Monday 29 January 2018

The Many Dimensions of BIM

In the design and construction industry, we talk a lot about Building Information Modeling (BIM) which is the process of creating a digital, information-based 3D model of a project. This could include buildings, factories, warehouses, infrastructure such as roads, bridges, mechanical services, structures, and much more.

As we progress with BIM, data becomes more important and a crucial element of the BIM and the project. We can utilize these model elements and information beyond the creation of construction drawings. Using this information, our models can go beyond simple 3D into 4D, 5D, 6D and even 7D.

3D: Modeling
3rd dimension (3D) modeling is the digital representation of the intended design or existing condition. The combination of digital model elements and associated information (data) used during the design phase can be included or associated with the model. These 3D models are used during the design process and facilitate coordination of all consultants’ design models and are also used for clash detection. For existing conditions, 3D BIM is a digital representation of the existing condition, a scan of a building, structure or site.

The model can be utilized for a variety of uses including visualization, early building performance analysis, sustainability evaluation, preliminary cost analysis and the generation of documentation (drawings). Collaboration, clash detection, and design review are all aspects associated with 3D.

4D: Time (Scheduling)
The 4th dimension associated with BIM is time and the management of time including construction sequencing and scheduling. 4D is typically used to show an intended time lapse of the construction schedule; linking model elements, assemblies, and data to a schedule.

For example: Construction sequence of concrete pours and the scheduled delivery of concrete based on the volume and location of the pours in a day.
Scheduled delivery of materials or trades.

5D: Cost (Quantification)
5D is the progression from 4D by combining the cost of the quantities and time. By linking model elements and assemblies along with the schedule (4D) to establish related costs, this model can be used to quantify materials and the cost of construction.

Model-based estimation of construction, estimating the capital costs including the cost of purchasing and installing components or assemblies. The 5D model can enable us to visualize the progress of construction activities and its related costs over time.

For example: Floor finishes based on the room area to quantify how floor finish volume can be used to calculate floor finish cost.
The cost of drywall based upon volume combined with the hourly rate of labor. 

6D: Performance
There is still some confusion in the industry regarding the exact definition of 6D and 7D, and they are often combined. 6D can be utilized for energy modeling and evaluating the proposed design for building performance. It can also be used to measure and validate estimated energy modeling against actual performance.

For example: Using sensors within the building to track building performance by monitoring heating and cooling levels.

7D: Facilities Maintenance and Management
Asset Information Model (AIM), using the BIM to maintain and manage the asset such as a building, equipment, structure, etc. Linking model attributes and data to support facilities management and operation. Used to manage the ongoing “life cycle” cost of the building.

Streamlines asset management over the life of the building and provides a database for ongoing tracking, maintenance and management.

For example: linking the maintenance schedule to a piece of equipment such as a cooling tower or heating pump.
Staff seating map for each floor, manage and track furniture (assets) within the building.

8D: Deconstruction
8D, which is rarely discussed or graphically represented and involves the building “afterlife,” the decommissioning, demolition, repurposing or recycling of a building or structure.

Utilizing the BIM we can understand how best to deconstruct the structure, what materials are involved (and even the quantities), or how best to repurpose the structure.

Graphic by The BIM Jedi

Friday 26 January 2018

The Value of BIM: Kamloops

Kamloops Satellite Session

Thompson Rivers University

February 13th, 2018

805 TRU Way
Kamloops British Columbia 
V2C 0C8

Technology has been a key aspect of the construction industry for some time now, more and more projects are completed using Building Information Modeling, from small residential projects to large community projects, technology and the management of information in the design and construction industry is quickly becoming the norm.
During this conference we will be looking at a broader aspect of the Value of BIM, from many aspects of the AECOO industry, we will hear how the industry is utilizing BIM and adds Value to the AECOO industry. There is so much more to BIM than designing infrastructure and buildings, the "I" in BIM is where the value lies, the utilization of this "information" impacts all aspects of the AECOO industry from procurement of materials to efficient planning of construction and building operation.

From efficient construction to improving building design and performance, BIM has an impact on our day to day operations and a long-term impact on our industry. BIM plays a significant role in not only how we design and construct but also in how we how we, schedule, and deliver construction projects.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Australia Day 2018

Happy Australia Day.
Australia Day on the 26th (25th for the Northern Hemispherians).

I love my Aussie meat pies and found a local business (run by Aussies) who make em.


Monday 22 January 2018

Are you a Rebel at work?

A colleague sent me this, thought I'd share it with you all.

Thank you to:

Friday 19 January 2018

Project Reset… When is it a good time to Reset your Project?

Occasionally you may feel that your project may be going off the rails. It could be for any number of reasons including, but not limited to: changing of the project team members, absence from the project, or drastic changes in the design or schedule.

You may need to take a step back and “Rest” the project.

Here are the 5 steps to resetting your project.

1: Review the Project Execution Plan
Review the Project Execution Plan with the project manager and update the PxP if needed (it probably is). By reviewing the PxP you can evaluate how far off the rails the project actually is. Often it’s just a case of reminding the team of the project goals, or their roles and responsibilities and bring everyone back together working as a team.

