Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BIM is the word lately

Two months ago I did a presentation on BIM at an event at the Hotel Roanoke. I chose to do this because everyone seems to want to talk about it. I suppose it must be like iPod's or whatever new device is out there that you hear about more often that you thought possible.

Since then, I've seen even more of an increase in BIM discussions in our area. We are in a more relaxed locality as far as technology goes. We aren't generally on the bleeding edge or even the cutting edge when it comes to software. This might seem bizarre to some since we are about half an hour from Virginia Tech and our City of Roanoke has been one of the top digital cities for several years in a row and has had free WiFi in the downtown area for 4 years now.

In the last few months I haven't done a week without getting a phone call or email or getting stopped somewhere to be asked about BIM.

Today I attended a brief BIM seminar put on by The American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia. There were presentations by firms sharing the lessons they've learned by implementing BIM. It was very interesting. I always enjoy hearing how firms decide what to do and what steps they take. There is a very wide gap in this process.

The definition we often see is:
Building Information Modeling (BIM)The creation and use of coordinated, internally consistent, computable information about a building project in design and construction.

But what the heck does that really mean? I just break it down into the three C's.
  • Coordinated - data from the model or even from a set of .dwg's coordinates within your firm and with others

  • Consistent - The data is consistent and accurate. It's not a stack of .dwg files where someone forgot to update a schedule or section. When a change is made, it is updated everywhere.

  • Computable - Data can be extracted from it for any number of computations or sent out for analysis. This could be sun studies, LEED, heating and cooling loads, costs relating to the lifecycle of the building.
Typically this conversation always turns to Revit. If you follow the 3 C's above, it doesn't have to be Revit, but Revit does make this much easier. You could accomplish these things with AutoCAD Architecture, but certainly not if you're using it as AutoCAD only.

Revit seems to have folks a bit worried in these parts. It's a paradigm shift. It's truly no different than when the shift occurred to go from the drafting board to CAD.

Should you jump in with both feet? No! Should you investigate and be aware of Revit and other new technologies? Yes! You may find yourself in that situation where a client will require a job with Revit. You may be an MEP firm and find yourself getting Revit files in one day. Will it happen tomorrow? It's hard to say. But why wait until after it's already happened to panic and be forced into that situation?

Get a seat now. Evaluation now. Don't expect your AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, or AutoCAD MEP users to just pick it up and start using any flavor of Revit. Don't expect your support staff to be able to easily support both platforms of products. Do invest in an assessment and implementation plan to find the right people and right pilot project in your firm.

I am teaching a course through AUGI that is a very broad overview of Revit MEP. There have been other Revit courses through the AUGI ATP program and you can access those archived courses to download. You can also download handouts from previous AU classes.

I would also encourage you to attend AU or at least get it lined up for next year so you can take some classes in software you use now as well as some classes on Revit.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Revit MEP Content

I have made several posts previously regarding content for Revit MEP.

If you're a Reviteer already, you are probably familiar with "Builds" of Revit. What this means to the AutoCAD user is that unlike AutoCAD-based products from Autodesk, Revit does not have service packs. Because Revit is written very differently than AutoCAD, when there is new content or changes in the program, the program is basically re-written. Revit is a much more compact program than AutoCAD.

There has been content added for Revit MEP. To read more about it and access the content, visit this part of the website.

If you read the Web Update Enhancement List, you will see what build is current and what improvements have been made.

There is new content now available for Revit MEP. It is important to note that this content has been reorganized based on feedback from users from the Product Manager via the Autodesk Discussion Groups for Revit MEP. Be sure to read the readme file and the content changes document before you download!

Revit MEP just keeps getting better and better.