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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Press release:Gregory Arkin/Revit3D.com leaves Autodesk VAR Channel #AU2011

Gosh, I don't even know where to begin this story, but I've told it so many times today to my friends and associates here at AU that I can hardly talk, so it's time to make it official for the world.

After 7 years of being an Autodesk reseller, becoming a BIM evangelist, starting this blog and developing relationships with over 60 different software vendors, I'm delighted to tell you that I've been offered a position of being the BIM Visionary and Strategist for an AE/CM firm in South Florida.

Yes, no more (Revit or AutoCAD),sales for me.  I'm so thankful for having had this medium of being able to communicate my passion for BIM and disdain for CAD and for having been embraced by the BIM gurus of the world.  Somehow, I've become part of the special group of people that are a very special group of people that are the smart, most creative, passionate and dedicated group of design technologists that I've ever met.

I don't know how or why I started this blog 4 years ago, but I guess there's something about being unfiltered and expressing my feelings that have inspired and helped many, and pissed off many others.

I've been given the opportunity to take my passion and knowledge and take the 13th largest architecture firm in South Florida and my goal is to make them number 1 through their BIM services division which has grown from 1 to 9 people in the last 18 months.  Not only am I so proud to be working for this firm, ACAI Associates, but the principal Cindy Baldwin, not only is a general contractor who loves my BIM brain, but she's also teaching a class today at AU BO2486 Your Company Is Ready for BIM, but Are Your Employees? (Murano 3205) at 8am.  With over 200 people signed up for the class, I can't wait for her employees to see if they're ready for me.

I don't know what direction I'm going with the blog now that I don't have to sell Autodesk software for a living and I will try to always take the high road, but this changes everything.  As I was handed my new business cards today while sitting 5 feet away from Jeffrey McGrew of Because We Can, it was cool when I pulled out my old business cards with my Revit3D license plate, and said, "Jeff, do you know who I am" and he saw the card and said of course he did.  To be recognized for my vision and passion while sitting next to an amazing pioneer in BIM like Jeff who was one of the keynote speakers today, really made me appreciate how much I've learned and grown.

Along with my new role at ACAI, I'll still be working with companies like Codebook, MWF, IES, Tools4Revit, Archibus, AutoPrep and a few other special software firms and doing BIM consulting for the construction industry.  I will keep pushing the BIM frontier and seeing how high we can push this BIM rocket.

Now that I don't have to live in fear of how Autodesk feels about what I write, the blog should be even more interesting than it was before.  Thank you for being a reader of Revit3D.com.  Thank you to everyone who listened to my story today and thank you for sharing this journey with me.

PS. I'm having the most amazing time at AU networking, catching up with old friends and playing with some amazing new technologies.  Now it's off to gather information to share Phil Read's exciting new venture with you for my next blog post.


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Monday, November 28, 2011

Know what I love more than technology? #AU2011

Well, besides my wife and child, not much, but this is cool stuff.

I'm astounding to the limits we've broken with technology.  The fact that I'm 36,368 feet up in the air, going 587 mph and sending this out into the ether is just the most amazing thing.

Let's have some fun. I'm going to speedtest.net.  Let's see how fast the internet connection is. .58 Mpbs?
Ok, still faster than dialup.  I imagine with 8,000 people at AU, the'll crush the system and we'll get the same speed. I read recently that iPads are crushing hotel internet connections.  Always on. Always uploading or downloading.  Too bad that the walls are usually too thick to get a 3G connection.

Remember dialup?  56k modems?  That's .056 mbps.  Most people get between 3 and 12 mbps on their broadband.  On the flight, I have .58 mbps.  If dialup is 56,000, I'm getting 580,000 which is 10 times faster than dialup.  Imagine driving 5.6 miles an hour (dialup) versus 58 miles an hour (wifi on the plane) versus 1200 miles an hour (12 mbps home broadband).  Look how far we've come with technology.  Of course it gets confusing with kbps vs mbps, so I always use the mile/hour analogy, not to dumb it down, but to make it understandable to the masses.

I've always wondered about the people who complain about Revit file sizes.  If you have one RVT file, how many DWGs would you have to have to upload?  If you had 200 sheets and each file was 300kb, that's 20MB of files to upload.  Any idea how long that would take to upload?  I'm sure many of you remember.  It was easier to overnight an Iomega Zip drive disc.  Wasn't that confusing? Zip drives and zip files?  Blocks, families, what's the difference.  Information about information transmitting and storage mediums.  We've come so long so fast.  Well, some of us have.

