Thursday, March 31, 2011

Betting on a CAD horse in the nineteen-nineties. (1995)

Choosing a CAD software-package in the nineties was a lot of fun.
One did not just purchase a tool but took a stand.
It was like signing up to a political party, if not quite joining a cult.
In the ‘space’ I worked in, it was largely a two horse race.
The limited choice did not mean for the fight to be bland – not at all.

The purchase came with numerous uncalled-for labels – if you went for AutoCAD you preferred America over Europe, black (screen) over white and PC’s above Macs.
If you bought ArchiCAD you (supposedly) worked more in 3D, were extremely slow in cadding and had no programming skills. You were also more inclined to go for Windows while the others went for DOS
(Lisp skills were still highly sought after).

You could not ignore the pigeon-hole-ing.
It was not unheard to be thrown out of a ‘new version launch’ if someone knew  that you used the ‘other’ package.
And, make no mistake – in a county of 4M (people, more sheep) – it was impossible to hide your preference for long.

There was one thing common to both, product development and client satisfaction were low on their lists of importance.
One spent all money and energy on retaining monopolistic dealerships, the other cultivated CAD managers as their champions.

I chose my horse, they’d theirs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the short attention spanned: every line has to tell a story


Must be getting old as I long for the times when a drawing-line meant something and sentences were considered carefully before uttered.

As an architect in training I remember being told that every line has to tell a story, a line must have something ‘behind’, a slab, a window sill, a table edge.
Now it seems to be the other way around – millions of lines on offer and no story to tell, or the story is confused and fragmented.
This is not exclusive to my work – constant ‘chatter’ appears to be everywhere.
Is this to cater for our short attention spans – or have we become short attention-spanned because of all the ‘noise’ around us?

Here is another exercise for you: don’t worry, no downloading this time, no moving parts.
What I’d like to suggest is that next time you need to write a report (a specification, an email or just about anything) – give yourself a word-limit before you start on it, or, once you’ve got the draft – cut the number of words down by a third.

In the last number of years I applied for funding to various angel and other start-up investors.
Most have quite clever (online) application forms where the number of words you can give in your answer for each question is strictly limited.
Annoying first – it focuses the mind incredibly well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The low hanging fruit of BIM

I am a hypocrite. I allowed myself to be invited and entertained for two days at the BuildSmart conference.

And, you know what? I did actually pick up a line-of-thought that will make a good topic for a post in the near future – but let’s leave that aside for the moment and deal with the superficial.

It’s to do with clash detection.
I did not know up till now that ‘clash detection’ was the ‘low hanging fruit of BIM’.
Thankfully, I was told, once for all;
Actually, at least 4 times in four different presentations but as anyone that is involved with teaching knows, repetition is good;
Would I have dedicated this post to the ‘low hanging fruit of BIM’ had they not emphasised it so many times?

Probably not; though the images did talk for themselves.
I’d call the type quintessential by now, the poor pipe going through the beam and no one there to notice it before the unfortunate collision happens;

Observing the speakers I had the feeling that we, BIMsmarters find this ‘clash detection’ to be a bit naff – and at best call it ‘little BIM’ – (or closed BIM to those that get offended by diminutive labels).

The fact that we classify it as ‘low hanging fruit’ must still mean that someone is making very good money out of it.
Or not?



Monday, March 28, 2011

IFC is BIM’s equivalent of Esperanto...

Thanks, I’ll rather go for English;

I can say that.
English is my third language. Fourth if I count German that I learned but forgotten.
I speak English with a thick Finn Ugor-Slavic accent and muddle up my tenses regularly.
I am very careful with the ‘their’ and ‘there’ but still get ‘than’ mixed up with ‘then’.
‘To’ and ‘too’ I’m OK with, but got to be careful not to address ‘staff’ as ‘stuff’.
I am hopeless with the ‘th’ sound (ask the daughters!) and do not get the double negative .

So, you’d think I’d be happy to have a ‘neutral’, made-up language I work with when I do BIM, but no.
I’ll go for a robust proprietary one any time.
Give all of them an equal chance to prove themselves, to gain traction and coverage.
If English is the language that comes up strongest, I’ll go with it ahead of others.

