Friday, 21 December 2012

Is BIM for me? and Who Benefits from BIM?

BIM is for everyone in AECO industry and everyone benefits from BIM(full stop).

I came across this question recently on an on line forum and thought share following slides with my blog readers. Feel free to drop your thoughts here.

Courtesy: Alan Edgar

Courtesy: Alan Edgar

Courtesy: Erin Hoffer

Monday, 10 December 2012

BIM ROI and LOE - Part 2

I wrote a blog post back in Oct 2012 about BIM ROI and LOE (Level Of Engagement). Two months later, I find this idea published in the latest McGrawHill Construction SmartMarket Report: The Business Value of BIM in North America 2012.

I didn't know that the SmartMarket team is reading my blog and would steal my idea!-;)

Looking at the report it is evident by their survey that BIM ROI is closely linked with Level Of Engagement from everyone in your company.

"This analysis demonstrates the powerful relationship between ROI and a company's level of BIM engagement, quantifying the rewards of greater BIM experience, skill and implementation levels."

Download full report from HERE

AU2012 Summary

I realize I am a little bit late on this one, mainly because AU2012 was so excellent (and full of information) that it took me almost a week or over to go through my 'phase-1' filtering of information.

Hats off to my talented friend Shaun Farrell, who was blogging live from AU2012.If you haven't seen his AU2012 blog posts then I highly recommend visiting his blog.

For my AU2012 summary, I have captured it in pictures in a document attached with this post, link below. I highlighted key slides from each classes I attended as key takeaways for me. As others mentioned, the key message was the future is in the cloud!

Download my AU2012 summary HERE.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Trimble/Bentley Raises Their BIM Game

Trimble and Bentley announces strategic alliance to enable intelligent positioning on site, and potentially more!

"Trimble's Provisioning of the Connected Work Site and Bentley's Provisioning of Virtual Positioning Leverages 3D Precision for Construction and Operations Quality, Efficiency, and Safety...Intelligent positioning now enables these engineering models to be real-time and real-place referenced, from and into mobile devices in the field, through immersive environments from both Bentley and Trimble. Users piloting the integration of physical positioning from Trimble with virtual positioning from Bentley, facilitated by information mobility innovations, have identified significant savings of time and money, and continue to uncover new benefit cases."

This is a big news from BIM/VDC point of view. Many of us have been thinking about this idea of linking positioning with BIM models etc. In fact I attended couple of classes at AU2012 where they showcased some examples of digital layout etc. This new partnership/solution would enable digital layout in more intelligent way. I am quite excited by this new partnership and looking forward to explore this further.

Read full announcement HERE.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Brookfield Multiplex

Following on from my last post I have had many #UKBIMCrew (and some international #BIMFriends)interested in where I am going.

I have joined Brookfield Multiplex Europe Ltd as their BIM/VDC Manager-Construction as of this week.

I look forward to collaborating with BMCE supply chain and facilitating BIM/IPD enabled project delivery going forward, mainly focusing on field BIM, 4D, 5D, 6D, nD, and of course 3D coordination and how we can leverage our collaborative approach to improve efficiencies in Construction and FM using the latest BIM/VDC/Mobile technologies and cloud computing.

PS: I met some of the #UKBIMCrew at yesterday's #BIMForFree event @Ramboll-London (what an event that was. it deserves a separate blog post to be honest. thanks Lee/Graham/Nigel for organising) in my new role so most of them know already but I thought I make it public for others.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Construction Phase Begins

No! I am not talking about any building site here. After spending almost 14 years in AE industry I am moving on to Construction(-BIM) phase in my creer.
Yes, I am thrilled to move on to construction BIM and get involved in the bigger BIM picture, from next week.

I remember those days when I was involved in Design-BIM and kept sighing thinking "I wish the contractor/client was BIM educated" OR "I wish BIM requirements were set out clearly by the contractor/client" etc.
Now I feel I can make the difference so that the 'Design-BIM Managers' engaged with this contractor/client wouldn't have to sigh, I hope!-;)

It's been amazing last two years at Woods Bagot working on one of the largest, post-GFC, mixed use tower projects in the heart of the city of London, 100 Bishopsgate, and few other quite challenging projects around the globe.
What makes Woods Bagot very positive and fulfilling place to work for is their people and projects. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best designers, leaders, and team mates during my time here. I thank Woods Bagot for giving me amazing opportunities during my time and supporting my move to 'Construciton BIM'. My special thanks to Woods Bagot global design technology team for their continuous support and inspiration, to 100 Bishopsgate team at Woods Bagot and Allies and Morrison for their continuous support and cooperation during the project, and finally Woods Bagot London studio management for giving me all the opportunities. I wish everyone at Woods Bagot and people I have worked with through Woods Bagot all the very best.

Debunking 'BIM' Assumptions

Assumption 1: Model based integrated schedules are always correct
This is one of the (wrong) perceptions some people in the industry have about BIM enabled project delivery and poses one of the biggest risks in BIM project delivery. It isn’t questionable at all that schedules are fully integrated with 3D model, or 2D shapes for that matter, but a question ought to be asked is: How do we validate BIM model integrity to ensure that it meets project requirements at various phases of a project, resulting in accurate schedules rather than simply ‘integrated’ schedules?

