Tuesday, September 30, 2008

64-Bit Revit

I hate to just link to other's Blogs, but since I brought it up yesterday, and since there doesn't seem to be an easy to find press release or announcement by ADSK, ... and since Scott does such a good job of explaining things... well... HERE.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I was on the Subscription site and I saw this:

When did this happen? Are they going to announce this? Hmmmmmmmm.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

AIA releases New Contract Docs for BIM and IPD

From a Press Release:

Washington, D.C., September 24, 2008 — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced the upcoming release of six new AIA Contract Documents on October 17, 2008, including a new Building Information Modeling (BIM) exhibit, as well as two new Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) agreements, two new Design-Build agreements and a Scope of Services document. These new documents, collectively called the 3.5 Release, build on AIA Contract Documents’ 120 years of experience in defining the contractual relationships in the design and construction industry.

See the whole announcement here.

"Hidden" Revit Treasures

Apparently, fewer people know about this than I thought. When you open Revit 2009 (all "Flavors") in the right-hand pane of the welcome screen is a link to the Revit Web content library (or you can follow this link.)
First, if you haven't been here before, GO THERE! Stop wasting your time creating content when what you need may be right here. Granted, most people know about this resource.
Second, what most people overlook is the "Revit Instruction and Help Samples" page.
Look at BOTH the metric and imperial folders. I know you might not use metric content, but it will inspire you and give you a starting point. And, if you download the "Roof Forms" project, the SHEETS are instructional and tell you how to create the forms (taken from 2005 AU class.)
See examples below

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New face to Autodesk Subscription

OK, OK, last post of the night (sorry to those who subscribe to my RSS feed) Autodesk has put a new face on it's subscription site. Check it out.

Autodesk aquires license to Ambercore "point cloud technology"

From a press release:
OTTAWA, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Autodesk, Inc. has signed an agreement with Ambercore Software to license its point cloud technology and incorporate it into future releases of Autodesk software.

Isn't it funny how, when you're talking about an issue/technology/etc. it pops up everywhere? I have been to two industry meetings where laser scanning and Revit were discussed, now this.

AIA Minnesota Bim Breakfast Club

The BIM Breakfast Club (BBC) meets once a month to discuss BIM, IPD, and the effect that they are having on the industry. Yesterday morning, (09/23/08) at 7:30 in the morning, this group of forward thinking Architects, Contractors, and other members of the construction industry got together to share what they had been doing over the summer and plan future meetings. Some of the topics discussed were:

A BIM Conference in Arizona this summer; There is talk that Arizona is putting language in it's public contracts that deal with BIM. The focus of the conference morphed from last year's "This is what BIM is" to "This is what we are doing."

The CIFE conference; Investigations in to metrics that quantify the benefits of BIM and IPD

The downstream use of models created in the design process; are current designer produced models (created to show design intent) useful for contractors (who use models to investigate constructability.)

My favorite fact from the meeting (from Mcgraw Hill I believe;) of the $2 trillion of business the US construction industry does, 54% is waste.

My favorite question of the meeting (in regard to Automated Code Compliance:) Do "Smart" resources make for "less smart" designers? How do intelligent BIM objects effect the design?
This reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut book (Player Piano I believe) that speaks about automated design and it's effects on designers. Hmmmmm...

The plan for the next meeting is to discuss either legal issues and BIM or laser scanning. I encourage anyone who is interested in attending to contact one of the Co-Chairs;

David A. Jordani, FAIA
Jordani Consulting Group


Karie L. Johnson, AIA
Adolfson & Peterson Construction

Tools4Revit Roof Truss Generator

I've known about Tools4Revit for awhile, but I had a chance to go to there website and learn a little more today. I saw a thread on the AUGI forum that peaked my interest. If you get a chance, take a look at some of the Demo videos that show Truss+ in action.
This program not only generates the truss system, you can then break the trusses into individual members. As we all know, if it exsists in the Revit model, it can be schduled.
What about details of connections?... Well it does that too. From looking at the videos it seems that program produces a drafting view that documents connections as well as the indiviual elements themselves.
I imagine a truss manuafacturer looking at the construction market today and the direction we seem to be going could make good use of this.
Oh, BTW, it works with Revit Structural and Architectural as well. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MNRUG, Laser Scanning, and MEP Part 1

Last night (09/17/08) I attended a meeting of of the Minnesota Revit User's Group (MNRUG) held at the Field Operations Office (I think that's what the sign said, it was dark) of McGough Construction just north of St. Paul, MN.