I look to my right and there's a guy writing by hand on a notepad and his wife reading a book on an iPad.  That just about sums it up.

Ha.  He just ran out of ink.  Darned old technology.  Just kidding.  I guess he could carry a spare pen. That would sure be easier than all the crap we have to carry with us to keep our batteries alive.

What is the answer?  Old technology? New technology?  What did they do before paper was invented?  That's so 80s....80 BC.

Here's a thought.  Those same people who have to always be connected, use software that doesn't allow them to connect to others in the design of a project.  How hypocritical is that?  Very!

Information, connectivity, portability, information.  It's not the software.  It's not the hardware. It's not the people.  It's all of it.  It's like a lasagna.  Layers, ingredients and a recipe, but needing people to put it all together.  Yup.  That's cooking with BIM.


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AU 2011: Creativity 2.0 – Making Design Personal Again

A little something to do between beers and classes.

BIM -It is Alive in the Lab

As I mentioned the other day, the AU 2011 Innovation Forums will leave you informed, inspired, and energized about trends and technologies that will be personally important to you and your business in the years ahead. These sessions feature a mix of individual speakers and panels that will provoke, challenge, cajole, and enlighten you about entirely new ways to design and innovate. The forums will encourage to you to think differently about how you get your work done. You will also learn where Autodesk stands on current trends and technologies, such as model-based design, the cloud, product lifecycle management, sustainability, and more.

In addition to the one on the cloud, if you are attending AU, I hope you will consider:

Creativity 2.0 – Making Design Personal Again
Sir Ken Robinson
Tuesday, November 29, 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Join an audience of professional designers and consider the future of design technology and its impact on your career and day-to-day activities. Listen to international author and award-winning TED speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, describe a "crisis in creativity" and how our educational system's traditional models fail to encourage and develop our children's creativity.

Next, see how your peers apply the latest trends in professional, consumer, and crowd-sourced design to explore and accelerate their creativity. Learn how new tools will change the nature of professional design. Learn how cloud-based supercomputing helps architects to design increasingly complex buildings. Discover how manufacturers are putting design into the consumer's hands. And watch leaders in the Maker movement describe an extraordinary universe of creative minds and the software and services that help everyone to personalize and design the world around them.

There are several Autodesk Labs technology previews (plus one recent graduate) that allow a student to create a design from his or her imagination.


turn your ideas into reality

Inventor Fusion Technology Preview

unite direct and parametric workflows

Project Spark

get started with BIM

Project Vasari

conceptual design and analysis for buildings

Planning our AU week is alive in the lab.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

When? Does it matter? Architectards.

Do you buy emergency supplies before or after the storm?
Do you have insurance for your house?
Do you buy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner before or after the guests arrive?

Are you proactive or reactive?
Do you think it doesn't matter?
Do you think there's ever a chance to catch up?

I still don't get it about all of the people who don't use BIM.  I'm not even talking about Revit.  Do you use technology to make more decisions earlier in the process?  Do you share information with your team?  Ever done a little extra work, even if you're not getting paid for it, to make it easier for the next guy?

The software doesn't matter.  It's just a tool to get to where you need to go, but faster.

I like to ask architechtards (can I say that here?  My wife will hate that word) if they prefer the Maxell or TDK brand tapes for their VCR.  Anyone still using a VCR, besides your grandmother?

Note.  I started with techtard, which was already in existence, but changed it to architectard, which, shockingly, does not show up on Google....update...actually, there are 173 hits, but mostly in chinese.  Hope I still get partial credit.

What shall the definition be of architectard?  Anyone not using Revit/BIM?  Technically challenged?  Someone who refused to embrace new technology?

Darn it. Someone beat me to a new word invention.

1.techtard58 up8 down
A contraction of "Technological Retard"
Technological + Retard = Techtard

1. Someone who is so "technologically challenged" that they shouldn't be allowed within a 10 mile radius of anything electronic.

2. Someone who often misinterprets/gets confused with IT Support's suggestions/advice. Most Helpdesk operators would rather watch paint dry than talk to these users.

See techtarded
Argh! I can't stand it! Someone else take this call... 2 hours and this techtard still can't figure out how to open his web browser!
A computer illiterate who thinks that they are an expert, but is mistaken.
Usually found prowling IT support forums, spouting hundreds of irrelevant and obvious questions and answers, and usually burying the actual answer under mountains of nonsense posts.
They are also usually found near totally destroyed electronic devices, which had previously had only relatively minor problems.

