This Blog is dedicated to all things to do with Building Information Modeling.
I'll be blogging about challenges that I come across as BIM Manager as well as points of interest that are related to BIM. Blogs on tips and technical "How-too's" to help you out with creating your BIM models correctly.
This Blog is not sponsored or endorsed by, or affiliated with, Autodesk, Inc.
If your able to take some time off this year I hope your able to spend it with family or friends. It's good to take a break from work to recharge and reconnect, give BIM a break for a little while anyway ;-) I'll be back blogging again in the new year... Some things to keep an eye on for 2016 (Revit 2017).
BIM is moving towards being all about data management, from the
information we put in (rooms, spaces, equipment, materials etc) to the info
that can be pulled out in many different ways for many different uses. “Data
Mining” is the next evolution of BIM and if you want to keep up you'll need to be at the forefront of Data management in BIM.
Direct to Fabrication, incorporating elements in your model that will be able to be sent directly for fabrication, this in conjunction with prefabrication... POW! (that's my batman move)
Computational Design.... Really, this is just the beginning of the computers taking over the world.
Something I learnt years ago was to say “yes” when asked to participate or take on a role or a responsibility. This has become my philosophy in life, to say “yes” more often. This came about after a colleague, whom I respected, asked me to join a committee he was chair of. Prior to this we had parallel careers, we worked together at an Architecture firm and he quickly rose in the ranks and eventually moved on to bigger and better things. He now plays a senior role in a large architectural firm and is influential in the Architecture industry both locally and nationally.
This has become my philosophy in life, to say “yes” more often.
Early on I realized that I had to make myself stand out if I wanted to move forward. If someone asked me to complete a task I would say yes, even if what was asked of me was outside my comfort level. What I quickly found was that by stepping outside of my comfort zone that saying yes more often not only opened doors to opportunities but it also increased my knowledge and skills.
Start with asking questions, find out as much as you can by asking questions. People don't expect you to know everything and if you explain that your unfamiliar with the task people are more than happy to help, often people are so thankful to find someone who is willing to take on the job that they don’t mind helping you out and guiding youalong.
Often I have found that the task or role isn’t as arduous as first thought, and with some guidance and a little ingenuity you’ll be surprised as to how quick you'll be able to catch on.
The point I’m trying to make is don’t let your self-doubt or reserve stop you from moving forward in both your personal and professional life. Don’t be afraid to take on something new, you may be intimidated or doubt your own abilities, but unless you take on the challenge you may never discover your full potential.
Take the risk, take on the challenge and say yes when approached to head up that difficult project, or join a committee or complete a task. I even got to a point that when a trusted friend or colleague approached me I would say yes even before they asked me… I trusted their judgement and their faith that I have the capabilities to complete the task or responsibility they’re assigning me.
Some have said to me that if you say yes too often that you’ll take on too much or that people will take advantage of you. You, yourself, know the difference between opportunity and when you’re being taken advantage of. Make these opportunities work for you, learn new skills, make key connections and be know as someone who gets things done.
I'm off to Autodesk University again this year (2015). Hope to see you there, if you see me please feel free to introduce yourself. I love meeting people who read my blog.... both of you.... If this is your first time at AU here are some tips.
Good luck requesting a Humidifier for your room... they're typically all gone by the time you remember. Just keep a glass of water by your bed at night.
Go outside at least once during the day, just to remind you what fresh air smells like.
Take a hand sanitizer.... germs are everywhere!!!!
Sleep, trust me you'll need it.. and I don't mean during sessions.
Dry air and carpet are a great combination to ZAP unwary bystanders.
Resist the urge to baa like a sheep during the line up at meal time... and if you do hear a sheep it's not me! ;-)
Wear comfortable shoes, your going to be on your feet all day and walking for miles (or kilometers)!
