Monday, 25 September 2017

Finally... The ability to show Depth in Revit

Depth Cueing Revit Elevations

A new feature to Revit 2017 is “Depth Cueing”, this function now gives us the ability to graphically display distance to our elevation.

Depth Cueing makes elements that are further away to show up lighter to suggest distance.

Under Graphical Display Options, we now have control over how far away objects relative to how much lighter they become.



Tuesday, 29 August 2017

BIM User Group?

Are you a member of a BIM user Group?

I was instrumental in starting our BIM user group in my region as things progress we transitioned the group to Facebook and hold a yearly networking session. 

I'm a great supporter of these types of gatherings as they can be a fantastic opportunity to share information, knowledge and provide an opportunity to network with industry peers.

Here are some links to some Canadian BIM User groups.

The success of these groups is typically the result of a few people who rely on the support and attendance of you, the audience and ultimately the recipients of the benefits of these groups. 

BIM Groups are an excellent way to expand your network and knowledge base.

Support your local user group, whether you're new at BIM or a seasoned expert. Share your experiences, talk about your project challenges and participate in your local BIM User group.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Acquiring Revit Project Coordinates

Typical workflow to acquire project coordinates that we use goes something like this:

1: Obtain Civil or Survey CAD file + Link it into Revit Project; this is typically the “Site” project, but can also be the “Main model” if you are not breaking out the Site in a separate file.

2: Move the CAD file into the proper location as it relates to the building; you can rotate, shift up down left right, etc., etc. – Important to note that you are looking to match a specific geodetic elevation associated within the CAD file to your main floor elevation in addition to the location of the building on the site.

3: Acquire the coordinates of the CAD file – now your Revit model coordinates will match the Real World Coordinates that are (mostly) always associated with the survey file.

4: Next, provide your consultants with the Revit file that has acquired the CAD coordinates. Have them link it Center to Center, or something other than Shared coordinates.

5: Locate (move) the Linked model in the correct position, and then acquire its coordinates.

Note: There are often steps that we take to clean-up the CAD file first (ie: locate specific topo lines on an easily identifiable layer so that you can associate the CAD file in elevation relative to Main floor levels, for example).

The best test that we use after we have acquired the coordinates of the CAD file, is to export a CAD file from Revit (be sure to use Shared Coordinates in the export set-up) and then open the survey and xref the Revit export to 0,0,0. The files should align perfectly if everything has been done correctly. 

Thanks to Dan Sawyer for writing this out for me... I get a lot of questions on this process and Dan's my go-too guy.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Developing your BIM Career

I recently read Bob Murray's LinkedIn post on "10 Tips on Personal Career Development" and it got me thinking (as his articles usually do), so I thought I'd write my own 10 tips on how to develop your Career in BIM.

Check out Bob's two books "It's Already Inside" and "Unlocked". 

I often have the opportunity to speak to students at Colleges and University on BIM and how its impact on the AECO industry. 

Here are my 10 tips:

1: The position your want may not exist yet.... technology is changing so rapidly and businesses don't realise the opportunities they're missing out on... you can take advantage of that by carving out your own position.

2: Don't be afraid of change, change is constant and moving at a rapid pace. Everyday you will learn something new! Gather those experiences and apply it to the current situation.

3: Say "Yes" see my post in this topic. 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.

4: Engage, don't be afraid to ask questions, there are not stupid questions.

5: Educate yourself by attending conferences and workshops. These events are fantastic opportunity to network and participate in stimulating conversation. You also get to meet and know the leaders in your industry.

6: Teach; teaching is a great opportunity to learn. Students ask the greatest questions and the discussions resulting from a teaching session are thought provoking. 
You learn by teaching!

7: Read, on line, articles, books (digital or paper). Stay current with what's going on in the world associated to BIM, this will broaden your horizons and knowledge.

8: Encourage other. By promoting and encouraging other around you, you will find that you will develop a group of like minded people with whom you can share idea's, challenges and innovative thinking.

9: Surround yourself with the right people, seek out those that challenge you and inspire you to greatness.

