Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What to Expect When Your Client Is Expecting BIM - Five BIM Trends You Need to Know

This is a cross-post with Digital-Tutors. To view the post on their blog, visit DT Labs.

In a recent interview with Digital-Tutors I was asked what market and software trends I saw involving BIM and Revit. They were only able to include one trend in the release but what follows are my insights in full.

Clients Want Revit
What we see at our firm, and what I know others are seeing as well, is that savvy clients are saying their project is a BIM project and you’re going to use Revit. I think it’s what’s forcing a lot of firms to make the transition. Those firms that have already or are in the midst of making the transition are in a good spot. Design firms don’t want to end up like Kodak, B.Dalton or the music industry, where they falter in adapting to a major disruptive change in the way things are done. Revit is enabling designers to deliver a better product, a coordinated set of design docs that reduces construction costs and improves overall project outcomes. Who wouldn't want that?

Analysis Isn’t Just for the Big Dogs
In terms of a multi-disciple firm, like we are, we're seeing the incorporation of the types of analysis we do become far more accessible. As such, it's perfectly reasonable that a small firm can now do very expensive computation fluid dynamics analysis with tools they have on their desktop, or even laptop, through the cloud without having a very heavy-duty computer at all. That's a huge change. Five to ten years ago, you had to have a fairly expensive piece of hardware and even more expensive software to run analyses.

Budgeting Woes
BIM is a major change in more than just process. Before BIM, a firm could plan out the number of sheets they were going to create and budget off of that. Now with BIM, the number of sheets does not matter, because you can do 1,000 sheets for a small house with little effort - hopefully you don’t have to do 1,000 sheets though! Budgeting is a difficult challenge because many firms don't have any sort of experience in budgeting for a BIM project. It’s the Level of Development (LOD) that needs to be used as a baseline now, in place of the number of sheets.

Isometric Cake Walk
Back in the day, we used to do isometric drawings, or hand draw 3D details/cutaways of a very complex part of a building, and we moved away from that in CAD because it was fairly difficult. Now, in Revit, it's a piece of cake and firms are bringing them back. Those kinds of drawings are so much more useful for a contractor, showing how things are joining up in three dimensions.

Contractors Don’t Want Your Model
What's also very fascinating is looking on the engineering side. You’ve got MEP engineers using Revit MEP to create these systems and drawings like they always have. On the other hand, contractors have gotten far savvier with BIM lately, so much so that they're requiring their trade contractors, like sheet metal fabricators, to produce fabrication models. It's come to the point where the trade contractors say to the design engineers, "We don't want your model. Draw a single line where you want these ducts to go, and we'll create the model." It leaves MEP engineers in an odd position. How do you adjust to that sort of change in the industry? I don't have an answer for that.

Learn more about me in my Digital-Tutors Featured Tutor interview. See more from watching my Revit tutorial on Designing and Documenting a Building in Revit.

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