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Stephen Hamil of NBS on integrating specification data into BIMs


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Moving the words in a specification into a rich information model will allow this data to be shared amongst the project team more effectively and allow work to start very early in the project with an outline specification. Then, with no information loss, this will be developed alongside the CAD model through the life of the project to produce a contract specification and finally a record specification. The specification model and the CAD model will be integrated so that design decisions are documented once and in the right place.

I hope Nemetschek and Computers Unlimited will be working with Stephen on integrating this into Vectorworks.

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I'm picking it will need an addon/plugin for any particular CAD program. The specification data would then be attached to objects and synchronised with NBS Building via the plugin. The "specification model" would simply be a document with a semantic structure that appropriately mirrors the structure of the geometric model.

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I wouldn't expect that but UK localisation of VW is done by NV (I don't know what the deal is but that's the way it is).

So I would expect Nemetschek (and to some extent our distributor) to do what Graphisoft have done, and that's to work with NBS to develop a plug-in that makes it possible for the NBS Annotator (or whatever tool is required for the above) to work from inside of Vectorworks.

e.g. http://constructioncode.blogspot.com/2010/05/annotating-archicad-models-from-nbs.html

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So it turns out I'm mostly wrong in saying UK localisation is done by NV.

How it works is that NV provides an International English version (although for the most part "International" means "Nth American").

NV then provide some symbol libraries for different English and non-English speaking markets. It's partly this point that led me to believe UK localisation is done by NV. But we also had a meeting with the UK distributor and NV in September where we put forward many localisation requests and it wasn't made clear at that point either.

What this means for us in the UK is that Vectorworks won't be usable as a BIM tool for the foreseeable future. It means we have to start lobbying our distributor to localise VW and provide the BIM tools we need. It could take years just to convince them that they need to do this, let alone carry out the localisations.

So here I am again thinking, as opposed to ArchiCAD, we still don't have window and door tools that are usable in 2D, let alone 3D. We still don't have a BIM server for team work. We still don't have a modular window tool. And now we can add to that list such innovations as specification writer integration.

So I'm depressed again. I'm 35 and I'm sick of working so inefficiently. I expected to be working with 21st century tools by now, not stuck in the stone age of 2D. Other companies that use different tools are probably at least 3 times as fast as us and with less errors. Either we've got years to wait before VW is a useful BIM tool in the UK or I've got to manage the unenviable task of changing our office over to something else or I've got to reluctantly go get a job elsewhere.

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Christiaan, is it not an option to use different programs parallel at your office, I understand that changing completely to another program is a costly time consuming process and I know nothing about your companie. But wouldn't it be worth trying 1 or 2 other Apps, I mean just having a single license in the office can be useful and not too costly initially, plus young people easily adapt to new programs and can give you good feedback about pros and cons?

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The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

-- Robert Fulghum, in It was On Fire When I Lay Down on It, Ivy Books, 1989

"But, we ask, what will happen to our drive for progress if we see all opposites are one? Well, with any luck, it will stop--and with it that peculiar discontent that thrives on the illusion that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But we should be clear about this. I do not mean that we will cease making advancements of a sort in medicine, agriculture, and technology. We will only cease to harbor the illusion that happiness depends on it. For when we see through the illusions of our boundaries, we will see, here and now, the universe as Adam saw it before the Fall: an organic unity, a harmony of opposites, a melody of positive and negative, delight with the play of our vibratory existence. When the opposites are realized to be one, discord melts into concord, battles become dances, and old enemies become lovers. We are then in a position to make friends with all of our universe, and not just one half of it."

--Ken Wilber, No Boundary , p. 29

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I don't think the issue is a question of either or, I think that certain programs suit certain projects, after all there isn't one single program that does 'everything' we need (at the moment and I say this not knowing how far Bentley have come in the last 5 years).

Plus it 'must' be a strength for an office to have a certain degree of competence and experience in different programs when the need arises.

I wasn't implying that you are old btw Christiaan in my previous post, I just don't know how the division is between old and young at your office ie. what it would 'cost' to start with (a) new programs. ;)

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So it turns out I'm mostly wrong in saying UK localisation is done by NV.

Disappointing, but not insurmountable. I think many of the problems we identified (on needleandmortar) with the architectural tools are universal outside of the US and I hope NV will fix them. With regards to terminology, that's just a few fields in a database and we've spoon-fed them the UK terms.

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I hope you're right but it remains to be seen. Furthermore we've really only focussed on 2D to date on needleandmortar. And things like modular windows and NBS integration do appear to be insurmountable. While you may not be interested in 3D and the like for now, we think we're becoming uncompetitive for lack of it.

While ArchiCAD is already shipping such tools we're stuck here discussing who we should actually be asking to develop them and getting mixed messages in the process. I say mixed messages because I got the distinct impression from our September meeting that UK localisation is carried out by NV. Then I get a private message from Jeffrey describing the process I outlined above.

We could really do with a clear statement from NV and Computers Unlimited about who will do what. I really don't want to spend another 3 years working in 2D while begging for VW to be modernised no avail.

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How many ArchiCAD UK users are there?

How many VW UK users are there?

That is paid up current version users ? not dreamers

How many of the current version users of VW been active with needleandmortar and contributed to it?

I know staggering numbers

The majority of users should feel robbed.... while you guys are tackling UK terminology? HTH


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Why is it in life sometimes quasi activist type people who are demanding reasonable change for their own ends when asked to put up or shut up just ignore the questions

It is obvious NV should only invest into the UK to the degree returns can be gained ? same with the UK distributors I suppose

I wonder if the squeakiest wheel getting the oil method is appropriate or is it really a sense of self importance beyond reality

If I was in your shoes and thankfully I am not I would collect together the UK users with the same wishes and let NV or the UK distributor know you had some genuine strength behind you

Perhaps to really understand the figures may let you understand what you can push perhaps what you cannot then evaluate and make logical decisions

To answer the questions with honesty of course could be a start but why would one expect that?

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Jeffrey, your quotes would seem to support Vincent's advice.

In any case I don't want to be told that disappointment awaits me on the other side. I just want to be told how you're going to resolve our problems.

Christian, You should know by now it is easier to make quotes (talk) rather than provide the actions to back them up. Go figure. When beam-me-up technology is common place we will by then have a stair tool that works. Now come on what's wrong with that picture?


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The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence.

Ah! now that depends on who is in charge of the watering........

Not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

What does one do when the grass is only greener in certain 'areas' on the either side of the fence and someone else is in charge of watering?

How does one go about convincing that person(s) of where to water?

Edited by Vincent C
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