10: Colour outside the lines. Look for cross over opportunities where you see possibilities to share or utilise your skills in other fields. 
For example, BIM for the gaming industry? Gaming tools for the AEC industry!

11: Find a Mentor, be a Mentor.

Yes there are 11, always deliver more than promised ;-)


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Mandating BIM, Yes, No... or Why?

I hear a lot about mandating BIM from all over the world, from Australia to Germany. 
To a certain degree many countries are mandating BIM in one form or another, typically government lead projects where fiscal responsibility and accountability is necessary are the first to adopt a mandate.

I read articles or mandates that refer too the UK's BIM Mandate refering to the structure, organization and "success" of the UK BIM Mandate implementation, it makes me nervous when countries base their mandate, or their decision to mandate BIM on the UK model.

There are a number of factors that influenced in the decision to Mandate BIM in the United Kingdom. There are many positive aspects that the UK have taken advantage of through the mandating, however each country, region, district and local authority have a variety of reasons to adopt, or not to adopt a BIM mandate, interwoven into this decision are their own specific requirements and reasons to mandate BIM.

When looking into mandating BIM, whether your making the decision on behalf of a country, local authority or your own business, take existing BIM mandates with a grain of salt and evaluate your own needs. Look at implementing incrementally but with a view of the bigger picture, and if it needs to change due to changes in the industry, be flexible enough to accommodate those changes and influences. 

Ask Why you are Mandating BIM and what is the impact or effect your looking for.
There are many influences to the decision to Mandate BIM including:
  • Predominant software, there maybe a high level of diversity in BIM applications such as in Europe compared to North America (IFC becomes more of a factor). 
  • Industry's ability to adopt the BIM Mandate, some countries are still developing their BIM ability in the AEC industry and Mandating BIM may be premature and place undue pressure resuklting in resistance to adoption.
  • Market driver, some BIM mandates are designed to help drive and stimulate the industry. Used as an economic stimuli encouraging industry to learn and utilize technology, stimulating associated services or industries such as education, associated applications and beyond BIM services such as direct to fabrication etc.. 
  • Industry demand, some countries are further along in BIM adoption and the timing is right to have in place a formal mandate addressing BIM. Countries like Canada and Australia where BIM adoption is successful and projects are demanding BIM are in a position to develop and create there own Mandate often lead by sectors of the government such as Infrastructure or  Department of Defense etc.
Either way, a BIM mandate needs to stand alone in it's development, taking lessons learned from similar mandates with an understanding and reasoning of the why and how they were developed.

Much like a project, each mandate is a prototype, drawing upon experiences and skills developed from other mandates and utilizing what's applicable according to the needs.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Happy Canada Day

Yes July 1st is Canada Day celebrating 150 years of confederation... sort of... 
Canada is actually a Federation, the term Confederation caught on in the in the 19th century. 
Canada was announced as being "one Dominion under the crown," a.k.a. the Dominion of Canada, as per the British North America Act of 1867 that unified the colonies (Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).

On July 1, 1867, what we now know of as Canada was in fact just four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) that composed the New Dominion of Canada

The remaining provinces and territories formed over time and joined the Dominion of Canada.  

Happy 150 Canada, you dont look a day over 200 million.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Digital Amnesia

Digital amnesia is a phenomenon in which technological knowledge becomes lost to humanity through constant technological advancement.

Is IFC the solution to Digital amnesia? 

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data model is intended to describe building and construction industry data. It is a platform neutral, open file format specification that is not controlled by a single vendor or group of vendors.

Hence, IFC is software agnostic thus should be the format of choice for not only file sharing but also archiving projects?

In North America IFC usage is minimal as we are dominated primarily by one BIM software company. Not so in Europe where we have multiple players with equal market share in the competition for your BIM platform of choice. 

As we see the project collaboration efforts cross not only multiple disciplines but also multi platforms the need for us to rely upon one common file format becomes more crucial.
today's large scale projects typically include not only the common "Building" disciplines but also infrastructure... a discipline they typically uses a different platforms than AEC industry (can you spell Microstation?)

