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 ?