Relevance to BIM?
Well, IFC is being aggressively promoted as the ‘open BIM’, read ‘play nicely’  BIM language (file format).
 A ‘common’ language.
Also a bit of a bland – lowest common denominator format.

I am being a bit ignorant here, not just the usual arrogant since it’s been ages since I last tried using IFC.
I had tried it though and I’d sooner go for a 3DS format or EVEN DWF now!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The saddest book in the World?

For my youngest, it will have to be one of the last published in the Harry Potters series.
For my middle daughter probably the Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
The eldest can’t really decide between See ya, Simon; The Catcher in the Rye, and Of Mice and Men

For me: Specifications.
These are books that accompany ‘for construction drawings’ of yet-to-be-built-buildings.

Think about them – there aren’t many other book-shaped creatures that go through their relatively short life experiencing so little love and care.

Often they are an afterthought. Put together hastily, just before submission.
Even while in their electronic format they tend to be self-conflicting, shallow and obese.
They become everything for everyone but nothing really for no one, tending them becomes a punishment for those that are not ambitious enough or like specialising in work no one wants to do.
They are rarely fully in synch with the drawings they accompany and are only really welcome by litigious lawyers and QS’s chasing variations. Their attention can also turn hostile when the right paragraph is not found in the mess of information.

As part of my January 23rd post I offered an alternative form to deliver information that traditionally fell under the Specifications’s domain.
Check it out – the 3D features should be accessible through most browsers – but you need to open the file with Adobe-Reader.

  
(and while you are at it, why not do the little exercise of counting the wall clocks – March 24th’s blog – count all the clocks no matter what colour)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alternative BIM-coloured Earth Hour!

“We've got no money, so we've got to think” is a quote usually attributed to Ernest Rutherford, a nuclear physicist from New Zealand.

Today is Earth Hour, claim the news.
I celebrate an alternative Earth Hour. I ask households and businesses and anyone I know to turn ON the essential lights in their heads for one hour to experience the joy of thinking.

Not relevant to BIM? I digress a bit here but like to be topical too.
Topical as in what’s going on around me, not just pertinent to my BIM bubble.

The other expression I like very much: “An alleged scientific discovery has no merit unless it can be explained to a barmaid” is also (supposedly) Rutherford’s.

Now, this is significant to all that live in their little BIM bubbles.

All of you that have BIM in your title or job description: can you explain to you grandma or (grand) child what exactly do you do?
Can you fit it in one sentence?

I still struggle with this task, I confess.
My 90 years old grandma only knows that I am married to a handsome Englishman, and my parents think of me as a failed architect that does something (possibly) clever with computers.

My only hope is that I will be able to define my work by the time the first grandchild arrives.





Friday, March 25, 2011

There still is no such thing as a ‘BIM-software’


My analogy based on the knitting-needles fell on a flat- reception.
Would it have been different had I used a hammer, a chair, the Rubik-cube instead?
We (humans generally) seem to have an overpowering need to do things using the “right” tools.
Horses for courses, no mixing up of roles and responsibilities, tools and weapons, aids and obstacles.

Sometimes I get asked to assist a friend decide what ‘BIM software’ to buy.
Most of them are moving on from a Flatcad-application, occasionally even the ‘real’ drawing board.
Most approach the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
Create lists of features they compare various packages on.
Talk at length with suppliers.
Search the net and collect feedback from users.

Then they make an informed decision.
Or so they think.

I tend to stay out of advising one way or other, despite of being blessed by natural eagerness to help.
Mostly, because few are prepared to consider that there may not be a simple answer to this question and no painless solution on offer.

I believe that there still is no such thing as a ‘BIM-software’.

There are software packages that will be good as part of a BIM solution.
Addressing a task (or a role) they can be useful.
However, there is no off-the-shelf solution or one-stop-shop available.
If someone is selling you one, be cautious.



Thursday, March 24, 2011

You’ve got to HELP me with this one!

This is an exercise I wanted to do for a long time.
Can I have it go around the world?
Will you help me do it?

