Autorouting in Ships Using Computational BIM

The SPAR3D Conference next week brings together a diverse group of 3D technologists. In preparation for that event, we wanted to demonstrate an example of autorouting and automodeling that tests geometric complexity and congestion. Here's what we came up with.

If you look at the top of the page, you'll find an image of a tug boat engine room. Within that image, you'll see a large diameter conduit that we've automodeled using GenMEP, our autorouting add-on to Autodesk Revit. The point cloud of this ship was imported into Revit but the complexity of the ship and engine room were not modeled. Using GenMEP, we identified a start point and an end point within the cloud and the conduit was automodeled without clashes.

Read more
BIM & Safety

Let's talk safety. There have been some recent postings about how BIM can be used to create a safer job site through better planning, hazard communication, and visualization. We're not afraid of tough math, but we wanted to point out some fairly simple math that shows the direct benefit of BIM on safety.

Read more
BIM Around the World

We've been traveling in Denmark and Norway this week and working with the Danish firm MT Højgaard, one of the largest general contractors in Scandinavia. It has been fascinating, insightful, and exciting to explore the similarities and differences in virtual design and construction (VDC) practices across continents.

Read more
BIM Cost Estimating for Subcontractors

One topic that I think is important is how to estimate BIM costs.  Here are some thoughts on the best way to estimate and track BIM costs if you are a part of the subcontractor community.  

BIM is a planning tool - you're planning and defining how work is to be installed - and the best way of estimating those costs as a subcontractor is to align the input (hours by a 3D modeler) with the output (hours required to install the work).  If you consistently define a ratio of these two numbers, you can estimate the expected amount of time it takes for BIM on your projects.  Based on your understanding of future projects, you can also handicap and adjust your numbers to cover potential liabilities.  

Read more
BIM Pros: Making Numbers Tell a Story

This post is about numbers and how we as virtual design and construction (VDC) practitioners can use them more effectively. If you're a BIM professional, imagine walking into your next annual review and saying a statement similar to one or more of the following:

·     "I was personally responsible for leading coordination of $45,201,030 of MEP systems on projects last year."

·     "I led VDC efforts on five potential projects, and of those projects we were awarded four of them."

·     "In the past year, I've produced 524 sheets of shop drawings in support of field crews. This work supported 10,233 man hours of field work."

·     "I modeled, detailed, and supported $25,250,450 worth of plumbing installation in the past year."

Read more
Career Progression Challenges in VDC & BIM

When I entered the construction industry in 2001, there was a clear-cut career path for me. While the titles and steps may have varied across companies, the progression for someone in project management was nearly an industry standard. The introduction of building information modeling (BIM) created new roles – virtual design and construction (VDC) coordinator and 3D modeler – that changed this simple progression. All of a sudden there was a parallel path in the VDC department of construction companies. This parallel path made an interesting challenge: What is the career progression of a VDC professional and how can they continue to be challenged if they remain specialized?  

Read more
Diapers, Beer & BIM

The AEC industry is at a critical juncture in history. BIM, cloud computing, and the growing sophistication of building products have created the perfect environment for a new era in AEC history. Autodesk calls this "The Era of Connection," a disruptive time when design, construction, and operational processes will be radically changed. For most, this will upend their business. For us, this is an exciting time in which we are helping our clients adapt and lead.

Read more
Football & Generative Design: Numbers, Speed & Winning

(Note: This post is about American football. We know there are more people in the world who watch the game that's also called "soccer" and we apologize for offending or confusing anyone with our terminology choices. We'll make it up to our global audience sometime soon.)

Forrest Gump would say that football and construction go together like peas and carrots. When I used to eat lunch in a construction trailer, talk of football was sacred, expected, and energetic. Fantasy football. Team rivalries. Player stats. Miraculous catches. It's hard to imagine there are construction workers anywhere in the US who don't talk about football non-stop between September and February. Construction folks understand the language, culture, and technicalities of football – a team sport.

