Thursday, August 11, 2011

August SFDD Morning Meeting

Attendees: Stan Stinnet, John Cole, Mario Guttman, Bruce Madsen, Marla Ushijima, Dan Tsui, Nancy McClure

Discussion of Edward Tufte and graphical presentation of information. Comparison of how each of us visualizes numbers: pieces of a dollar bill, line with proportional tics, pie chart, bundles of tootsie roll pops.

BIM is unique in its ability to capture information, but the data can be difficult to extract from the model for further analysis and manipulation. Explorer (for Revit) finds objects but doesn't provide parametric information about them. HOK has developed a custom tool. Microsoft Access has some compatibility issues with Revit. SQL Server or MySQL are options but require using the Revit API, which uses C#.

Dan described Modulus Consulting and their business model. They're a neutral third party, usually hired by the contractor. They run the coordination meetings following an issue list illustrated by Navisworks clash detection screen shots. The Navisworks model is accessed during meetings to identify potential solutions and resolve conflicts. Decisions are documented in the meeting notes in the form of a google docs spreadsheet. Design issues are identified and submitted as RFIs.

Mario postulates that meeting minutes are undervalued. Well-structured minutes can capture information in a very efficient and easily accessed way.

Reference books for software are of limited value, though Stan recommends the Autodesk Essentials training guides - electronic format allows easy highlighting/note-taking and is in color. Revit Help is a driving manual for the software, not task-oriented. Most-used resources are google and colleagues.

Dan has created a mobile app to access a Navisworks model on an ipad, based on a video game engine (Unity). He provides the final, coordinated model as a field reference for the contractor. Some work is required to prepare each model for the app. Everyone agreed it is very intuitive and an exciting tool. It's in an early stage of development, but we predict his fortune is made once he's ready to offer it in the marketplace.

Dan also promotes the value in lightening a model for ease of use. Worksets allow modeling with less computer power; Dan can work on a mainstream laptop.

Bruce notes that architects have gone full circle on models. They were once used as a primary documentation tool, but were supplanted by data-rich orthographic drawings. BIM is bringing 3D documentation back to prominence.

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