A computer literate who is an expert in a limited number of fields, but attempts to cover this huge gap in their knowledge. They will usually avoiding questions outside of these fields by unhelpfully suggesting that people move their entire operation to their field of expertise instead.


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AU Virtual 2011 #AU2011

It's almost here.  Unfortunately, for many, either the cost is prohibitive or your boss is more concerned with immediate deadlines, rather than give you the tools to learn more, be more efficient and have more time to create billable hours for the rest of the year.

For those of you who just don't have the can for AU, here's the best alternatively out there.  It's VDC, Virtual drinking and classes.  You'll have to provide your own beer, but at you access to great classes.

I look forward to seeing many old friends and hope all of my blog readers hunt me down to say hello.  That's the only way I know anyone actually reads what I write on a daily basis.  

See you Monday in Vegas.

Source/Link:  AU Virtual 2011
BIM Inside the System
AU Virtual Image
Join us for the premier virtual conference dedicated to the worldwide Autodesk user community. This online event delivers on-demand technical classes on the newest releases of Autodesk products and the latest trends and challenges facing the design industry—right from your desktop.
Plan now to attend this worldwide virtual event November 29–30, 2011. More than 150 more classes go live on November 29.

Register for Free

AU Virtual is free to everyone.
  • Select from 200 classes in English, Spanish, and Portuguese on a wide range of topics.
  • Network with other virtual attendees and your friends and followers via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post questions to class speakers.
  • Watch key AU 2011 Las Vegas presentations and insider videos.
  • Visit online exhibits.
After the event, AU Virtual classes will continue to be available on the AU website.

AU Virtual Preview Classes Are Available Now

More than 45 previews classes are now available on AU Virtual, including technical and certification preparation classes—especially helpful if you plan to take a free certification exam at AU in Las Vegas.
Register now

Friday, November 25, 2011

Are you concentrating?

What exactly are they saying on this label, that they don't pay
attention to what they're doing?  Could there be rat poison in there?

Should the same warning be put on the title block of every AutoCAD
drawing used for architecture design?

How much longer do you think owners will tolerate low quality CDs?  Do
you think they're not paying attention?  This is not pulp fiction.

Tropicad.  You're being squeezed out of the industry.


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How Thanksgiving is like BIM

In conversations I've been having withe people for the past few months, I try to explain how BIM implementation is no different than many other things in our world.  For example, and now it's completely relevant, I have the following discussion with them.

Let's say that I just installed a brand new kitchen for you.  I show you how to use your stove, microwave, blender, toaster and oven.  I then tell you that you now have to make Thanksgiving dinner.

I then ask the question, what's the first thing you need to do?  Out of 50 or more people I've asked this to, only two had the correct answer.  Everyone else has either said they'd make a list or go shopping.

My response is, "oh really, how big of a turkey are you buying?", to which the response is always "I guess I have to know how many people are coming."

Question for you.  When you get hired by an owner and they want to build a new building and you're doing your space programming, don't you have to know how many people are going to be in the building?  So, why the wrong answer in response to the turkey question?

Let's carve up this BIM training, implementation and process theory like a turkey.  I can teach you how to turn on the oven and I can teach you how to use Revit.  Does that mean you can make a pie?
We have ingredients, a recipe, timing, etc. Building a building has components and materials, a set of instructions /plans, and the schedule.  There's no difference.

Look at what happened yesterday.  What went into Thanksgiving dinner.
How many peole are coming?
 How much do you need of each ingredient?
When do you put the turkey in the oven?
When do you cook the potatoes?
When do you bake the biscuits?
When do you make the vegetables?
What time is everyone arriving?
Where will everyone sit?
What do you do with that crazy uncle of yours? Who are you going to sit him next to this year?
How do you time serving dinner in conjunction to the end of the football game?
Side note.  How f..ed up was it that the Dolphins lost literally at the last second?  How great was that timing?  How do you deal with that deadline?  Depressing huh?
Tables, silverware, plates, chairs, glasses, drinks, ice, beer, etc.
Who carves the turkey?
Why does it take 3 days to make Thanksgiving dinner and 6 minutes to eat it.
Did you make enough food?
Is there room for dessert?
Is everyone sober enough to drive home?
What about the people flying in during that snowstorm with the delayed flights?
Who's picking them up?
Who's waking up at 4am to get them back to the airport?

