|Mark Gilligan SE, |
Post Number: 438
|Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - 03:44 pm: |
For those firms that are integrating their BIM models with their specifications do they require that their consultants do the same?
Other than in the generation of project specifications how is the specification information in the BIM model used?
|Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS|
Post Number: 1230
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 12:31 pm: |
I'm curious about the answer. from my impression, everyone seems to want to do this, but I don't know anyone who is actually doing this.
Post Number: 506
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 12:36 pm: |
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|Alan Mays, AIA|
Post Number: 63
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 02:23 pm: |
Anne, I think there has been resistance to doing so mainly due to the continued use of word documents in spec creation. Notice that specs integrated in the BIM world are using a database method. While not necessarily a smooth transition, we must remember that this is cutting edge and because it did not go smoothly your first try, we must keep moving forward. We (Architects and Specifiers) are close to becoming insignificant and this is partly due to how we have made it harder (or percieved as being so) to use our work product.
What I think is more of a challenge for specifiers today is reinventing specifications. The opportunity is here to make that possible. The use of the spec by the contractor as a door stop (As I think I remember seeing posted here) is partially due to the fact they have become user unfriendly. I have a spec for a complicated hotel that is 30 years old and it is all of 1" thick. It is very clear and concise. Today, two 3" binders is a minimum and I have seen a project that even had 4 binders. Architecture teams have a tough time reviewing these as much as any contractor bidding the job or building the job. While growth has its uses, the user friendliness is lacking. BTW, drawing sets have turned the same way.
Examples in everyday life: Why is the iPad and iPhone such a hit? Simple, the user interface is simple and natural. Notice that it doesn't even come with a manual anymore? BTW, you can download it if you really want to. The bigger question is how many people actually even read the Owners manual on a car? How about the TV manual? Most (if not all) go straight to the "Quick Set Up Guide".
I feel we need to take a hint from Apple and consider the actual interface for the user (The contractor).
|Marc C Chavez|
Post Number: 432
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 02:30 pm: |
Alan, I get your point but maybe the user manual is not the best example - cause specs are NOT user manuals, the spec for the production of a car is NOT the user's manual....BUT I agree with the concept.
Why are specs organized in an outline format? - SO people can get to the information quickly out of a 400 page book "format". As we move to database driven UI's the internal filing of the information will be left to the IT folks. The User Interface is what the constructor will see - and use
ARE YOU LISTENING CSI - Standards for Construction/Facility information User Interfaces....
Post Number: 527
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 05:32 pm: |
One of these days... we'll cut the umbilical and stop basing everything on what we've been doing. Our paper-centric thinking is preventing us from taking advantage of what is now possible; we continue to use slightly glorified typewriter technology, and reduce the ever-increasing capabilities of computers to that level. Yes, people must be able to read the information, but the format should be based on the user's needs.
If I'm a bidder, I want to know first what it is you want. The submittal requirements may be of interest, but at this point, they are far less important than the product. On the other hand, if I'm closing out the project, I no longer care about products and execution. If I'm in the field, why do I have to look through all the procedural stuff? I should be able to call up the specific product information I want. What if something spills, and I want to see the MSDS? It's not in the project manual, but I should be able to get at it.
Instead of trying to make BIM do what we do now, we should be asking what the users want and how to make the model deliver. With all the information in a model, the interface should let me drag my cursor through a wall or floor and show me the assembly. It should let me click on a door frame and tell me the material, the rating, and what standards it complies with. And after occupancy, the model should tell me how many people are in a room, maybe even who they are. It should show the temperature, air flow, and light levels. One of these days...
|Alan Mays, AIA|
Post Number: 64
|Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 07:21 pm: |
Sheldon, Here, Here! Someone once asked me what I saw as the future of specifications. Upon thinking about it, I answered, I have already seen it. The HGTV Dream House web site. Their walktrough of the house is where you hover the mouse over a product, material or finish and the information of the company and product appears. Think about doing that inside the model.