Assumption 2: BIM expectations are clearly defined and communicated
This is another challenge I find, as a BIM Manager, when dealing with BIM project delivery. At this very moment in time, not all RFPs have BIM requirements and also the ones that have ‘BIM word’ in it do not have BIM expectations clearly defined, resulting in big clashes – no, I am not talking about 3D geometry here but expectations, yes big clashes of expectations especially when ‘geeky’ BIM Managers get involved. A true BIM Manager would know what to expect from a BIM Model, when, and how. So a receiving BIM Manager would have lot of ‘BIM expectations’ whereas delivering team would know less about those ‘BIM expectations’ because those expectations were never captured/communicated OR were not part of the overall project scope/fee. If ‘BIM expectations’ are not clearly defined and communicated to the team then how can you manage BIM modelling to meet those unknown expectations – quantity take off, 4D, 5D and so on.

Assumption 3: BIM improves communication
I have seen this many times in BIM presentations under ‘BIM Benefits’. I (partially) disagree with this. What is true is BIM facilitates improvement in communication but doesn’t improve it automatically. We still have to make efforts to seize the ‘BIM’ opportunity and improve communication. As you would agree, communication is the key to a successful BIM project delivery. In fact this applies to any type of project delivery but in BIM case, we have more reasons to improve communication otherwise it could be a big disaster and lead us to big clashes in expectations!

Assumption 4: BIM dramatically increases the accuracy of cost estimate

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

Assumption 5: BIM can provide complete quantity take-off to the cost estimator

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

Assumption 'n':  BIM ‘integrated’ schedules exported as spread sheets are not generated from BIM model
I wouldn’t have listed this here if I hadn’t come across a case very recently where BIM model exported ‘integrated’ schedule was exported/presented to client in spread sheet format – leading to a BIM advocate making a BIG assumption that the schedule was manually generated in Excel, casting serious doubt on BIM capability of the users who produced that schedule. IMHO, this could have been avoided in one of the two ways: 1) A little common sense with some fact finding 2) The team’s engagement in visual/model based schedules as oppose to spread sheet based schedules, as much as possible. Whatever that is, this case demonstrates a clear lack of communication and proves that BIM facilitates improvement in communication but does not necessarily improve for you. Efforts have to be made to improve communication and avoid clashes of expectations!

Do not make ‘BIM’ assumptions, instead get involved and work collaboratively. Collaborate, Communicate, Cooperate, and Coordinate as much as possible; as early as possible; and as regularly as possible in order to make your BIM project delivery a success.

I would love to hear from you about any ‘BIM’ assumptions you may have to deal with in order to ‘BIM’ execute your projects.

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

BIM Implementation & Process/Culture Change - Part 5

We all understand the importance of mentor(s) in our lives, parents/teachers/senior colleagues and so on. Mentoring has profound impact not only on our lives/career development but also on businesses and it's profitability. Mentoring is directly linked to staff retention/employee turnover, one of the biggest challenges while embracing disruptive technology such as BIM. Besides this, the studies have found that employees turnover costs the U.S. economy an estimated $5 trillion, making it one of the most ignored significant economic factors in businesses.
Putting this in perspective, let's talk about how BIM can affect mentoring and facilitate win-win situation for businesses as well as employees.

Traditional mentoring pattern is mainly one way top-down where  juniors have to spend lot of years learning about how a building gets built, lets say. This results in a slow career development for juniors. Also, knowledge transfer is a big challenge with this model as it is done at the users' discretion and heavily depends on juniors relationship with seniors etc.

In BIM world this is slightly different. We are living in an Information/digital age and young generation want to learn as much as possible and as quick as possible. At the same time clients are demanding more, faster, and better, putting  pressure on businesses to look at the ways to meet their demands and as a consequence seniors are put into a relatively new (project delivery) territory.  The challenge for businesses is to establish a culture where young BIM savvy work force and seniors collaborate more efficiently to provide best of both worlds to meet the clients' demands. BIM facilitates this internal resource collaboration. Juniors can't model buildings without knowing how it will be built and seniors can't deliver project without knowing/using BIM technology. This is like a 'match made in heaven' from businesses point of view, No? This facilitates two way top-down and bottom-up knowledge flow resulting in automatic/efficient knowledge transfer. Also, this pattern accelerates juniors career development and builds stronger relationship between juniors and seniors.

Mentoring is one of the crucial factors affecting business culture and success. BIM will have a great impact on mentoring process/culture, mostly in a positive way.

Further reading:

"People are truly an organization's greatest asset. However, when employees perceive they are under-valued and go unrecognized, they can be an organization's greatest liability. The results of the most comprehensive labor study ever conducted were recently presented in a HR publication. The study found that employee turnover costs the U.S. economy an estimated $5 trillion, "making it the most significant cost to our economy and one of the most ignored economic factors in business history." The construction industry does not escape these costs. Many recent studies have shown that the expense of replacing a senior-level project manager can be up to 250 percent of their annual salary; a superintendent or entry-level manager, conservatively speaking, 150 percent."

Read full article here

Friday, 5 October 2012


What is BIM ROI?

