Thursday, August 16, 2007

Revit or Nothing?! Are You Serious?

I am getting ready to hop on a plane here in a couple of minutes and I was thinking about my past week. I often give presentations and meet with Leaders from the A/E industry to discuss the future of BIM, how our firm is using it and more importantly where they are at in embracing the new technology.

This is usually when I get scared.

I usually hear that we are "experimenting" or "testing the waters" or "we love everything you say it can do, but we don't know if it's for us." This is usually when I calmly take a deep breath and wonder what they are possibly thinking. The resources currently available in forums, books, training and individual click...oh that's what it does!...undo, are there.

Yes they cost money.

Yes it is new technology.

Yes it will make your company more money.

I get asked all the time how can you be so sure?

I have worked on about fifteen projects from start to finish varying in size from multi-million dollar facilities to small school additions and with the software in house and set up properly I have been sitting in the driver seat multiple times as a PM with a good 100% set of CD's in front of me with 15-30 days till the 100% deadline. Then I get asked well what do you do with that extra time?

First of all there is no such thing as extra time.

And secondly, (this is the best part and what we should be getting to)


I get to go through and refine the drawings to a typically unheard of level. I address constructability issues. I write, rewrite and edit specifications. I take the drawings to a coffee shop, sit down with a contractor friend of mine and tell him to build it in his head and write down his comments (and then pay for his coffee). I have heard comments such as

"It's so nice not to have to write so many issues on a set of drawings! - City Code Manager

How long did this take?! And am I paying extra for this!? - Owner

"This is art." - Contractor

We're architects and yes we're still artists. Master craftsmen (and women). Individuals with a greater understanding of materials and the building process. I guess when you have experienced the full blown effects of a staff that is highly trained and eager to learn and adapt more as well as recieve comments like above you begin to realize that being an architect is much more than scrambling at the last minute, stressing over xrefs, linetypes and trying to remember if you changed something on every drawing. It has everything to do with creating coordinated documents to build off of right the first time.

The time for get it out the door and we'll "fix" it with addendums, doesn't work!

Want to get a contractor on your side? Hand them drawings that make sense, cut the RFI's they have to issue and see how easily you guys get through a change order (if any).

I'm going to get off my soapbox now, but do me a favor and if you have made the switch to Revit or any BIM product: MAKE IT WORK! There isn't any getting around the fact that it "Is the future." You don't see new user groups and blogs popping up every day on how to do the same old thing. To me, the debate isn't do we do it? But rather the debate should be on what does it take for us to get to a point where we can still have CAD project deadlines with BIM coordinated results.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Revit and On-Screen Takeoff..

This will be a quick one as I seem to be swamped this week at work. For those of you construction or design/build teams out there, I'm sure you're familar with On-Screen Takeoff. We have begun to interface this with our in house Timberline estimating software so that we can use the model for quick generic takeoffs and use On-Screen for all of our finishes and specialty items that haven't been included in the model. So far it seems to be working really well and this hybrid method of estimating really works well for a lot of the area architecture firms through various stages of the design process.

I linked the forum for On-Screen which is starting to be recognized more and more as the industry standard for 2d takeoffs.

Tomorrow I'm going to start a string of tutorials that introduce Revit in a little bit more fun and useful way.

Carry on.