Organizations requesting BIM as their deliverable typically have to be platform agnostic, especially government RFP's. As the Industry progresses and the demand for BIM deliverable increase we will need to stay abreast of IFC and how best to take advantage of this file format.

And maybe consider Archiving projects in a IFC file format?


Friday, 23 June 2017

How to be an effective Leader

Here's another image that was recently shared with me.

I think this very accurately describes how good leaders lead.

Vulnerable: Dont be afraid to admit your wrong, you will gain the respect of others. 

Mirror: Act in a way you want others on your team to act, lead by example.

Started: We all started at the bottom, respect and listen to those starting from the beginning as they often have a "fresh" view.... and be humble of your position. 

Integrity: Dictionary defines Integrity as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness". Do what is right, for your team, for the company and for the project.

Before: Promote other and encourage development.

Not about you: It'll backfire if it's about you.

On your own: Surround yourself by good people and good things will happen, the key to your success is the success of your team and their ability to thrive under your leadership.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017


I came across this image today and felt the need to share.

Sometimes those in a leadership loose focus of this and their main concern is the "business model".
A leaders responsibility is to maintain the businesses success... and manage, in a thoughtful manner, those under their charge. This means making sure that their goals and aspirations are being met.

Your success is dependent upon the quality of those around you and you will only be able to retain quality people by keeping them engaged, active in leadership decisions (direction) and providing them with opportunities to grow.  I think this is crucial than ever before as this is the evolution of good business management.

And remember, you are a leader, regardless of your position.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

BIM All Aboard!

Can BIM Regional Session - Calgary
BIM All Aboard!
June 28-29th 2017
Register now!

Event Description.
A two day event. Day one will kick off with the CanBIM Tours and the CanBIM Opening Reception. Day two, in the morning, will host concurrent BIM/VDC workshops. 

BIM Foundations: Are we BIM-ing yet? develop a fundamental understanding of BIM/VDC and associated strategies. 

BIM for Advanced Practitioners: Collaborative BIM Workflows & Processes for all Stakeholders optimize your current BIM/VDC workflow/environment to achieve efficiencies. 

BIM for Owners: Expectations, Challenges and Rewards, leveraging BIM to address the needs of facility owners and operators and ensuring supplier cooperation. 

In the afternoon, attendees will hear from presenters with industry based case studies showcasing projects that address key issues and challenges for all stakeholders. Following these presentations attendees will participate in an open forum panel discussion with industry leaders about the current state of BIM/VDC adoption in the Province of Alberta and the future outlook for the province.

Day 2
8:00AM-8:30AM: Registration

8:30AM-8:35AM: Opening Address - Brent Mauti, CanBIM Director

8:35AM-9:00AM: Keynote Address - Neil McFarlane, P.Eng. Assistant Deputy Minister, Health and Government Facilities Division, Alberta Infrastructure

Workshop 1: BIM Foundations: Are We BIM-ing Yet?
Workshop 2: BIM For Advanced Practitioners: Collaborative BIM Workflows & Processes for all Stakeholders
Workshop 3: BIM for Owners: Expectations, Challenges and Rewards

10:30AM-11:00AM: BREAK

11:00AM-12:15PM: Panel Discussion - BIM: Change Management to Execution Plans

12:15PM-1:00PM: LUNCH

1:00PM-1:30PM: Presentation - Almost There! A BIM Postmortem From $350M Stanton Hospital Project - Daniel Doherty, CM BIM Manager of Virtual Construction, Clark Builders

1:30PM-2:00PM: Presentation - BIM: What’s Around The Bend? - John Locke, Sr. Principal Research Scientist, Autodesk

2:00PM-2:30PM: Presentation - PCL Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre

2:30PM-3:00PM: Presentation - Using Mobile Technology to Reduce Risk

3:00PM-3:30PM: BREAK

3:30PM-4:30PM: Panel Discussion - Alberta Next Steps

4:30PM-5:00PM: CanBIM Certification Update & Ceremony - Pietro Ferrari, Chair of Education & Research Committee

5:00PM-7:00PM: Closing Reception

Workshop 1 - BIM Foundations: Are We BIM-ing Yet?
Lead Instructor: William Myers, Director of Operations, Global eTraining

Are you looking to sharpen your understanding of what BIM is, or review how BIM can benefit your company?
This workshop aims to provide a better understanding of the basics of BIM, then moving into practical concepts and workflows, which have been proven effective globally. 

