Monday, 29 December 2014

BIM Business Culture

BIM Business Culture = Change

It is apparent that BIM will become the normal working process in the future; evidence have shown current benefits of BIM  and even more opportunities it may bring in the future. But how do we embrace BIM? ,there are no two answers to that question,  the only answer is "CHANGE".
I often heard from small companies " How do we implement BIM" , I have highlighted some  areas to be addressed when taking the steps towards transition to BIM.

 1. Implementing BIM means you are changing your software as well as your culture because changing to BIM will affect your workflow between team members and consultants and your projects .Therefore every team member must be ready for this change.

2. Do you sometimes work with contractors and engineers, how do you exchange information or how do you collaborate? This also matters because we are not always alone on a project, your shift to BIM will affect other stakeholders as well, is either they are forced to adopt the change or you can’t work together due to software compatibility issue. It’s easier to transfer CAD drawing to BIM than BIM to CAD in fact in practice nobody will transfer BIM model to CAD since you can achieve everything your CAD software can do in BIM.

3. Deciding on the right software might be difficult and time consuming if you are not familiar with BIM software. Get an experience trainer that could take you through the software and could help you develop a template based on your company workflow. A good way to do this is to take a previous project that you and every team member are familiar with and go through it with the trainer, this will help you to develop your skills in BIM faster and at the same time help you to see the opportunities of BIM over CAD.

4. Remember that training time is an investment, and the productivity paybacks of BIM will quickly cover up the short-term loss of some billable hours. Invest in Training; attend BIM seminars and workshops to improve your skills. All the software have trial versions that you can use for 30 days, if you get an experienced trainer, based on my experience, in 30 days, you can go through all the basic features that are needed for you to execute small projects.

 5. Take time to evaluate how the new process worked so that adjustments can be made.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Revit Phasing/ArchiCAD Renovation in a layman´s term

In this tutorial, my aim is to demonstrate  how Phasing tool in Revit and the Renovation Tool in ArchiCAD can be use for  refurbishments and renovation projects.   More importantly to demonstrate BIM concept in renovation and extension projects.  I will illustrate  the basic things you need to pay attention to when using these tools for your projects. Lets get started.
Renovation Project Example

Basically when you are using the Phases tool (Revit) / Renovation tool  ArchiCAD  for renovation project, there are three features you need to pay attention to inside these tools.

 1. Project Phase (Revit) /  Renovation Status (ArchiCAD).

2. Phase Filters (Revit) / Renovation Filters (ArchiCAD)

3. Graphic Overrides (Revit) / Renovation Overrides Styles ( ArchiCAD)

You can treat this as the state of each elements in your building in terms of existence. When working on renovation projects, you will normally have some elements already existing on site, probably some elements you want to remove or replaced in the future and some new elements you want to add to the existing ones. So the first rule is that all the elements in your project must be drawn in the correct Status/Phase or they must be assigned to the correct Status / Phase. So how can you do that ?

For ArchiCAD users:  There are three Statuses namely;
  • Existing Status, 
  • To be demolished Status,
  • New Status
To put your elements in the right Status in ArchiCAD;
To open the Renovation Tool, Go to Window - Palettes - Click on Renovation. A small box will appear. You can keep this box on the screen because you will need it quite frequently.  

  • Select the Status first by clicking on the status icon and model your building elements in this view(Recommended). To set the Existing Status for existing building, simply draw the building while the "Existing Status Icon " is checked. See the example below.
To Demolished some part of your existing building, 
  • Select the parts you want to demolish and and hit the second icon " To be demolished". You might not see any difference after assigning elements to "To be demolished" but trust me ,ArchiCAD will remember that the object will be demolished. We only need to tell ArchiCAD how we want the object to display in our views which I will explain later. See example below

To add new Elements to the existing building

Due to the default Renovation filter setting in ArchiCAD , if you draw something new in this view and press the third icon which stands for "New Status" whatever you have drawn will disappear, I will explain why is that later but to keep things simple, change the Renovation Filter to"05 Planned Status" in the drop down menu , then press the "New Status Icon"and start drawing the new elements .
  • Note: when you change the renovation filter to Planned Status, all the elements assigned to be demolished disappeared. Don't worry , you will understand the whole magic soon.

For Revit Users By default , there are two Project Phases namely;
  • Existing 
  • New Construction

to open the Phase tool , Go to Manage - Click on Phase

You can add new phase if needed but under normal circumstances, you do not really need additional phase, you can work your way around these two phases.

To put your elements in the right Phase in Revit;

  • In the View Properties Palette under Phasing , click in the box in front of Phase and choose the right Phase from the drop down menu before you start modelling your  building elements(Recommended). 
Selecting Phase Option in the View Properties Palette
Selecting Phase Option in the Elements Properties Palette


Think about the Filter as the way you want your project to be named ,sorted ,organized and displayed in  the views .

