Monday, February 28, 2011

A pre-BIM task: Get (back) into the habit of using a Light (box) table!

The best way to get into BIM (even if you’ve never tried it) is by picking a real construction project.
You don’t have to be on site, not even associated to a contractor to have a role with tasks closely related to the progress of a construction project. You will be assessing drawings (plans) daily.

In the near future, I plan to write about ways to set up a construction-based BIM project.

But, even before I do that – there is a pre-BIM task that I recommend to everyone, everywhere that needs to assess and interpret plans (construction):
Get into a habit of using a Light (box) table!
I am referring here to a ‘physical’ one, a container with several light bulbs (or fluorescent tube)c and a pane of clear glass on the top;

Now, this action of yours will do nothing to improve the quantity or quality of drawings.
At least, not at the beginning.
Do persist! You’ll find interesting things and learn a lot about the content creators of your project:
No scale is actually accurate when printed
Grids from various consultants aren’t always matching
Structure is usually all over the place
Corresponding drawings (that should be easy to coordinate) are always of a slightly different scale
North point is almost always out on some of the drawings;

How to make one?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A dilemma: should a Project/Designer Manager be BIM literate or not?

Not a loaded questions – really, a genuine interest of mine. See, both options have advantages;
A Building Owner/Developers appoints a Project/Design Manager (or multiple people to fill those roles) so they get better representation, more certainty, good cost control, deadlines achieved and generally keeps all consultants inline.
A project manager manages the project, the participants, the process; The role of the design manager implies technical abilities too – a counterpart to consultants within clients’ representatives.

Having a non-BIM P/D Manager can be useful. They are usually unable to ‘look under the bonnet’ of the project information database so they focus their attention on the outputs, which are contractually most important anyway. They scrutinise drawings in the way contractors would and as such find holes in documentation more easily.

A BIM literate P/D Manager benefits building-project clients by hands-on-working the model based database and is able to look at design options in a more considerate way. Understands the project better and more intimately and is able to change directions at a short notice as required.

You may think that I am already set on one of the answers, but am not;
What I am mostly wondering about is, what do clients prefer to have?
Do they rate the BIM literacy of their Project and Design Managers and does knowing BIM enter the selection criteria-list at all?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

If your job involves creating/interpreting construction plans, read up on Monge!

Early in the process of committing to write this daily blog I decided, that on days I’ve got nothing intelligent to say*– I’d write about something useful** that is relevant to BIM/BD (building documenting).

Today, I copy a couple of lines from Wikipedia:
Gaspard Monge, (1746 – 1818) French mathematician and inventor of descriptive geometry.

 “...An opportunity, however, presented itself: being required to work out from data supplied to him the defilading of a proposed fortress (an operation then only performed by a long arithmetical process), Monge, substituting for this a geometrical method, obtained the result so quickly that the commandant at first refused to receive it - the time necessary for the work had not been taken; but upon examination the value of the discovery was recognized, and the method was adopted. And Monge, continuing his researches, arrived at that general method of the application of geometry to the arts of construction which is now called descriptive geometry.
But such was the system in France before the Revolution that the officers instructed in the method were strictly forbidden to communicate it even to those engaged in other branches of the public service; and it was not until many years afterwards that an account of it was published.”

He knew how to make 3D/2D work!
If your job involves creating/interpreting construction plans, read up on Monge!

* even by my, some-may-say-lowish standards  
** Useful, again as-per-my-own judgement.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The lack of FREEDOM of Navisworks (Freedom)

“It is by design that Navisworks does not allow exports to dwg or other file formats. This software is a viewing software, not meant to be used as a model generation software. If Navis allowed export to dwg the integrity of the models being shared could be compromised.”

This is a quote from AUGI’s website, I stumbled on it while searching for:
Why does Naviswork go only one way?

