Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I’m onto some rose-coloured BIM issues…and here is a tip for ArchiCAD users as a bonus

Having recently stepped onto one-too-many toe – I’ve been warned to tone my blog down a bit…
I’m not in a huge hurry to oblige; it would cramp my style a lot.
On the other hand, the ‘cat & mouse game’ that rules my work-life these days must be a bit tedious to endure by those that come here to read on ‘pure’ BIM topics.

So let’s talk BIM, the rosy, and pink, and lemon-yellow and forest-green…
For a long time I’ve been a strong advocate of proactively using colours in construction information management, often provoking condescending comments from ‘architects that wear only black’.
Applying a range of bold colours to represent different types of concrete (grey!) structures rarely made sense to people that happily documented everything in black on white.

Still, that has not deterred me to consistently use the colour ‘red’ on my construction models as a warning sign, highlighting that an element is either under-defined or wrongly defined by the design consultants or others in charge of it.

One of my colleagues once got quite upset and accused me of being environmentally irresponsible by promoting this rainbow-theory, yet I never did suggest (what he accused me of) that the fluffed-up drawing-sets they still produced in black-ink (and measured in tons) should be printed in full colour.
I said, that colours could play a large part in demystifying AEC documentations for clients, contractors and everyone else involved. Model based communication supports this idea splendidly.

Unfortunately, there still is very little interest in demystifying AEC information, not even on the lowest of, day-to-day levels of project communication so we’ll still experience quite a bit of the flawed approach:
2D draw everything as vague as possible with lots of fills/hatches and useless text on it;
Then reduce A0 sheets to A3s and make numerous copies of them before they get to the construction-site so someone with a ‘really high level of IQ’ can work out from a pile of blurry fluff where to put the wall, window, tea towel hook.

Prior to anyone get worried about me again airing controversial in-house work-practices I should not – let me share with you a little feature I discovered today:

In ArchiCAD, you can save different background colours with your 3D views;
I use ‘saved-3D views’ a lot while I work on my models – so this attribute of the view-manager is going to be very handy in performing my daily tasks in the future.
For example, I could have soothing green backgrounds saved on problematic jobs just to balance out all the red in the undefined elements incorporated in most of the views.
And to keep the options for improvement open, the green can then fade into something more neutral in pre-set views where things are coming together nicely.
Or I could have different backgrounds allotted to the views I work on morning time and the ones I deal with afternoons.
Or rose-colour them all, when I present to superiors unwilling to accept the reality we’re in…

The opportunities are endless! 
And all of the colours of the rainbow pretty much with a press of a button…