Google this and you will find plethora of material on this subject. I was asked this question very recently by a friend of mine whose employer is going through the initial days of researching about BIM and its implications on the business etc. As part of this process he has been asked to submit BIM ROI to the board. Really? I thought we have overcome this hurdle years ago.

As we all know, ROI in general is so subjective that it can be calculated and interpreted in many ways. I am going to look at this from "Level Of Engagement" (LOE), yes! another acronym in BIM world, point of view. In fact, this point of view can relate to any technology investment/implementation.

If you invest money in BIM software and hardware but have 0% LOE at the top management level then what would be your ROI? -VE? Yes.

What if you have 50% LOE at the top management level but 0% LOE at the middle management level? What is your ROI? -VE? Yes.

What if you have 50% LOE at the top and middle management levels but 0% LOE at the ground level? -VE ROI? Yes.

In order to get +VE ROI we need to have increased LOE at all levels, top management/middle management/production staff etc. This is true for each consultant involved at, lets say, "Design BIM".

Now apply this concept to all major consultants involved at "Design-BIM" to get the ideal/collaborative BIM ROI. Will we get +VE integrated BIM ROI if we only have one discipline with 100% LOE and the rest with 0% LOE? Of course No. We can get +VE integrated BIM ROI only if we have all major disciplines involved with increased LOE.  

In addition to this when someone asks about BIM ROI, ask them following questions.

What would be your Return On Inconsistency? -VE?
What would be your Return On Innovative approach? +VE?
What would be your Return On Improvement in efficiency? +VE?
What would be your Return On Integration with other disciplines? +VE? 
What would be your Return On Informed decision making? +VE?

If the answer to all of these questions is YES then tell them that their BIM ROI is going to be +VE. If answer to any of these questions is NO then, well, think twice!

So next time if someone asks you "What is BIM ROI?", tell them it depends on their LOE.

And finally if you want to Remain Open Indefinitely then don't bother doing 'BIM ROI' and just do it. BIM is happening now! Be part of it.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Sefaira - Rapid Energy Modelling Tool

This one is fairly new in the market of (cloud based)BIM/sustainable design tools. I was lucky enough to see this in action a few weeks ago and I think that this tool has some very good potential at early design phase.

Sefaira accepts, at this very moment in time, sketchup models and within minutes gives you quick energy calculations and nice reports. It also enables you to calculate multiple design options within minutes and compare them side by side without needing to alter base geometry.

"Sefaira Concept enables architects and project teams to create better performing buildings with a powerful web-based sustainability analysis platform. It performs whole-building analysis of energy, water, carbon, and renewable energy potential, while an intuitive interface allows for fast, iterative exploration of design options."

Images courtesy: Sefaira
My Opinion:

To be honest with you I haven't tinkered with this tool yet but seeing live demo and speaking to the reps, this tool looks like a very agile, lightweight early design tool. Combine this with another agile tool such as Sketchup and we have a very powerful tool to make some early sustainable design studies. And the fact that this is entirely cloud based, you get infinite power of cloud computing (depending your Internet speed of course!).

I would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

Further reading:


Door From and To Value in Schedule - Free Revit Plugin - Update

Following on from my previous post about this free Revit plugin I have had some very positive/good feedback and comments.

Recently it was brought to my attention, thanks Erich and Eldon from Australia, that this plugin doesn't respond as intended when there are multiple phases in the file and doors are not modelled on the last phase in the list.

Here is the updated version that works with multiple phases in a model, irrespective of "doors created phase".

**Download DoorSwing Revit2012 - Phase Update**
**Download DoorSwing Revit2013 - Phase Update**

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Revit Intermediate - Revision Management

As we know “there are 100 ways to skin a cat”, after reading my last blog post about basic methods of revision management in Revit a good friend of mine Andrew Victory kindly sent me the other four methods he has been showing to his group of users. Thanks Andrew for sharing this with the community.

As you can see these methods are relatively advanced methods and need some careful planning and implementation. Also he recommends to have a look at AU2011 class material on this very subject. 

Again, choose the one you like and most comfortable with to meet your requirements.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Revit Basics - Revision Management

I have been asked this question few times in last couple of months so I thought I document it here.

There are different ways, as for everything, to manage sheet revisions in Revit. Following videos will show you commonly used three different methods.

AUTOMATIC - Sheet Revisions

This method is normally useful when you are issuing your sheet first time with no revision cloud OR any revision without revision cloud.

AUTOMATIC - Cloud Revisions

This method is normally useful when you are issuing your sheet with revision clouds.


This method is similar to ACAD 2D/traditional revisioning where everything is manual. I have used this method particularly on the UK projects where revision system is alphanumeric, i.e. P01, P02,T01,T02,C01,C02 etc.. This is the easiest method of all and gives you full freedom (to fudge!!).

Choose the one you that works for you!


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Elevators On The Fly

DigiPara has just launched a free BIM exchange app for Autodesk Revit.

"DigiPara Liftdesigner software can now save 3D elevator models into the LD BIM file format. It then loads the complete 3D elevator Building Information Modeling (BIM) model into the 3D architecture software Autodesk® Revit®. This greatly enhances and simplifies the existing building design process for elevator companies and architects as they can now work more efficiently together."