It is not a bad software, though terribly overpriced.
It is able to handle multiple formats and reasonably large chunks of graphics, navigates like other Autodesk products (bit clunky), carries through some metadata, easily stitches elements with tasks for sequencing, offers somewhat mediocre outputs.
(Can’t comment on its clash detection facility as I don’t believe in the type of ‘interface detection’ Autodesk promotes with this package.)

So, what is really behind this ‘by design one-wayness’? Would love to hear what others think!

For me it is a bit like providing a Lego board to stick all your toys onto (Playmobil, McDonald Happymeal creatures, Nobrand blocks etc) so you can view them, maybe even play with them, but sorry – you can’t put this assembly into your FisherPrice truck!

Too weak an illustration? How about: ‘you can check out any time you'd like but you can never leave’.
Just does not sit right.
Ignorant or arrogant, definitely patronising.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stages of Building Design: A mismatch of expectations

The timeline for almost any building design-project goes like this:
Brief, concept, schematic, developed design, working drawings, approvals, tender, construction.
That is what I was taught a quarter of a century ago.
That is still used in design offices around the world to scope jobs, bid for them, deliver and invoice.
Milestones are set accordingly, budgets and resources are planned for, business plans worked agreed on.

Everyone clearly knows what each stage encompasses, the type of information, the output to expect.
Bubble diagrams, flowcharts, perspectives, details, depending on the stage of the design delivery timeline.
Everyone is in full agreement. Expect for the building owner.

They expect a ‘finished’ building from day one.
And this then becomes a source of trouble for everyone.

They (the building owners) know that building creation takes time. They, themselves will change their minds numerous times.
They accept, even expect many possible options to be considered for their spatial problems.
Fittings, colours, materials to be chosen, ideas explored, settled on to be discarded again and started afresh.
They understanding the time needed, they appreciate the effort.

They just want to have a ‘buildable design’ from DAY ONE.
 And, the important bit is this: this expectation is unlikely to change.

So the process has to!
Roll in BIM, the only building design toolset/approach really able to handle this mismatch of expectations.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don’t shoot for Paperless – Go Drawingless!

Search for BIM in AEC – and you’ll find the concept “paper based” mentioned often as the problem that needs to be overcome to DO BIM;

I disagree.
It is the ‘drawing based’ approach that is causing us trouble.

 ‘Paper based’ for me, means designing our outputs to suit the format, size of the medium and that is not bad on its own.
Drawing based is centred on the ‘projection technique’ (i.e. orthogonal projection – what 2D technical drawings are ‘made’ from) a risky solution that requires high level of skills from the operators. Skills the industry lacks.

I believe, that, it is the way objects are represented that is important, as opposed to what they are represented on;

 Many practitioners claim to be going BIM way by loading up zillions of sheets of digital files onto Aconex instead of printing them.

Strictly speaking, aiming for a ‘paperless’ project is not the answer for the BIM question.
Going drawingless is a a step towards it!

Look up my post on the PictureBook Documenting.
A modelbased approach, using the paper as ONE medium.
I also introduced you to the POD.
Now, when a computer is not available on site, you can still do ‘modelbased’!

On the basis of this dilemma and 2 others I put together a matrix on BIM personality types.
Are you BIM ready? Keep reading!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BIM’n Green - an equation with far too many variables

I’ve been asked by blog-commentators, why I appear to be ignoring this area.
A topical and important question, always mentioned when it comes to sustainability in AEC and generally greening of the world.

Well, this is a subject I majorly failed to deliver on. Not for lack of trying.
Having a model that can be analysed, and consequently delivering a building designed to perform well in its energy use has made sense to me for a long time.

Over the years I analysed numerous applications, some developed for specialist building services consultants with sophisticated calculating abilities, others focused on architects intending to achieve various green rating-compliance by interrogating their 3D model.

I set through quite a number of presentations and seminars, was shown “real-life” case studies. Somehow, they failed to convince me, despite claiming that the performance of the model prompted designers to change glazing type in windows, add/delete insulation, lengthen/shorten eaves.

