Friday, December 27, 2013

Everything you ever wanted to know about the AEC industry you can learn from Danny Ocean’s – Ocean Thirteen

I received a message recently, noting that I had become ‘top contributor’ in the BIM Experts Group on LinkedIn. As much as the label pleases, it is a bit strange, since most time I write to this forum or any other BIM related one, I tend to be questioning the views of the majority of globally active BIM-enthusiast or even worst, quickly get classified as ‘a troll’ because my comments are seen as discouraging if not downright negative and damaging to the future of the industry.

As much as I’d love to share the enthusiasm of those that believe ‘BIM is getting there globally’ (led by the UK or whoever else..) – slowly but surely, I’ll close off another year spent working hard in this field with the view, that BIM (as promoted still) is doomed and will fail sooner or later, unless the industry changes the fundamentals of its modus operandi.
And, I am not referring here to the ‘paradigm’ changes that BIM evangelist like to talk about that involve armies of change agents, champions and missionaries.

My view is that, until the industry becomes such that entities (people, companies) are truly and consistently judged by their results and are made accountable for them, BIM is just going to stay an expensive appendage to projects, a pretend improvement on processes, a perceived tax to pay to stay in certain parts of the market (refer to mandated BIM) a career path or a way to make a quick buck for a few BIM-wave riders;

Still, what gives me hope at the end of another year, that even though there are few and spread apart thinly, globally, there are others that get my point too.

If you want to see one obvious example, go and (re)watch Danny Ocean’s – Ocean Thirteen;
It shows multiples of very good and relevant examples of how the AEC and its participants operate in almost any environment (both the BIM infected and the ones that are not) and I may yet do a serious write-up on those one day.

For today, let me just quote a discussion between Al Pacino’s character Willy Bank and a member of the construction crew working on his project:

“I don't want the labor pains.
I just want the baby.”

Picture from here:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Aussie_BIM vs the UK_BIM, AKA the global BIM leaders (When and why had Graphisoft given up on their Australian ArchiCAD users?)

It all started with a nice little coincidence:
Last week, due to having some free time to roam the earth between two jobs (the future one yet to be fully defined) and having not seen my eldest daughter for 2 years, I visited her in Melbourne, where she now lives and works.
Parallel to this little personal event, a BIM author I’ve previously critiqued on my blog for representing the UK BIM as unjustly superior to the rest of the world had published a new writing, this time with the following title:
“UK professionals are seen as world leaders in BIM adoption but now we must let the Australians tackle BIM challenges their way” (ref 1)

I will not jump-in ‘wholesale’ to defend the development and status of BIM in Australia, I have not the qualification, relevant experience nor specific data to do so, but would definitely expect some heavy-weights from ‘the country of dangerous creatures ‘to seriously challenge this writing.
Let me just mention a few basic points that come to mind:
·         For example the work of prof Mark Burry: he moved to Melbourne in the mid 1990s – by then a visible and globally respected BIM figure.
(the author, Mr Peter Barker – according to his LinkedIn page – (ref 2), was working as an Architectural Technician on the other end of the world at this time, maybe that fact can be used as a mitigating factor for him missing out on any of prof Burry’s work, though Gaudi’s Sagrada  (ref 3) – one of is his ‘real’ projects, is remarkably close to where Mr Barker lived and worked and has been/still is a forever cool subject in the Architectural fraternity)
·         On the other end of the spectrum, even the (from my angle seen as) notorious buildingSMART chapter in Australia can comfortable claim to have been active since 1994 (it was called something else in those times) (ref 4) with its chair (forever) Mr John Mitchell promoting various ideological forms of BIM ever since I’ve been BIM-ing myself, and that is getting close to 2 decades.

But, even if the academia and the various industry organisations select to stay quiet and accept to be labelled ‘BIM-backward’ by the UK experts, what about Graphisoft and other software suppliers active in the region?

See, once upon a time, some decade or so ago – BIM (or VC) and Graphisoft (with ArchiCAD) were doing very well in Australia (and New Zealand)!

In 2004 as an employee of the NZ distributer of the software, I personally organised a string of extremely well attended seminars held by David Sutherland, the director of FKA, (ref 05) designers of the Eureka Tower in Melbourne (ref 05) and celebrated power-users of ArchiCAD.

So successful was Mr Sutherland in selling the concept of BIM (or VC) to the architects of NZ that even after many years had passed I was repeatedly told by the director of the competing software company (AutoDesk) that these seminars were the turning point for many of his clients to step up from 2D to 3D.
In 2004 David Sutherland was talking not only about the technology and its use in their Australian and globally operating business but also how it reformed the way his company worked, how they become more productive and better hands-on as designers.
FKA was not the only cutting edge BIM company that pushed the boundaries of BIM using ArchiCAD in Australia in the early 2000s – Rice Daubney, Woods Bagot and others did too.

My point is, Graphisoft and ArchiCAD were doing OK in OZ then.
Making progress. getting somewhere.
Their results were well beyond what Mr ‘Know It All UK BIM Expert’ would give them credit for now, even a decade ago, based on the tone of his lecture in the print.

Yet, Graphisoft had lost that battle, not just judging by my personal failure to land a simple ArchiCAD trainer role in Melbourne (ref 06, embarrassing, I know - my application did not even get acknowledged!) but also by Woods Bagot being all but Autodesk's poster boy these days.

Original article here:

My husband just pointed out that the original article can only get accessed by registered users;
This little quote from the same will hopefully make those reluctant to go that far intrigued (annoyed) enough to do so:

“Therefore the nation that surfs the waves on a white board, braves the rip tides, four metre great whites, and swarms of stinging jellyfish and comes back for more, can easily overcome the initial steps in BIM.
Australians love UK soccer, let’s ensure they love our UK BIM.”

Saturday, December 7, 2013

‘Has he walked away from Leighton? Did the journalist know of them at all?’

(this is technically a blogpost that fits under the ‘gammon and friends’ interest of mine – though can be deemed to be a topic worthy of publishing to a wider audience – those with BIM interests working in the ME as well as global AEC participants, thus I’m publishing the link here too)