Image courtesy DigiPara
 " omits the elevator company’s requirement to create, maintain and deliver any type of elevator Revit families, since the elevator company can deliver perfect customized elevator models from DigiPara Liftdesigner."

While you are on their website I suggest you take a look at their free ElevatorArchitect plugin. It's a brilliant app to get lift families on the fly. No need to create and maintain static libraries.

Image courtesy DigiPara
This makes me think about other BIM objects such as Doors, Windows, Escalators, and so on. The list could go on and on. Should manufacturers be better off by investing in static BIM library or should they be looking at automated approach such as this to gain a long term (competitive)advantage of the technology. Only the time will tell.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

BIM Implementation & Process/Culture Change - Part 4

Continuing with this series, in previous post I (barely)touched upon the issue of "Information Modelling" and it's management and how crucial it is going to be in an ideal BIM/IPD world. It's going to be a big game changer, IMHO.
Assuming this "Information Modelling" is going to be vital in the overall BIM process, BIM objects that are going to hold this "Information",geometric as well as non-geometric, will become even more important.

As they say, what goes in comes out so if we put rubbish in BIM rubbish comes out of BIM. Simple! really? I don't think this is as simple in BIM Objects' case. Why? Because we need to define what is rubbish and what is not and educate the users so that they can differentiate between BUM and BIM!

BIM objects beg careful management throughout the process and will require some investment in training and management. Most of us will have legacy 2D symbols/blocks/cells/objects library grown over the years but
in BIM environment you will have to start from scratch and build BIM objects natively in your preferred BIM tool. As you know this is a massive task and a big investment for most, this becomes one of the key challenges when dealing with BIM implementation. I remember in early days of my engagement in BIM projects, BIM objects were (and still they are to a degree) a deal breaker when it came to RLDs and C-Sheets. The other related issue with BIM Objects is IP involved and giving it away with your model. I am not sure how valid this IP concern is but it is one of the concerns when Implementing BIM.

Fortunately, to deal with some of the BIM Object challenges industry organisations such as NBS is working on National BIM Library to get us started with some quality BIM objects. If you haven't visited National BIM Library web portal then I highly recommend you have a look at it. NBL is actively working with local manufacturers and adding content on a regular basis.

So How do BIM objects differ from traditional 2D objects? In layman's words one 3D BIM object is equivalent to producing six 2D projections of an object and stitching them in a 3D space plus attributes/properties attached to them plus adding parametrisation. Also, as you know BIM is fully object oriented environment you will have to think about objects such as walls, floors, ceiling, roofs etc and their build up whereas in traditional workflow you don't have to worry about wall build up, for instance, when producing GAs.

Bottom line is lot of things need to be considered when dealing with BIM objects and all of these need to be agreed right from the outset of the project and captured in BIM Execution Plan under LOD, Level Of Detail OR Level of Development call it whatever you like! This is very important because this is where you define what is not considered to be rubbish, meaning at stage D, for instance, architects are expected to have walls model at LOD 300 and define what LOD 300 is and its authorised use etc. Now when you receive architect's model and check walls you will know whether its BUM or BIM. This is only possible if you define BIM objects' LOD, authorised use, and responsibility etc. in the first place.

BIM Objects Management is a crucial part of BIM project management and will affect traditional process and culture in terms of project management. New processes will need to be developed and integrated within the culture to deal with this additional layer of project management. From process point of view, the biggest impact will be on project technical design leads who will be required to filter what goes in BIM together with 'BIM technology' savvy user.

Friday, 3 August 2012

BIM (PIM) Data and Security

With all the excitement (yes, I am excited about this) and curiosity around BIM (PIM for that matter) in the cloud, how safe our BIM data is going to be? The latest player in the "race for BIM in the cloud" is Newforma with M-SIX. Recently, Gehry Technologies announced acquisition of Bimshare, to offer (BIM) data sharing solution that provides the easiest way to upload and share 3D models online through browsers on desktop or mobile devices. Autodesk has also launched BIM360 and acquired Vela Systems recently. In addition to these big players, we have Artra, FM:BIM, and other players we may not be aware of.

With this major push/rush towards data in the cloud, have you ever thought about how safe your BIM data is going to be? With an increase in "state sponsored espionage" this is even more serious than we think, especially when we don't know in which country our data resides.

Martyn Day of DEVELOP3D looks at the issue of viruses that steal Design IP.

"...This month we had ‘news’ from ESET security software developers that it had found a virus specifically written for AutoCAD that had infected computers in Peru and emailed thousands of DWG files of the design back to web servers in China..."

Read full article HERE.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Revit Basics - Show Hidden Line Tool

See a brief video tutorial below to show hidden objects in hidden lines (or any linestyle you like) without tracing objects behind foreground objects?
This is where "Hidden Line" hardcoded sub category (in Object Style) can be used to control the visibility of linestyle when objects are shown using "Show Hidden Line" tool. Very handy tool for elevations and sections (and plans sometimes).