There are a couple of conditions that work against the ‘Green BIM concept’ – high integrity of the digital model is needed, elements are to be two-way linked to a comprehensive database and multileveled calculations are to be performed simultaneously;
All within applications that are easy to use, preferably within a host (design/documenting) package while minimising risk of lost-in-translation information fatigue.

To put it bluntly: this is an equation with far too many variables.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is BIM a catalyst or in need of one?

Most contemporary write-ups on BIM refer to this (often ill-defined) technology as the great catalyst for change for the AEC industry.
The ‘change’ they allude to is again a bit hazily described.
Still, many believe  that in the foreseeable future most buildings will be modelled before any site work begins, and as a result contractors will gain the advantage of knowing what they need to build and how. There will be no drawings in the process.
Apart from this theory being extremely patronising to construction – I wonder how we built for thousands of years – I am intrigued by the ‘catalyst’ role BIM is given in this change process.
While the word itself can have slightly different meanings depending on context, it should always describe “a person or thing that precipitates an event or a change”;
This theory implies, AEC is broken, BIM will hasten its change.

I like to turn the ‘catalyst theory’ on its head;
I DO believe we need a good trigger – AEC is broken, BIM is the toolset to fix it, something should hasten the acceptance of BIM.

I can think of 3 primary candidates:
1/ large part of the workforce unwilling/unable to work non-BIM way
2/ project environment so fluid and demanding that other systems not suitable
3/ economic conditions necessitate a more productive industry

There are others too; Add yours!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A ‘Low key BIM blog’ day... Define and safeguard your spatial ‘Frame of reference’.

Today, a tip for the doers and the developers!
In model based documentation of buildings – there is one basic rule you must follow:
Define and safeguard your spatial, model-based ‘Frame of reference’.

There are 5 parameters I regard as essential to the system:
Orientation (North Point)
Origin (related to a known POR)
X, Y and Z coordinates, (Cartesian Coordinates, a set of numbers that will locate any point in space.)

There are few things that get architects annoyed as much as forcing them under constrains before they are ready (if ever)  still, I strongly advocate for a project environment where clear 3D references guide the originators as well as the users of information.

Lack of spatial reference makes interpretation difficult but intelligent tools that provide grids and levels (X, Y, Z) for projects to reference all information-to can make/brake a job.

Be ruthless with your reference system. Put it in place and safeguard throughout the process.

Here is also a good opportunity for Building Materials (products) manufacturers to assist the development of digital tools:
Create dynamic ‘coordinate/orientation/navigation’ systems that will work seamlessly in 3D and 2d Switch a Gridline object to a Section view, a vertical level-line to a Plan.
Make it easy to set up, also robust. BRAND it!
Even if it has nothing to do with your product, it will be used constantly!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Missing Ingredient in BIM: Critical Mass! also, Which one of Google or Facebook is going to crack the BIM code first?

Two seemingly unconnected questions. Still, those in-the-know, know.
BIM will happen when the modus operandi of the present,  non-BIM AEC industry is not longer sustainable and when high enough percentage of clients demand that what is currently sold to them as BIM (but is not really) starts making a measurable difference to their projects.

So, when will this critical mass be reached? What is the smallest number of projects, clients, practitioners needed to make it happen? What is the size at which the AEC will undergo a fundamental change in regard to its operations?
I’d guess that this ‘size’ is ill defined to even the best minds of the ‘Autodesks’ of the world.
First, because it can not be viewed in isolation, separated from the rest of the world, it is influenced by everything and is very fluid.
Second, because there is not real historical precedent to compare it to (no, the rise and rise of Flatacad was not the same);

The critical mass may not even be such a high number at all! If enough of participants of the AEC ‘monopoly board’ (see image attached) buy in at any one time around a number of projects, the scales could be easily tipped and a snowball effect achieved.

