Saturday, 18 March 2017

I need a 3D printer

I need a 3D printer.. and here's why..

I struggle to justify the outlay of $$ for a 3D printer... What am I going to use it for? 
It's really cool, and I want one... but what would I print that would justify the cost? 

I now have a reason... My dog broke her leg. (Awwww)

Gigi in a cast.
 Aside from costing me a fortune! I have to go back to the vet regularly for check-ups of the cast. Now with any cast fiberglass cast there are a number of instructions you need to follow to care and maintain your cast including:

  • Dont get it wet... so you cant bathe or go outside if it's raining (or in this case, pee on it).
  • It smells... your limb is encapsulated for the duration, typically 6 weeks. and it doesn't get any fresh air.
  • It doesn't get any smaller...although your limb will atrophy so you'll need to replace the cast.
  • You cant take it off (easily) to check any wounds or scratch an itch.
So hence the need for a 3D printer!

I'm no stranger to casts, had a few myself and I expect I will need more in the future (I typically go 7 years between incidents requiring a cast).

So being able to print myself a cast at will could save myself a fortune! 
I know when I've broken a bone, I knew when Gigi slipped and fell while jumping into the back of my car that she broke her leg, the distinct "pop" also gave it away.

I could have used computational design tools to assist me in designing an appropriate cast specific to her needs, using my phone to 3D scan her leg and applied a hinged removable cast to her broken leg. 

Now, all I have to do is justify the purchase to my wife... ;-)


Monday, 6 February 2017

Is Germany ready for Building Information Modeling?

On January 17, 2017 Scott Chatterton, International Building Information Modeling (BIM) Integration Lead and Digital Design Leader for BIM Planning and Quality, HDR, Inc. and Dereje Alemu, BIM Director at HDR TMK in Germany, together played an active part in the advancement of BIM with their presentation at the “Future of Building” at the BAU 2017 in Munich, Germany. The two HDR BIM representatives presented the “Perspective of Global BIM Adoption” to a compelled audience within an extraordinary setting of other well-known BIM experts at the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems. Focusing on a better understanding of international approaches to BIM and levels of BIM adoption that currently vary widely from continent to continent, they presented crucial driving factors that have influenced BIM adoption in North America, Australasia, Africa, the Middle East,  and especially Germany. How ready is Germany for BIM adoption? The two BIM experts were asked to share some of their personal impressions on BIM adoption in Germany reviewing the event.

What challenges do you see regarding BIM adoption in Germany?

Scott Chatterton: Germany faces a number of unique challenges in the adoption of BIM. The challenge I see especially in Europe is the diversity of BIM applications and software. As the BIM software market develops in Europe the demand for a stable universal platform, such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) will develop, currently we are seeing issues collaborating on multiple platforms. This needs to be resolved so as to facilitate collaboration. Cloud collaboration applications may also be a solution to this issue as we are globally seeing an increase in utilizing cloud technology in the collaboration process involving all parties of the project.
©: Messe München GmbH

How can we find solutions for BIM development in Germany?

Chatterton: Germany is in a good position to take advantages of the lessons learned and the processes already developed in countries that have already adopted BIM. Take a close look at how BIM has had an impact on the workflow and the processes that were developed as a result of BIM adoption in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Companies in Germany can then utilize this information when developing their own BIM workflow. By referring to these proven methods you will be able to develop your own processes faster and implement BIM quicker.

What is your outlook for BIM adoption in Germany? When is Germany ready for “real” BIM?

Chatterton: I personally think Germany is ready for BIM now. “Real” BIM won’t be achievable until more and more companies adopt BIM and are able to collaborate together on a BIM platform, the rate of BIM adoption will increase rapidly as the competitive advantages of BIM are realized. It is never too early to adopt BIM. In fact, adopting BIM early will place your business at a competitive advantage as the markets demand for projects to be completed utilizing BIM increases. Now is the time to develop the BIM skills and processes to position yourself as a leader utilizing BIM technology and process.

BIM project: Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement, RamsteinWeilerbach
Germany © HDR, Inc. and HDR TMK Planungsgesellschaft mbH. 

