Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Throwback

In which I will dredge a favorite post from the past (mostly for my own enjoyment.)

Finally got one in on Thursday.  :)

I STILL love this clip... <BUMP>

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BIM and Integrated Design (a book review)

It's time for a loooong overdue review of a book that we all need to read and reread:

BIM and Integrated Design;
Strategies for Archetectural Practice
By Randy Deutsch, AIA, LEED-AP

A while back I posted about the fact that their are no road maps to successful BIM and that we need more BIM explorers (as opposed to BIM navigators.) I stated that you should use the BIM compasses available to guide you in that journey.  Well, this book will teach you to build your own compass. You'll find the real substance you need to plan, execute, and  measure BIM implementation in your office.

Are you thinking about implementing BIM, but don't know where to begin?  Buy this book.

Has your firm implemented BIM, but you feel like you've hit a wall, or maybe BIM isn't all it's cracked up to be?  Buy this book.

Are you struggling with the fact that you have invested time, money and effort in BIM software, but have failed to see a return on investment? Buy this book.

In BIM and Integrated Design, the author (Randy Deutsch talks about the one thing that is consistently missing from most conversation about BIM... people. The social impact of adopting BIM, VDC, IPD, etc far outweighs the cost of software, hardware and training. Arguments about what a software can and can't do leave out the one thing we can actually do something about. How people handle change. Prepping your team to handle this change is what makes the difference between "wanna do" BIM and leaders in our industry.

In his own words:
"BIM and Integrated Design is an implementation book from a firm-culture standpoint, addressing Building Information Modeling as a cultural process with a focus on technology's impact and transformative effect - both potentially disruptive and liberating - on the social, psychological, and practical aspects of the workplace."
 The first part of the book is titled "BIM as Though People Mattered." And that about sums it up. Teach people about change and how to accomplish it, give them new and exciting tools to work with, map out short and long term goals to focus that change, and get out of their way.  Then you'll see some magic happen.  Throw some technology at people who don't really agree that anything is wrong in the first place, and you have a recipe for heartache. Applying technology alone to an issue rarely makes it better.

Some key points you'll learn:

  • What you're really adopting when you adopt BIM. 
  • The difference between adopting BIM and implementing BIM. (that difference is very important.)
  • What are the real social implications of BIM?
  • What strategies you should employ based on company culture.
  • Who should really be working with BIM (in the industry and in your company.)
  • How to work with others in a BIM environment
  • Education and training tactics.
Mr Deutsch does a great job of laying this all out in language that just about anyone can understand. His experience as an architect and educator combine to make this an essential resource for those of us struggling with change in our industry. He wisely states;
"What design professionals do - what they produce - is neither facilities nor documents but change. Yet, ironically, when it comes time for them to confront it they seem to have such a hard time swallowing change themselves."
 So, in case you missed it, my opinion is that you should... BUY this BOOK! (click the picture above or go directly to Amazon and search for it)

I'd loan you mine, but I use it everyday. See.

Randy Deutsch- helping people everywhere to not fear the Big Bad BIM.

Edit: Added image of my copy. 8/24/12

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

200 posts

200 posts in 4 years... hmmmmmmmm. Gotta reflect on that...

Got sec? Or 2? Thinking about LEAN

Just about everyone who works in the AEC industry has at least heard about LEAN. It's a buzzword that's thrown around at least as often as IPD and BIM. And just as often the hype has outdistanced the substance.

Why?  I know for me personally, the subject has been littered with scheduling systems, ambiguous graphs, flow charts, and industry terms that I just can't get my head around.  On the surface, the concept is a no-brainer... common sense even. But somewhere between theory and reality, I would lose touch and fail to implement what I have learned.

Enter Paul Aker, CEO of FastCap LLC, an international product development company responsible for an amazing number of developments in the woodworking/cabinet making world. Yesterday I had the opportunity (thanks to Turner Construction Tempe, AZ office for hosting) to hear Paul speak to a group of LCI (Lean Construction Institute) members about his take on LEAN. Succinctly put;

LEAN = Eliminating Waste

That's it.
That's all.
End of story.

I'd heard that before, but in the past it got lost in all the techniques. The Flow charts and planning systems and Japanese terms that I had no frame of reference for. But Paul says this with such conviction that the basic truth, LEAN = Eliminating waste, is impossible to ignore.  It's not about Last Planners, or 5 S's or pull planning. These are all valid components of how you might implement LEAN, but they are not what LEAN... is

How do we eliminate waste? Paul emphasizes two points;

Learn to see waste
Continuously improve, everything

Read that again. See the waste that is everywhere. Continuously improve... everything.  

The key is learning to see that anything that doesn't add value is... waste; the half empty water bottles left on the conference room table, excess materials ordered for a project, time spent waiting for a large document to print. Once we recognize waste, we can set out to eliminate it

A "light bulb" moment for me was; the improvements you make don't have to be big or dramatic. In fact, small improvements made each day will go farther than large improvements made irregularly.