Meet as many people as you possibly can. This makes the AU experience more enjoyable and you can make some great contacts which you can meet next time you go. If you see me stop me and say hi. I'll give you a BIM Jedi decal (not approved by Disney).
It's Vegas, go down the Strip at night and also go see Fremont Street.
It's Vegas, enjoy yourself... but remember your there for a conference which you paid good money to attend, don't waste a day being hung over!
Make the event memorable... however don't be "that guy" that everyone remember for the wrong reasons.
Travel light. Your packing that c#@!p around with you all day... you really don't need your laptop!
Sit at a different table during meals and introduce yourself to everyone at the table. Take lots of business cards.... trust me you'll need LOTS!
Finally, enjoy yourself !.
It's a great opportunity to meet people. I learn the most after the sessions when I talk to people.
How to keep
up-to-date on software, including new processes and implementation and roll-out
of new or add-in software.
Gone are the days
when we would skip every other release and continue working on our old version
of software... and even then quite often have to save down to share files with
consultants. Nowadays with Autodesk Subscription there are no reasons not to upgrade.
Take advantage of what you pay Autodesk every year in your subscription fees
and maximise your software ROI by upgrading and utilising the add-ons and every
piece of software you have as part of your sub. If you start missing releases
it's a bigger learning curve to catch up... learning curves slow down
Our projects are getting larger and more complex, the performance of Revit is
improving with each new release.
Work with IT, they
need to have an understanding of how you use the software and it’s demands.
Explain the ROI of utilizing add-on’s and subscription tools, upper management
may not understand BIM but they understand ROI.
being said, make sure when you implement an add-on or additional tool you roll
it out to the right people, you want to maximize its effectiveness and improve
its chances of success, you can only do this with the right people who are
willing to test new tools… bugs and all.
often written about giving your team the freedom to explore alternate methods
of performing a task, or working through a process. We typically call this
thinking outside the box or colouring outside the lines. Here’s the
flip side to that, when you need to think inside
the box or colour within the lines.
develop process for a reason, typically to manage quality control and
efficiency by providing a means of achieving consistency. When developing a
process we explore ways of achieving efficiency in completing set tasks in
order to achieve set goals, you invested time and effort exploring alternate
methods. I’m constantly looking at ways to improve a process and welcome
suggestions and feedback on how the process is working out or could be improved.
That being said, you may come across an individual who will second guess every
aspect of a process, whether it be through pure enthusiasm, or arrogance, you
need to be able to manage this person as they can quickly become a disruption
to you and your team.
Clearly explaining why
things are done a certain way can quite often clarify any misunderstandings.
the individual’s enthusiasm by directing their attention to a more productive
role. Firstly sit down with the team, not just the individual (you don’t want
to single anyone out), and explain the process and why things are done a
certain way, if the consensus is that the process is broken or could be
improved the individual probably is onto something. If not, and this individual
still thinks things can be done in a better way, involve this person in the
development of other processes, you may have just found your next QC champion.
this person is just being disruptive then you may have the wrong team member on
your project, it may be best to redirect this individual to a more productive
role on another project where they feel they have more control over the
project, failing that, it’s time to involve your HR department. It may just be
a case of the person feeling underutilized and redirecting their efforts may be
Don’t misinterpret dissension with enthusiasm.
Colour within the lines
encouraging your team to colour within the lines you providing them with a set
of constraints (not a bad thing) or boundaries that allow them to be creative
in a focused direction. Giving your team members a clear set of goals allows
them to focus on a task and, when accomplished, gives them a sense of
achievement. This can only be done when they have a clear direction or a roadmap
to achieving their goal or tasks, this gives them clear boundaries and the
confidence that they can then explore these boundaries.
all do well when given a task and the tools to achieve a set goal, don’t
disregard questions about your process, but don’t let it become a disruption to
you team to colour within the lines and encourage them to be creative.