Someone has to do all of this planing, phasing, coordination, cooking, layout, scheduling and everything else involved in making that special dinner.  Building a building is exactly the same process.  There's a lot of planning and coordination that goes into it.

Let me ask you this.  Have you been responsible for building a building?  Can you make Thanksgiving dinner?  If you answered yes then no, how is it that you can't stick a bird in the oven?  Doesn't seem that complicated does it?  Cooking shouldn't be that complicated.  Just follow the recipe and everything will be fine right?

Lastly, remember it's called Thanksgiving, not thanks for taking.  What have you given back to the world? Have you helped others?  Did you make a Facebook status update about how much you ate last night?  Did you read about anyone who did say that?  With all of the people out of work and in poverty, how is it that we take our gifts for granted and take that second helping?

I write this blog to give back to the world a passionate plea to make a difference.  I am thankful that I have so many readers and have reached so many eyes.  I thank you for reading this and for hopefully making a difference in your life.

Thank you.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A good BIM day

How do you know you're having a good BIM day?  Well, when within 24 hours you have conversations with Phil Read, Chris Tisdel, Luke Johnson, Larry Cohan, Matt Rumbelow, Alix Loiseau and Randy Deutsch.

How do you know you're having a great BIM day?  When you have discussions with each of them about BIM, technology and all of us being BIM visionaries.  To each of you above, thank you for your passion, desire and determination to do the right thing and for sharing of the vision that we each share.

I wish I could share with the rest of you the discussions that we have and I wish the rest of the industry that is still stuck in CAD had any clue as to the magnitude of the problems in the AEC industry and how their disdain of this beautiful technology has nothing to do with the technology itself, but how we each use BIM to make the world a better place.

Once you figure out it's about the people, passion and process, the path to profitability is premised on the programs, proactivity and the desire for project perfection.  It's all about 3P and has nothing to do with 3D.

Gentlemen, thank you for your friendship, wisdom and for being a part of the BIM Borg.  Resistance is futile.  You will be BIMsimilated.

PS.  CB, thank you for today and 192, 193, 194, 195....


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CAD Workflow and Process

I was just writing an email to a dear friend about a little project I'm working on and I was writing about the CAD workflow. I thought it would be more fun to call it 'CAD Workslow' instead.

Doesn't that sound much more realistic?

What about CAD Process? Process of elimination? Elimination of what? Errors, omissions and clashes during construction. Arrrghhhh!!!!!!

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Cindy and Randy, this one's for you.

Integrated Project Delivery. It sounds so sexy and futuristic. Come
on guys. All it means is that the architect and engineer are using
Revit, freely giving the model to the GC early in the process and
bringing in the construction team to make the building work and have
the project go smoothly.

It's about 3P not 3D. That's people, planning and process. This is
nothing new.

Since I love playing with words and have fun poking you in the I T,
what's the opposite of IPD, meaning what does an AutoCAD using
architect give you?

Well it's called DPI. It stands for Delays, Problems and Incomplete.

So, thank you reading another episode of CAD VS BIM, the game where
one side wins every single time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Autodesk University 2011 Countdown and BIM thoughts

I've been slacking on my own blog posts lately and I'll explain in a few days, hopefully during AU.  If I only had more time.  I hope everyone who reads my blog who's attending AU will try to find me and say hello.  I'll be the guy with the Revit3D license plate logo on my badge.  First stop will be the blogger's social on Monday night.

I was just corresponding with Luke Johnson, avid blogger of What Revit Wants and I can't believe his firm didn't have a budget to send hi to AU.  With all of Luke's hard work, it's a shame that architectural principals don't appreciate their BIM champions who go above and beyond and reward them for their hard work.

I foresee this being a problem as BIM expands its reach.  We're going to shift from 'you should be happy you have a job' to 'I'm begging you not to quit and get a job with that big fancy contractor looking for seasoned BIM people.  Just tell me how much of a raise I have to give you to keep you.  Don't you know there aren't any Revit people around with your qualifications and I can't afford to lose you' speech.

Hopefully, you'll hear those words sooner than later at your firm.  Don't they realize you don't need as many people in a fully BIM firm and paying you more pays for itself?  Should AU be included in your salary and benefits package?  Is your firm serious about your growth and knowledge expansion?  Are they serious about BIM?  Do they appreciate what you do with BIM?  Soon enough you Revit gurus will have all of the leverage and you might as well go work for a GC now and get that big pay raise.


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New Complex at USC School of Cinematic Arts - BIM

BIM improves the design, construction, and operation of a new cinematic arts educational complex.

