The Over Modeling affliction or OVM

There is a strange affliction happening in my office, it’s called Over Modeling (OVM).  This disease gets spread from staff member to staff member.  We have yet to find a cure for it, but we have established support groups to help those that understand they have a problem.

How can you tell if your office is afflicted with OVM?

 

  • Have people been asking questions about making the Stairs show exact in 3D, Section and Detail?
  • Have there been questions showing the correct curtain wall mullion in 3D?
  • Has the size of the model increased drastically in a matter of a week?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then your office may have OVM disease.  Don’t worry there is treatment for this disease, it takes time and effort with constant communication.

BIM Challenge: Collaborating effectively with the whole team.

What does that word mean anyway?  Time to teach that old dog a new trick.

I have found it to be difficult when starting a project to get the team to be fully collaborative on the project.  The words “Fully collaborative” what exactly does that mean? It seems we are still stuck in a workflow that keeps our focus in one area of the project.  This is going to be a difficult transition with some.  Somehow we need to focus on the whole project, whether you are just drawing the details or creating the elevations.  BIM is about the power of communication, Collaboration, and the integrated workflow.

This is where the Model Coordinator on a project becomes a must on all projects with more than 1 Revit user.  The Model Coordinator needs to know what’s going on inside the model and the project.  I have come up with a list of responsibilities for the MC of the project:

  • Keeping an eye on the Revit Model size.
  • Communicates with the consultants
  • Coordinates the team on Modeling, and what not to model
  • Is the point person for the BIM Manager/BIM Specialist in the office
  • Communicates major modeling changes or updates with the team.

“Building trust is one of your most important non-billable activities.” – Paul Munford – AUGI World, November 2014

New Years Resolution: Improvement in Production and Quality documents

“Everything should be made as simple as possible by not simpler”  – Albert Einstein

When you start working with BIM you have to change how you approach a project, how the project is setup, and how the team must change its thought process when creating the model.  The key is to focus on the project deliverable’s.  This goes for the Project Managers also, they can’t assume Revit will catch any problems.  Do you ever get the question from Project Managers: “Why doesn’t Revit tag Rooms and Doors correctly?”

This is the epidemic I have been faced with in my office regarding follow thru when modeling in Revit.  It has become second nature to simple place a door or a room in Revit, and why not it’s so easy.  However this comes with a large problem, placing a door or a room doesn’t mean it’s numbered correctly for your specific project.  When we drew “dumb” objects in AutoCAD we had to manual add these numbers. So when did we start thinking that Revit could do it for us?

Now the question is how to do we remain productive and efficient in Revit but still produce a quality drawing set.

My New Year resolution for the office is to try and come up with teaching strategies to help focus all Staff including Project Managers and Principals.  This year’s goals will be all about identifying, using and believing in the QA and QC processes, Teaching of the Deliverable’s, and a refocusing of tools and enhancements in the modeling environment.

BIMFreaks’ #AU2014 in Review

This year at AU was an exciting adventure for me thank you @Autodesku. Getting new opportunities to share knowledge with @ideateinc and of course winning an amazing laptop from @thinkstations, but mostly the inspiration from the classes I attended and the Keynote address stirring ideas and creativity.

“Use everything that already is as the starting point for what will be” from the Chief Technology Officer and SVP, at Autodesk Jeff Kowalski made a speech talking about our design of “dead things”.  With our technology we need to start looking at it thru the lens of nature.  Working together with Nature, Bringing our Designs to life.  We need to work towards creating a living design.

One of the classes I took using the inspiration of Starwars, showing how Chewie and Han Solo worked together using Collaboration tools to enhance and repair the Millennium Falcon.  The importance to Collaborate shows how we can work together to create a better design, and build a more powerful ship.

The biggest classes this year where all about Computational Design, Dynamo, and Sustainable design.  The class I attended for Computational BIM showed Architectural firms using Dynamo visual programing language.  They used Dynamo to work thru design possibilities quickly and efficiently.

All in all a very inspiring time in Vegas this year, signing off with my favorite quote of Marilyn Monroe from the Keynote: “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring”

Enjoying the Support Role

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.   Albert Einstein

I truly enjoy my job in BIM Support, and I would like to pass on some wisdom I have learned after my 20 hard fought years in Support at Architecture Firms.

It took me a long time to find peace while doing my job. There were a lot of hard times, they always seemed to block out the good.  As I said in my previous blog Fighting the Battles to win the BIM War , Support in Architecture is the dirtiest job.  To make the job something you can do for a long time, and something you can truly enjoy you need to find that key.  The key for me as always been, for lack of a better word, swag.  Yep that crap you get from those conferences, resellers or in the mail.  I put it out on my desk, and it makes me smile, it helps remind me of the simple pleasures of my job.  Like that one time I helped someone and it made a huge difference on the project.  Also that time was struggling because it couldn’t complete a task, and I was able to show them a simpler way

We are never going to be the ones who are mentioned in the emails or articles as one of the important keys to a project.  We are not going to toast that champagne at the opening of the building.  Nope we stand proudly behind those that do, knowing that without our support and hard fought battles this building would not have been as successful as it was.

You need to hang onto those successes, and every time it gets hard and you ask yourself “Why am I doing this” pull out that piece of swag that makes you smile and remember that project that without you would have failed.

I’m okay with that, I never really liked champagne anyway, and sometimes the swag is pretty cool.