Unfortunately I'll be traveling on this day, I typically pay my respects by attending the very well attended memorial at our local hockey arena. I'll be paying respects in my own way on November 11th. I've become a bit of a history buff of the fist world war thanks to my Dad, particularly about the ANZAC's (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) and the Canadian involvement. Here are a few great movies to watch this time of year.... Gallipoli:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082432/ Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I. Passchendaele: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092082/ The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I battle of Passchendaele. The Water Diviner:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3007512/ An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. And a new one: Hyene Road:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4034452/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1 Three different men, three different worlds, three different wars - all stand at the intersection of modern warfare - a murky world of fluid morality where all is not as it seems. All good movies worth watching. Lest we forget.... Scott
How does BIM affect the other departments in your
BIM has an impact in all departments such as IT,
Human Resources, Marketing and Finance.
If you work in a fully *BIMplimented firm, or are making the transition from CAD to
BIM you would have noticed that BIM has an impact on the operation of your
As a BIM Manager you can advise and provide
valuable information to other departments in the company. Take a good look at
your company’s current Work Flow or Flow of Operations manual. Quite often the
“Flow of Op’s” is based upon traditional methods of drawing and document
creation and doesn’t really fit well with today’s Building Information
Technology use in Architecture.
BIM has had quite
an impact in the AEC industry over the past number of years and in most cases
our traditional Architectural business model hasn’t changed. We need to look at
expectations of output and time at each stage. Personally I have found as a
direct result of implement BIM that we need more time during Design and
Development and less time for Working Drawings. This change impacts contractual
agreements, fee structure and client expectations. BIM has had a direct impact
on every stage of our Flow of Ops manual from marketing to administration to
Working with IT is critical, your IT support needs
to have an understanding of BIM and the demands it has on a project. BIM needs
to work in conjunction on IT as IT manages the network, the Revit Server,
computer requirements and can be a valuable resource creating scripts etc.
Evaluate your needs for training and your best
possible options, if you’re not comfortable instructing maybe you have a power
user who may be comfortable instructing or possibly you have external resources
Selection and Training
Who knows your technical staff better than you do?
Who can evaluate a potential employee's BIM skills
better than you? Be a part of the interview process, even create a BIM or Revit
skills evaluation test. Typically I can decipher how good a potential employee's
Revit skills are just by talking to them and asking them pertinent questions.
You know your technical staff's skills better than
HR, it's up to you as the BIM Manager to improve your technical staff's skills
by making training and education options available.
Same applies to team selection, you know the best
people for the type of project, their skill sets, what types of projects they
like to work on and also when and how to "push" them forward and
place them in a team position to help them move forward.
As an active BIM
Manager you will have the best knowledge of your staff’s skillsets. Quite often
you will know who the best person capable for a specific project. I communicate regularly with project managers
and discuss what Tech’s are available (or coming available) and make
suggestions which people would be suited for project teams. Keep in mind that
you don’t want to burn out your Revit Power Users, typically after a
particularly arduous project I’ll give that team a break and recommend them for
a simpler “fun” project, and on the other hand I’ll gently push those tech’s
that I think are ready for it to step into the role of Project BIM Captain.
Resist the urge to step in and take over a project… it’s not your role.
impact on the bottom line
Traditional billing method still working for ya?
How about billing?
Advise the project manager on time line
expectations and billing time line.
BIM has changed the typical design time line and
unfortunately the billing sequence still does not reflect that change.
* BIMplimented - Full BIM implementation. A firm utilizing BIM
technology to accomplish its goals as a profitable entity.
Make time to know
your colleagues in other departments, eat your lunch with them, greet them in
the elevator. By getting to know your colleagues that are “outside your circle”
you’ll develop a better understanding of the challenges they face and see ways
where you each will be able to help one another.
colleagues (marketing, finance, HR, event reception) on BIM and it’s impact of
the business, this will give them a better understanding of the benefits of BIM
and your role in the company. You don’t necessarily need to run a workshop for
them just have a conversation.