The Project
In 2009, the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) marked its 80th anniversary with the dedication of a new multibuilding complex. The $165 million facility is adjacent to the school's current location on the USC University Park Campus in Los Angeles.

The main building is a four-story, 137,000-square-foot facility housing classrooms, production labs, and administrative offices, as well as a 200-seat theater, an exhibition hall, and a café situated off a central courtyard. Completed in 2010, the second phase of the project provides another 63,000 square feet of educational and production space in four buildings.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts was the first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and is now the top-ranked film, television, and interactive media school in the country.

The new complex underscores the school's continued pursuit of innovation and growth. While providing much needed space for expansion, the project itself is groundbreaking. The primary donor of the facility—Lucasfilm Foundation—specified the use of a Building Information Modeling (BIM) process for design, construction, and lifecycle management of the buildings. In addition, the school stipulated that the buildings be designed and constructed to maximize longevity and performance.

The Team
The university's project architect was Urban Design Group (UDG), a full-service design firm specializing in commercial and institutional buildings. The project architect coordinated the programming, design, and construction through the university's Capital Construction and Development, and Facilities Management Services departments. The contractor was Hathaway Dinwiddie, a prominent builder in California. The team also includedconstruction management and cost estimating company TBD Consultants; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering firm IBE Consulting Engineers; structural engineering firm Gregory P. Luth and Associates (GPLA); KPFF Consulting Engineers, who provided civil engineering services; and BIM facilitator View By View.

The project team relied on core Autodesk BIM solutions, includingAutodesk® Revit® ArchitectureAutodesk® Revit® MEPAutodesk® Revit® Structure, and AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software, along withAutodesk® Navisworks® Manage and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Designsoftware, to help deliver the project under budget and ahead of schedule.

Project Challenge
With its existing instructional complex at 120% capacity and some buildings in urgent need of renovation, USC School of Cinematic Arts launched its building campaign in 2005. After much investigation, the school had already concluded that major renovations were too costly due to the age and code compliance of some of its buildings. In addition, new construction would enable the school to set new standards for its facilities. The school directed the project team to deliver a high-performance complex that reflects the school's legacy and has a 100-year lifespan.

"We were tasked with designing buildings that were energy efficient, earthquake resilient, and with highly flexible interiors that could accommodate the school's needs for a century to come," explains Raymond Kahl, managing principal at UDG. "In addition, the project donor—perceiving the advantages of BIM for lifecycle management—specifically requested that the designers, engineers, construction contractors, and facility managers all use BIM."

The Solution
Driven by the owner's commitment to BIM, the design teams, the fabricators, the BIM facilitator, and the contractor used BIM processes and software solutions for the design and construction of the complex. Throughout the project, View By View used Navisworks Manage to help aggregate disparate design and fabrication models into a single master model for cross-disciplinary collaboration, coordination, and clash detection.

The team repurposed its BIM-based design models for energy and structural analysis, design and construction visualization, specification, material and cost estimating, fabrication, and ultimately as a platform for ongoing facility operation and maintenance. "The collaboration on this project extended beyond building delivery into lifecycle management," says Kahl. "USC proactively worked with the design team to make sure that the information needed for operations and maintenance was embedded in our models."

Create Virtual Designs
Although this complex is new, its location is next door to the school's existing facilities. "Given this urban campus setting, we had to make sure the buildings were scaled to fit comfortably in the confined footprint and complemented the other university buildings," says Cliff Bourland, UDG project manager.

To honor the school's legacy, UDG used Autodesk BIM solutions to help design buildings that played well with the architectural vernacular that was popular at the school's founding in 1929. "To help visualize how our emerging designs fit on the site and meshed with the neighboring buildings—and to better communicate those designs to USC—the team used Revit Architecture and 3ds Max Design to assist in the creation of model-based visualizations and animations," says Bourland.

Maximize Longevity
The facility's structural engineering design reflects the school's goal of a 100-year life span. The design features replaceable connectors that isolate and redirect the damaging effects of an earthquake, protecting the building's inhabitants and structure. The design results in a minimal number of interior structural columns, which helped UDG build flexibility into the buildings' interiors.

"During preliminary design, we relied on Revit Architecture to more quickly lay out, visualize, and study various interior options based on spatial 'building blocks' that could be more easily reconfigured to better meet the unforeseen needs of the school in the future," says Kahl. "Once the space planning was complete, the design team transitioned its conceptual models to detailed design and documentation."