Architects need to think about these things more. The interface is critical to explaining the design. Whether it be a model or a document. Maybe the scope of services includes both the virtual building and the print version for the legal requirements. Maybe the architect and specifier need to think about different packages for the different users. Is it the bidder, subcontractor or even the building engineer in the life cycle of the building? Can I envision a building engineer being able to walk through a building that is GPS coordinated with a model on an iPad? Yes. This is close to being capable now. When they find the problem, they can see it and retrieve the information. Things like repair records, MSDS data, etc. What we need to think about each end user and if they need a custom report, then we have the data for them to be able create it.
BIM is nothing but this big database of info in the cloud and what report comes out is up to the user. Whether it is a set of Construction Documents with specs or even if it is a snapshot for the subcontractor to see a potential problem. As we move forward, we need to think outside the normal box and get into the user's shoes.
Post Number: 496
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 06:55 am: |
So ... back to Mark's original question: Are architects integrating specification data into BIMs, and are they requiring their consultants to do so?
From the responses above, the answer appears to be ... no and no. Is this the case? Or do we just not know the answer?
What about the firms that are cited in the case studies for the two software programs (e-Specs and BSD Linkman-e) that represent themselves as Revit-based BIM-integrated specification systems? It could be that many users of those software programs are proceeding with their integration learning curve, but are just not represented in this forum. We hear and read about pilot projects in firms, but seldom hear of full firm commitments and extensive experience with these programs, which have now been around for several years. That doesn't mean it isn't happening, though.
I would add to Mark's question another: Are the users of these programs merely using a spec database editing utility attached to Revit, or are they also incorporating significant amounts of object characteristic data into the BIM?
|Marc C Chavez|
Post Number: 433
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 11:33 am: |
Actually we are integrating ...in the following ways
1. A terminology list built in SpecLink-e that we export to Revit for use in building tags or labels. (Revit has a txt file for this use.)
2. Coordinating with our IT dept to make sure that the standard assemblies the crew has to choose from are the same assemblies that we have in our UniFormat based PPD (also in SpecLink-e). The PPD is linked to terminology list and the MasterFormat based sections so that when we get linkman (we were waiting for the new year)we can link Revit to the PPD and the PPD to the sections - and/or directly to the sections AND the assemblies MATCH the spec! (whew that was a long time with no commas)
3. Revit is the STANDARD drafting program for all new buildings at the office. TIs and other small things, as well as older jobs are still in CAD but AutoCAD is dead meat - it just has not realized it yet. It will still be used for some detailing but even that is fading.
All that being said, truly INTEGRATING quality info (specs) into the quantity info (drawings) and placing them in the hands of the constructor for everyday work is another matter.
The basic ….read the Revit database and report (to a spec program) the materials and assemblies in the Revit model….and visa versa…..is about all the programs do at this point. I love BSD, and Linkman will be a fun - but it’s not a game changer . (sorry…it’s just not.. and neither is e-specs) they are both “1.0’s” as they say in the trade. They are all looking at this profession from the design side not from the construct side.
We need apps that allow the design/build team - in the field - to check products and processes as they are being installed - for compatibility, installation instructions, conflicts, etc and then pass that on to the owner to use to ..maintain, repair, reorder etc
Remember a human is just the dog’s way of getting the food bowl refilled - and specs and drawings and databases are just a building’s way of being built. – they/we are just a tool.
|Marc C Chavez|
Post Number: 434
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 11:35 am: |
and good morning Phil!
|Robert W. Johnson|
Post Number: 174
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 12:01 pm: |
I think Sheldon and Phil are right on.
We have traditionally dealt with the question of how information was divided between drawings and specifications. That question becomes much more complicated with BIM because of the expanded capabilities of the model.
The question is a complicated one that goes way beyond just product information – that is the easy part that everyone uses as an example. If we think only in terms of construction specifications we need to also think about the requirements in Division 00, Division 01, as well as PART 1 and PART 3 of each specification section.
