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Monday, February 27, 2012

Precisional Mediocrity #BIM

I was making breakfast this morning, debating between making hard boiled or scrambled eggs.  I figured it would be faster to make scrambled eggs, although that wasn't my first choice.  As I was cracking the eggs, I thought I'd try something different.  Instead of taking an egg and cracking it on the edge of a glass, I took a fork and stabbed the egg.  The egg was slowly coming out of the shell and into the glass.  


But, this method avoided any shell bits from getting into the eggs.  It would be much faster to crack the egg on the glass, split it in two and go on to the next egg.  I started to wonder if there are any jobs at a large food processing facility where all a person does is crack eggs open.  I wondered how much training they would need for that task, the mental requirements, how many eggs per hour they'd be required to crack and hypothesizing that they'd make a low wage and be required to work quickly, that there would be a lot of bits of eggshell that made their way into your food.

Somehow the term precisional mediocrity popped into my head.  Cracking eggs requires precision.  But, with time constraints, deadlines, poor training and high output requirements, how the eggs are cracked affects the final product.  I don't know how Cadbury Eggs made it's way into my thoughts, but of course, that leads just to the word CAD.  

About two years ago, a woman was in my office wanting to buy a copy of AutoCAD LT.  Of course, I had to steer the conversation to Revit and during our conversation, I asked her what she loved so much about AutoCAD.  Her answer was that it was "Technical Precise".  I always remember that because I take the initials TP (Toilet Paper)  to remember her exact words.  I asked her if AutoCAD was so technically precise, why were there so many errors, omissions and conflicts on construction documents.  

So, although AutoCAD can draw a line and dimension it to  1/256 of an inch, we don't build buildings with that level of precision.  Ask any carpenter what those litte lines are on his ruler and they're either 8ths or 16ths.  Do you design your walls to be 7 14/256"?  

Precisional Mediocrity.  Creating documents that look precise but are filled with problems.  You have a certain expectation that when you go to a restaurant, you won't find bits of eggshell, paper, plastic or insect pieces (I know, gross visual, but at least I didn't say that you actually swallowed a cockroach leg.)  AutoCAD!  There, I put cockroach leg next to AutoCAD.  What kind of mental connection will forever be etched into your mind.    Pizza. Revit.  Chocolate. Revit.  Beer. Revit.  I hope that helped.  

The state or quality of being precise.  BIM.  The state or quality of designing better construction documents.  Now, go see how fast you can crack open 3 eggs without getting any shells into the glass.  Speed versus quality.  Precision versus problems.  That's cooking with BIM.

pre·ci·sion

  [pri-sizh-uhn]  Show IPA
noun
1.
the state or quality of being precise.
2.
accuracy; exactness: to arrive at an estimate with precision.
3.
mechanical or scientific exactness: a lens ground with precision.
4.
punctiliousness; strictness: precision in one's business dealings.
5.
Mathematics the degree to which the correctness of aquantity is expressed. Compare accuracy def. 3 .  

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