2: Come together
After reviewing the project goals and scope it’s time to bring together the current project team, and if possible include past team members as they will be valuable contributors to the conversation. Explain the situation to the team and ask for their input, including challenges and current obstacles. Make the project team aware that you are available "one on one" to discuss further as some team members may not be comfortable raising issues in a group setting.

If the issues are not just internal and include the wider project team it may be time to hold an “emergency” meeting. I typically schedule a face to face BIM Lead meeting at least every 6 months, even every three months if it’s a large complex project. Face to face meetings are crucial to developing relationships with the wider project team resulting in an increased willingness to work together and can quite often resolve simple misunderstandings. 

3: Make a list of the current issues
List the challenges staff are having, what the project challenges are, and the barriers to moving forward. From this list, you will be able to address these challenges that are preventing the project from moving forward, and find resolutions. This may require input from the managing principle as well.

Review the current status of the project, this may involve someone from outside the project to review the “quality” of the current state of the project and what's been developed so far. Having a discerning outside opinion of the project, someone who can identify current issues and potential future problems can help identify and avoid issues going forward.

4: Face the Music, to make Music
Doesn’t matter who is responsible for errors, the main thing is to address the issues. Draw upon your resources and delegate, bring in the big guns if necessary and work hard to resolve your team issues.

The harder you work with your team the harder they will work for you.

Address staff needs, if issues are caused by inexperience or workload or lack of management support take note and provide resources to address the project teams needs.

5: Learn lessons
Take note and learn from the experience. Was it a failure of executing a process, or is there an error in the process? Take steps to remedy the situation!

The ultimate goal is to bring the project back into being a successful profitable project. Projects that go off the rails are demoralizing for the project team and has an impact on the profitability of the project and ultimately of the firm. We are all responsible for the success of your project, and if you are in a position of leadership you are especially responsible for identifying projects that are starting to go off the rails.

It’s never too late and always worth the effort!

Update: 1/19/2018.
Interesting article for when to reset your company.

Thursday 4 January 2018

Is “Process” creating a culture of mediocrity?

In today’s business culture we integrate and utilize technology into our daily processes and procedures. The use of computers and software is ubiquitous in our daily lives, both personally and professionally, over the last 20 years computers have revolutionized our daily lives.

In the design and construction industry, we use computers and software for all aspects of our processes and have developed standards to ensure consistency, quality and develop a level of efficiency which is a requirement of today’s client expectations and project demands.

Over the past number of years, as technology has developed and became a standard in everyday business, the focus has been on teaching software and the associated applications and processes developed to take advantage of the software. Our focus has shifted to learning the tools and not what we use the tools for. Basic skills are diminishing, having a negative impact on the quality of the deliverable, which we are using technology to help us deliver.

“Is the development of processes creating a culture of mediocrity?”

Through the development of these processes are we stifling ingenuity and the opportunity for innovation, are we eliminating the need for team members to take on responsibility and ownership of their tasks and responsibilities? Processes should balance between providing quality and efficiency, our goals when developing processes are to minimize risk and liability by controlling the outcome, resulting in risk mitigation and quality through consistency.
However, is this preventing innovation and improvement? By demanding rigidity through the development of processes are we limiting the opportunities to finding new ways to complete tasks and make changes for the better?   

The design industry is notorious for this conflux, we expect a high level of creativity and innovation combined with a need for high quality (risk mitigation) that utilizes digital tools and associated processes with the intent to create efficiency. However, with the focus on learning the tool, we are finding that we're losing the simple knowledge and skills that new employees desperately need.

“We do a great job teaching the tools but we're losing sight of why we use the tools.”

Do we want to get to the point where we are providing a “caution content may be hot” type label due to over processing? When developing processes we need to be aware of the fine line between limiting the ability to think for ourselves and the benefits of efficiency and quality control. We need to balance the need for standardization and risk mitigation with the freedom to change the process when required allowing for innovation and improvement. Let’s not bog down the process of creation by stifling creativity with overly constraining processes.

Review your process on a regular basis with your team and look for ways to streamline and make improvements. Consider changing processes to “guidelines” and look for feedback from the users. Let your team know that at any point they can reach out to you to discuss in an open and constructive manner any possible changes to the process that can make improvements. You will not only gain the respect of your staff you will also have improved adoption rate of any processes you implement. Don’t be strict on the enforcement of process, use processes as a guideline and reference to complete a task, this will give your team the confidence to propose changes for the better and the flexibility to make any necessary changes confidently to ensure the success of the project and the team.

There will be areas of any process that are required to be enforced, where projects cross international borders or between offices standards need to be consistent, enforcing these requirements will be respected as long as you make it clear why they are required and all involved understand the necessity and function of the processes. Standing behind these requirements will also gain you the respect of your team.

When we receive proposals for Architectural projects we accept the project requirements and find unique ways to incorporate the client's desires and project requirements all the while looking for opportunities to improve the aesthetics, functionality and efficiency of the design, resulting in the best possible outcome for the project. To be successful you need an equal balance of innovation and the structure of processes.