So, here is the brief, includes 5 (easy) stages:

1/ Download the Staircase file from the link:

It is a PDF file, about 1Meg in size. Open it with Adobe (8.1 or above); (I can also email it to you)

2/ It shows a staircase;
Examine the 3 ‘floor plans’ and 4 ‘section/elevations’.
No notes on them, anyone working with 2D plans regularly will be able to get their head around it.
Count how many wall clocks there are in this staircase based on these 7 projections.
Time yourself; Write down how long it has taken, and the number of clocks.

3/ Look at the 3D view. Click into it, it is interactive (i.e. you can move around it);
Repeat the exercise; count the number of clocks, now using only this view.
Time yourself; Write it down and the number. Are there the same amount of clocks here as before?

4/ Email me these figures (time, number, time, number) your age and where you come from (can stay anonymous if you like)

5/ Forward it to any- and everyone that may be prepared to take part.

I will share the results at the end.
Many thanks in advance!

















NOTE: DO DOWNLOAD THE FILE AND USE ACROBAT TO VIEW IT PLEASE!
Or not, if you are concerned about its integrity; Can view it online but can only do half of the exercise.

Additional note:
The download may or may not work, am sorry about this (the first part is totally doable online); See picture below for tips;
Also, I am happy to email the file if anyone wants it, It is just under a meg in size and is a PDF. I believe it is no threat;

















Another note: Please count ALL the clocks - not just the brown ones :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On malls, the NZIA and BIM....

Most contemporary malls offer spaces that have certain amount of public-area feel.
It is deliberate of course – building on the historic popularity of the town-square.
Sipping your cappuccino in a fake Italian plaza by the fake fountain under the fake sky of the air-conditioned mall still can be enjoyable, if the real thing is unavailable.
It is all win-win as long as you behave well.
Spread your funds evenly between the boutiques that overlook the plaza, the charming eateries and you remember to see a movie.

Problems start when you forget that you are not in the real thing and start ‘misbehaving’;
For example, you hang around extended lengths of time without purchasing anything. You busk. Eat your homemade sandwich. Protest against something.

I used to belong to the NZIA (NZ Institute of Architects) chatlist. Not sure for how long, likely a decade.
Recently, I decided to opt-out of being a member of NZIA, consequently got dropped-off the chatlist.
Fair enough, you say; NZIA is the mall owner here, the chatlist the plaza.

I do feel a bit cheated though (allow me that much) – as for a long time this ‘mall owner’ cultivated and/or let the mall cultivate itself into a real community space.

The relevance of this post to my BIM musings?
Lot of the BIM related forums are run following the same principle.
































Sorry guys in NZ – can’t put this message on the NZIA Chatlist;
If you’d like to do this on my behalf, it would be appreciated.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What category does your BIM fall into? Use your knitting needles to work it out!

In response to my pondering on the tool-weapon-aid threesome yesterday, Marti suggested BIM needs to be seen as an “approach” or “process” and is, of course right.
I am not disputing BIM being either.

The point I was intending to make was this: what you use it for and how, is what will put BIM (or just about anything) into one of the 3 categories listed; (a tool, a weapon, an aid);

Say you have a knitting needle. What is it?
A long, thin, most-likely-round, plastic or wooden stick, with one end sharp and pointy the other has a knob.
This part is pretty straight, now how do you employ it?

You get a ball of wool, you make a jumper; It is a tool.
 You put your hair up in a bun and push the needle through to hold it there. It is an aid.
You fend off your younger brother’s attack (over something trivial) by poking him in the ribs with the needle. It is a weapon.

BIM is a bit like that, though there are 2 more categories it can fall into: ‘impediment’ and ‘prerequisite’
Say, forcing yourself to eat your peas with one knitting needle (because no alternative is available), or being required by someone to do so (due to their power over you);

What category does your BIM fall into?





Monday, March 21, 2011

The BIM goggles....


Once, when our eldest daughter was quite young she picked a book and asked her father to read it;
It was a Hungarian story book (her mother is Hungarian) and my husband said something like this:
‘Sorry, this is in Hungarian, I can’t read it’. The 3-and-a-bit year old offered helpfully:
‘Shall I bring your Hungarian glasses?’