Some key issues this workshop will cover are:

Are you really doing BIM?
• Levels of BIM - What are you trying to accomplish?
• Impacts to workflow, culture, technology itself.
• BIM – what is it good for? (Visualization, Virtualization, Project Management)

BIM Fundamentals
• What is BIM and why?
• Benefits and Challenges of BIM
• Terminology - Strategy Stage, Project Planning, Operational Phase
• BIM Acronyms

BIM Roles and Responsibilities
• Overview of Roles
• Client Driven Roles
• Supplier Roles
• Role of Information Management

Workshop 2 - BIM For Practitioners: Collaborative BIM Workflows & Processes for all Stakeholders 
Lead Instructor: Martin Neault, Major Projects BIM Leader, DIALOG

Evolving project delivery brings quick changes in process methodology. Understand how new processes and changes in the working culture are opening opportunities to a more collaborative and integrated way of delivering projects. The dynamics are different today and continuously moving to a more collaborative working philosophy. 

BIM is moving stakeholders out of their silos with a different workflow. Learn how some AEC leaders are managing the process of interoperability and collaboration in a successful way including the design team and contractor/trades through BIM project Execution Plan. 

Workshop 3 - BIM for Owners: Expectations, Challenges and Rewards 
Lead Instructor: Geraldine Rayner, Director Architect AIBC BA DipArch RIBA LEED®AP, SummitBIM

BIM is transforming architecture, engineering, and construction. Yet, many Building Owners are not seeing the full benefit of data flowing through the building life cycle from design and construction to facilities management. Why not? 

This workshop will work through the steps that need to be considered to control this new digital process so that the maximum benefits can be reaped. Starting from the very beginning – what the definition of BIM should be for Building Owners – this is a fast-paced, interactive session:

• Demonstrates why you can’t afford to ignore BIM from a business case perspective;
• Offers insights into the challenges for an Owner and how to overcome them;
• Delivers a practical outline for defining a BIM process that meets expectations;
• Offers proven tactics for reaping the rewards of BIM in Facilities Management.

Hope to see you there.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Who's in charge of your Revit project??

Re-posting this as it's valuable information that I've refereed too numerous times. I wrote this back in 2013 and the information is still relevant!

Really! You may have a team of people working on your Revit project but who's in charge? 
Well, the Architect of course.... Wrong! 

Sure the Architect may be in charge of the project but who's managing your Revit project? 
It's not the Architects, he's too busy dealing with client meetings and the contractors etc...

There may be a number of people in the office working on the project but unless there is a defined hierarchy of the Revit project team you may not be working efficiently.

That's what I have found, and have since created a structure for Revit project teams.
 By structuring your team and assigning roles you create efficiency in time and productivity. Structure like this helps people concentrate on their task at hand, it also reduces overlap of work and provides some consistency in project standards, content and responsibility. Kind of takes the pressure of the projerct Architect if the Revit project is managed well.

Here's what I've implemented:

Job Captain
  • Lead role in preparing contract documents
  • Oversees creation and development of the CD’s
  • Design construction details
  • Coordination junior members of project team
  • Organizes project team coordination and work meetings
  • Oversees the project team and work schedule, Team Whip.
  • Reviews drawings and identifies changes
  • Completes a periodic review of the drawings using the DWG project checklist
  • Coordinates other consultants (non-model specific)
  • Assists with Tender
  • Drawing Organization and Quality control
  • Reviews and identifies changes required by the project (may be a result of client or consultant meetings)
BIM Captain
  • BIM Modeling only
  • Prevent “over modeling” by others
  • Manages the “I” in BIM. Information in the families and model elements.
  • Defines schedulable information
  • Manages family content
Detail Captain
  • Coordination off drawing standards between consultants and internal staff
  • Manages the CEI drawing standards
  • Manages the CEI drawing process
  • Works with the Job captain on what details need to be included
  • Layout/sequence of sheets 
  • Organization of project browser views, legends etc.
Project Support Technician
  • Assist with design development
  • Assist with contract documents
  • Draw marked changes
  • Produce detail drawings from sketches
  • Research materials and finishes
  • Assist with Tender
  • Assist with Contract Administration
  • Assist with Contract close out
By better defining the roles that are assigned to people we can manage the workflow of a project creating better efficiency.