Participate in the
staff meetings, give updates on new features, tools or even give your
perspective on where the technology is going and how it will impact the
develop and maintain a quality control process. Examine your documentation of protocols and procedures around the design process, strategies
for sharing and working with consultants, and how the Revit model can be used
with other software and consultants.
The BIM manager
must develop and maintain the BIM support files and documentation including the
structure, development and maintenance of templates, define what constitutes a
comprehensive component library, and outline how to develop and maintain a
quality assurance and quality control system.
Examine your internal documentation
of protocols and procedures around the design process, strategies for sharing
and working with consultants, and how the Revit model can be used with other
software and consultants.
Having a manual is
great…. When people read it and keep it handy. My experience is that after the
standards document is created it is quickly out of date and easily forgotten
and left on the shelf. By incorporating your standards into the template it
makes it easier for people to follow.
Don’t be so rigid
in your standards, they’re a guideline not hard and fast rules! Our industry is
full of creative people who need boundaries but not fences. If it works and
doesn’t adversely affect the process (ie; keeps the look and information
consistent) give your staff the flexibility to improve how things are done,
this can only be done if they have permission to “colour outside the lines”.
exactly do we need to change?
–How are we
going to do this?
What are the Goals?
BIM Management system that meets the organizations goals of profitability, consistency, efficiency and accuracy
a collaboration and communications plan
defined BIM work plan – BIM Execution Plan
of all BIM supporting documents
the needs and concerns of Project Managers and Technical staff
in accordance with the existing flow of operations
·Introduce/reference a quality assurance and
control process (QAQC)
How we currently
collaborate – the “traditional process”
Exchange – VPN, Email, C4R…
- BIMx, LOD Matrix,
BIM Lead Meetings
consultants level of expertise in BIM
knowledge has an impact on our ability to deliver
- Our level
of expertise in BIM
- Source out
your Revit Rock Stars
- All other aspects of our business including:
Marketing and Business Development
Afterthought Ask when the last review of your companies QAQC process was updated.
Get organised! I know it takes time and we all have tight deadlines on
projects, but nothing can create “time” like being well organised. Start with
your own desk, take time each day to get organised and plan what you want to
achieve that day, even if it all goes awry for the most part you’ll be able to
check off your “to do “ list and get more accomplished.
Ask for feedback, you don’t have all the answers and getting other
peoples perspectives widens your view of how things can be improved upon. Ask
what works and what doesn’t work.
Buy some colour pencils and a colouring book, colour outside the lines…
Examine how and where BIM can improve your business
the BIM Agenda in your firm
Talk to the decision makers and present to them the benefits and capabilities of BIM.
can we educate our clients to take advantage of our services.
Be a part of the initial project process, talk to the clients about what BIM can for the benefit of the project. Make the promotion of BIM a marketing opportunity for your firm.
opportunities utilizing BIM
What opportunities are out there utilizing the power of BIM; QTO, Visualization, Marketing, AR, VR.... etc....
Through the adoption of collaborative delivery
practices, project outcomes are enhanced through the alignment of the goals of
the project team and early involvement of all members of the project team.
Things to consider when establishing your BIM project are:
be included in the team
principles of trust
for enhancing effective collaboration and information sharing
team success through successful collaboration
project team decision making process
If you are not in
a position to educate the decision makers start at a level where you can.
with your peers, introduce them to new tools and features they may not be
already using, you will quickly be known as one of the “go to guy” in your
office and this will elevate you to a position where you will have an influence
on those around you where your comments will be heard and given the proper
consideration they deserve.
Next time you have
the opportunity to speak with senior staff mention how aspects of BIM can be
utilized for the benefit of the project. For example next time you’re in the
elevator with a partner or project manager mention to them ways that the model
and be utilized for the benefit of the company or the project.
On Wednesday November 18th I'll be facilitating an executive event on BIM and the construction process titled: An Integrated Design Process - Where is the Value?
