Thursday, November 14, 2013


Attendees: Elizabeth Ashley, Geoff Bomba, Craig Goings, Mario Guttman, Bruce Madsen, Simin Naaseh, Joanna Pong, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima

Simin graciously hosted the meeting at Forell/Elsesser. Mario gave us a sneak preview of the talk he'll be giving at AutoDesk University next month, titled "Advanced Techniques for Managing Building Data in Revit"

Lots of systems out there:
  • BIM Link
  • WhiteFeet DataLink
  • Trelligence - Affinity - stand along structure, popular for health care
  • CodeBook popular in UK for health care, increasingly being used around the world
  • Nosyko - dRofus true internet solution, IFC graphics
  • Onuma Plannning System - true internet solution, more of a browser
 Conceptual Design and Building Massing

Formalizing the Space Program
Client Requirements (excel worksheet) > space program (access table) > Rooms List (access table) > BIM (Revit Project)

Linking Revit to a Database

Aggregate Planning Areas
Grouping of Organizational uses and Room types

Conceptual Design Process
Architectural Parti: identifying project constraints (site, etc.)
Placing aggregate Areas
Developing Massing
Add architectural elements such as walls
Validate areas
Creating Rooms
Validate program with the database at the room level

Room Data Sheets:
Numbering Rooms (previously database ID only)
Views of room

Supplemental Topics

Parent-Child family relationships
Site FAR Examples

Example Project

size of project threshold for use of database tools, more based on complexity of program, depends on tools in place and skill sets of available staff

use for MEP systems
applicability to structural? not immediately apparent; incredible amount of data for analysis if linked to the BIM model could be very helpful for real-time decisions. Analysis model usually separate from BIM model. Big interest from Jeff for linking data in Tekla and Revit models.

how do changes (from owner, etc.) work their way back into the model?
d rofus will log changes, identify discrepancies with program and reasons for decisions.

Structural engineers just getting into modeling rebar; tracking it can be helpful for cost implications Revit handles just spatial aspects.
Resistance from fabricators for modeling by engineers; they have their own methods and tools
architectural detailing is getting so critical

stuck in the middle between architect (in Revit) and contractor (who works in Tekla)
Tekla has a tool for importing Revit models

revit connects beams in unintended and undesired ways

anaylsis model doesn't require accuracy more than a few inches
Translation between Revit and Tekla model breaks down with repeated iteration

Copy/monitor is not used universally.

Slab edges - SAD? SSD?
slab edges, openings, depressions commonly modeled by both A and S

significant effort is required for 2D documents, is there movement to decrease graphic expectations? > It depends on the firm

Autodesk doesn't recognize value of 2D, just a slice of the model

In some ways drawings are worse, some ways better than ever in Revit. 3D detail adjacent to 2D detail.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Attendees: Mario Guttman, Nancy McClure, Dan Tsui, Marla Ushijima, Willard Williams

Bim Execution Plan (BEP) should happen before contract is signed, but usually doesn't. There's a disconnect between marketing/contracts and project management.

Project teams need to be clear on what they're trying to achieve. The whole team should read the contract. Differentiate between office BIM manual guidelines and project-specific needs.

There's an inherent conflict between the upfront strategy effort required for an efficient BIM process and the client/principal needs for early progress.

BIMScore evaluates firms and individuals' strategic thinking, not mechanical knowledge of software.

The model needs to get checked frequently. Revit has tools for checking, we just don't use them. Change can be difficult, ironic given the origin of the name Revit—REVise IT.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 2013 Meeting Notes

Attendees: Elizabeth Ashley, Jim Bedrick, Dave Bleiman, Wendy Cowles, Mario Guttman, Joel Halverson, Laura Hardy, Damon Hernandez, Adam King, Marla Ushijima, Willard Williams

Dave Bleiman was our gracious host at Rutherford & Chekene. Jim Bedrick made a great presentation on current thinking regarding LOD guidelines. Jim is one of the prime authors of the AIA's digital practice documents.

Level of Development vs. Level of Detail

AIA Level Of Development categories are structured on Uniformat classification.

Fourth level of Uniformat is user-defined. 2010 version provides guidelines for level 4, but smaller projects don't need to drill down to all levels.

Model Element Author does not equal the responsible party. Initial modeling could be passed on to the discipline ultimately responsible for it. For example, structural elements modeled by architects.
  • Level 100 - Conceptual
  • Level 200 - Generic placeholders
  • Level 300 - Specific assemblies
  • Level 350 - Interfaces between elements and oher disciplines sufficient for coordination
    • A false sense of security? MEP needs to be at 400 before structural can get to 350.
  • Level 400 - Detailed assemblies (approximating shop drawings)
  • Level 500 - As-builts
Three-digit numbers implies option to refine LOD to finer definitions

It's easy to map architects' milestones and set work plan. Overlay standard and use case milestones for workplan.

Professional Standard of Care is evolving.

 posted in progress....many more notes to come, please stay tuned

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 2013 Meeting Notes

Attendees: Elizabeth Ashley, Dave Bleiman, Mario Guttman, Bruce Madsen, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima, Willard Williams

Collaboration via email vs. Google docs, which has real-time collaboration and version tracking.