With the addition of the BIM Captain and the Detail Captain, along with additional definition of the Job Captain, we can better manage the staffing resources assigned to a project. By clearly assigning roles and responsibilities of each team member of a project it reduces confusion over who is responsible for specific tasks.

Multiple roles can be assigned to specific people.
For example a project may only require four key people:
Project Architect
Job Captain
BIM Captain
Detail Captain

The Project Architect will attend meetings, and deal with the client etc…. The Job Captain can work closely with the Project Architect and the consultants as well as overview the development of the CD’s. The BIM Captain develops the Revit Model and works closely with the Detail Captain who manages the development of the Revit  file and organization of the sheets etc. Both the BIM Captain and the Detail Captain take on the role of the Revit Techs.

On smaller projects the BIM Captain and Detail Captain may be assigned to the same person.
On larger projects each role will be assigned to specific individuals.

Depending on the scale and scope of the project the skill level and experience of the person will play a factor on what role will be assigned. This gives less experienced staff the opportunity to experience each these roles.

So far this has been working out pretty good!!


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Driving Factors for BIM Adoption

What's driving your BIM adoption?

From, my experience I have found that there are some key factors driving BIM adoption in the AEC industry.

BIM is an extension of the Design, Construction and operation processes, utilizing a collaborative approach to managing data at all the stages of construction. The Design and Construction industry globally have seen a decline in the profitability over the last decade resulting in the demand for innovation and improvement on how we design and deliver buildings and infrastructure.
We are already seeing the adoption of BIM playing a factor in the AECO industry for a number of reasons, for example in Africa the drive to adopt BIM is being driven by the Quantity Surveyors, in North America we’ve recently seen a shift in BIM utilization from Architects driving BIM to the Construction companies utilizing BIM for construction management including quantification, construction sequence and staging and collaboration helping to reduce time and cost. 
Projects are difficult at the best of times, everyone is concerned about cost over runs, risk mitigation and ever ballooning scope of work. Adopting BIM can be challenging, it changes the conventional design process that we are all use too. 

The conventional process is broken and inefficient for the needs of today’s high demand projects. We have to collaborate more effectively, produce more efficiently and deliver a high quality package to our clients.

 When a project succeeds we all succeed

There are a number of driving factors that play an important role in the successful adoption of Building Information Modeling.

Client Demand.
BIM is becoming a requirement on more and more projects as our clients develop an understanding of the benefits of BIM. As our clients are educating themselves on BIM they are demanding the project be completed utilizing BIM so they can take advantage of the many benefits including sustainability (social responsibility), workplace environment. Clients are quite often willing to pay more to achieve these needs, however they will demand a high level of BIM from all parties.
BIM Mandate. 
Were seeing more and more countries and organizations mandating BIM as part of their RFP's. Government authorities both Regional and National as well as International companies mandating BIM as they see the long and short term benefits of a BIM project. 

Competitive Advantage:
As the use of BIM is becoming more commonplace in the design industry those who have adopted BIM are slowly loosing their competitive advantage. However, as BIM becomes more prolific companies who are utilizing the BIM beyond generating "construction drawings" are seeing a competitive advantage as they can deliver "value added" services as well as "billable" additional services. 
Value added could be as simple as generating Stereoscopic views for use in Google cardboard which can be generated very easily and quickly to additional billable services could include higher level of VR engagement,  marketing uses, building operations use etc. 

What are your driving factors and look for additional area's you can utilize BIM to enhance your business model, opportunities are numerous...


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.