In Paul's book, 2 Second Lean: How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture, he explains how you can take these concepts and apply them to your work and home life.  I highly recommend it. A fairly short read at just 100 pages or so.  Lots of pictures and QR code links to videos make it effective for visual learners. There is a ton of substance for such a compact book.

Paul documents how he goes from the high of being ranked "Business Startup of the Year" in Whatcom Co WA and being offered a loan of "any amount of money you want" by a bank President based on how efficient his shop was, to being told by a manufacturing consultant that "you don't know what you're doing and you don't know how to manufacture." This is the event inspired Paul's LEAN journey and has helped him develop his current LEAN philosophy.

A key takeaway is that LEAN process and using LEAN as a business tool can only get you so far. The crux is to create a culture of learning and continuous improvement. And that will be the hardest part for all of us. Changing culture isn't easy (as any BIM/Leed/IPD/(insert industry change) champion will attest.) Without that culture, though, you will always feel like you are pushing a train.

I encourage all of you (no matter your title, position, or industry) to learn more about how you can reduce waste. Visit the 2 Second LEAN website, read the book, watch the videos on FastCap's website.  Start to implement your own 2 second improvements daily and I guarantee you will see a measurable difference in your quality and efficiency.

While I have plenty of questions about how this all plays out in our industry, I know that I can always default back to Learn to see waste and Continuously improve, everything..

If you ever get the opportunity to hear Paul speak, it will be time well spent.

What are your experiences with LEAN? Have you been on jobs that claimed LEAN project management but seemed to come up short?  Have you seen dramatic increases in productivity or quality due to LEAN principles? Or do you think it's all a bunch of hype?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Revit deployments for Dumb Es*…

I’m an E (an Erik with a "k" if you didn't already know.)  Maybe not a dumb E, but surely an ignorant one.

I have a distinct lack of IT and networking skills (even though my last firm lumped me in the IT Department (much to their amusement and my chagrin.))

That said, the power to be able to configure, update, and install software through “deployments” has fascinated me for awhile. So much power… (cue evil laugh.)

So when I started to hear Aaron Maller (Malleristic Revitation) tweeting about a project he was involved in that made the whole process digestible for guys like me (dummies, not necessarily dumb Es) I was hooked.

That project? The Pragmatic Reviteer has created a web-based course titled;
 Revit Deployment & Management for Medium Sized Offices
I am currently about 1/3 of the way through the current “lectures” and I intend to do a more comprehensive review at the end of learning journey, as well as posting of my experiences using the knowledge imparted, but I think I’d be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t let you in on this excellent series of lessons.

If you are at all involved in managing Revit (content, installs, etc) you owe it to yourself to at least watch the Promo video to see what it’s all about.  If it sparks your interest, the price is very reasonable for the depth to which the topic is covered.

Also check out the Revit Bistro- a collection of small plates and specials from the Pragmatic Reviteer on Udemy (no cost at the moment.)

The Pragmatic Reviteer- teaching the Big Bad BIM to guys like me (dumb and otherwise.)

* Similarity to a popular self help publisher is purely for comedic effect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Forcing YES/NO parameters

A reader's email asks:
Hi Erik,
I saw your tip on the CAD Shack blog about formulas in Revit. Here's
the link to the blog:
I have a question for you that you might be able to solve. I am making
a new window and I want to have the option to turn the visibility of
the sill on or off, depending on the type of window I use. I have
nested the sill into the family, and I have assigned a visibility
parameter to the sill, but how to I assign a formula to be able to
turn it on and off? You wrote on the CAD Shack blog about 1=0 and 1=1,
however I'm lost as to how you enter these into the formula column?!
I would really appreciate you advice on this.


That was someone else's comment ( tucker_arch ) but I think what they are trying to say is :

If you set a Yes/No parameter to have a formula of 1=0, Revit will return <False> or an unchecked Yes/No parameter. 

The formula doesn't have to be 1=0, it can be any false statement... 10<230, (1*2)=10000000000, I can dance!  (well maybe not the last.)  

Making a true statement will result in a "Checked" box.  1<2, 1=1, etc etc.

Now just paste the true formula into the formula cell of the types you want to HAVE a sill and the false formula into the types you don't.

I wish tucker_arch had an account or contact info so I could have asked what they truly meant.  If that's you (or you know tucker_arch) let me know and I'll add your comments here.

Gladly helping readers with Big Bad BIM... daily.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Building Long with VDC..."

"Building Tall with BIM brings Gain, but Building long with VDC is a bigger game."
So says ENR about some local Arizona BIMMERS (Eric Cylwik and Kevin Dwyer from Sundt Construction) who have put together an informative piece on using VDC for Horizontal Construction (Civil and Infrastructure) featured in an ENR post.

Courtesy Sundt Construction

Make sure you visit the full article as well where they go into depth about how the concepts of VDC (Horizontal Construction guys shy from the term BIM. Has something to do with the "B" I'm told.) save money and accelerate schedule. Great job Gents

Sundt and ENR, not afraid to bury the Big Bad BIM...