I was recently asked, when should we start using BIM on a project? I, and most people in my role would say, right from the beginning. To be clear, however, and you may already know this, BIM is the project process within which Revit used. That said, deciding whether or not to use the BIM process should be made at the very beginning of the project. Once you’ve decided to employ the BIM process, the next step is to decide which application(s) to execute within it. In our case at Perkins Eastman, we use Revit, but other applications that might be used could include Rhino for design, Navisworks for clash detection, Sefaira for energy analysis, etc. What most people are asking, though, with the question of when to use BIM is actually: should we spend the time creating existing conditions, just to then model and document renovations? While I would say the answer is yes, it once again comes down to having team members who can model those existing conditions in an efficient, not to mention quick, way so you can get to the more important work.
Secondly, I was asked what should a studio, office or firm do if they don’t have anyone to fill the role of Project BIM Lead (this role has a different name at every firm, but it’s basically the same role). The first step is to identify the strongest AND most experienced Revit users/BIM-based project participants in the studio, and put them on a path to become solid Project BIM Leads. That is to say, put them on separate Revit-based projects, make sure they, and their Project Managers, understand what their role is, and then staff the rest of each project with a mixture of beginner and intermediate users. The thought process has to be that the intermediate users, through experience, can one day become Project BIM Leads, and the beginners will become intermediate users (and, eventually, Project BIM Leads themselves). As a foundation, however, the studio leadership (in any, and every, studio, office or firm) needs to make the decision to set itself on this path and then allow that choice to influence a number of other, related, decisions (i.e. staffing, which consultants to work with, which BIM uses to employ – such as clash detection, energy analysis, etc.).
Do you have any additional answers or advice to these two questions? Fill out the form below:
I’ve gotten so many questions about how to learn Revit, what technology to buy, etc. lately and so I wanted to respond in what might initially sound like a surprising way…STOP!!! Don’t stop asking, and don’t stop pursuing, but stop and think and ask yourself a question: Why? Why am I learning Revit? Why am I purchasing expensive technology? Otherwise, you’re just throwing money at something that you’re hoping at some point you’ll understand. Not to sound like Mr. Miyagi or anything, but, understand first, purchase after. Revit Essentials or Advanced? 12 gigabytes of RAM or 24? You certainly don’t need to understand all the ins and outs of your company’s transition to BIM, but strategize a bit. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you even know why you want to go from CAD to BIM (and your answer shouldn’t be because everyone else is). And it also can’t just be because the project requires it. Do you understand the difference between Revit and BIM? You shouldn’t be transitioning from AutoCAD to Revit. You should be transitioning from a CAD-based project process (which used AutoCAD) to a BIM-based project process (which uses Revit – among a lot of other applications). You need to take two approaches: project process AND technology. Your project process WILL change. How and what pace is up to you. Your technology will need to change also, but you should understand why before you purchase it. And when buying more powerful technology for the new software and processes you’ll be going through, don’t buy cheap. And I say that because “cheap” will WILL WILL cost you in the long run. I promise you it will. You can buy inexpensively, and you can find deals, and even negotiate, for what you need. If you’re purchasing for commercial purposes, technology shouldn’t be free. You will spend more time getting “free” things to work for you and your business and, again in the long run, it won’t be worth it.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “why is Scott ranting like this?” For too long now technology has been an after thought. It has been thought about and budgeted for way past when it should be and you end up backing yourself into a corner. Then you either buy too much, or even too little, of what you need. But Scott, you say, why is anything you’re saying new? Hasn’t it been important to plan for technology all along? Of course it has, but these days the change in technology is not simply an upgrade in software or a better graphics card. With the introduction of the Cloud and new found abilities to move design and construction data between different analysis applications to improve outcomes, we are once again finding ourselves both having to adjust our processes AS WELL AS investigate new process that can make our work more efficient and more effective.