For BIM to work, it will need to become common. Google is common. Facebook is too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

BIMologists worldwide, take note of the SIMS phenomenon: SIMS is a BIM!

Not quite, but better than most ‘self-claiming’ BIM system I know of;


Smart environment: preloaded with intelligence – designed to aid/hinder the ‘player’ and still keep the integrity of the game;
Smart tools: predesigned and sealed yet customisable and non-limiting;
Smart editing: combination of rigidity and flexibility allowing players to innovate and explore, while working within the framework of the game;
Smart navigation: intuitive and easy to use, yet fast enough on (almost any) home-computer.

‘Mainstream BIM’:

Environment: the ‘template’ – at best mildly useful at worst clumsy and irrelevant; If you ignore it (i.e. start from an older project) it failed its purpose.
Tools: over generic, over flexible, too much work
Editing: table based, long-winded, a hassle
Navigation: slow, slow, slow

Now, of course, if you interrogated a serious SIMS user, they would BOMBARD you with lists of features they are unhappy with, things they need to do ‘cheats’ on, other bits and piece they want SIMS developers to fix;
So, no – they don’t think they have their hands on the best BIM in the world.

However, put them on a mainstream BIM for a day and probably will not talk to you again for weeks;
Your response: “get real, these kids MUST learn bla bla bla..” You may be right – may not be too!

BIMologists worldwide, YOU can’t afford to ignore the SIMS phenomenon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Flatcad is a machine, BIM is an organism!

Flatcad is a machine with the purpose to assist in the performance of a set of clearly definable human tasks.
Logically, BIM would be one too, maybe a bit more complex, visually enhanced and spatially aware.

BIM is not really a machine at all, though at its heart there necessarily sits a device not unlike a machine.
What makes BIM more than a machine? It is an intricate organization that accomplishes its goals efficiently by properly and methodically collecting, processing and outputting information.
It has many parts, but the purchase of each and/or all is no guarantee for a good BIM.
BIM as an organism has the qualities that can’t be fully explained by examining each of the parts. Rather, these result of the relationship and interaction of the parts. 

Sounds too abstract? Here is an example how the ‘machine’ and the ‘organism’ differ:

Your standard CAD-i could mess up only ‘so-much’ in Flatcad. Get a line on a wrong layer, use a font that does not fit the company’s manual.

On the other hand, if you have an uncontrolled BIM environment, a small mistake, intentional or not can bomb your entire project.

The difference is like riding a bike along a suburban street or getting a plane off a runaway.
You need to aim for a fully controlled BIM environment or stick to Flatcad!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BIM in the ‘chain-stores’ business

In the mid nineties I was involved in the documentation of a dozen local branches of an international bank. The process was well thought out, we received a fat book on all the standard layouts, fittings, finishes and details. A resident architect familiar with the codes adopted them to the branches’ spatial requirements, we drew up the drawings (Flatcad) and all went (mostly) well.

A decade later, my company documented a series of outlets for a retail chain providing (mid-range) clothing for children. These shops were located in the USA, ME, India, South Africa. (Designed in NZ).

Parallel to these, we worked on a top end designer shop also part of a chain, this time a highly luxurious (French) one.

On both of these jobs the designers were based on world-wide locations, often speaking different languages, even using different writing (characters); More than once our Flatcad files turned up showing little squares where notes and dimensions were meant to be.

What I want to be pointing out though is that despite of 10 yrs time difference, a much more global playing-field and requirements for complex teamwork, the working methods changed very little from the way we documented the bank branches.

How does this sit with the ‘BIM evolutionary theorists’ viewpoint?
Surely, if any field, the franchises’ should’ve jumped on the bandwagon of BIM by now?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Sectional Question: Do you do many in fine detail or few and rough?

In architecture, a section is a drawing that cuts through the building vertically.

Resolve then Represent or Represent so you CAN Resolve?
A bit of a tongue twister:
As a designing/documenting architect regardless of the media you use to assist you conceptualise, interpret, resolve and document – do you clearly buy into one method or the other?