If we expand that to include all the “specification type information” across the total life cycle, it becomes more complicated. We are now dealing with the information in Preliminary Project Descriptions (PPD’s), in Outline Specifications, and Operation and Maintenance Data.
Of all the above “specification type information” -
* What should be integral with model assemblies?
* What should be in a document linked to model assemblies?
* What should be integral with model components of assemblies?
* What should be in a document linked to model components of assemblies?
* What should be linked to model spaces?
* What should be linked to the total model?
* What should be in a separate document?
There may be more options.
There may be more than one recommendation for these questions.
The recommendations may change over time.
To make it more complicated we need to deal with how the information changes over time. The performance requirements of an assembly may start as a project criteria, adjust during preliminary design, adjust again when particular components of the assembly are selected for procurement, adjust again for components actually installed, and adjust again as actual performance is recorded. Products may go from generic descriptions, to one product for design, to multiple products for procurement, to one installed product. Then there are design changes as the design progresses. How do we document this project history?
Then we have a technology that is evolving with changing capabilities. The information that can be integrated directly into the model now will probably expand in the future.
The Information Management Collaboration Task Team (IMCTT) is currently dealing with the question of the relationship of BIM and specification type information. Any comments would be appreciated.
|Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS|
Post Number: 1232
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 01:15 pm: |
Folks, I think we still have some basic practical matters to deal with. I think we've all seen demonstrations of integrated specifications for one discipline (say -- telecom) where you hover over a point on the model and the product information pops up. I think we have this concept that our building models will be like that.
Problem: the models are too big for anyone to use. in one of my last jobs, we used the model for nearly everything (not the specs) and the model itself was 13 gigabytes. it crashed the office server nearly every time someone tried to open it. In our brave new world of using iPads for everything, we're just not at that type of computing power to open, use and transmit models of that size and complexity. And this particular model did not list every item on the project, it simply showed where they all went.
I honestly don't think this is happening anytime soon.
and as to Alan's concept that Architects and specifiers are "insignificant" -- I vehemently disagree. There will always be room for someone who has an overall viewpoint of the project, has enough experience to provide some perspective about why things work, (or not) and why construction in Phoenix is not the same as construction in Chicago. I've been called a lot of things in various offices, but "not useful" and "insignificant" has never been part of that vocabulary. In fact, with the migration to hyper-green projects, someone who can objectively analyze building materials is going to be more important than ever.
I don't really have an issue with migrating to data-based specifications, but I am not seeing a system that works well for large complicated projects, or allows for extensive custom work -- and none of them can accommodate both. And, you don't have to go down more than two tiers (or so) before the subcontractors no longer have the capability to read the model anyway -- and they need the 2D information.
Post Number: 134
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 01:33 pm: |
Wow. I love this forum.
Great points everyone.
From what I'm seeing, we're hamstrung by technology and legal concerns but at least we're trying to push a very large and slow-moving industry in the right direction.
Embedding product information into the BIM seems like a no-brainer but most A/E's I speak with don't do it. Isn't this an easy way to not only manage product information for a specific project but also to communicate selections between designers and production staff and, ultimately, to the Contractor and the end-user? Isn't this a good way to track changes in selections and substitutions when they happen? Not happening as we speak.
Marc is right in terms of e-SPECS and BSD being 1.0 at this point in the process but they're a lot better than what we had to work with just a few years ago. What is marketed as a flow of information between the model and the specs (Anyone see a problem with that concept? Shouldn't the specs be part of the BIM?) is little more than a trickle, and the quality of information that can be accessed is minimal at best.