Read more
Generative Design Solutions for MEP Systems

The AEC industry is at a critical juncture in history. Building information modeling (BIM), cloud computing, and the growing sophistication of our building products have created the perfect environment for a new era. This is "The Era of Connection," a disruptive time when design, construction, and operational processes will be radically changed. At BuildingSP, we're working to leverage these concepts and revolutionize BIM.

Read more
How VDC Is Like "The Lego Movie"

As the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry uses building information modeling (BIM) to move towards a digital workflow, it's important to recognize that other industries also use digital workflows. One example of this is especially relevant to our work – the production of The Lego Movie!

The Lego Movie was a 2014 full-length film produced by Warner Bros. Animation with the entire film environment comprised of Lego blocks (and maybe one lollipop stick). The film succeeded in one important objective: It was nearly impossible to tell whether the movie used real Lego blocks in the filming or some digital effects. In reality, the entire film used digital workflows, which allows us to make a direct comparison to the AEC industry's work in virtual design and construction (VDC) and BIM. Following are three ways The Lego Movie is like the AEC industry's VDC processes.

Read more
Innovation in AEC & "the Macomber Line"

We're going to be bold and coin a new term: "the Macomber Line." The Macomber Line is a combination of concepts that we believe are very important to innovation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.

This term is in reference to an individual who is both an industry veteran and and an insightful visionary. John Macomber is a lecturer at both Harvard University and MIT, an investor in construction software, a former general contractor, and a real estate developer. Macomber wrote a paper (requires purchase) that we often cite in our conversations around innovation because it describes how construction economics directly impact innovation.

Read more
Innovation in AEC & the Gartner Hype Cycle

For many years, we've been referencing the Gartner Hype Cycle to describe innovation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. We primarily use the Hype Cycle to demonstrate that innovation in AEC is difficult and that it takes time to develop strategies that overcome the limitations of technology. We thought we'd share additional insight into the Hype Cycle and how it relates to AEC. Here are three such insights: 

Read more
Slack: In Productivity We Trust

We want to share with you a tool that we think is great and that we use every day. Being a company of both software developers and experts in building information modeling (BIM), we often have a unique perspective on tools that can cross over between industries. One of these examples is Slack.

Remember when we first starting using email? It was so revolutionary and it held so much promise. No more cluttering our desks, tabletops, and jobsites with an endless onslaught of dead trees. The number of faxes and memos started to go down. It was a beautiful time. And then email got out of control. We started getting notifications and spam. Every person on the jobsite had a tendency to send long, complicated emails. Our email inboxes became just as cluttered as our desks used to be.

Read more
The Augmented Age of AEC & Smart Cars

A team from Ford conducted an amazing test this past week that speaks to the coming augmented age in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Using Lidar, a car was able to autonomously drive in complete darkness without headlights. It has been possible to drive in complete darkness using technology like night vision goggles for many years, and autonomous driving is rapidly becoming more feasible. Yet combining both of these in one test entered a new realm because it went beyond the capabilities of a human driver.

Read more
The Beginning of the End of Clash Detection

Job sites all over the world use clash detection to report on the errors that occur as architects, engineers, and contractors create 3D models for buildings. Every clash report includes tens of thousands of these errors, and the clash detection process can take months or years. The errors are so prolific that they test our abilities to fix and correct them. But BuildingSP has a solution. We want you to imagine your BIM workflows without clash detection and consider what that would change.

Read more
The BIM Unicorn: Rare Traits of High-Performing 3D Modelers

Consulting companies are people-based organizations and the alignment of skills and projects is critical for successful execution. I ran a building information modeling (BIM) consulting company for several years, and I had a mental model I employed to inform business decisions. Examining this mental model can help provide insight into your own skills, skills of others around you, and skills you will look for when hiring for BIM positions.

The mental model is very simple. To effectively execute on projects, an individual has to have three components: modeling skill, tradecraft, and project experience. The assessment of an individual's abilities would then inform how to approach a given project. Below is a description of each of these components followed by the project approach.

Read more