From your German point of view, Dereje, what is your outlook for BIM adoption in Germany? What is practically needed to push BIM broadly throughout Germany?

Dereje Alemu: Well, I am nearly as optimistic as Scott Chatterton. Nevertheless, we need more obligatory practical and theoretical training on BIM provided and pushed by universities and architectural associations in Germany. Young architects arriving directly from our universities should be used to work with the BIM method. In consequence, this generation would be directly ready for BIM and practical BIM projects. Moreover, this would push the change management in architectural companies, even in smaller ones, to provide essential training for all of their staff bringing them to a suitable level of BIM collaboration. Moreover, in Germany we need to extend our existing structures of interdisciplinary collaboration implementing BIM as this is a known requirement of “real” BIM projects. I personally think universities and architectural associations can play a key role to accelerate this aspect of BIM development, too. Finally, BIM is an investment for architectural companies – but, I strongly believe it pays off. 
©: Messe München GmbH

Finally Scott and Dereje, how did you like the special BIM occasion at on the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture?

Chatterton: I loved it! It was great to see the audience participation and interest in Building Information Modeling.

Alemu: It was a great BIM event and I would love to follow up the discussions with this interested BIM audience as soon as possible.

Thank you both very much for sharing your impressions!

©: Messe München GmbH

Thursday, 19 January 2017

How to Succeed in Implementing BIM Part 2: The Four Phases of a Successful Implementation of a New Process

The Four Phases of a Successful Implementation of a New Process
Continuation from How to Succeed in Implementing BIM Part 1

Phase 1: Preparation and Evaluation
Analyze your current processes and abilities, create a baseline to help you evaluate areas of attention as part of the new process implementation process. A review the current operations will assist you in recognizing and addressing area’s where improvements can be made that have the biggest impact.

Evaluate your current technological needs, make sure your computers and network will be able to meet the performance requirements of any new software. Research what you need and plan accordingly in preparation for moving forward, best to do this early on to minimize staff’s frustration and the impact of upgrading equipment.

Engage your staff, take advantage of resource by recognizing existing knowledge and understanding, inclusion of staff is very important to gain their confidence and trust in the implementation.

Phase 2: Establish Goals and Milestones
Objectives, Stages & Milestones; specific policy objectives, intermediate capability stages, and measurable maturity milestones separating current status from a quantifiable future target.

To measure your progress and success you need to establish goals and milestones, these should include both short term and long term goals. Each organization has an ultimate ambition and long-term goal when it comes to adopting a new process. Based on the ultimate ambition, intermediate goals need to be defined together with measurable progress indicators and targeted milestone. It is important to set achievable goals and milestones, to avoid discouragement taking over a successful adoption.

Phase 3: Define the Process
Through defining your goals and milestones you’ll be able to use these to help you start to clearly define the implementation process, typically the process can be broken down into three categories including; People, Process and Technology.  Breaking the process down into these three categories will help you define the processes and clearly outline each the steps and how they relate to each other.

People are crucial to the success of implementing any kind of new process, for this to be successful you need to gain their confidence and trust that the implementation of any new processes is an improvement to the old. Identify when, how, who and what training is needed to reach the next milestone.

The biggest hurdle for any organization is the change in culture, by undertaking effective “on demand” training combined with “hands-on” expertise to assist and reassure staff that they have somewhere to answer questions and play a supportive role.

Training is an investment in your team, and your organization.

As your staff develop their skills and an understanding of your goals and objectives, you will start to see confidence develop.

Internally Look for Drivers & Champions, people within your organization that are enthusiastic and supportive of changes that make improvement. These individuals will demonstrate a willingness to participate in the adoption and seek out efficacy and innovation in the system and process.

If your new process or workflow involves new software , look for competent educators and learning resources that cover the concepts, tools and workflows. These can be either delivered through tertiary education, vocational training, professional development or by training sessions held by “in house” champions.

Develop processes that are flexible, manageable and can evolve alongside your organization and the developing industry. Implement the process gradually and have key adopters take the lead and encourage the change in culture.