Here are descriptions for both:
Group One (first resolve then represent) does 1-2 sections through a typical building – maybe a few more in a complex building. Draws them in 1:10 (metric) or 1:25 and beautifully notate with lots of long winded descriptions. All the studs (in timber walls) are shown, tiles on roofs, insulation squiggles.
Group Two (represent to resolve) creates dozens of sections, everywhere a different condition is likely to be present; A change in level, a cut through beam, wall fittings, dropped ceilings, bulkheads.
The sections are ‘empty’ looking (if from a model, they are unadorned and straight cuts) – intelligent labels are linked to elements if anything is notated at all.

There is really no right or wrong answer, both groups can be achieving their goals just fine.
I have observed though a clear tendency of those from Group 2 (even when working in a purely drawing based environment) to lean more towards model-based approach given the chance.

Could be a self-test for BIM readiness. Try it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The future looks bright for emerging career BIMologists operating in Australia!

Today, I came across a report titled:

Productivity In The Building Network:
Assessing The Impacts Of Building Information Models
Report to the Built Environment Innovation and Industry Council (29 October 2010);
Produced by Allen Consulting Group;

A riveting read!

I have many favourite parts  – one sentence stands out from the rest:
“BIM is expected to deliver many benefits to industry at costs that are not materially higher than traditional or alternative management approaches.”
Actually, the sentences is repeated at least 3 times through the text, so they must be pretty confident about this (sure, they do list factors that play a role in impending adoption of BIM..)

So, career BIMologist – aim for Australia – the stronghold of buildingSMART – they’ve cornered BIM.

For my part, I have my own little agenda. When I’m asked next what policy interventions would I suggest to assist industry-wide implementation of BIM, I’ll list my top 3:

1/ make it compulsory for all construction materials to come with a BIM barcode (a digital chip that carries graphical and non graphical information)
2/ make all building permit authorities assess and approve building designs model-based, online, instantaneously; (using material BIM barcodes and smart web based tools)
3/ design all public buildings on SIMS. (so public can see what is being designed, how much will the buildings cost and how will they operate).


Sunday, February 13, 2011

BIM and modularity in buildings (MIB)

“This BIM thing is great... for the ones that design boxes, or at least buildings that are very modular... Unfortunately, or fortunately we are more the creative type...”
...brushes a client away your perfectly pitched presentation on how BIM benefits architects and the end-clients of construction projects.

Don’t despair, this is just another barrier that needs to be broken down – the perception of incompatibility between creative and modular, the free form and BIM, the designers and the ones that make buildings happen.
It is well known by now that BIM’s object based approach is a natural fit for the modular and this IS an advantage as opposed to an imposing, constraining characteristic.
So, what if we turned the argument around and claimed that ALL buildings are (or should be) modular to at least some degree? (see previous posts on ‘kit of parts buildings’ and separating what ‘matters’ from the ‘mundane’ – both are closely related to the subject of building modularity);

Historically, best architects have been the ones that created magic out using modular elements.
The best BIMmer Architects are those that interrelate BIM and MIB. They use BIM to find the best MIB, propose MIB based buildings and make the most of BIM by creating incredible structures not long ago unimaginable.

It is not a coincidence that Gehry Technologies spun out off Gehry’s design studio!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BIM could work really well, if everyone played nicely!

Let’s face it – the likelihood of this happening in the near future is pretty slim; Why would that happen anyway? Construction is a competitive industry, even if some market-forces had not worked overly well in the past within it, construction generally plays by the rules of ‘supply/demand’.
There are monopolies that twist these, alliances and deals that dance on the edge of ‘above the board’, government and public building projects awarded in a somewhat unsavoury way, but by-and-large – it is a robust industry that plays the rough game with some civility.
So, it is unlikely – for it to suddenly drop strategies, intelligence and other advantages built up over the years (sometimes hundreds of) and start ‘playing nicely’.