I daily battle numerous ‘real’ and computer languages myself and sometimes think of this little episode.
Wouldn’t it be lovely?

I do know of BIM goggles.
BIM gets referred to as a ‘tool’. I like calling it a ‘weapon’.
Too military to your liking?

Recently I settled on the theory of it being an ‘aid’.
Just like glasses help me see – well used BIM helps parties ‘see’ better in their projects.
That can be from the point of buildability, level of documentation completeness, compliance with regulations, cost, time, aesthetics.
It is a primary aid against being manipulated no matter what side of the fence one sits on.

Glasses give you vision and help you into a vision. Vision as in a dream to fulfil, also the ability to see through obstructions.
BIM goggles are essential to thrive in AEC.

So, if you are a career BIMologist like me, shelve the spin of “BIM as a tool” and go more for
“BIM as an aid”. There is a difference!





Sunday, March 20, 2011

BIM for the hard to lay-out and undraughtable buildings...


Have you ever worked on a long-sausage building? A very tall, giraffe one?
Or committed the sin of designing a building to suit a (drawing) sheet?
Did you cut a bedroom short or have fewer car-parks?

You will not find ‘undraughtable’ in the dictionary, I guess, because there is no such thing.
Systems have existed for a long time to manage unusually shaped buildings by breaking them up into smaller pieces and providing key-drawings for navigation.
Flatcad  has always promoted working in a 1:1 environment and outputting to sheets.
Still, in practice I have been seeing a lot of reluctance to exploit this approach fully.
People seem to rather go for a strange scale (1:400, 1:750) – then break up the building over numerous sheets. Also, two outputs of the same information are never guaranteed to be in synch, for example a plan and an elevation coming from Flatcad.

Can BIM help the building that is hard to lay-out?
I consider model based documenting to be the foundation-stone to anyBIM, and claim: YES.
Model based approach ensures that there is minimal duplication of information – no matter how many or few outputs a piece of information appears on, the representations’ will always be from one origin.

I hope to reignite your interest in the concept of ‘picture-book-documenting”.
Ideal for sausage, giraffe and other shaped buildings. More soon.


















See also my January 17’s post and come back in the future as I intend to elaborate on this subject quite a bit (unless of course something more interesting grabs my attention);
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B4GF8MRLb0DAZWMxOTM1NWYtZTBmMC00ZjA4LTk0ZDgtYjY1MjZlNDkxOThl&hl=en_GB&authkey=CNfV4NYH&pli=1

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is in the Name?

5 years ago we set up Predefine. My husband Graham came up with the name.
I tortured him for days before he uttered the one I was happy with.
It had to be one word and made up of 3 syllables. It had to describe exactly, not just what the new company was going to do, but also an entire approach.

More intuitively than based on real knowledge, I believed that there was a need to develop a system, that incorporated two main ingredients:
An accessible ‘storage’ facility  capable of storing past experiences (lessons learned) from a vast group of originators and a means to access this storage, in a way that simulates what happens in your brain when you tell yourself what to do a step before you need to do it.

This sounds terribly elusive but for me this system had countless future, practical uses in the AEC industry.
Why AEC? Pure chance. I was already knee deep in it.

Preconstruct was in the game for a while, sounded too limited
(the word was also overused on the net, an important thing to  consider);
Preset, predetermine, prestipulate, proact, preload, prodict...

Predefine currently is a bit of a sleeping beauty, hibernating if you like.
One day it may become a synonym used in AEC for ‘the one I prepared earlier’.
Something to aim for?


Friday, March 18, 2011

Can I count on your low polygon-count?

If you can build it, I can (digitally) model it.  In the past I’ve built historic buildings, modern churches, kitchen appliances, curvy cabinets, even boats and people-body-parts.
Still, I should not be building objects for building suppliers to distribute to specifiers.

See pictures attached;
The sofa on the left will kill your model. Or, if not kill it – slow it down from manageable through annoying to. “delete those #@&%-sofas out of my model!” pace.
The one on the right will work well – even with multiple copies within the one file.