Have a Successful day 🙂

Level of Development vs Level of Detail

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein

Level of Development vs Level of Detail.

I get this question over and over again, asking me why it’s such a big deal to say Detail instead of Development.  Well I think it’s time for a little education on the subject.

The Mad Cadder laid out a simple explanation to help define the use of LOD:

“LOD stands for both Level of Detail and Level of Development. How and where the acronym is used is dependant on the context of the discussion.

When talking about the graphical representation of an object, you are discussing the Level of Detail.

When discussing both the graphical representation and the information (properties) of the object, you are now talking about “Level of Development”.

– See more at: http://themadcadder.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/03/lod-level-of-detail-or-level-of-development.html#sthash.UEi0pYF6.dpuf

When we are discussing the LOD for our BIM Project we tend to always refer to Level of Development.  The BIM Forum Document “Level of Development Specification” http://bimforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2013-LOD-Specification.pdf, helps define these different levels of Development in our models.

It is important to understand the LOD of your project; these Levels should be used in the BIM Execution Plan and the Information Exchange worksheet.

When the LOD is communicated to the project team, consultants and internal, time and energy is saved, which translates to your ROI.

Explaining LOD Simply and Graphically

How do you easily explain LOD in a way that will stick with the PM’s in your firm?  I have struggled with this question for some time.  The “Level of Development Specification” is a great reference but I think it’s missing the Architectural LOD Graphical representation.

So after trying several ways to explain the differences in Level of Development and that Level of Detail is different I had an idea.  I came up with a set of plans that would show a building at different levels – simply.  I took definitions out of the BIMForun document that coincide with AIA Document E202-2008.

I only modeled to LOD 300, which is our Construction Document Deliverable.

LOD Image

100: Overall building massing indicative of area, height, volume, location, and orientation may be modeled in three dimensions or represented by other data.

200: Model elements are modeled as generalized systems or assemblies with approximate quantities, size, shape, location, and orientation.

300: Model elements are modeled as specific assemblies accurate in terms of quantity, size, shape, location, and orientation.

400: Model elements are modeled as specific assemblies that are accurate in terms of size, shape, location, quantity and orientation with complete fabrication, assembly, and detailing information.

500: Model elements are modeled as constructed assemblies actual and accurate in terms of size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation.

The Top 5 Ways to Promote BIM Office Education

The key to winning over staff is education; show them the power of BIM. To quote Thomas A. Edison:

“There’s a way to do it better – find it”

There are several ways to get this started! Here are my top five suggestions:

  1. Lunch and Learns for PM’s offering learning credits and teach them the value of BIM.
  2. Start a BIM User Group, have it at lunch and bring cookies (unless your office will pay for lunch) Teach users tips and tricks in using Revit.  Collect the questions you get throughout the month and show an how-to on them.
  3. Start a BIM University, Get classes from AU, RTC, MinnU, or Blogs and go thru them for the users.
  4. Start a Monthly or Quarterly Newsletter, send out information on project that have been using BIM in your office.
  5. Start a Revit Tip Email, send out a tip whenever a good one comes across your desk.  I have a OneNote page that has all my tips in it so users can access them at any time.

While these five suggestions are a great strting point, I believe the most important step is walking around and talking to the users and Project Manager in two-way conversations. Build a strong relationship and show them how to use Revit more efficiently.  If you make the end users and Project Managers see the value of Revit/BIM the lack of understanding becomes replaced with excitement.

BIM Challenge #1: Lack of Understanding

After speaking to many colleagues, one of the ongoing challenges of integrating BIM into projects is lack of education and understanding from the Project Managers and teams. It’s not that they’re necessarily against using BIM, it’s just they don’t fully realize the increased benefits (and cost savings) that it can provide during the design phase of the project.

To summarize this challenge and solution, a quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind:

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

So how do we get the team to understand and proactively create a solution?

First, we must get the Project Manager (PM) to agree to use BIM on the project.  Once you have the project ready to use your BIM talents you can start by showing the team better ways to communicate, and work with Consultants.  Here’s my signature process for overseeing the BIM implementation from project inception to completion:

  1.  Coordinate a meeting with the PM to understand the needs of the project
    1. What are the deliverables?
    2. What are the contract requirements?
    3. Who’s on the Team?
    4. What are the deadlines?
    5. Fill out BEP and send to consultants for comments and markup.
    6. Coordinate a meeting to go over BEP with all consultants.
    7. Once BEP is complete work up a simple massing exercise of the project workflow in Revit.
    8. Coordinate a meeting with in-house staff on the project. In this meeting, review the requirements for the project, and how the team will work with consultants.
    9. Organize regular check-ins with the project group to go over any Revit issues – I call these Revit Coordination meetings.
      1. Use this meeting to explain efficient ways of modeling the project.
      2. Answer any questions users may have.
      3. Go over any major changes with the model (Design Options, Scheduling, Families needed/used.)
      4. Check on team’s progress using the projects deliverables.

 

The main key to resolving this challenge is to make sure the project is successful, which can be done through monitoring the processes and communicating with the project team to ensure the project is produced effectively and efficiently. Once your first project is a success you will see more and more Project Managers coming to you for Project Startups.

Always remember that you are not only a BIM Specialist, you are also a BIM Teacher. Teaching the end users and PM the benefits and value of BIM is always step one in creating buy-in and success.