Coordinate Designs
"Throughout the design and construction process, Autodesk BIM solutions were absolutely essential for collaboration and coordination," says France Israel, president of View By View. GPLA imported its design to Revit Structure for tighter design coordination with UDG's Revit Architecture and IBE's Revit MEP models. "Then during our weekly design reviews, the project team used Navisworks to merge and visualize cross-discipline design and fabrication models, helping to guide design decisions and quickly resolve design conflicts that might have become costly field changes," adds Israel.

Optimize Performance
To meet the school's requirements for high-performance, the project team designed the new complex to LEED Silver™ standards. Early in the design process UDG and IBE collaborated on materials, systems, and strategies to maximize building performance. "Instead of spending time re-creating models for analyses, we used the intelligent information in our Revit-based design models to conduct daylighting and whole-building energy analyses," explains Kahl. "As a result, we developed building designs that took better advantage of sunlight, wind direction, and temperatures, as well as building systems that delivered optimal energy performance."

Streamline Construction
During construction, the team continued to rely on Autodesk BIM solutions for visualization, coordination, and planning. "The Revit family of products and Navisworks software products enabled a digital RFI process," says Israel. "Decisions were made in hours instead of days, helping to minimize disruptions to the construction schedule, minimize the number of RFIs, and expedite the RFI response time."

The construction trades also used BIM, referencing Revit and Navisworks models from computers in construction trailers. In the later stages of construction, workers even accessed the Navisworks models on-site from handheld tablet PCs.

Extend BIM to Lifecycle Management 
With design and construction complete, USC is now extending BIM to lifecycle management by linking the data-rich design models of the new buildings to its existing operations and maintenance (O&M) software platform. The new School of Cinematic Arts complex is the first time the building systems in any of USC's buildings were designed using Revit MEP, so this is the university's first opportunity to finally use BIM for "smart" building operations and live maintenance monitoring.

"The 3D models of the complex's main buildings—the first phase of the project—were great for design, construction, and coordination, but unfortunately they did not contain the data that USC needed for facility management," says Israel. During the second phase, USC worked with the project team, the installation contractors, and the commissioning agent to incorporate as-built facility data into the Revit models. Data included equipment numbers, electrical capacities, fan speeds, and hyperlinks to warranties and operation manuals. "A lot of the added data had been locked away in hardcopy documentation and drawings," says Bourland. "By digitizing this data and making it more readily available to facility managers, USC can leverage the information inherent in BIM to help make dramatic improvements to its overall response and repair time."

The next step was to create a custom software solution and user interface that links the Revit models and data to USC's O&M platform, giving it a more accurate and interactive visual capability. The custom solution, which uses software from EcoDomus, Inc., enables USC to compare "as operated" data received from building sensors and meters to BIM-based "as built" data and improve performance using "as maintained" data from USC's maintenance management software. The implementation also features role-based access to the O&M platform, using four USC facility "personas" to deliver functions, data, and hyperlinks pertinent to that role. "Now USC can access a single solution to find data and documents, get live performance information, and also see 3D graphics of system components, presented in the context of the building as a whole," says Mitch Boryslawski, co-founder EcoDomus, Inc.

BIM-Enable Operations
USC's efforts represent a proof of concept for extending BIM to operations. The first stage is complete, with several staff using the integrated solution for their day-to-day work. In the coming months and years, USC has aggressive plans for BIM-enabled operations. USC's current implementation has proven that it can successfully transition data and models from design and construction to operations. Now it's time to measure the ROI, and put plans in place to make the process repeatable and affordable.

Expedite Close-Out
"During design, construction, and commissioning, most of the information USC ultimately needs for its operations has been already captured, usually in a digital format," says Bourland. "BIM processes keep that information digital so it can be harvested for ongoing facilities management. But this means USC has to require a standard data format such as COBie for as-built deliverables; a format it can use to streamline data integration with its O&M platform and start reaping the benefits of BIM at occupancy." In anticipation, USC is now leveraging their experiences on this project to establish BIM standards for operations and to expedite the close-out process.

The Results
USC wanted a facility that reflected the school's history, reputation, and vision. The project team delivered on that—and a lot more. The architectural theme of the new School of Cinematic Arts complex is a scaled-down motion picture studio, reminiscent of the early days of filmmaking. But the complex is actually bursting with state-of-the-art technology, innovative design features, advanced building systems, and operational strategies that will serve it well for 100 years.