Is there a real forum for voicing these concerns and ideas? I know nothing about any CSI group focused on developing Standards for Construction or Facility information User Interfaces and I try to stay on top of developments at CSI. Nothing comes up when I do searches on csinet.org or Google. Anyone have more information?
|Robert W. Johnson|
Post Number: 175
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 02:25 pm: |
One of the charges to the Information Management Collaboration Task Team (IMCTT) for FY 2011 that has been carried over for FY 2012:
"Establish a plan on building Information management in regard to external organizations that reflects the vision established in the 2011-2015 CSI Strategic Plan.
Due to the evolution of the construction industry, including a transcendent shift in how building information is compiled, managed, and accessed, CSI must be the go©\to resource for knowledge in organizing, managing, and communicating building information in order to ensure future relevance. --
CSI STRATEGIC PLAN, FY11-15
In this plan, communicate a strategy for effectively coordinating the use of CSI Standards and Formats in pursuit of enhanced Building Information Management, and for development of education and other programs to assist CSI members and others in implementing CSI Standards and Formats in BIM applications. Work with interested individuals at the Chapter, Region, or Institute level in development of resources to support this plan."
|Alan Mays, AIA|
Post Number: 65
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 04:18 pm: |
Anne, I totally agree with you. I do not think we are insignificant. We do provide value, but I fear that the value is getting a little tarnished. That statement comes from a couple of recent experiences. I recently had a client say that he does not need the architect to provide a specification since he would be determining the quality of product in his building. This owner is a self performing client so he has no GC. I have had other self performing clients that have said the same thing or even worse, they have you write a spec that they determine early and then substitute it throughout the project without informing you of said changes. We also have more and more owners substituing items just because "that is what is in the price". Yes, we have legal means to protect ourselves, however, have we not become a barrier? To quote one client, "I need you to get me a building permit". BTW, specs are not necessary for a permit and many cities will not even accept them as part of the documents. What I am saying is that what we need to produce should be thought of from a different point of view. If we are putting out drawings and specs that no one even looks at, then have we really provided value? Call it self evaluation.
On your comment that you say about how big the model is; I personally know of a outsourcing company that has been tasked with creating a model for a contractor with every stud in the model. They have been doing this for contractors and are able to do it in the cloud. He says that they are finding solutions everyday to work through these kinds of challenges. Again, I bring up the point about what we produce. How do we change things to accommodate the technology? Is that a valid question? Let's take the whole iPad/iPhone/Android thing into perspective. Are they putting Microsoft Office onto these devices? No. Has Microsoft become insignificant? In my opinion, yes, in the tablet market. They were stuck in their own mud. Look at the price points of the software being sold on the iPad and iPhone. Notice the difference? Pages, Numbers, Keynote; $10 each. Word on the PC, hundreds with Office. You might say that these are all at 1.0 also, but the fact of the matter, I now find it easier to do things on my iPad and the transfer the info over to the PC to finish.
With all this said, what I am trying to point out that the reasons BIM integration with specs is not happening is the very thing that happened with CAD. We did nothing with CAD other than make electronic drawings. BIM is different. It is a graphical relational database. BIM is, in concept, building a building electronically. They do it with cars, planes and other things all the time. Should we be changing things, too? I say yes. If we continue to go to the point of trying to get things the way they were, we lost and are insignificant. An example was on CNBC this morning. One of the hosts of "Squawk on the Street" was talking about how to explain to his kids about book stores. From the kids point of view, buying a book is a waste of time and energy. Why get into a car , drive down to the store and search through rows upon rows of books when all they need to do is just download them onto their iPads or order it from Amazon. The big box store B&N may become insignificant.
Integration with BIM may mean thinking totally outside the box! We will have those failures. As Mark points out, they are in 1.0. We just need to bite the bullet and help others move forward with solving the challenges. The guys writing code for the programs don't know what needs to be in a spec program. Show them what you need and they will figure out a way. Shouldn't we be doing the same with our work product? I commend Mark, Ken and any others trying for taking on the challenge and try to find solutions.
Post Number: 135
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 04:20 pm: |
Thanks Bob. I'll contact the Institute to see who is involved and to find out if I can get involved.