Most contemporary BIM theories are based on the premise, that in the digital environment of the BIM project, data should flow freely between various participants and no constrains that hinder collaboration should be imposed.
Originators of this theory must be unaware that ‘project information’ is the biggest weapon in this industry and whoever has control over it, wins the game. Also, lack of/or misinformation are the biggest risks most participants face and the ability to manage these makes a party competitive and successful.

I believe, that the BIM that will eventually succeed will not be the self regulative, ‘play nicely’ type, but something completely different! Watch this space!

Friday, February 11, 2011

“Who is your AKPO partner? Do they do your BIM too?”

...asked me someone recently. You’ll be pleased to know, I managed to look mildly intelligent and not say “What?”. ... for days afterwards, I kept musing over the sad fact, that I ended up in a field, where one blinks and a whole new ‘delivery strategy’ emerges.
Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is outsourcing, where knowledge-related work is carried out by workers in a different company (and often country) to save cost.

Well, it is unfortunate that I never really bought into the FlatCAD type (I guess, not-knowledge based) outsourcing. For me, it was:
“The market is changing. We are no longer able to stay competitive and provide zillions of useless drawings at a price that clients wanting buildings are prepared to pay;
So, we’ll go to India (Hong Kong, China...) and we’ll buy twice as many drawings for half as much price and the clients will care even less about the building they initially set out to get...”

Hmmmm... If you ask me, no one was a winner. Not in the long term.
Otherwise, BIM would not have needed to happen at all!
See, I believe that BIM emerged, albeit reluctantly and unconvincingly BECAUSE the FlatCAD concept – outsourced or not, was no longer viable.
Outsourcing and BIM? Forget it, if it is possible (and in fact it is) it will not be the AKPO type!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The chicken and the egg...Are software developers supposed to lead an industry or just serve it?

I observed a phenomena:
over the years the number of users of 3D (model) based software in AEC has raised dramatically while their average skill level dropped tragically.

I state with conviction that the people I worked with in the late eighties and early nineties who operated early CAD packages (including DOS based AutoCAD) used the tools to better effect than the ones nowadays sitting in front of hispec-gaming  machines armed with smart software.

I believe there to be a number of reasons for this to have happen:
External forces changed the industry from solution based approach to output focused; Contractual framework, procurement methods, outsourcing, risk management and compliance requirements all transformed drastically. Clients generally became less  aware of the real-realities of the industry. Expectations and budgets got scarily out of synch. And project managers turned up too.

In this fluid building-delivering environment, software developers had a unique opportunity to contribute by choosing one of the two roads:
1/ pursue the development of innovative solutions that would have responded to the described changes but also led the industry forward;
2/ take on highly risk-averse, ‘inward-looking’ business strategies and follow rather than lead.  

AutoCAD pursued strategy no1 in the eighties and early nineties. Archicad did it for an entire decade through the nineties;
Presently, both packages and many more are all plodding along route 2.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why smoke and mirrors?

Over the years, I’ve become a con artist. Not a cheat that deceives people to secure an unfair advantage.
The trickery I’ve used in my business cost us enormous amounts of backstage work so we could create the impression of things not (yet) possible:

See the linked example: (DO download it – magical!)
This is a graphical representation of a basic BOM;
Orbit the model, identify a particular element (bracket) by name, find how many  there are in the project and where; Do this once using the table, then do it directly from the model;
Navigate, turn layers on/off, take dimensions, cut sections, make the building transparent, add a 3D comment.
This IS the way we should be communicating!
No matter what area of construction you work in, you’d be involved with tasks similar to these. Compare a job you’ve done and the amount of documentation it created.

The sad fact is, that the same trailer-load of information WAS created for the job I am presenting here too;
So, where were the benefits in doing this EXTRA work? Somebody sure had to pay someone (us) to trawl through all those documents, interpret them, coordinate them and create this, smart document? Create and possibly maintain.

