Collaboration of the Many

OPEN BIM is a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization, and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows. OPEN BIM is an initiative of several leading software vendors using the open buildingSMART Data Model.

I am a strong believer in helping all colleagues, going to conferences, and networking to better understand what others are doing in the field of BIM. I find asking questions and having conversations about the processes I am working on and how my role works helps me learn about approaches I would never have considered, and this in turn makes me better at my job.

A couple of weeks ago at Autodesk University I was having a beer and conversation with a couple of colleges. One had never been to AU and was talking in amazement about people presenting their projects, process, or workflows. He was amazed people would be so willing to share. The other colleague and I had been to AU several times in the past, and better understand why someone will stand in front of a crowd of strangers and present ideas that might be valuable if kept to themselves: sharing makes us better.

Resources, information, processes, and workflows all start somewhere.  Sharing your work makes everyone advance. My friend, Rodigo Freig, told us a story about his first Revit project and how he started out. He explained that while working on this project he was struggling using Revit. Another colleague of his knew a structural technician using Revit, Michael W. Sullivan and said that Rodigo should give him a call. Rodrigo followed through. Michael didn’t just offer to help Rodigo – he invited Rodigo to his office for a discussion and information session on how he was using and implementing Revit in his firm. Even though they were competing companies, neither were worried about intellectual property or had any problems with open collaboration.

When BIM managers from several different companies and disciplines get together to collaborate and share out workflow and process, magic happens. These opportunities move us forward to create a better BIM environment in our industries. These discussions enable us to share information between companies and share ideas which is the key to Open BIM.  This is what makes us move forward and makes us better.

I want to share the knowledge I have to help people in the BIM community. Sometimes I get pushback from my own office: there is a lot of discussion on intellectual property. I get a lot of questions on why my company would let me tell people what I do.  I usually respond that while I share my ideas, only my office has me, my style, my routine and my process, and that’s what makes my company successful.

Today’s projects are riskier than they used to be: they are more complicated and require more information. The tools, processes and workflows used today are different then they have been in the past. This collaboration of the many helps ease this risk and create a leaner and more

Happy New Year and thank you all for following

It was a great year for me in 2016; I started a new job at ZGF Architects in the Vancouver BC office, and I was able to give a few presentations around Vancouver.

The Vancouver office of ZGF Architects reached out to me in November 2015, looking for a someone to teach and develop Vancouver office BIM tools and implementation. I was familiar with the firm; when I started working in architecture way back in 1995 (in Portland Oregon) I applied for a job at ZGF because they were the best. Since I was trained as a drafter instead of an architect I was not able to join ZGF in 1995 when I first left college. I am glad that the zigs and zags of my career, including years in other firms and moving to Vancouver BC to perfect my skills in BIM, have led me to a place where I can bring real world knowledge and experience to this great design firm.

A big difference between ZGF and my previous firms is their focus on excellence in design. This is the first place I have worked where the focus is solely on the best design possible,  and where clients actually walk in the door and expect that excellence.  I am looking forward to developing and working on a process that can stay in line with the ZGF belief, “Technology should stay out of the Designers way”

Outside of job-related news, as part of my joy of sharing all things BIM and the power of process I was able to give a few talks.

I started the year off at CanBIM on February 17th.  I was invited to sit on a panel and discuss challenges in BIM production. I appreciated the chance to hear different opinions and approaches to BIM; it is always useful to hear how others are dealing with this struggle and what they have found works and does not work.

I was on another panel in February titled ‘The Broken Project Delivery Model” at Buildex Vancouver. I was joined by more of my BIM Manager colleagues to talk about our struggles with software and implementation and to discuss how BIM is working and delivered on projects here in Canada.

When March rolled around, I walked over to BCIT to talk to students about BIM as part of architectural practice. This was a great opportunity to teach the next generation about the importance of BIM in our field. This was the first introduction for most on BIM and how it works. I believe that if we can get BIM to be taught more in schools,  process development and implementation will become second nature to our new grades, leading to technological innovation.

In April, I had the chance to give another student presentation, this time at VCC. This talk focused on what architecture looks like today compared to when I started.

In 2015 when I went to ‘Live inside the Factory’ at Autodesk in Boston, I made several friends from around the world. One in particular ran the Charlottesville Revit User Group. She reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to give a talk. I polled the group and came up with ‘Rethinking the Design workflow in the AEC Industry’. This topic is something we all need to address in order to change the process and get closer to our BIM goals.

In November, I presented to the VRCA (Vancouver Regional Construction Association) at their Innovation Boot Camp. This was a great opportunity to explain BIM and its uses for Contractors and Architects. This is one boot camp of three; I will also be presenting in Prince George and Victoria BC this year.

I really enjoy these opportunities to share and help others on the road to BIM: presenting to both industry professionals and students is one of my favorite things to do. When I started my journey down the path of BIM education and process, I found it very difficult to find information and educate myself. There did not seem to be any answers out there in cyber space. In the three years since I started this blog, meeting people who have read and enjoy it has been priceless and I appreciate the chance to educate readers.