So, suppliers – be wary of the ‘size, polygon count and structure behind the model’ – trap;
You may have got a great Solidworks modeller to do all your door handles for the glossy brochures – or you may have a niece that produces excellent Max models of Italian furniture for real estate type of presentation movies – but rehashing these models for documenters can backfire majorly.
While almost any object can be enhanced by graphical and non-graphical metadata, if they are not built right first time it is hard to meaningfully improve them. And, the users you turn off with a bad library will be very hard to entice to try again in the future.

There are many good object developers that can assist, do your homework before you leap into digital product representation for BIM related uses!




Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don’t bet on the ‘goody-two-shoes’ type clients (building owners) to get BIM going.

In democracies people collectively own a lot of buildings. Many BIM arguments focus on piloting BIM through these projects. Innovation is encouraged on the premise that if it is regulated, it will happen.
Theoretically this makes sense, not according to my experience.
Government owner representatives tend to always play-it-safe and wiggle out of any meaningful innovation.

The opposites of these are the ‘cool’ clients. They can be pretty hard work (if you are their consultant) but they also tend to make things happen.
Also, cool clients are like cool teenagers, excellent in starting trends and applying peer pressure on others.

In my formative, learn-to-deliver architecture years I was put through on-the-job training by a couple of tough-nut developers.

Terry Serepisos (www.centurycity.co.nz) was one of them The last time I worked with him was almost a decade ago. Thinking of his redeveloped historical bank building on Cuba street in Wellington into a Burger King still gives me the shivers.
Terry has been in all sorts of trouble since and opinions over him are split, still, as building owners/developers go – I call him a cool one.

So, if you as a country want to get BIM off the ground, get developers like Terry into BIM. They will pull the rest in using equal elements of arrogance, peer pressure, positive and negative influence and a bit of charm.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am in love with the Archicad Marquee....

That tells you a lot about my life I guess...
Still, before you call me a hypocrite (i.e. encouraging software tribalism) –
here is a challenge:
I’ll show you mine (Archicad marquee),
you show me yours (spatial filtering device);

I use the marquee a lot – to examine parts of the building I am interested in.
Sections can do the job too, the marquee will get me there with fewer steps and faster;
I treat it a bit like an ice-cream scoop, or a surgeon’s knife, depending on the stage of the job I am in.

What about you?

See, the tool and how you use it, to scoop out a blob-of-information that needs to be examined, contemplated and resolved from the integrated, intelligent digital model you are producing tells me a lot about you.
Lets me know what BIM personality type you are and the BIM systems, processes and procedures your company has.

I know I am being a bit arrogant here – but, let’s get into the real stuff, tell me how well are you able to scoop the ice-cream out of the bucket?
Is this a trivial question? No, it is not – absolutely critical.

Even if you are not hands-on but claim to have a BIM enabled office – walk around the floor and ask your staff:
“What do we use to scope information-ice-cream here?”



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don’t be silly, there will always be architects...

a good friend of mine tells me off – as we discuss my latest doom-theory regarding the future of this noble profession.
I clarify, that I don’t mean the need for buildings will disappear but the need for people to do what (and how) they do while practicing as architects.

Even with the qualifier, my theory does not go down well with her, a talented architect with over 20 years of experience.

So, I suggest to her to go home and have a good look at her shelves packed with VHS tapes and analyse her own attitude towards them.
Too touchy-feely to your liking?

Well, do you still have a fax machine in your office?
If you deal with small scale contractors you’re likely to still have one, but maybe it is just a seldom used function of a super-duper photocopier?
What can we learn from a type of equipment central to the way we used to do work not that long ago – having almost totally disappeared from our toolset?

Are architects the VHS tapes of the industry that are retained for sentimental reasons?
And only just?

I have a strong affinity with the profession and wish it was going in a different direction.
On my BIM Staircase of Need, Cost and Opportunity it sits on the next-to-bottom rung.
(more about this concept in future).


Monday, March 14, 2011

Just keep giving them doughnuts! (Suppliers of Building Materials, to architects)

I urged you in my previous posts to develop clever digital libraries that architects and other specifiers could use in their models.