"The use of BIM processes and solutions on this project has led to integrated planning and delivery, cohesive teamwork, expedited project schedules, and fiscal control," says Kahl. The first phase of the project was two months ahead of construction schedule and 2 percent under budget. The second phase of the project came in three months ahead of schedule and 10 percent under budget.

The complex features eco-friendly materials and building systems. The buildings' radiant heating and cooling systems are the largest of its type in Los Angeles, and USC expects the complex to achieve a 30-percent greater reduction in energy use than required by California's strict energy codes.

And perhaps the most lasting benefit is the prospect of using BIM for building lifecycle management. "The use of BIM resulted in data-rich as-built models that contain a wealth of information for smarter building operations," says Boryslawski. "BIM has given USC a strategic opportunity to help improve facility management."

Learn More

Learn more about construction software.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A window of opportunity - Using BIM to Bring in Money

Nov 15th, 2011 | By DWM Mag | Category: Featured Content

Doug Lopez, president of 1st Pricing, believes Building Information Modeling (BIM) will change the way windows are sold while opening up a variety of sales opportunities to window manufacturers. Imagine, he says, being able to visit a website and being able to access all the Bill of Materials (BOM) of the jobsite by inserting your unique drawing plan reference/tracking number. Then choose the exact window you want based on size and several different variables—and choose it based on your zip code. Not only are BOMs on the plans they are also available to view online. Connecting the drawing plans to a website for collaboration is what BIM will do for manufacturers, according to Lopez.
Oh, and if you choose the latter, the BIM software would even assist in filling out the “cumbersome” LEED paperwork.
“You can get a firm quote for building a house [including the windows] in a matter of seconds,” says Lopez.
1St Pricing has a physical location in Signal Hill, Calif., but also sells to contractors and homeowners through its website, and has been utilizing BIM since 2003. Yet, today many in the residential window industry have been slower to utilize Building Information Modeling (see September DWM, page 38) in residential applications.
But Lopez says this is starting to change. “BIM for residential applications is gaining traction this past nine months,” he says.
Most window manufacturers have manufacturer-specific CAD/BIM objects for download much like the ones with Autodesk® Seek, but Lopez says this type of marketing tool is limited.
“Issue one is that after the objects are downloaded the manufacturer has no way of getting feedback on how those objects were used,” he says. “Issue two is that all the metadata (U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, etc.) for every combination that the window comes in cannot be stored on the object. So the objects look nice but do not have much more information than the usual attributes of width, height [and] quantity.”
This, Lopez says, is causing manufacturers to show interest in making their objects talk to a database via the web to bring back essential energy data (pricing excluded).
“This way the request for data pings on the database and it can be mined for information on what is being specified and where,” he says, “not to mention the architect’s information can be captured for follow-up marketing.”
He says most manufacturers already have this data available in the Point of Sale (POS) software used by their distributors to quote and configure windows in their office.
“The next logical step will be to push the end-user of the plans into the distributor,” says Lopez. “Included in the bill-of-materials (BOM) is where the closest distributor to the jobsite is located. With the simple mapping of a reference/tracking number all the BOM can be imported into the distributor’s in-house computer and priced within seconds. This way the pricing all comes from the normal supply chain network.”
Green—An Added Bonus
While BIM has many benefits, one of the greatest, according to Lopez, is the green aspect.
“With residential BIM it will be about energy data and getting specified,” he says. “BIM can show how products are more efficient than the current code.”
Growth of BIM in the residential building industry will be through getting the manufacturer specified on the plans and putting accurate “green” data on the plans, according to Lopez.
“Residential BIM will be a great tool for LEED or CalGreen projects,” he says. “Imagine that the generated list tells you which of those windows are ENERGY STAR®-rated, and how many LEED 3.1 credits you would receive.”
Lopez says that although many manufacturers have taken the time to develop BIM objects, they don’t know how to get those objects “to talk to the other data in the CAD drawing.”
“The BIM software can tell you how many windows are being quoted in a specified zip code or region,” says Lopez. “Also, now you know who is going to pull a permit. This is a huge sales tool.”
Additionally, BIM will tie into building information management and life cycle analysis. But ultimately it also comes down to practicality and functionality.
“The architect doesn’t want all the data in separate Excel files,” says Lopez. “There is no reason to read plans anymore.”
But architects aren’t the only ones interested in what BIM has to offer.
“We are figuring out how to make the job easier for the window dealer and the general contractor,” says Lopez.
What are your thoughts on BIM? Post a comment here. For more on BIM and its growing use in the residential market, see DWM’s feature article that appeared in the September issue.