Heather Kossila, with McGough, gave a talk about bringing laser scan point clouds into Revit. Unfortunately I came in a few minutes late and I missed what project she had been working on. I believe it is a remodel or restoration of Shubert Theater in Minneapolis (for those that were there, please correct me if I am wrong.) My understanding of the portion of the project she was talking about is that there was a desire to preserve the existing balconies in the theater and they wanted to use Revit to explore sight lines and make certain that they worked for the new programming. The conception of the workflow was to create a point cloud file (click here to see how that's done) convert to DWG, then import to Revit and apply walls, etc with the "building maker" feature in Revit.

One of the issues with the process is that the point cloud file was converted to a DWG that was composed of polymeshes. When that object was imported into Revit its was unreadable when cut into plan views and sections. After some research Ms. Kossila discovered that if she brought the DWG into an in-place mass family that she was able to view the information as intended in plan and section. The other issue was that the "wall by face" command didn't work as expected with the mass created from a polymesh object. The speed and accuracy of laser scanning along with conceptual presentation capabilities of Revit seem to make a great tool for exploring design options in existing spaces. While I don't think the technology is "quite there" yet, I do see the possibilities for recording as-builts and existing conditions.

Next post I will discuss a presentation about Revit MEP adoption, including challenges meeting office standards, workflow, and the ever present "model ownership."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

HMC Architects Selects e-SPECS as Integrated BIM Specification Solution

From an e-SPECS Press Release:
Portland, Maine – September 16, 2008 – InterSpec Inc. today announced that its patented e-SPECS solutions have been selected as the BIM Specification Solution by HMC Architects, one of the largest planning and design firms headquartered in California, with offices strategically located throughout California and Nevada.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Seriously Creative Design Visualization

I wish that people would attach more information to their YouTube videos so that we could know more about them and how and why they do what they do. It's not BIM, but it's a great example of 3D design visualization (with a film maker's flare.)

Jeff Han's Multitouch Interface

This is an awesome computer-human interface. This is the kind of technology that speeds design, makes accessing data more intuitive, and therefore makes high powered computing more accessible by all. Notice the date this was filmed is 2006. I wonder how far this technology has come since then. Go here to see this video and others like it.

Autodesk Completes Acquisition of 3D Geo

Bim on a large scale, think Citywide planning, can be very system intense. In an effort extend the capabilities of their current offerings, Autodesk has completed the aquisition of 3D Geo, a company based in Germany.

Lisa Campbell, vice president, Autodesk Geospatial says,"This acquisition extends Autodesk's ability to help customers visualize urban and infrastructure designs on a city-wide scale. We are looking forward to working with 3D Geo's customers, partners and employees."

Read more here and here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Remembrance- 9/11

Never Forget...

All gave some, and Some gave all.

In Remembrance of the 2700+...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BIG BIM, little bim - a book review

BIG BIM, little bim by Finith E. Jernigan, AIA. The tag line states " The practical approach to building information modeling. Integrated Practice done the right way!"

A glance at the Table of Contents shows a logical list of chapters that layout a plan to implement BIM and Integrated Practice, such as Are you ready to Change?, Framework for Success,and The Process Day to Day. I thought that the chapter that touched on what the author calls "The four phases of integration" namely the Initiation, Design, Construction and Management Phases, explains very well how BIM can support Integrated Practice and the full life cycle management of the built environment.
Jernigan's references to the Toyota Production System a.k.a TPS (and NO it' s NOT the TPS referred to in Office Space's TPS reports, although they do exist) opened my eyes to this almost painfully logical system of managing the supply of a product (in our case the product is information.) TPS says that you don't create a part for a product until the next process down the line calls for it. That way you never have a surplus of parts lying around and you haven't expended resources on something that may or may not be used. This concept extends all the way out to the end user.

Cars aren't assembled till they are ordered (I don't know if that's ordered by dealers, customers or distributors, let's just leave it at "ordered" for now.) Assemblies aren't made till they are called for by the assembly line. Parts aren't made till new ones are needed to create assemblies to replace the ones just used on the assembly line. I'm not sure that I am doing the process justice by explaining it here. You should go straight to the creators for more info.
Anyway, for our purposes, replace "part" with "information." Deliver the right information to the right person at the right time, no more, no less. Easier said than done, sure, but something to shoot for.