All the best,
Post Number: 136
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 04:31 pm: |
Hi Alan. Thinking outside the box (store) is fine, except I still like the look, feel, and smell of books. In fact I still think a great way to spend an afternoon is going through a used book store (or even a public library which is where I am now). Is there a place for Kindles? Of course. But will the world be a better place when the last book is recycled? I don't think so.
Having said that, I don't want to go back to ink on linen or mylar either though some of those old drawings were true works of art in their own right. I don't know ho many people will ever say that about a BIM. The object of the BIM, yes. The BIM itself? Only geeks like us who appreciate where this process has been and can't wait till our science fiction fantasies of BIM are realized will recognize a BIM as a wonderful thing in and of itself.
|Robert W. Johnson|
Post Number: 176
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 04:43 pm: |
Information Management Collaboration Task Team (IMCTT):
Chairman: James M. Robertson
* David R. Conover
* Dianne Davis
* Robert W. Johnson,
* David Watson
Liaison: Greg Markling
Technical Committee Liaison: Robert Weygant
Staff Liaison: Greg A. Ceton
|Alan Mays, AIA|
Post Number: 66
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 05:51 pm: |
Hi Ken. I too, like the books, but I have to admit my iPad is nice to carry around all my reference material when traveling and working with teams outside the office. That said, I do enjoy a good book at home.
As far as making BIM a work of art, I have a guy in the office working on that and his stuff is beautiful. I agree that we should have the old school drawings so we can learn from them. I do not think drawings and specs will disappear anytime soon, but instead I look at them as fulfilling the legal requirements. I see that architects in the near future may be required to produce both drawings showing what is in the model as well as a model with the imbedded information.
And I love the smell of ammonia!
|Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS|
Post Number: 1233
|Posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 - 02:28 pm: |
I do have a real issue with trying to put all the spec information onto the model -- I see it as one more thing that has to be coordinated. Typically the model is being produced by people who are young, inexperienced, and not always cognizant of the difference between materials. if the model is tagged with rather general names that just get the contractor to where they need to be in the specs, that would be fine. However, I simply don't trust young staff to be able to provide the amount of correct information in each condition for the specification information -- but that is based more on the type of highly customized projects that I tend to work on. My jobs tend to consist of things that are all just the same ---- until they aren't, and its usually at the end of the project that we realize that we need three more glass assemblies, and additional information about how something is installed. If the projects I worked on were typical, the specs would be easy -- and they would be easily compiled by a coordination type program.
And face it, there will never be a good place on the model for Division 01.
|Mark Gilligan SE, |
Post Number: 440
|Posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 - 04:28 pm: |
I agree with the comment by Anne. This problem is especially difficult for consultants that are not sophisticated in specification issues, who may not understand the architects system, and who may not have a good idea of how the information will be used.
Post Number: 140
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 09:47 am: |
Anne, all the more reason to embed the information in the model. Leaving the model to the inexperienced isn't the answer. Having the spec writer or experienced architect control keynoting is a great start. If the inexperienced want to tag an item, they need to be guided and learning how to interact with specifiers from an early 'age' isn't a bad bit of training. I have much more interaction with my architectural teams now than I used to have. I used to only have access to the PA, now everyone knows that they can come to me and ask questions. It gives me a chance to learn more about the projects than I will ever be able to cull from unifinished or poorly thought out drawings. It also helps to make sure that our details have a better chance of working. Oddly, it seems to take me less time at work, though I do use more billable hours. Part of this is teaching the PMs that our time isn't just for spec production; we need to be part of the architectural team as well and budgetted accordingly.
|Robert W. Johnson|
Post Number: 178
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 10:29 am: |
How much information do you embed in the model (in the model file) versus how much information is in separate files linked to model objects?