Technology is the tools of our trade, having the right tools allow us to achieve our goals. Having inadequate tools not only limit production but also play a major factor in staff moral. Technology plays an important role in any organization. Consider future expansion while measuring against the immediate needs. Balance the need verses associated costs, review accessibility and affordability of upgrading necessary hardware and upgrades to software and network systems.

Phase 4: Implementing and Monitoring
Once a certain level of comfort is reached, the capabilities and process should be assessed and reviewed through developing metrics for benchmarking project outcomes and assessing the capabilities of individuals, organizations and teams.

The team should not only have a process to follow but also have available to them the resources to be efficient in their tasks. Having unreliable resources, or worse yet resources your team are unable to find, gives them permission to create their own content, essentially disregarding any quality control and duplicating work already completed.

Invest in the time to fully evaluate your existing processes, what works, what doesn’t work and where gaps appear in the processes. Through a thorough review of existing process you will be able to clearly define the flow of operations and the impact BIM has to all aspects of business. Review your own processes with fresh eyes to see where you can make improvements, look at it from the standpoint of production and what resources you would need to efficiently complete the task at hand.

Measurement & Optimization
  • Make process easy to follow, keep it clear and easily understood, don’t make a process too constraining or onerous or you’ll find that no one will follow it.

  • Make your process flexible to accommodate a variety of situations or your staff’s needs.

  • Provide information on the process in a variety of formats, such as online, printed booklet form, pdf etc. Make it readily accessible to everyone in formats they can relate to, too encourages adoption.

  • Having management promote and endorse the process is the key to a successful adoption.

Adoption of a new process takes time, continual promotion through encouraging awareness and engagement of the processes until it becomes part of the culture. Monitor your team, provide constant reminders that that will encourage the development of a culture that follows the processes.

Finally, be patient and flexible. You’ll need both to successfully implement change.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

How to succeed in implementing (BIM) process Part 1

When speaking with project managers I often hear their frustration in having to not being able to fully complete the documentation often required as part of a formal process, often a Quality Control process. I often hear that we have the “right approach” but “not the budget” when trying to incorporate Quality Control strategies into their production process. Managers are pressed to produce deliverables on a tight budget within a compressed timeframe, time spent filling out documentation associated to a formal process are often seen as an inconvenience, a low priority, or even a waste of time. The pressure of having to deliver product, along with the challenges of inconsistency in team members and design changes outweigh the perceived need to fill out forms or follow a process they feel is not necessary.

We spend a lot of time developing process and building the associated resources, having a clear path and the tools available for people to make their goals successful is very important, however we need to also include educating the decision makers on the “why” of any new process, those that have an impact on how budgets and resources are assigned and ultimately contribute to the success of any implementation.

By implementing process during the early stages we dramatically increase the success rate of projects, success rely’ s on having, and implementing, a plan early on so as to avoid having to address issues that could have been easily been avoided or recognized through proper planning earlier on.

We need to start addressing issues before they become problems, the key to this is through the education and implementation of process, at all levels of the organization, especially at the higher management level where decisions on timelines and budgets are made making available the time and resources so we can be successful.

We don’t develop process just for the sake of creating paperwork, or to satisfy the needs of a contract, processes are developed after learning from previous mistakes and learning from lessons learned from past projects.

What do you need to know about implementing a new process?
Do your homework, find out what the driving factors are for making any changes to your existing process, and spend some time finding out the current understanding of the process and where the current breakdowns exist.  

Deliverables: Specify exactly what your organizational deliverables are, regardless of whether that’s a service or product your organization should have specific goals and expectations on what is delivered to your clients. From this you will clearly be able to provide what is required and recognize opportunities where additional services can be promoted. 
Create specific policy objectives and measureable milestones separating current status from a quantifiable future target. Through this you’ll be able to gauge success and improvement.

Drivers & Champions: These are individuals who are excited about the prospect of developing an innovative system/process and engaging in the implementation process.

How will improving your process play into your business strategy?
Review your objectives and strategies, you may have to adjust your goals and objectives to suit the needs of your organization.