Digital security is problematic. Comic examples include the witness in the George Zimmerman trial who testified via Skype but forgot to hide his email address, so was interrupted repeatedly by random people calling him; and a recent scandal in Japan when a ministry official used Google Docs for  sensitive material, with incorrect privacy settings. Various AE firms get hacked seemingly at random; one firm was hacked for extortion and called in the FBI. It's basically whack-a-mole to protect your firewall. The most secure form of digital data transmission remains the fax machine, which is why financial institutions and government agencies still use it.

General discussion on the Bay Bridge troubles. TY Lin is supposedly horrified; that it's a monument to stupidity. Is the fundamental nature flawed? Falsework is required during construction; it's not self-supporting during construction (as opposed to traditional suspension bridges). Catastrophic collapse would result in greater loss of life; modular nature of the old bridge would limit extent of damage.

Some structural engineers are frustrated/disillusioned with how BIM is used. They tend to feel that data is the most important aspect, not the physical representation; whereas architects are less interested in things "behind the paint." (Inflammatory statement noted and decried ;) Data remains a challenge to manage. ArchiCAD was previously notoriously bad at it, but has reportedly gotten much better of late. Onuma remains a leader in data aspects of BIM.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 2013

Attendees: Alexandra Fenton Bergin, Michael Bergin, Dave Bleiman, Mario Guttman, Bruce Madsen, Danny Polkinhorn, Wafaa Sabil, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima, Willard Williams
  1. Grasshopper - design as a parametric process
  2. Building Analytics:
    • mining data from the BIM
    • QC - BIM auditing firm-wide
    • strategic planning
  3. Simulation/daylight studies: work by architects usually for LEED, lightweight; real analysis by consultants
  4. CASE recently did a project to develop a firm-wide content library pulled from content already existing in the firm's projects. They found 20,000 families with over 645,000 instances. They used Microsoft Access to mine views and nested families, prioritizing the most-used families.
  5. Would it be feasible to cross-reference and index families across all projects to view them in their native context?
  6. Key issue with content libraries is who's reviewing the information?
  7. "We have tools to pull data; we need tools to understand it." We need better tools for visualizing data.
  8. BIM still used mostly for geometry clash detection and 2D drawings, which is an evolutionary dead-end. The end client will be builders and subs for fabrication. Evolution is coming from both ends, but subs throw out design models because designers don't know what's needed for construction purposes. It remains that models are built for different purposes which are not always compatible.
  9. Why do firms hire consultants for I.T. development?
    • They tend not to trust their in-house experts or want to get a fresh perspective.
    • Value of consultants is NOT to come in and tell people what to do; they must help get work or do work/be more productive, such as creating specialized tools.
    • Viewpoint of upper management is to brand firm as being ahead of the curve, to help win work.
  10. What will our profession look like in 20-30 years?
    • either be gone or much different?
    • next generation will not be producing drawings, they'll be producing data
    • design/build?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 2013

Attendees: Dave Bleiman, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima

Major Topics:

Use of ipads, personal vs. company property. 16GB sufficient for business; individuals might want to upgrade. Wifi vs. cellular data/tether? - perhaps only principals, or in the field. Who pays for the data? Monthly stipend?

Lots of good apps out now. We shared some favorites:
  • Penultimate for sketching
  • Notability for recording mixed media notes - typed, audio, sketch
  • Dropbox
  • Sharefile
  • iAnnotate
  • Keynote
  • Bluebeam
Rutherford & Chekene uses pdfs on ipads for marketing. Can be shown either on the tablet itself or connected to a larger display or projector.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 2013

Attendees: Dave Bleiman, Catherine Chan,
Craig Goings, Bruce Madsen, Karen Thomas, Dan Tsui, Marla Ushijima

Major Topics:
File sharing

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 2013

Attendees: Luis Buenfil, Bruce Madsen, Guillaume Miara, Sheena Shook, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima

Major topics of discussion:

BIM strategy services offered by small, agile consultants (such as Case, Ant Group, Ecodomus, Kimon Onuma) to design firms and owners.

Cobie data: clients hear about it and want it, but client project managers don't want to pay for it.

Particular software is less critical than the process it facilitates.

There's a lack of consistency among firms on BIM deliverables. Everyone in the industry has a duty to push standards forward. BIM makes it more critical.

Contract language is for BIM is critical. Project managers are wary because they're on the hook for money and schedule.

UC Berkeley offers no interdisciplinary training and no Revit. Schools that don't produce good interns with useful skills will drop off. Mentorship is crucial. SF AIA mentorship program offers 360ยบ, cross-firm mentoring connections.

Writing up meeting minutes can be facilitated by audio recording. There's an ipad app that records audio with bookmarks that are tagged to typed notes. Transcription is difficult due to background noise typically present; pretty much has to be done by humans.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 2013

Attendees: Dave Bleiman, Eric Davis, David Green, Mario Guttman, Mike Hilliard, James MacKenzie, Bruce Madsen, Nancy McClure, Kim Pipkin, Tony Rinella, Adhamina Rodriguez, Gina Siciliano, Madigan Talmadge-Bowers, Vidhya Thyagarajin, Dan Tsui, Marla Ushijima, Glen Walson

James McKenzie of Swinerton hosted at Swinerton's offices (thanks, great conference room!), and led a lively discussion on BIM workflow between designers and builders. He drew from his related presentations at Autodesk University on project delivery and best practices for construction data extraction from Revit.