Friday, May 31, 2013

It's Not Rocket Surgery

I met Phil Bernstein at an AIAOC event several years ago. I was astonished when he projected ten more years before BIM would fully penetrate the profession.  Already working on the bleeding edge of architectural technology for several years, that estimate was beyond my belief. That was thirteen years ago.

I visited his blog and was refreshed to learn that someone is thinking about architectural at a much higher level than is common in our daily professional lives:
"How do we make design a more profitable practice? Design practice has traditionally positioned building as a commodity in the delivery supply chain, valued by clients like other products and services purchased at lowest first cost. Intense market competition, sole focus on differentiation by design quality, and lack of innovation in project delivery models and and business models, has resulted in a profession that is grossly underpaid and marginally profitable, despite the fact the building sector in its entirety operates in large capital pools where significant value is created. The profession must explore new techniques for correlating the real value of an architect's services to clients and thereby break the downward pressure on design compensation."
This is the purpose of the BIM-4-Homebuilders conference. To learn what your colleagues and peers are thinking as well as what they're doing with regard to BIM. Those who have been to our SCRUG meetings know that the real purpose of the meetings is networking. At this event it will be on a grand scale, amid a 30 million dollar collection of exotic cars - and the proceeds of the event go to charity.

Owners, designers, builders, and consultants all may have differing ideas about BIM. What is it? What does it do? What is it's value? What is it for?
Why has this sector resisted change?
  • After a brutal economic downturn, workers are grateful  to be employed, and reluctant to "rock the boat".
  • It took years to get designers to give up their pencils - now they're stuck on Sketchup, the "hollow" modeler. Most designers show no interest in advancing the technology. Most are simply waiting to be told what to do.
  • Practitioners have streamlined the CAD process beyond efficiency to minimalism. "We don't show that on our drawings" is a common instructional phrase. Coordination is one direction: downstream. It is up to the consultants to keep their work up to date. Conflicts are resolved in the field.
My part in all this is to teach - to anyone who will listen - how easy, how satisfying, and how rewarding it is to build with BIM. All the work depicted in the video above, and much more, was accomplished in two days time. Wall and floor types; custom windows and awnings, materials. Coordinated civil data; imported topographic data. As of today the first wave of design refinements has been implemented. 

We proceed with the confidence that all of this information is coordinated and up to date. We are gradually accumulating a library of components and prototypes, and a repertoire of methodologies, that must eventually be moved upstream, to realize its full value. Those who resist are likely to be overwhelmed. 

Who believes that this is difficult is not aware. 

To join your peers and colleagues in this process of change, please register for the BIM-4-Homebuilders conference today.

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