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

BIM Implementation & Process/Culture Change - Part 3

In previous post of this series I looked at vector based design/documentation vs object oriented design/documentation and how fundamentally different these two processes are. Now lets take a look at one of the main (and the most important) changes we are supposed to deal with in object oriented design/documentation. To me, and almost everyone involved, it's the holy grail of BIM. Yes, you guessed it correctly. It's the "I" in BIM.

For most of us, "I" in BIM is the deal breaker so I am not surprised to hear one of the major contractors saying "we receive lot of BUMs", Bloody Useless Models. Why? Because they are just getting 3D models and not Information Models.
In our recent meeting at NBS BIM library we spent great amount of time brainstorming on how to get "I" in our BIM models at different stages of the project by different parties. The UK government/RIBA/CPIC and other related organisations are working on a protocol/procedure to define BIM data drops at various stages of a project.

So, where is this conversation leading to? Well, as most of you know, towards COBie! In coming few years we should have better clarity on COBie and roles and responsibilities of each stake holders. In the mean time we need to be ready for "Information Modelling" and changes it brings to our current process/culture.


In object oriented design/documentation process everything is object driven and each object has (Information)properties attached to it, Local and Global properties. Ok, we do have properties in 2D vector based design/documentation but mainly graphics properties, i.e. layer/linestyle/color/Coordinates/Length etc. I know we can add attributes to 2D objects in vector based process but how do we manage Local vs Global properties, how do we get "Information Schedule" to drive 2D graphics etc.? The list could go on and on. The bottom line is Information Modelling is practically impossible in vector based process, the main reason why we need object oriented process such as BIM.

In the example shown below, on left hand side we have a specification for a door and on right hand side we have a door object with the specification linked to it's global property. This specification property is available in schedule too, instantly. This is just one of the many "Information" properties expected in objects in true BIM world. Think about Design, Construction, Operation, and Building Information (DCOBie) that need to go with every BIM object. With this comes a requirement for "Information Modelling" management. We need to manage information flow quite carefully if we want to convert BUM into BIM. If you are interested to know more about object's properties I highly recommend looking at COBie spreadsheet.

So, do you think we are ready to deal with Information Modelling? do you think our infrastructure is ready to deal with Information inundation? do you think legal framework is out there to deal with Information Modelling? Answer to all of these questions might be "NO" at this moment in time, who knows. But one thing is definite, BIM is about Information Modelling and is going to call for a massive change in process/culture. We need to start working on this challenge now and be prepared before Information flow starts.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

LRUG - BIM Execution Plan

Last night we at LRUG were fortunate enough to have a very insightful debate/discussion around BXP. I was privileged to lead the debate with my co-presenter Ray Purvis of Atkins.

Alan Wooldridge is going to upload video recordings of both sessions, Underground Drainage by Carl Collins of ARUP (another not to miss session) & BXP, at the early possiblity. Be sure to check out LRUG in next few of days. In the mean time click on the following image to download BXP presentation. Any comments would be much appreciated.

COBie In The Cloud

I wrote a blog post last month on cloud based BIM collaboration and now the race for cloud based Facility Management seems to accelerate!

FM:Systems launches FM:BIM, a cloud based FM data management system.
Key Capabilities
  • Create live, bi-directional links between Revit models and the FM:BIM Cloud-based application
  • Connect BIM data from design, construction and renovation to facility management and operations
  • Manage FM:BIM room and space information both in Revit and in a Web browser
  • Synchronise type and instance properties for assets in Revit models with building equipment data in FM:BIM
  • Plan maintenance for building equipment
  • Track asset history and warranty requirements
  • Publish views from Revit models to FM:BIM — enabling anyone on the project team to visualize and manage model information.

Image Courtesy: FM:BIM

This is definitely a step forward in collaborative BIM. Other tools like Onuma, Artra etc are already making big strides in this direction (or dare I say setting direction for the industry) but what caught my attention to FM:BIM is their headline:

"With FM:BIM, anyone on the project can capture building information whether they're BIM gurus or have never touched Revit. Free up your Revit modelers to model buildings - not enter data! With FM:BIM's unique integration an engineer can specify a certain model of equipment, the sub-contractor can enter the specific serial number and date installed and the facility manager can enter maintenance schedules - all from a standard Web browser!"

Really? Do we really want to free up designers from "I" in BIM? Personally, I don't think so. If anything we should have more engagement of designers in "I" of BIM.

Last week, I was at NBS BIM Library Focus group meeting and majority of the time was spent on "I" in BIM. How do we get that "I" in our BIM, collaboratively? Who does this? When? and How?

From UK perspective COBie seems to be one of the most important deliverables as per current government's BIM strategy, for publicly procured projects.

For further reading on COBie:

 It is important to note that the requirement of contractors to provide equipment and valve tag lists is already a requirement in virtually all construction contracts. COBie requires nothing new, simply a change of format in existing contract requirements. The Contractor is free to use COBie as part of their traditional process or take the COBie Challenge to eliminate the end of project "job crawl" in lieu of simply typing in the serial numbers of equipment and tags as they are installed.
Designers and contractors facing a COBie specification for the first time may think that they have a lot to swallow, however, the information required in COBie is no different from the information already required by design and construction contracts.
The objective of COBie is not to change the type of information that is required, just to standardize the format of that information to save you, and the buildings' owners and occupants, having to rekey this information multiple times.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Design BIM to Construction BIM (to FM BIM) - MEP only for now

FABmep import for Revit MEP 2013 is now available on Autodesk Labs. If you are a (Revit)MEP user then please provide your feedback via Labs web portal or Labs official blogs (you know who I am talking about!) on how this round tripping BIM, Design to Fabrication and Fabrication to Design/FM, can benefit you/your client. Do you require any fabrication related INFORMATION attached to geometry for record as-built model or FM models?

