Everyone either knows from experience, or has heard the stories of what it was like to draw for an architecture firm 20 years ago. AutoCAD was the tool of choice, and clearly the industry standard for not only Architecture, but all AEC and manufacturing as well. The days of hand drawing were over and even though there were some still holding on to the past, the overall masses understood what was available, and with the industry standard in place, worked hard to make their processes the best.
(Not exactly the 90’s, but you get the point…)
Around the year 2000, Revit began to show up in offices as trial software for modeling projects in 3D and people loved it…well some did. Over the years the product developed into a major player for BIM software specifically for architecture firms, and has now become arguably the standard software for BIM, replacing the long standing former standard, AutoCAD. This new program offered rendering, perspective viewpoints, construction documentation, and coordination opportunities unheard of at the time, making this the greatest thing for architects in numerous ways.
Another major push for Revit was the latest boom for BIM within the AEC industry, taking it further into the spotlight as firms moved it from their R&D labs into the role of project enhancements. These projects began offering a new perspective into the project as visual clash detection even during the schematic design phase, along with renderings and 3D sections and details. Other firms actually began completing construction documentation using only Revit and produced a better quality product in less time with less staff! In the end BIM became the hot item, and Revit was there to make it happen.
Now is the time when firms have adopted the software, implemented the process and THEN realized standardization is important. Project managers no longer had a template and specific blocks to utilize within Revit. The out-of-the-box components were not enough, and no one had anything else to work with, so they made their own. This worked great at first, but within a short time, issues began to flood the marketplace. Websites offering a dumping ground for family files, end users using other software to quickly model geometry for what they needed, were unable to modify in Revit, and shortcuts and workarounds ensued…standards is needed now!
Over the last few years I have dealt with this issue, along with many other major firms worldwide, and all have has different responses. Last year I wrote an article on documentation required to standardize your firms BIM structure and I hope you are able to read that in collaboration with this article. We discuss the different documents needed, including a BIM Standards Manual, BIM Execution Plan, and more. Those steps are finding ways to standardize your firm, whereas this article is merging your firm’s standards with the Industry standards and making it all work together as efficiently as possible. It is a big task, but one that will provide a huge impact in your firm’s process and resulting benefits including profits and proficiency.
(Past article for reference: http://www.augi.com/library/cad-management-standardize-for-success)
The first step is to understand that as much as we consider the “Industry” as a separate entity, it is merely a collection of “us”, therefore we ARE the industry, and this makes the idea that we can get this done, a lot easier to swallow. The point is, we need to work together to define these principles, and utilizing our knowledge of what we do, to make the best possible results for a BIM workflow and ultimately and BIM standard, creating a BIM industry standard. Many people have already starting down this path, and in fact, many have been amazingly kind and generous, offering their results and their own documentation to help create the path for everyone.
Below is a list of links to help guide your efforts, but all must be taken into account that they are here to help, not copy from, and that they are being provided for you as a guide, not to dictate what your firm is capable of. If there is something they have that your firm doesn’t need…skip it. If there is something that your firm needs, and you cannot find it, create it! These times are the best times for our roles as we are actually able to contribute to these standards and form the industry together as a whole. Take this opportunity to be active, not reactive to your work. Please see the following introductory list of people, agencies, and firms sharing their resources:
The last thing I want to stress is to continue the collaboration. Once you have created the documentation for your firm, helped to mold standards for your production, and brought together your best practices and workflows, SHARE the results! These links above are there to help improve your work life and in turn, please do not keep your results hidden and secluded. I understand firms must keep their advantages secure, but there are still ways to share specific details to benefit both you and others, contributing to the success of BIM throughout your firm and the world.
In the end, the future is exciting!!! I am very interested in your feedback and advice as I am planning to submit a future article discussing more about this topic and bringing together your thoughts and ideas as to what we are creating as the future of AEC BIM industry standards. The best part is figuring out, or understanding that BIM is not the end, as virtual reality, paperless solutions, and technology itself is evolving at an insane rate. I look forward to the next step in this journey and appreciate anyone willing to help pave the way there!