Post Number: 141
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 05:02 pm: |
Honestly I can't say at my current office. Still getting a feel for it, but in my last firm there was not much information embedded. There were too many concerns about legal obligations if we attached product info. For example if we had HM Doors and Frames and embedded a generic product but showed a different profile, what would we be able to enforce? My argument was that the CDs would still govern but there was concern that it would open a reasonable doubt.
The model can gain intelligence to an extent, such as when embedding manufacturer generated families for brick, block, etc., but I don't know that many people are using them. Again, part of the concern comes from basing the BIM on specific manufacturers when we have no way of knowing what will be built.
My thought is that we should go for it, embed the information based on what we want, and let the Constructor modify the BIM as construction progresses. In fact, embedding information from shop drawings and product data would be a great way of producing a final package for delivery to the Owner. By the time the building is done, the Owner could have a BIM that includes O&M data, warranty information at the touch of a button, and a truer representation of actual conditions than is currently available in Record Documents.
I think that's the hope but it's not where the industry is, at least not that I can see anyway.
|Alan Mays, AIA|
Post Number: 67
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 06:04 pm: |
This is where I feel that Basis of Design specs deal real well. If you build your companies families, symbols, or whatever the software you are using calls the objects into the base template, you have the companies standard of care and quality built right in. Same with general specifications like plaster.
The advantages are that if the company has their specifiers inside the company, they are getting the drafts of the spec early on when the model is being built. The advantage for the independent specifier is that he is getting the information of what the company uses as a standard of care/quality. It can also help educate the young interns with knowledge that they otherwise would not gain through exposure to the information.
A cautionary note is that the users can screw it up by not using office SOC. So processes must be set up.
I think Ken has a great way to track substitutions by the contractor by setting the model with what is specified and the have the contractor but into the model what they change.
Post Number: 142
|Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 09:30 pm: |
Actually I've been wondering why we don't have the Constructor build a BIM while building the building. It would be as close as we could come to a true record of what is in place at the time of Applications for Payment making our lives very easy each month.
Ready for Substantial Completion? Well that means your Record Documents are completed, with all relevant information embedded in the BIM.
Am I missing something here?
|Russ Hinkle, AIA, CDT, LEED AP|
Post Number: 94
|Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 09:15 am: |
Actually Ken you are close. We are under construction with our first BIM project of major size (200k sf hospital). It was not a level 5 BIM model and is actually 6 BIM models (2 existing structural, 1 new structural, architectural, MEP, medical equipment). The contractor has taken all our models and using them as a base. Each major sub contractor is modeling their work, slowing replacing the design models with the construction models. I think the only model that will not be replaced that way is the architectural.
We ran into the wall several times on file size without any product/spec information. All our team received new faster, better machines. Our next step was to chunk up the architectural model into seperate models.
Frankly, I am sold and wish we did more projects with BIM, but management still needs to be convinced that it helps the bottom line, so AutoCad is still the tool of choice.
To me incorporating spec information is still a great goal, but down the road a bit.
Post Number: 143
|Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 10:29 am: |
Well, 25 years ago 10 MB seemed like a lot of memory. Now we're into terabytes and only scifi writers seem to consider mega-terabytes of information as being viable. Who knows, maybe they'll develop a new organic synapse that will allow processing to speed up and models will become more manageable. I guess then we'll have to worry about our servers developing Alzheimers instead of just being concerned with viruses.
Many people I've spoken with won't go back to using AutoCAD now that they've experienced BIM. Another big challenge seems to be in identifying what should be modeled and what can just be shown graphically (2D modeling?). Many CAD savvy operators convert to BIM operators while kicking and screaming but the ones who have made the transition really seem happy with the new technology. Still, as this forum has shown, there's a long way to go and embedding product and spec information is still far from mainstream.
I'm curious whether requiring Level 5 BIM as an ongoing, updated submittal is helping the A/E assess progress. Are you given full access to the contractor's BIM? Are you able to use the information to assess percent completion and compare take-off of completed work against overall project estimates?