2017 is going to be another great year; after all, it started out with a bang. I was featured in the People profile of the Q4 2016 AECBytes Magazine. For my blog this year I hope to post more in my series on ‘Change in the AEC Industry’: there are more stages of change to cover. I will post some of the presentations I have made with the hope that you too can move your firm forward. I am also currently working on a new book about the why and how to be a BIM Manager in Architecture.

Looking forward to the ride and sharing the struggles with moving forward and progressing towards a better process.


New Adventure

Last week a started a new Job with ZGF Cotter Architects in Vancouver, BC. This will prove to be an excellent opportunity to help a firm grow towards better BIM. With an overwhelming need for Revit training, and BIM education I had to take a step back and understand what the immediate needs are. My blog posts will start highlighting my new adventure and how I took the steps needed to bring ZGF Cotter successfully into the BIM world.

A perfect opportunity to use the ideas I published in my eBook

First step:

First: Establish a base line of knowledge, I purchased Knowledge Smart Assessment testing, this product works well when establishing users understanding and needs in Revit.

Second: While waiting for tests to be completed I walked around talking to users, and looking into the files. This allowed me to see the gabs within the project teams.

Third: This is a critical step, I need to start putting together my Syllabi to start training. I have 2 major groups in the office; Architecture, and Interior Design. I also have a wide range of Revit knowledge.

As I move through my journey I will gladly share my ideas, and documentation.

Hope you all enjoy the ride with me.

BIMFreak’s 2015 Year in Review

It was a pretty great year for me, I gave 9 presentations, published an eBook on becoming a BIM advocate, presented at AU2015 on the Design Workflow, got invited to “Inside the Factory Live” (Gunslinger) by Autodesk, and this is how it all went down.

I kicked my year off traveling to the Bay Area, thanks to Ideate Inc., to present “Becoming a BIM Advocate” to the Sacramento Revit User Group, San Francisco Revit User Group, and Oakland Revit User Group. It was very well received with a large turnout at all 3. The presentation in San Francisco gave me the opportunity to meet Stephanie Egger from Autodesk.  I was able to meet a lot of local people and was given a tip about the BIM Workshop conference in Anaheim.

After returning home I signed up to speak at the BIM Workshop, thanks to the tip, and was accepted. Then I received a call from Stephanie and she asked if I would be willing to provide the same presentation for the on-line BIM series for Autodesk.  This was a great opportunity to continue sharing my struggles and success in promoting BIM.

Mid-summer I took a trip to Portland to present “Becoming a BIM Advocate” to the Portland Revit User Group, it was good to be in my home town sharing what I had discovered and suffered.  In August I presented again for Autodesk in the series “Keys to a Successful BIM Pilot Series: Get your Office to Adopt and Work with BIM”, and the final presentation for Becoming a BIM Advocate was in October at the BIM Workshop in Anaheim.

In the Fall Summit AEC asked me to give an on-line presentation on “5 Goals of a BIM Manager”. I also found out I was accepted to speak at AU, AS10473: Design Workflow from Concept to Construction Documents.

Went to “Inside the Factory Live” at Autodesk headquarters in Boston, used to be called The Gunslinger Event. This is where you get to break Revit, and tell the developers in person why something doesn’t work for you, and what would work better. If you want to get invited here’s a hint: get on the beta test for Revit, make sure to test and send in a lot of error reports. Hopefully you will get the invite to apply, they only pick 16 so make sure you test a lot. It’s a great time and pretty amazing view/interaction with Autodesk.

So now it’s time to move on to 2016, this year I hope to keep the presentation streak going and meet more people. I’m also setting my sights on creating a new BIMx, preparing a presentation for our clients on what BIM can do for them, and taking my firm to greater heights in the BIM community.

Blog to ya soon.

eBook Launch

Becoming a BIM Advocate

Thanks to the support and help from friends and family I can proudly say I have published my first eBook.

Becoming a BIM Advocate

I hope this book can help others get over that ever looming hump of BIM Implementation. This book is full of help and ideas to get your firm over that hump.  Take the first step and see what it takes to be successful.

I have presented my “Top 5 ways to promote BIM in your office” idea 6 times this year so far.  I have 2 more presentations coming.
Looking forward to my new share on BIM goals, I hope that presentation will be just as successful.

My First Post… Hoping to be 1 of many.

It is amazing to see how far technology has advanced in the AEC industry since my start in 1994. Today, the design landscape has transformed so much it’s mind blowing.

In my first Architectural firm there was no internet, we fought with consultants to use AutoCAD, and had to educate clients on how AutoCAD plans didn’t cost more than hand drafting to produce. Now here we are, 20 years later dancing the same Tango with different music.

At the 2013 Autodesk University keynote address, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass noted that  “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”(Watch videos from the conference  here)  While we still may be dancing the same Tango, the music’s tempo is increasing quickly. In other words, technology is progressing at a rapid pace and if we don’t stay current, we will become relics.

BIM Freak was created as a resource to help firms progress towards a full BIM office. While there have been challenges, I have relentlessly advocated for the use of BIM in my firm for a number of years. I am pleased to note that we are now in a stage of transition into a fully integrated BIM-focused firm.  I hope that this blog will provide you with useful tips and tricks that I have discovered along the way.


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