The Filter setting  allows you to give names and set the graphical appearance according to how you want the elements to display in the views

For Archicad Users:
You have to open Renovation Filter Option Dialogue box. 
You can Access the Renovation Filter Option by selecting it from the Renovation Filter drop down menu
Opening the Renovation Filter Option Dialogue box
After opening the Renovation Filter Dialogue box, Lets go through some of the options

Renovation Filter : The idea here is that you are creating a view for the names you write in this box and these names will carry along the setting you apply to each Statuses. Although you have the option to duplicate,Rename , Delete or Import new names,but  in my opinion these names are quite reasonable so I always work with them. At least I want one of my view to show the Existing Plan, another view to show the Demolition Plan, another to show the New Construction and another to show the Planned Status or Proposed Plan.

Filter Settings  : After setting up the View names in the Renovation Filter, Select the 01 Existing Plan and go to Filter setting and select the options as shown in the image below. Click OK

Open the renovation tool box or go to Window - Palettes - Renovation. A small Renovation box will appear. You can keep this box at the corner of your drawing area because its a quick way to change the views or assign Status
 Change the Renovation Filter to Existing and see what happens to your drawing. All elements that are assigned to "New Status" will disappear because we have hidden them in the Filter setting. See images below.

For Revit User
Phase Filter in Revit 
By default, Revit gives you some option of Filter Names but for me these name are somewhat confusing so I always change these names to the ones I can easily work with. If you really understand how the Phase Filter works, then you can use your own names if not then I will recommend that you keep the default names and see how they affect your views.
Graphics overrides allows you to change the display of elements in the views that you set up in the Phase Filters (Revit) / Renovation Filter (ArchiCAD). See Example below

ArchiACAD Users: 


Revit Overrides 

Phase Filter in Revit

Graphic Overrides in Revit

Lessons Learnt:

  • All elements must be assigned to the right Project Phase (Revit) / Renovation Status ( ArchiCAD)
  • Create Filters names or use the default Filter names to display different views , For example ; Existing Plan , Demolition Plan and New Construction Plan
  • Use Graphic Overrides( Revit ) / Renovation Overrides Styles (ArchiCAD) to tell how each Phase/ Status will  graphically appeared in each view.
Thank you for reading this tutorial. Please feel free to write comments or ask questions. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The best BIM software on the Market

Stuck with that inevitable big decision? here are some tips that could help you

The process of shifting form CAD to BIM comes along with some decisions and one of them is a necessity as a matter of fact it is inevitable. As there is a few dozens of BIM- caplable software out there and everyone one of them claiming to have the best solutions for your business, therefore investing in BIM and choosing the right software is a big decision especially for small firms that are not so financially buoyant. Some people will tell you to use the one you are more comfortable with and easy to use, but considering the time and effort spent on testing out all the available software on the market, this approach might work but time consuming. In the light of this, I want to give some more tips on what could also be consider when making this decision. These considerations can be used as an informal guide to help you narrow down your search before investing your time on software training.

Knowledge Consideration
  •  Get more knowledge about BIM process
  • Pay attention and evaluate your present business workflow in order to define where you are not adding values.
  • Identify what you would like to accomplish when you finally shift to BIM in other words, what is your goal or what do you want the BIM software to do for you.
Software Consideration.

Although there are many things to consider when deciding on the software based on your discipline but I will highlight general considerations regardless of discipline.
  • BIM software should be able to translate your model to currently acceptable Industrial Foundation Classes (IFC) format.
  • Check the interoperability between different software applications. For example , if you have been using CAD, you should check if you can transfer your CAD drawings to the BIM software without redrawing from scratch.
  • Produce traditional 2D documentations with approved IFC compliant.
  • Price: Although your biggest investment is not going to be the BIM Software itself but the process, it is still necessary to compare the prices and try to leverage between software solutions to your business and cost.
  • Download size and operating system compatibility:  Some software package are bigger than the other in terms of size, check the size of the software and the operating system recommendation to know if your machine is capable or you need to upgrade your system.
Location Consideration

Although this might not be that important but it might help to narrow down your search as well. Find out what software is commonly used in your location and in your field. This will reduce the issues of software interoperability when working on integrated projects in your location.

Here are lists of some software you might want to check

Planning/Preliminary Cost

Authoring – Design
(Architecture, Structural)

Authoring – MEPF
(Engineering & Construction)

Authoring  – Civil

Coordination (clash detection)

4D Scheduling

5D Cost Estimating

Innovaya, Vico, Tokmo


Model Checking Validation,


Energy Analysis

Please note that I might not have the name of all BIM software on my lists, therefore if you know one or are using one that is not listed here , let us know by writing in the comment below. Thank you.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Simplified Overview of Schedule in Revit 2013

Overview of Schedules in Revit 2013

This post will demonstrate how the schedule information is linked to the project and how you can work through the schedule in Revit Architecture 2013.
Although, I am writing about Revit in this post,(I will be writing about ArchiCAD Schedule in my subsequent posts) however, it is worth to mention that no matter what BIM Software is being used, the basis of Scheduling in BIM Software is to help  perform several quality assurance measures in your model or drawing and the main idea is that you use schedules to track elements within the model based on some certain criteria which could be Cost, Performance, Material usage, e.t.c.