"The FABmep Import for Revit MEP is a free technology preview that enables users to import Autodesk Fabrication FABmep models into Autodesk Revit MEP® software, providing round-tripping capabilities for as-built/record drawing purposes. The import is intended to support geometry ‘only’ and does not maintain design or fabrication information."


This technology preview is only available for Revit MEP/FABmep only at the moment but one can relate this to almost all disciplines, Revit ARCH/STR and Inventor?? Some of the underlying questions behind this kind of technology initiatives that we are trying to answer are:

- How do we transfer Design BIM to Construction BIM to FM BIM?
- What is the transition PROCESS and who is responsible for what part of the BIM?
-  What kind of geometric data and INFORMATION data should be transferred from one BIM to another throughout the process?
- And finally, where do we stop?

I am sure you will find plenty of discussions/presentations around this very subject but this is still a grey area that the industry is yet to get some clarity on. Here in the UK we see lot of efforts put in by the UK government to address this very subject under some national BIM standards/framework.

Friday, 6 July 2012

BIM Implementation & Process/Culture Change - Part 2

In part-1 of this series I talked about how fundamentally different 2D design and documentation process is from 3D/BIM process, in a broad brush sense so to speak. Now let's take one step further and see what this actually means at a granular level.


In traditional 2D process we design and document buildings using bunch of vectors, spending awful lot of time drawing every possible/visible edge of wall or window or door in 2D to represent building objects. It also takes considerable amount of time coordinating one 2D view to another and so on.
Time aside, It is almost impossible to visualise the design intent using just 2D vectors. On top of this I never think about ATTACHING any information to my vectors so that one can query vectors and know whether this is a vector that belongs to a wall or a ceiling etc.

So process point of view, when I think of representing a wall, I don't think about it's builtup or fire rating or other properties. In other words, vector based design/documentation process doesn't flag up those questions at all. All I have to worry about is how to draw bunch of parallel lines to represent a wall and how to trim/fillet junctions without worrying about how wall junctions are going to work in real world. An 'experienced' designer  comes on board at later stages of the project and draws junction details etc for construction, which is less coordinated with other vector drawings because those other vectors sit in different set of files or model spaces (or sometimes paper spaces). Now how do schedules link with vectors? Well, they don't because vectors don't have any information attached so you cannot extract information.


In object oriented/BIM design and documentation, the process is more or less similar to Lego in layman's terms. You pick up an object and place it into BIM environment, 2D or 3D. What is so special about these BIM objects is that they have some information/intelligence attached to them and they are smart enough to interact with their surroundings, yeah! not always. In the example above, on the left side I am showing a 2D DWG version and on the right side I am showing 3D BIM version of the same area of a project. We can see how object oriented documentation flags up those information questions throughout the process and links information data to model data to 2D output eventually. The attached information data in turn is used to pump out schedules and the modelled data is used to generate 2D projection views/outputs.

So what is fundamentally different in object oriented process?  In object oriented documentation when I think about a wall object, for instance, I have to think about it's builtup and not bunch of lines, when I look at the wall junctions I think about how plasterboard, for instance, is going to meet moisture resistance plasterboard, when i think about schedules I think about information data attached to BIM objects, when I think about any change in partition layout, for instance, I think about how this is going to  affect other objects in the building and not worry about revising sections/elevations/schedules etc. The list could go on and on.

The bottom line is object oriented design & documentation is fundamentally different to 2D vector based design & documentation and will require wholesale change in process and culture.

BIM is a Tool - BIM vs Communication

Damon Socha and Jennifer Lanzetti share some thought provocation facts about BIM and communication at AUGI.

"Building Information Modeling is a tool, a single part of a larger solution, and not the only solution to the productivity and collaboration problems. BIM does not necessarily enhance our ability to communicate. BIM is helping preserve the loss of information throughout the lifecycle of a project, but quantity of information does not replace quality and timing."

Read full article at AUGI.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Trimble joins the race for BIM

Trimble announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WinEstimator, Inc. (WinEst), a provider of construction cost estimating and cost-modeling software. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.

"The acquisition will allow Meridian to provide a broader range of solutions to general contractors and building owners executing projects around the globe," said Geene Alhady, general manager of Meridian Systems, a Trimble Company. "Industry trends including BIM and IPD are driving more innovation in construction management software solutions, and now we are better positioned to support our customers and markets." 

"Together our solutions will improve the flow of construction cost data throughout the project lifecycle, and allow our joint customers to get increased value from their BIM investments," said Steve Watt, CEO of WinEst. "By joining with Meridian, we can improve solution interoperability between BIM data, estimating and project management solutions for all key stakeholders—owners, general contractors, specialty trades."