The development part is easy – depending on your budget you (you = building product supplier) can outsource the development of digital representations of your products for one or multiple platforms.
Distribution is OK –– just use your existing channels.
Getting the specifiers use the libraries is a bit harder, and unless you figured out the ‘management’ within the process - you are wasting your money;

Let me rephrase this: you can put your marketing money into just about anything (dining and wining architects and their wives or gifting calico bags, pencils or doughnuts for morning teas with your logos embossed on them) – any of these will bring you more benefits than a digital library that has no management in place will ever do.

And trust me, you’ll find this task hard to tackle. You will fail in the ‘critical mass’ challenge.
No matter how big or BIG you are – you will not be able to gain momentum in this area unless you create a critical mass, big enough to cause a tipping point.
This insurmountable looking challenge puts most companies off– though it is remarkable how easily it could be done.

Unfortunately, the parties that know this will never let you on the secret.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are CAD/BIM software developers/suppliers acting too smug?


Talk about being misunderstood! I managed to create an impression of fighting a war with all CAD/BIM related software developers/suppliers.

Hang on!
Stop accusing me for being unfairly critical to them, putting the knife in, biting the hand that feeds me...
Let’s be sensible! I do have great admiration for software developers – especially for the doers, working the trenches.
Not many days go past without me qualifying something as ‘cool’ in my digital-toolbox, no matter what its origin, colour or nationality may be;

As producers of tools they are pretty much like any other group.
There are some good ones and some less good ones. Some that aim for top-quality, some that pitch to those that call for affordability.
Some do their testing rigorously, others launch prematurely, some are innovative, others risk averse. Some represent European approach, others American. Whatever...
I could be talking about car makers or producers of handbags/meat patties etc.

I wrote about this before, somehow everyone missed it:
My problem with software suppliers in CAD/BIM field is largely with what they do not DO, given the responsibility they have found themselves burdened with.
A bit like politicians and celebrities.

They are shaping or have the chance to be shaping new working methods, communication, thinking for an entire industry.
That duty can’t be taken lightly, definitely not as lightly as they do.

(picture of our cat looking/acting ‘smug’)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another BeeEyeaaM Conference is coming to my town...


Growing up under a number of parallel, contradicting and highly dogmatic influencers evolved my ‘rubbish-o-meter’ senses to counterproductive levels.
I am sensitive but regrettably not also immune to poor PR.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by an event organiser.

She was working for a huge expo-company planning a major event for the city I now call home.
The event was centred on the “BeeEyeaaM”-thing and since our receptionist helpfully matched her acronym with my title – I was asked, ‘how can we make this event really useful for people like you?’.

She was not that interested in my views really, as much as selling the conference.
She said samples of innovative solutions with huge ROI will be shown;
Described how much a BIM coordinator would benefit from seeing major local players piloting innovative solutions...
She told me I’d learn a lot...

She was enthusiastic, chirpy and talked pure ‘innovative’ and ‘leading’.

I remained cooperative if noticeably cynical throughout our conversation. I wish I had told her then to forget the market research forms, – at the end a couple of software suppliers will work the event. A bit of patting of shoulders, scratching of backs here and there...
Many will have a great time, and will do nothing for BIM.

I may even join them...Why not? May just learn something...
Or at least get seen.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Building owners: should you go with BIM* over employing a QS?


Only if you ALSO improve the quality of THE project information.

I know of two theories: one claims that BIM will do QS’s out of work. The other that it will make their job easier.
Neither is likely to happen, because the way QS estimates are REALLY done at present.

True story:
In NZ one could have a house built for an average of 2K NZ$/m2;
Alternatively purchase a new car for 20K NZ$.
Convert these into m3 and you’ll find that the costs are similar, a unit of a new-car will cost about the same as the unit of a newly-built house.

People fond of complicating simple theories will rattle off numerous reasons why one can‘t be compared with the other. So be it.

If I followed the trends in the prices of new cars that are compatible with my taste in housing, I could possibly predict how house prices will shape up in the future; Or not;
I see QS estimates to be almost as scientific and sophisticated as the above described approach. With or without BIM**.