BIM and the effort towards a more efficient design and construction process is changing the way we design and build. How we communicate. How we collaborate. Yet, many organizations are struggling to see the results that BIM has promised. BIM is a key tool for the success of a process that has existed for years - an Integrated Design Process (IDP). Join us for a series of presentation in which your peers will discuss how they are applying the concepts of IDP and where they are seeing the value.
The key takeaways from this event are:
A practical approach to using BIM as a catalyst for the long accepted concept of an Integrated Design Process
The difference between an Integrated Design Process (IDP) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
Current industry challenges and expectations.
Download the full event brochure. This full-day event includes three presentations from five speakers, including a primer on innovative approaches to project delivery, and tips on how best to implement architectural and structural collaboration.
The seminar presents a unique opportunity to gather with like-minded individuals and mingle with experts in the BIM field; spaces are limited, so don’t miss out!
Registration Registration fee is $250 per person.
This will be a great opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of IDP projects and see how IDP is having an effect in our local market. Click here to register.
Architect. Please don't adopt BIM, there
really is no point. Look at it this way, you won't ever
get the opportunity to work late coordinating plan views with the elevations
and sections. When your client makes a last minute change, if you adopted BIM,
you won't be able to spend numerous hours chasing down changes in each view....
sorry, I meant viewport. If you took on the onerous
challenge of changing your culture and mindset to BIM what would you're clients
think? Your clients have expectations. Drawings with your signature look is what’s important to them. What would the consultants think if you sent them a 3D Mode asking them to
"collaborate"? Just what can BIM modeling
software do that 2D cad can't do anyway? All you’re doing is creating pretty
pictures, no real value there! Where's the fun in not being able to track,
coordinate and schedule all 300 doors by hand, mmm what fun! Don't adopt BIM....it’s a
gimmick anyway and it won't last. Stick with what you've been doing for the
last 20, sorry, 30 years. It’s working for you, right? Adopting BIM....it’s too hard… your
staff doesn't want to do it and your computers can't handle it! Sincerely,
I use to work with a Senior Architects (later partner) who,
whenever he was explaining something to you, he would get down on one knee
beside your chair and patiently explain the detail or the design to you. He
basically would get down to your level so he’s not “looming” over the top of
you or leaning over your shoulder.
As junior staff member this senior person would make the
effort to engage with me, a member of his team, at my level. This gained him so
much respect and admiration from his staff that people would enjoy working with
him and would go the extra mile to make sure tasks were completed to the best
of their ability (or quite often better). We all wanted to please this person
who was in a leadership role, we felt that he not only respected out
capabilities but he also appreciated our efforts.
This individual has made such an impression on me that I
adopted his technique of “getting down on one knee” when engaging with my team
members one on one.
Engaging with your staff is important, at every level from
the CEO to Custodian, each person has an important role in the business and has
something valuable to contribute, make them feel valued by engaging with them
on a human level.
Engagement is a fine line, you still need to be an authoritative
position but also be seen as approachable. You should aim to be a great colleague,
as opposed to a great friend, because one day you may have to discipline (or
worse) a team member and there’s nothing worse than losing a friend because you
had to do your job.
In a factory where your typical smart phone is assembled, there
is a production line. Someone has put a lot of thought about that production
line, the process of fabrication and how efficient the process of assembling a smart
The same applies to the design industry, however our focus
is typically on the process of creating
the design instead of production of
Without an effective documented process and resources you’re
production team is prone to inefficiencies. Every building is a “prototype”, however we still have the
opportunity to create inefficiencies in the production process.
Get an “insiders” point of view
When I first became a BIM Manager I joined our project team
to get an “insider’s” look into the production process. What I found was that
without a process in place the team was not performing to their maximum efficiency,
in fact they were performing at about %70 efficiency due solely to the fact
that there was no process in place guiding them effectively through the production
of the drawings.
