this year of your life is gone,” Mr. Chuk said. “It’s lost wages and lost experiences. But you have to keep positive and move forward. I look at this as an education. It opens up more doors and you never know when it’ll help you.”

As for Mr. Morefield, the architect in Seattle, he started his booth (and a Web site, architecture5cents.com) with the hope that it would bring in sufficient income to get by until he could find another job. As it turned out, he received so many commissions — to build a two-story addition, a deck, a master bedroom — that he realized he could make plenty of money working for himself.

Last year, he made more than $50,000 — the highest salary he ever made working for someone else — and he expects to do even better this year.

“It’s developed into what I was supposed to do,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, it’s scary, but I love every minute of it. If someone offered me $80,000 to sit behind a computer, I wouldn’t do it.”

Source: Out-of-Work Architects Turn to Other Skills - NYTimes.com


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