Read full story HERE.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Grasshopper/Rhino and Revit Interoperability Development

Recently I have been actively looking at Grasshopper & Revit interoperability and I must admit that the development in this area has been very impressive/interesting (and aggressive) so far. To my knowledge, there are three main developers working in this area publicly, but interestingly focusing on three totally different ways of tackling this interoperability issue. I am sure most of you know who I am talking about.

The first one is Nathan Miller of THE PROVING GROUND. He has been working on this development for a while and has made very interesting/useful progress in this development. He primarily focuses on Revit Python scripting to achieve this interoperability. If you are one of those scripting nerds and interested in Revit & Grasshopper link then you must visit Nathan's blog.

Image courtesy: The Proving Ground Blog

The second one is Jon Mirtschin of GEOMETRY GYM. I posted about Geometry Gym development in couple of posts this year. Jon focuses on this interoperability issue from open standard file format point of view, IFC. He uses IFC as a 'translator' to send data back and forth between Revit and Grasshopper. While IFC is clearly gaining moment as a preferred BIM file format for data exchange between BIM tools and archiving BIM models, this development is definitely a huge step forward addressing collaborative / open BIM goal. The main advantage of IFC is that you can interact with lot of BIM tools out there such as Revit, Bently Architecture, ArchiCAD, Tekla etc.

Image courtesy: Geometry Gym Blog

The third one is Hiroshi Jacobs of CHAMELEON. This one is relatively new to me. I only came across this tool in last couple of weeks when one my colleagues mentioned it to me. By far, I have found this plugin to be the easiest one to use compare to the above tools. Chameleon uses point data from grasshopper definition and places adaptive component straight into Revit project environment and also can change instance parameters of adaptive components. In addition to placing adaptive components it has some useful tools for curtain wall editing, edit parameters via grasshopper, and bring Revit geometry to Grasshopper and clean it etc. Have a look on it's website for full list of tools available for Grasshopper and Revit.

After looking at all these wonderful developments by one man team each, I wonder why on earth big players like Autodesk/Bentley/Nemetschek etc. with their massive R&D budget and team cannot address age old interoperability issues. Surely, It ain't that hard!-;) 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Race For Cloud Based BIM Coordination/Collaboration Tools

Race for cloud based BIM coordination platform is heating up with Autodesk announcing recent acquisition of Vela system, current state of Tekla BIM, Artra, Bentley's AECO (Projectwise), ArchiCAD's flagship BIM server and BIMx, and many other OPEN BIM tools cropping up.  So how can a long time parametric/digital technology leader such as Gehry Technologies can be an exception to this? Gehry Technologies has officially launched their cloud based BIM coordination/collaboration tool called GTeam.

"GTeam helps architects, designers, engineers, contractors, consultants and owners collaborate, synchronise and share files from anywhere in the world. This new web-based platform is already being used by some of the world’s largest construction teams and projects. And right now it is offered as a free technology preview."

Read full article HERE.
Visit to learn more about it.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Curtain Wall Basics - Empty Curtain Panel

This post is in response to a query asked on a forum where user wants to create trapezoidal openings or stepped openings in a curtain wall, something I would usually touch upon in day-1 Revit training under curtain wall.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

BIM Implementation & Process/Culture Change - Part 1

Following on from my previous post about BIMShowLive I am going to capture here my thoughts on some of the topics I covered in my presentation, in a series of posts in coming few weeks.

I start with Process/Culture change and it's importance to the successful BIM implementation. We are all in agreement that BIM implementation is not just about buying a piece of software but mainly changing hearts and minds. In fact 60% of BIM implementation is about process/culture change and the rest is about software/protocol/training etc.

I am sure you would have come across this strategic talks/discussions about BIM & process/culture change many a times in your career so far. But interestingly, one day a junior user asked me a question, after reading some of the BIM process/culture change material, that what does this mean to him? I scratched my head for a moment and explained him briefly what 2D vs 3D BIM is. So from a user's (and of course management) perspective lets have a look at  the following two wokflows.


Traditionally, in 2D workflow we will focus on our contractual deliverables in 2D and would not worry about the building as a whole in terms of documentation (and coordination). We will focus on key GA plans, elevations, sections, details etc. We then exchange these 2D drawings with other consultants and overlay each others' drawings and find coordination issues. The cycle of overlaying drawings continues until we are satisfied of the level of coordination (and of course until the deadline is looming) and issue set of drawings as part of contractual deliverables.
Some of the outcomes of this process are: unfinished design, partially resolved design, and difficult to visualize design intent.


Now in 3D BIM workflow things are slightly different, assuming BIM models are also part of your contractual deliverbales on top of your main 2D deliverables. In BIM workflow you build your 3D BIM model to help you visualize the intent in 3D, coordinate the design spatially, and simulate options quickly. The bonus of this workflow is that when you slice your 3D model and you get 2D contractual deliverables ready!! Yes, it is not as simple as just slicing the model, you will need to spend some time tidying up sliced 2D views, annotate them, and in some cases spend some time embellishing sliced 2D view with some 2D details depending on the geometric LOD of your BIM model. Nevertheless, generating 2D drawings can't be easier than this. You also get fully/automatic coordinated 2D documentation set including schedules!!! Isn't this a fundamental change in the process of design/documentation?