These were capable people with many years of experience working
on complex projects, the team had worked in the office together for many years,
yet it was the first time that they have all worked together as a team in this
Without a team
management process your team members lack a high level of monitoring and
guidance that would allow them to be fully productive, work was being
replicated and some tasks were not beings addressed causing friction and delays
in the project production.
It was time to review
Develop a process that works
From this experience I developed a series of processes and
resources that help the team become more efficient. We not only reviewed and
modified the process of completing projects, we also looked at how the teams
were assembled, how the team was structured and the dispercement of roles and
responsibilities. By clearly defining the tasks of each individual we provided
each team member with clear expectations.
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 wasting time.
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.
Tips on developing your process
Develop a process of production and create the resources to
back it up. We spent a significant amount of time evaluating our existing
processes, what was working, what wasn’t working and what holes existed in the
processes. Through reviewing and developing processes we were able to clearly
define the flow of operations at all aspects of our business.
Make your process easy to follow, keep it clear and easy to
understand, 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 project types.
Make it easily accessible, if it’s too many “clicks” away
people will get lost and not bother.
Provide information on the process in a variety of formats,
such as online, printed booklet form, pdf etc.
Have upper management promote and endorse your process, this
will help with adoption.
Stages of developing a process
Continual promotion of your processes will take time,
monitoring your team and constant reminders will need to happen as you develop
a culture that follows the processes. If your processes are good you’ll find
adoption, if not review the process with your team to find out how to make it
One key to
being an effective manager is your own personal organisational skills. Not only
the ability to organise other peoples, tasks, schedules, priorities and goals
but to be able to organise your own!
organised person gives you credibility to those around you, being seen as a
prompt, well organised person gives the impression that you’re a confident
person that is capable of getting things done right and on time, people will
value your opinion and listen to your thoughts…
All this just because you’re organised.
So what does being organised mean?
organised allows you to focus your thoughts and tasks so you can be more
effective in your time management by scheduling your tasks according to
feel overwhelmed by your workload, creating a list will help you focus on
addressing the critical items first. By clearly developing a list of tasks and
prioritising them gives you focus and a clear plan of action. Having a plan
relives you of the stress of an overwhelming workload by breaking your workload
down into manageable tasks.
Here’s a tips on how to develop your “to-do”
Write a list
every morning of the tasks you wish to accomplish that day, then sort them
according to priority. Write down everything, from the simplest task such as
replying to a specific email or phone call to the most complex, throughout the
day add items to my list and change priorities if need be.
most challenging tasks first, addressing the most challenging tasks first gives
you a sense of satisfaction, even just starting a task or an action gives you a
since of relief and puts you in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the
your tasks into long term and short term, keep notes by your list items on the
status and only cross off the item once completed or transfer the item to a
I have two
lists, I have a large “Tasks and Goals” book where I keep track of the big
picture items, my long term tasks, goals and ideas are all kept in one place. I
also have a secondary smaller “Daily
Tasks” book where I write down my daily or weekly tasks as well as items I
need to address later in the week or for when I’m in a meeting or in a specific
office. This is part of my preparation for the week ahead, allowing me to start
feeling overwhelmed take a break and pick one of the easy items on your list,
by ticking off completed items on your list will add to your feeling of
satisfaction and accomplishment.
guilty about spending time getting yourself organised in the morning, spending
time getting your thoughts together and how you plan on tackling the day ahead.
This will put you in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day an prevent
you spinning your wheels on items that will side track you from what you really
want to accomplish that day.
list in a prominent place on your desk, in plain sight so you can refer to it
often allowing you to maintain your focus.
Feel the sense of satisfaction at the end of a hard day’s work as you review
your completed list! There’s nothing better at the work day to go over you list
with a sense of accomplishment as you mark off the tasks you have addressed
throughout the day. Any unfinished items will be a good start to the next day’s
Great… now I
can check “write article on lists”
off my to-do list. ;-)