All that being said, I was lost at points when the acronyms started to come out. DRM (Data Repository Model), CVM (Concept Visualization Model), DPM (Design Prototype Model) which, admitedly, are all names that he uses in his practice for models at different stages in the process. I also get lost at one point when the numbers start to come out. The 80/20 principle (got it,) The Power of Sixteen Concept (Umm, ok), and the 400% rule (hmmm, uhhh... ?)
I think that one of the strongest concepts I came away with is "fail-quickly." When you are trying something new and it doesn't work, recognize it, analyze what went wrong and move on. Words to live by.
Anyway, all in all I think it is packed with useful information, diagrams and some interesting analogies used to explain BIM and IP. However, it might fall slightly short in being a step by step plan for implementing BIM and IP in your office.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Minneapolis-St. Paul CSI and the Minnesota Twins New Ballpark

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institutes's (CSI) monthly meeting featured a presentation by members of the MN Twins' new ball park build team from Mortenson Construction (I hope they will forgive me if they read this, I'm REALLY bad at names.)
Their presentation was on how they are using BIM to coordinate structural concrete and steel, MEP and Fast Track Construction. Along with that, the site for this ballpark presents some extraordinary challenges. The stadium cantilevers over an active railroad line to one side, a major highway to another, two existing parking garages and then... there is the underground stream that lives in an existing box culvert that flows through the middle of the ballpark. With 3000+ driven pipe piles be sure you don't hit THAT. I wish that we had more time with them to really dig into what and how they are doing on this project.

Check out a one year time lapse of the construction so far.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tablet Computers and Schematic Sketches

Man, this is Awesome. I can't wait till someone makes this happen for an application that I use.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Web 2.0, BIM, and Proprietary Property

Social websites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, photo sharing websites like Picasa, music sharing sites like LimeWire, the user written reference site Wikipedia, even the host of this blog Blogger, allow people from all over the world to keep-in-touch and share ideas and content. They also allow strangers to learn more about you and views (for better or worse.)

It seems that there is a whole group of people using the Internet for the free and unfettered sharing of information. I used to think that this group of people all fit into a specific generational constraint, however, this group is populated by folks of all ages and backgrounds (much to the chagrin of the recent college grads who finds their boss has a Facebook page and has invited them to be their friend.) One thing that they do seem to have in common is either a belief that there is no such thing as proprietary property (Hey Man, how can someone OWN an IDEA?) or they have a true desire to share what they know and produce (I think that it's more of the later.)

What does this have to do with BIM? Everything! Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is KEY to using BIM in integrated practice. And applications similar to the popular Web 2.o apps listed above will help get that information where it needs to be. As integrated practice matures we will see more and more web based authoring, sharing, markup and archiving of BIM. (I posted about Project Freewheel not long ago.) One that has been around awhile and at first glance has a WHOLE LOT to offer is Onuma Planning System (OPS.) I hope to write more about Onuma, their philosophy, and their products in a future post.

As the concepts of BIM, VDC and IPD mature and take hold in the AEC/O business a major stumbling block has been how to share information while retaining rights to intellectual property and all the while not increasing your liability. I know that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has put language in some of their contracts to help with these concerns, but if they are like most AIA documents they probably favor the Architect when there are contractual issues. Admittedly, I haven't read them yet, but I have high hopes for C195™–2008 Standard Form of Single Purpose Entity Agreement for Integrated Project Delivery.

Currently a lot of mainstream folks are already sharing their BIM ideas, processes and content on Community Forums like AUGI, Revit City and Bim Forum. I know that they have been a huge help to ME in my BIM pursuits. But, I think that in the near future we will see some major changes in the way that information is shared in the AEC/O business. While their isn't one generation who has a monopoly on using the Internet, their IS a generation that hasn't known a world WITHOUT an Internet and their are even young people who have never cracked an encyclopedia to write a report. They are used to the idea that free information is all around them and all they have to do is filter out the garbage (Caveat Emptor when it comes to free Revit content that's for sure. But that would make a long post even longer.) As this generation matures and takes positions of responsibility in the AEC/O business, I foresee a time when ideas and information are FREELY shared across disciplines without thought for who will make money on the idea or who will claim full liability. I know this isn't the way that we function today. I know that current practices don't support this. But I also know that there will be a day when Owners EXPECT that everyone on their team will be working in their best interest to design, build, and maintain their properties. And in exchange for the team keeping this objective in mind the Owner will share risks AND rewards with whole team. That's BIM. That's Integrated Practice. That's Integrated Project Delivery. That's the future.