Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Note to QRail: Get in touch with the designers of Thomas the Tank Engine…*

…before you start building your real, sophisticated rail-system!

I got into trouble in the past for suggesting large AEC organizations should consider customizing gaming programs to fulfill their BIM needs ahead of settling down to the ‘mainstream’ BIM solutions on offer.
Similarly, this time, sharing the idea that a large AEC client should look at a toy manufacturer for clues on how to make a real-railway work – could be viewed as something said in a ‘flippant way’.
Far from it.

Spend some time observing professional engineering teams design complex AEC systems (like a railway) ‘from scratch’ and you’ll come to the same conclusion.
Something is just not quite right there!

Is it the fragmented process, the lack of overview, that bothers me?
The archaic way of documenting they use for the design process, the inability to bring flexibility in-at a higher level not seen before?
Them ignoring economies of scale, possible-hidden modularity and surface-level customization?

Or is it just the way these guys sit around meeting tables for hours, with one eye always on their latest-model phone?
They tend to pore over zillion-paged reports…create new ones and mark up one-another’s…

Why not make a scale-model of their proposal, instead?
Plastic, wooden or digital, any of them will do.

Doha has made a good start by supporting** Vicon in their competition to digitize the city.
Why not make the bold step towards a truly-smartly designed, model-based transport system?

* Thomas & Friends is TM of Gullane (Thomas)
**or at least not opposing it, I’m not part of the in-crowed there to know the details – looks like a good idea, regardless! Check it out:

Monday, September 24, 2012

This may yet prove to be the best investment for your future! (Beats collecting coupons!)

Are you a student of architecture, engineering, design or construction management?
Interested in investing in your future? Speak Serbian and are based in the vicinity of Belgrade?
Here is a chance to win a ‘VIP student ticket’ to a day-long BIM seminar – organized by hiCAD:

You need to be one of the first three mailers that answer correctly the following questions:
1/ How many horses were there battling the CAD-game in New Zealand in the nineteen-nineties?
2/ What does one need to have to properly represent 3D stairs in 2D?
3/ What word still rings warning bells for me originated from the FlatCAD era?
4/ What is the second thing Vico has apparently gone away from recently?
5/ How did the industry compensate for the loss of skill-sets required for 2D based (proper) documentation?
6/ When did I first switch camps to join the construction side of the industry?

Email your answers to together with your name and the one of the institution you are studying at.
Beats collecting coupons!
Help: there is a pattern in where the answers can be found within the blog;–
(hint: ‘last day of every second month, starting with… month’)
Alternative – but plausible answers may be accepted too;

Monday, September 10, 2012

A trailblazer …my little finger…(moved by a BIM article)

Interesting article, regrettably very thin on metrics.
We learn the extent of the job (in square feet, room numbers and disciplines) and the number of current and likely future models, but are given hardly any data on how and what makes this BIM application exceptional when it comes to benefits to any of the parties involved.

There are the customary ‘power statements’ peppered through, the ‘better visual understanding’, ‘improved communication’, ‘easier problem solving’ – but still no parameters given for quantitative assessment used for measurement, or methods of comparison employed to track performance or production.

The lack of metrics is overshadowed by the almost apologetic tone of the writing with many hidden (and not so hidden) excuses aimed at the direct client. (HLMR)

The ‘real’ client, the remote one, SEHA is not mentioned, apart from indirectly, where the brief and specifications for the project BIM are noted early in the article.

A surprising omission, considering their role in setting up the project to be a full BIM-one at the beginning.
That little fact, I would have thought, on its own would have freed up iTech of needing to justify their own- and BIM’s existence on this Earth.
(as in: You asked for it!)

Why indeed did they have to run back to ‘mummy and daddy’ for support in the last two paragraphs, listing various governments, BuildSmart  (was it meant to be buildingSMART?) and their studies as ‘proof’ that BIM is profitable and ROI very high, is a bit of a puzzle for me?

Unless they felt the need to provide the framework to place the currently fashionable ‘trail-blazing public companies’ term amongst the known BIMmers of the world.

Regular readers of CW will remember iTech labeled as such earlier in the year.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Escher’s stairs are alive and well! (Or the scissor-stairs get redefined!)

Another day at the office… and a bit more fun to have.
It would be really selfish of me, not to share some of it with the wider industry.

So, here we are: look at these stairs!
Model them! I don’t mind whatever software you use, in fact, doing a real scale model could be just as much fun. Make it out of sand on the beach, snow on a mountain, bake it as a cake!

Do you teach at a tech school? At a university? Get you students to do it too.

Someone will get clever, and ask me if this was ‘just a preliminary design’? Someone barely exploring a concept? Nothing to get exciting about?

Well, it may have been.
But this may be a picture of a staircase copied endlessly over and over in an already tendered out project… A huge project!

Oh, yes and don’t forget the handrail too!