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Last Chance - Autodesk Webcast - BIM & Emerging Green Codes - Webcast 11/17/11

Autodesk Webcast for AIA Continuing Education Credit
Dear Edward,
Autodesk invites you to attend a free live webcast! "Building Information Modeling and Emerging Green Codes", which highlights emerging green codes and the opportunities for the application of building information modeling (BIM) to support achievement of successful green projects. This special webcast qualifies for 1 LU|HSW|SD continuing education credit.
Building Information Modeling and Emerging Green Codes
Thursday, November 17, 2011
10:00 AM-11:00 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Presented by: Erin Rae Hoffer AIA, LEED AP BD+C CSI - Autodesk Senior Industry Program Manager

This one-hour webcast discusses how states and communities are adopting green codes and how to apply these updates in future green projects. You will go on to discover how the advent of BIM provides opportunities to investigate issues of design performance relating to code factors.
This special webcast qualifies for 1 LU|HSW|SD continuing education credit. During the webcast we will provide instructions for receiving credit or a certificate of completion for this session.

Building Information Modeling and Emerging Green Codes
Register for our free webcast and learn how the two support green projects.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BIM is like having kids

I was meeting with a client today who is working on their first BIM project. They're the construction document architect working with an out of state design architect, who's doing their first BIM project as well. The contractor happens to be a national contractor who's very BIM capable.

I can't believe we ended up talking for four hours about every bit of BIM from E202 to what software is available to manage families to who's going to pay for all of this.

In my third meeting, as I was being passed around from person to person in the firm, we were discussing the contractor and bringing them in to take advantage of a BIM savvy GC and that would make life easier for them.

If you're going to do your first BIM project and have received the model from another architect and have that BIM GC, it's kind of like adopting a 5 year old. They're already potty trained and you don't have all of those sleepless nights.

I asked the project manager if he had children. I asked him what he did to plan, strategize, collaborate and prepare for his first child.
So, basically, your first BIM project is like your first child. You have no idea what you're doing, everyone offers their advice of what you're doing wrong, and at the end of the day, you can't easily undo all of the things you do wrong.

With the first one, you have no idea what you're doing.
With your second one, you sort of have things figured out.
By your third one, you know exactly what to expect and your first two help with the third one.
Am i talking about BIM or your kids?

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Autodesk Cloud Rendering Hotfix released - RT @RevitClinic

Source/Link: Autodesk Cloud Rendering Hotfix released - The Revit Clinic

Here is a list of what has been fixed.

Cloud Rendering Web Portal:

  1. Re-render rendered the wrong view or had wrong thumbnail or view name. We fixed two bugs in the gallery re-render feature. These should fix the wrong view re-render issues for new and previously uploaded files.
  2. Estimated time remaining information on progress bar. The thumbnail progress bar remaining time estimate was not showing up when the mouse was hovering on it.
  3. Shorter view name in tooltip. When you hover on a thumbnail in the gallery the pop-up that appears now displays the short version of the view name.
  4. Re-render email option added. In the dialog that appears when re-rendering an image it's now possible to enable/disable the email notification
  5. Zoom sensitivity in panorama viewer. We adjusted the zoom sensitivity in the panorama viewer. There are slightly different behaviors depending on the browser used. That's expected.
  6. TIFF panoramas display. Panoramas generated from TIFF images were not showing in the panorama viewer.
  7. Panorama size limited. A Flash limitation in the Internet Explorer panorama viewer cannot display large panoramas. Panoramas sizes are now capped for this reason and for overall system performance control.


  1. Materials with bump set to 0 rendered black. When a bump of relief map was set to 0 intensity the material was rendering black.
  2. Index of Refraction for Generic materials not working. Generic materials had a fixed IOR of 1.5. Now we use the refraction parameter value correctly.
  3. Better rendering timeout estimation. Some renderings were failing if they were taking longer than the estimated time. Now we allow extra time.
  4. Reflectivity parameters (equal values) error. When Generic material reflectivity parameters were set to the same value the material was rendering incorrectly.

Revit Add-in:

  1. Section box fix. In some cases the section box was not cutting the geometry correctly when objects were visible in other non-sectioned views. We now handle that case correctly.

Download the add-in again and reinstall it to get this fix.
New Rendering -> Download Rendering Add-in

To download localized versions of the add-in, switch the page language before downloading (the option is a the bottom of the page).

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