Gasp! I know. Considering how many decisions are based on QS estimates.

As a building owner why don’t you actually start getting better understanding of the quality of your project information? THAT WILL determine what you pay at the end.

Or go and buy a new car.



(* Better Information Management; ** Building Information Modelling)

There is a Hole in Your Bucket dear Liza, dear Liza....

Liza is a (yet-to-be-built) building’s owner. A person or a corporate.
The bucket is the receptacle that contains the information of her building-project.
Who looks after Liza’s bucket?
I used to want to look after it!

I pitched for the role by saying:

You have your child in the childcare while you work, your cat stays in a cattery often enough.
Let us take care of your information!
We will make sure it is good (trustworthy), will last as long as you need it (is non-perishable), and there is just enough of it (won’t overflow and become un-manageable);

Ok, maybe I should not have brought in Liza’s child or pet as examples, but I liked expressing the ‘liveliness’ of this information. A fluid, sprightly beast that tends to lose integrity, go-off or recklessly grow in size.

How about Liza’s accounts? Who looks after her ‘books’ – who is the custodian of her financial information?

This was never a revolutionary idea, I admit.
Passive custodianship of information (even construction based) has existed for yonks.
Archiving,  databases, content management.

Most building owners still treat the managing of building information as a very low priority.
But they all use accountants/book-keepers to look after their financial information.

Do the Lizas of the world really value one bucket of information so much more than the other?
Liza, we need to talk!




Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A totally useless BIM post...with a dead mouse at the end


I am a ‘yes, but’ person. I try not to be – but rarely succeed in suppressing the urge. I am sure it is genetic. My father has always been a ‘yes, but’-ter. Must run in my husband’s family as well as our children show tendency to ‘yes, but’ too.

Even as I listen to your argument I ‘yes, but’ it in my head.
My mother conditioned me to be a nice person, so I fight this impulse, but it beats me most of the time.

To keep my conscious at bay – I moderate my ‘yes, buts’ by trying to censor them before they rush to the surface. Needless to say, I’m not always successful in these efforts either.

When it comes to BIM, I’m ALL ‘yes, but’.

Tell me, that an answer to a BIM question is ‘quite simple’ – I’ll say, yes but, it is quite a bit more complicated than that...
You label a BIM issue ‘too complicated to easily resolve’, I’ll yes-but’ you with my – everything is simple theory.

If you are a ‘yes, but’ person too – a high probability, we can go on like this forever.
And, to some extent, we have been.

In a person’s life, 20 years is a large chunk (for a child, close to ‘forever’);

I’ve spent 20 years pushing BIM – and got close to nowhere.
Yes, but...


















To those that did read this through – I have a present – I uploaded a document describing a set of services my company used to provide when we operated in the VC/BIM field of NZ construction.
Consider it as an unwanted mouse brought to you by your loving cat J
(available for the next 24 hrs - or email me zolna.murray@gmail.com and I'll send you the dead mouse);

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do you want to get more specified? A practical post to building material manufacturers;


Let’s say, you supply thermal insulation;

Do the following:
Create a template for major model-based architectural packages
(i.e.: Revit, Archicad, Microstation);
Include:
·         Intelligent , branded North-Point and a level marker
·         Min 10 wall types typically used by the type of construction you are most active in;
·         Intelligent keys and legend stamps of those walls;

Also,
Have their 2D representation clean and tidy;
Printing without hitches on most printers/plotters.
Perfect representation in sections (fills/hatches consistent and labelled);
Multiple colour options for design.
Material assigned and with dual graphics

Make the graphics really good! (you are aiming at architects after all) – but, include watermarks on the surface of the walls with your own logos. (make them suttle);
These will show up only in design environment and would not do any ‘damage’ to outputs;

The difficulties you’ll face::
Most large companies will brush you off – they have their own templates, drafting manuals and standards to work by. Put them aside for the moment.
Medium sized companies will tell you the same story, however they will be open to give it a try.
Work with them!

This exercise should be pretty inexpensive, most important meet the architect at the level that matters to them.

In a month’s time, repeat the exercise, provide an updated template, now with typical roof types. Then slab (floor structure) types...etc