“BIM! BIM! BIM! I’ve heard about BIM, and I want to… What is BIM? I don’t want BIM, I want Revit. I don’t want Revit, I want BIM. OK, BIM, Revit, I get it now, how can I integrate into my…” I’ve heard this a lot and and what I have found, as someone who manages BIM at an architecture firm as well as someone who consultants on the use and integration of it within the Architecture/Engineering/Construction communities, is that the more information you can give me, the better I can tailor my presentation to you about how BIM can benefit you as well as how you can integrate it into your company. The question is, why is that? The reason is exactly the same as why people struggle to get over the initial hump/learning curve/paradigm shift of a transition to BIM in and of itself. BIM involves a lotta stuff!!! Then, once you get into an actual software application (i.e. Revit, Navisworks, Ecotect, etc.), they do a lotta stuff too!! When I, and you, have a better understanding of what it is you and your organization do (and want to do), we can figure out which aspects of BIM, and its associated applications, will be most beneficial to you. Otherwise you’ll hear phrases like:
It’s not to say that a lot of these points aren’t correct but (or almost correct), but odds are, you’ll respond to me in the same way, I swear, someone did recently, “Scott, I’m going to stop you right there because I don’t know what the f*#k you’re talking about.” I actually was hysterically laughing after that was said, but it was a good point. Since then, I’ve insisted to those I was advising that they tell me as much as possible about the way they work and what they’re looking to achieve. So, the first question is, what kind of company are you? Architecture firm? Engineering firm? Construction company? The answer to this will determine the extent to which you actually need to use BIM. It’s most important to get your current practices in a BIM environment and then, once they are comfortably integrated, explore what else you could be doing. There are, however, some questions to consider that are independent of which of the three industries you’re in. That being said, the answers could be quite different for each industry. These questions include, but are not limited to, the following:
These questions, and their answers, should get you to a point where your firm is producing similar products that you were with your old, most likely CAD, system, and you are beginning to see increased productivity and reduced costs. As time goes on, personnel will become more facile with the software, they’ll strategize better and work will get done even faster. At that point, you can begin asking the next set of questions which will allow you to start doing what you didn’t, or couldn’t, do before. The following questions are the second half of the sentence, “Can the work your firm does benefit from…”:
Needless to say, there are many other things that BIM can do, but these questions, and their answers, will allow you to make better decisions when a project starts. This early strategizing informs the BIM process helping you to create what is know as a purpose-built model. That is to say, a model built for the purpose of…(see the previous list). Understand what integrating BIM into your office really means. Understand that it’s more than installing Revit. Furthermore, understand that the use of BIM, and or Revit, is not simply a technology issue. If anything, it is important that everyone understand (each up to an appropriate point) what you’re getting yourself into and how it will change everything from the software you’re using, the submittals you’re generating, the way you staff projects, assemble fees and create project schedules. Most importantly, get someone to help you. Revit is not the 2025 version of AutoCAD, and having someone who has been through it before can help you prepare for it, avoid pitfalls and help you deal with the inevitable issues that will arise.
I decided to write this post for a certain family member of mine in the construction industry who needs to be able to talk about BIM/Revit, but doesn’t really need to know all the little in’s and out’s of it. So here’s my list:
This process will continue on a regular schedule allowing each discipline to continually have up-to-date information.
The above seven points of knowledge and seven questions should give you a basic understanding of the important points of BIM and Revit as well as an idea of what important questions you should ask to begin your work. This is just the beginning of the process and Revit Essentials or Project Manager training can only increase your ability to make good decisions when it comes to staffing, budgeting and scheduling of a Revit-based project.
Happy New Year all! The transition to Revit from (fill in the blank) continues throughout the industry and I wanted to comment on the need for an experienced person on every Revit-based project. I often mention to people that nowhere within the Revit help files does it mention the specifics of how to complete uniquely architectural processes (ie. space planning or the placement of notes on sheets). These are things that BIM Leaders figure out and develop over time. Therefore it’s extremely important to have someone on your project team who has been through Revit projects before. This person is sometimes called a BIM Leader or Manager or Coordinator or any other word implying an advanced amount of knowledge and experience. It’s important to remember that that person shouldn’t necessarily be the Revit Cop or the doer of the tasks no one else feels like doing. This person acts as a mentor to the rest of the team on the best practices of moving through the lifecycle of a project. He or she advises project architects on, for example, how to verify the correct assembly of sheet sets within Revit, and/or Project Managers on how to staff, schedule and interact with consultants. The most important thing to remember is that there is no task that this person does on a project that everyone shouldn’t be able to do. At the moment, however, not everyone can. As time goes on, more and more people will have that experience and the role (which, by the way, is not an additional person assigned to the project, but a required inclusion just as a project manager or project architect would be) will no longer be necessary.
Hey All. Well, BIMuzer is finally up and running and I’m very happy it is because you might have noticed some new software releases (the Autodesk 2011 product line) and I’m just itching to comment on it. In the mean time, I wanted to mention that a colleague of mine, James Vandezande (http://allthingsbim.blogspot.com/) with Eddie Krygiel and Phil Read, worked on the upcoming release Mastering Revit 2011. Here’s the link so you could pre-order it: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Revit-Architecture-2011-Krygiel/dp/0470626968. Also, don’t forget the book that I worked on, 3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualization Advanced to Expert which you can order by clicking the cover off to the side. Stay tuned for a new post soon!!
Hey All. I want to go through a few key things you should think about when starting a Revit-based project. I have to say, first of all, let’s start referring to these projects as a “Revit-based Project” as opposed to a “Revit Project”. I think it takes the emphasis off of what type of software is being used and puts it, more appropriately, on the fact that it’s an architectural project. Anyway, here are five things that you should consider, and document, when starting a project:
While these are just five things to consider, there are many others as well. At its heart, however, this is both a preparation-based as well as a future planning-based process. Considering these things will eliminate confusion and will provide a road-map for working on a Revit-based project.
I received an email recently from a woman named Monica asking if I would go through the process of importing an AutoCAD DWG file into Revit and modeling from it. We very often jump to the very complicated features of software and sometimes ignore the basics, for example, how to get into the program and start working. So, I’m going to go through how to place your drawing into Revit and start working with it. One thing I’d like to suggest, however, is that you look at one of my earlier posts, Shared Coordinates in Revit (and AutoCAD), which is what I’ll be talking about first. OK, here goes:
Let’s take a look at a simple AutoCAD drawing that I want to import (fig. 1):
You can see here that we’ve just got some walls, doors and windows and they’re all on their appropriate layer. Now, let’s bring them into Revit.