What makes it worthwhile is the ‘i’ word;
Interpretation. There are huge resources and risks tied up in this one word. TBC

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Roll in Investigative BIM!

Love to interrogate piles of messy construction plans?
Fancy yourself as a Forensic BIMologist? Your time is coming!
Forensic BIMologists (FB) employ systematic and thorough inquiry to find information and ascertain facts related to construction project INFORMATION. They apply BIM approach to questions which are of interest to the legal system but also to maintain a digital, modelbased ‘mirror’ against contractual drawings to report the STATUS of the information;
Don’t confuse investigative BIM services with clash detection, they are poles apart. The two reports I posted yesterday may give you some ideas on what FB can be about.

Savvy building owners/developers will wake up soon – they’ll change their tactics, change their tools! They’ll start using Forensic BIMologists. First probably post-mortem, when construction projects turn into mediation, arbitration and full blow court cases, but gradually they will become standard fixtures in all respectable building owners/developers offices.
Those that are the first to employ FBs may incur extra costs but on subsequent projects the work of the ‘original’ consultants will improve to such extent that the upfront extra costs will disappear and overall savings will start to happen. Significant ones at that, combined with overall improvement in documentation, coordination and construction.

FB’s then may relatively quickly limit  their area of work to supporting the legal system, however their impact on how buildings are documented will be ongoing!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Creating a building; 4/5ths gobbledygook!

You decide to commission someone to write a book.
A novel, a biography, gardening book.
There are 5 stages to the process:
1.       Collecting ideas
2.       Drafting, clarifying;
3.       Revising, defining, detailing;
4.       Editing, proofreading;
5.       Publishing
The process unfolds as expected, with ups-and-downs....
At the end, you have the book.
A bit later than expected, a bit more expensive than expected, nevertheless, a book.

In a similar situation:
You decide to commission someone to create a building.
A house, a school, a town hall.
There are 5 stages to this process, named differently but not too dissimilar to creating a novel.
This process turns out to be quite different...
Stages one to four: gobbledygook, finishing stage: finger pointing, hand-wringing and anguish.
At the end, most of the time, you end up with a building.
A bit later than expected, a bit more expensive than expected, nevertheless, a building.

So, anything to worry about?

You fund parties to produce waffle through 4/5ths of the process.
In the past, rising building ‘values’ made this process tolerable.
The bubble burst, the figures no longer work;
Not convinced? Have a look at the sample reports I linked in; 2 projects, a stage 5 and a stage 2;
Both are woefully under documented, full of gibberish.
Why did the clients tolerate this? Were there fully aware of this happening?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meet the POD!

The POD is a robust computer station, placed on a construction site;
Protected in a tough casing, it is lockable, dust and vandal-proof. It has the ability to be charged by multiple power supplies, including the sun.
It is all-weatherproof, comes with own booth.
It is touch screen operated nonetheless, can have a mouse and keyboard too.
It is web enabled, linked to a central database and manages log-ins through fingerprint verification.
It carries all site/project relevant information including HSE and document control;
Issues site related permits, tracks attendance.
Provides access to the 5D Project Model File together with easy navigation, search options and model interrogation tools.
It shows site management in a graphical and time relevant form.
It provides all applicable installation details, links to manufacturer’s websites for specifications and data on maintenance.
It provides site relevant, local Information, prompts to where the nearest bakery is, flower shop, corner store and bank. Lists opening hours, local transport timetables, accommodation rates, childcare availability.
Gives access to personal emails and online banking and works as an ATM.
Downloads and prints photographs;
Charges mobile phones and Ianythings. Has a World-map.

Suggest possible words to form a suitable TLA. (P...O...D...) Win an Abu Dhabi wall calendar!
 (‘competition’ ends 1st of April 2011 – judge’s decision is final – TLA chosen becomes mine, I may still share it with everyone);