Here are some of the benefits of improved process you can take advantage of as part of your business strategy:
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Quality – Efficiency in process
  • Competitive advantage
  • Collaboration, opportunities to collaborate with similar businesses
  • Risk Mitigation – Information management, time efficiency, saving $$
  • Data Management
Often implementation fails not due to the lack of staff participation but rather the failure of management to fully understand what the adoption really means. There is a lack of understanding of how the new process will have an impact on how business is sourced, procured and executed. Management need to fully realize the short term cost of implementation versus the long term benefits of adoption of a new process.

A successful implementation strategy needs to be customized and assessed for each unique situation, however, looking at it from a high-level, there are four distinct stages that can be identified and help shape the outlines for a successful adoption. 

Continue reading part 2 on the next blog posting, "The Four Phases of a Successful Implementation of a New Process"

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

CanBIM Vancouver: Facilitating Change In The Construction Industry

Hi all, I’d like to personally invite you to attend the CanBIM Regional Session in Vancouver on Feb 1-2, 2017. It promises to be a very interesting event filled with great presenters and important content. 

CanBIM Vancouver: Facilitating Change In The Construction Industry is intended to encourage and support the mindset surrounding change management, collaboration and the alignment around the adoption of building technologies and sustainable practices among all disciplines, stakeholders and decision-makers.  

As you may be aware I am a member of the Board of Directors for CanBIM and have been involved in putting together the Vancouver events held this time each year, this year’s event we have brought together a wide variety of AECO industry leaders including:
  • Sandy Tragus; CFO Mountain Equipment Co-Op
  • Dermot Sweeny;  Sweeny & Co. Architects
  • Helen Goodland; Principal, Brantwood Consulting & BC Construction Assoc.
  • Clint Undseth; VP Innovation, Stuart Olson
  • David Redfern; Lafarge EVP
  • Brian Tucker; VP Development Construction Westbank Properties
  • Michael Chubb; Innovation, Vancouver International Airport
To name but a few…

Of special note is our Keynote Presenter, the Honourable Amrik Virk, the Minister of Technology, Innovation & Citizens’ Services who will be sure to engage and inspire. 

Keynote Speaker Announced! 
Honourable Amrik S. Virk, 
Minister of Technology, Innovation & Citizens' Services, 
MLA for Surrey-Tynehead, Province of British Columbia
Please check out the CanBIM Website for Agenda details.

CanBIM  Member  -  $300.00
Non-Member  -  $350.00
Student  $65.00 
CanBIM  Student  Member  $45.00 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

BAU 2017 - Munich Germany

If your in Munich, Germany on January 17th, 2017 attending the BAU 2017 Conference seek me out, I love connecting with my readers.

BAU is the World's Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems. It is a gathering for everyone involved in planning, building and designing buildings, i.e. architects, investors, industry and trade representatives, building tradesmen, etc.—in an international context.

I'll be presenting on the following topic talking about the state of International BIM adoption and how best to implement BIM, taking advantage of lessons learned from around the world.

The Future of Building > BIM - Building Information Modeling

Best practice: Basics, philosophy, implementation and methodology of BIM

15:00-15:45 h  |  Hall C2 Forum C2 Stand C2.309
Speaker: Scott Chatterton, Dereje Alemu

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

BIM in Africa

If your located in Africa or do work in that region of the world I encourage you to become a member of the BIM Institute.
The BIM Institute was established in May 2015 in partnership with Hypenica and CanBIM.
The overriding objective of the BIM Institute is to promote the development and improvement of information technology processes in the construction industry.
The BIM Institute and its solution providers recognize that a successful construction industry is essential to us all and now is the time for us to rethink our quality control systems for us all to benefit. We wish to see the dramatic improvements by helping deliver the standards and requirements of the Building Information Modelling strategy for Africa while also promoting other information technology processes and standards in our industry that can help strengthen South Africa’s construction industry for the future of any construction project implementation and beyond.
The BIM Institute are in alliance with organisations within the construction and facilities management sectors dedicated to improving processes within the industry through defining the use and sharing of information.
The current work being carried out by the BIM Institute includes:
Partners and affiliated members within the BIM Institute include architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, facility managers, manufacturers, software vendors, information providers, universities and more.
We encourage all industry members from every part of our industry to join the BIM Institute as an individual or company. When we collectively use information technology or BIM, everyone stands to gain.