For further reading see latest articles on this subject at construction manager and AECBytes.

Friday, 11 May 2012

BIMShowLive 2012 - My Run Down

Last couple of days has been total #BIMbarding at BIM Show Live 2012, all in a good way and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Following is my quick run down of the event.

DAY - 1

The event was kicked off by Simon Rawlinson with some interesting facts about the current state of play of BIM in the UK AEC industry and questions needed to be addressed. Also, part of the keynote speeches we saw a small (BIM) house to a large (BIM) city.

The key message was there is no question whether the industry should adopt BIM, but HOW? This year's theme was focused on this very question of how to successfully implement BIM?

We had fantastic lineup of speakers ranging from designers, contractors, clients, developers, software vendors etc.

After lunch, my class, 100 Bishopsgate - Multi discipline BIM Collaboration, was amongst the first series of classes.  I was honoured to have almost room full of people in my class. Following picture was taken 10 mins before the class began during my setup and by the time I started the class the room was almost full. unfortunately, I couldn't take picture once I started my class.

I must admit that I really enjoyed delivering this class, especially having some BIM lions (David Light of HOK, Shaun Farrell of Zaha Hadid, and James of BIM Tech to name the few) in the audience gave me some moral support and confidence boost. I was also fortunate enough to have some key members of 100BG BIM team in the audience. I received very positive feedback at the end of the class. Thanks everyone for their time and positive feedback.

For my blog readers and those who couldn't attend the event, here is the presentation I delivered at the event.

After my class I attended a class delivered by David Light and Cara of HOK on one of the HOK BIM Case studies. I found the class very informative and useful from BIM Project Management point of view. If you are one of those who manages BIM projects then you can  understand the challenge Cara (and of course David) is going through managing this particularly complex project. Well done Cara!

Next for me was a class by Shaun Farrell and Christiano of Zaha Hadid on one of the BIM projects they are working in China. As usual, amazing project and fantastic use of technology in delivering such a complex project. They showcased how they used Digital Project to generate complex facade models and construction documentation. Christiano was brilliant as a speaker.

That was end of DAY-1 at the event venue but, as usual the show went on, this time at the VIP dinner hosted by Autodesk. Most of the speakers and some VIP guests attended the dinner.


I started day 2 with a class by David Hines of Populous on the Aviva stadium. This is the project that features on the latest BIM Handbook cover page. Great use of Rhino, Grasshopper, Excel, and Revit to generate full documentation and also brilliantly delivered by David Hines.

Next one I attended a class by Joyce Chan of HOK on Integrating Environmental Analysis into an Architect's Workflow. Some very interesting workflows were demonstrated on how they integrate environmental analysis into early stages.

After lunch, we had a technology forum where software vendors were given opportunity to showcase their latest BIM portfolios. ArchiCAD and Bentley showcased some amazing BIM technologies.

At the end we had a keynote speech by James Pallett of Great Portland Estate (GPE). It was very encouraging for the industry to see clients such as GPE coming forward and sharing their knowledge and expectations about BIM. BIM is clearly one of the core strategies of their business now. Again, 100 Bishopsgate featured in GPE presentation as well, as GPE+Brookfield are the client for 100BG.

Conclusion: The message was clear. The BIM adoption in the UK is increasing exponentially and the UK government and private clients are actively engaging with their supply chain to help them get BIM ready. Come 2015 and I wouldn't be surprised if the UK emerges as a BIM leader in the world. Only time will tell.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Revit Content Developer

Woods Bagot, an innovative global design firm with 13 offices in 5 regions around the world, is looking to add a new member to our team with specialist skills in Revit Content Development.  You will join existing content development staff within our global Design Technology Team, supporting the work of all projects around the world.

This position can be located in either our North American (New York City, San Francisco) or Australian (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth) Studios.

Click HERE to read the full job description.

Experience with Imperial and Metric content development would be beneficial.

Friday, 13 April 2012

GeometryGym moving forward with Rhino-IFC-Revit integration

GeometryGym has published the latest Rhino-IFC-Revit plugin. Be sure to check out it's blog post. It looks very promising and a very useful workflow between Rhino/Grasshopper and Revit via IFC!!

DOWNLOAD GeometryGym Plugins

DOWNLOAD demo files

image courtesy: GeometryGym

Not that long ago IFC was seen as an achievable file format with limited support by mainstream BIM tools. But now with tools such as this and mainstream BIM tools such as Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentley Architecture, Digital Project etc having improved interoperability via IFC, IFC is clearly becoming an industry standard data exchange/achievable file format. IFC is not complex at all!

For instance, following are two screen captures from Revit 2012 and Revit 2013 to see the difference between IFC interoperability improvements in Revit 2013 products. This was an IFC file generated from Rhino using GeometryGym plugin. In Revit 2012, IFC import missed a few panels randomly whereas in Revit 2013 all panels come fine as native Revit objects, fully editable. Kudos to Autodesk for their continued commitment to improve interoperability.

Revit 2012 IFC import
Revit 2013 IFC import