The Overview
Start a new Schedule from View Tab

Notice there are five types of schedule. You have to go through the same process to create these schedules. But  the first two (Schedule/Quantities and Material Takeoff) when clicked ,will ask you to choose a category before proceeding to the Schedule Properties.

If you are not sure what category the element/component you are trying to schedule belongs to, select the element in your project and leave your cursor on it for some seconds, Revit will display some information about this element, the first that comes in the row is the category. In the example below, WALL will be the category to select.



The Schedule properties dialog box allows you to tell Revit what you want the schedule to report and how you want to display them. We will go through the five Properties Tabs one after the other. 
Field, Filter, Sorting/Grouping, Formatting and Appearance.


The Fields tab lets you select the data that will appear in your schedule. Think about this process as selecting the parameters or the fields that will appear as the HEADER in your table.

You can create more fields that are not listed in the Available fields box, this can be done by using Add Parameters, Calculated Value or by adding the data directly to the elements in the project.

Think about Filter as hiding what you don't want to see in the schedule. You basically have to select what you want to see and the rest will be hidden. See example below.

The Sorting/Grouping tab lets you control the order in which information is displayed and which elements control that order.




Note. Apart from "Show Title" and "Show Header" in the text appearance box ,and "Blank row before Data"  every other change you make in the appearance tab will only be seen when you drag your schedule into a sheet. The image below shows an example of a schedule on a sheet.

This tutorial gives the basic workflow in Revit Schedule and I hope it helps someone. Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to leave comments or feedback if you have found this blog useful.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Let BIM be BIM; Nothing More or Less.

BIM interpretation Commotion

“Is BIM a concept, a process, or a Software technology?” What is your interpretation of BIM?

The more I dig into “BIM” the more I get confused about the real meaning of the term BIM. BIM is sometimes described as “a concept”, sometimes as “process” and sometimes as “technology”. Can these word “Process, Concept and Technology be used synonymously to describe BIM? “

Lets look at some meaning of BIM

“.. a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onward”.

In my view, as BIM gain more popularity and the technology advances, the real meaning of BIM has been hijacked and we are now left with different interpretations of BIM. Even major software vendors have different opinions on the interpretation of BIM. You might want to read this to see the meaning of BIM from vendors’ viewpoint.

I believe BIM is a simple concept that must be clearly interpreted but sometimes the meaning go too ambiguous or too precise, causing confusion.

Here are some few interpretations of BIM

“Some say BIM is a type of software. Some say BIM is the 3D virtual model of buildings. Others say BIM is a process or BIM is nothing more than the collection of all building data organized into a structure database easy to query both in a "visual" and a "numerical" way. It is safe to say that BIM is all the above and some more…    “

Notice the phrase” It is safe to say that BIM is all the above and some more…  

Here is another description

“The process of using BIM models for collaborative purposes, leading up to and through construction is a lengthy one.  It involves a real investment on software and employees…..”

A BIM pioneer, former professor at University of Salford Manchester, in one of our classes with him also points out that BIM is not about Technology

In addition, I once read an article that describe BIM - (the Software View) and BIM ( the Process View)

Honestly speaking, I do not care so much about the different interpretations of BIM until I realised that the more I improve my skills on BIM software the more I understand the concept of BIM. But then I begin to ask myself, is this not what BIM is all about? To understand the project challenges and investigate how they can be solved using BIM Software Technology .Why do we then have so much theories trying to prove what BIM is and what BIM is not?

I believe that the struggle to meet up with the technological advancement and the demands to execute construction projects faster, easier and smarter made the AEC industry shift from hand drawing to software technology using CAD Software which eventually has been improving until now.

From CAD tools, BIM is born. Therefore, in my opinion “BIM” is no special process. In fact to me , “BIM” is a software technological improvement derived from “CAD”; developed to enhance the processes of AEC industry? BIM cannot be replaced by standard design and construction processes, or data management and life- Cycle management. I think once we are using BIM, we can really go through these processes faster, safer and smarter; but they are only possible uses of BIM.

I frequently get myself perplexed  when BIM is being described as a “process” and that BIM is not a software you can buy from the market but what about the fact that this thing called “BIM” cannot be implemented without a shrink wrapped software package that is capable of handling the so called "process"?

So what is your interpretation of BIM ?