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BIM white paper

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Robert:

I read your paper on BIM + Vectorworks. I'm glad to see NNA get info out there on this critical issue. Good work.

It seems there is a critical component missing from Vectorworks in order to comply or measure up to some of the concepts outlined in the article. Namely, in order to use the BIM info as a "geometric canvas", it is essential that all data update as parametric objects are modified. In the current release, building sections must be manually recut each time the building changes and therefore increases the chance for errors. For vectorworks to move on par with Archicad, this has to change, sections must dynamically update as the building changes.

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Still to read the White Paper...

However, as much as I would like to dynamic sections (and, and, and...), for the BIM concept this is not actually a crucial issue - maybe not an issue at all.

From my point of view, the main issue is interoperability - and in this respect, VW fails miserably. The proprietary object technology and inability to use & modify generic formats (including statements such as 'STEP is dead', 'no-one supports Industry Foundation Classes'*, 'ODBC is not of great interest to us' etc.) are not good. MAYBE Autodesk, Bentley, Nemetschek AG (ie. the real McNemetschek) and Graphisoft are just toying with interoperability, who knows, but I have not seen any signs of even toying from NNA.

That off my chest, I must also say that VW has heaps of BIM features already. Too bad that nobody uses them.**

*) as in 'nobody expects the Spanish inquisition'

**) ditto

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There is an interesting relationship between the "object oriented" concept behind BIM, interactive sections and elevations which might be the full equivalent of VW's "hybrid" 2D plan view of a 3D model, and the notion of interoperability. I think the first two ideas are pretty useful, but have doubts about the third.

Interoperability and the ISO/STEP attempts to come up with standards are absorbing the time of a great number of talented programmers. The problem, fundamentally, is that they are dealing with a moving target. I have the feeling that by the time a "standardized" solution has been created, the real world will long have moved beyond the parameters with which they have started.

Technology does not develop according to a grand unified plan. It just happens. That may be messy, but that's just the way it is. If NNA focuses on support for file formats of proven utility, such as .dwg for working with ACAD and maybe .stl for freeform solids (I'm sure there are others), that would be good enough for me.

In the meantime, I find that the comments which led this topic (about idea two) are crucial to closing the gap between the object-oriented model and the ultimate work product of an architect's office.

[ 08-03-2003, 01:06 AM: Message edited by: P Retondo ]

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I agree with the white paper that Vectorworks has long been out front with "BIM" features. I have been using the spreadsheet features to construct BIM containing Spreadsheets (SPS) since way away back. I have some professional friends whom look to me as a mentor for the various ways to use VectorWorks to automate the mundane so that they can put their prime time to use working out the design and the knotty problems before a contractor has to use his "change order" priviledge which usually results in project cost overruns.

I have used the framing features to work out framing problems before the contractor gets to discover them.

In one project for a charitable orgainization which used volunteer labor to build a large building the framing diagrams were the key to erecting the building during a very short narrow construction season. (can you say "Alaska". The few construction professionals coached the skilled amateurs who used the cad generated info to cut lumber accrately, rig jigs to produce site built roof trusses and transfer knowledge quickly to succeeeding crews. The crews rotated substantially because people committed usualy one week to the process so every week the new workers had to build forward from where the prior crew left off. Clear, highly detailed drawings which had automatically generated information enabled them to pull it off! Tasks completed were highlighted on the drawings and notes left about what had to come next were written on the master set and crossed off when complete.

The takeoff schedules for doors, windows, finishes, and BOM lumber lists facilitated the cost estimation and preordering of materials and other items. This resulted in amazing just in time experiences for the workers. Trucks arrived with materials the day before they were needed. Windows were off loaded from the delivery truck into the openings for them.

I could write a book about not only my experiences, but others experiences where VectorWorks (and its forbear - MiniCAD) have made the difference between project flop and project success, successful bidder vs too low a bid which bankrupts a company, etc.

The bottom line for me and what I do is: I do ite better, quicker and therefore I have a 100% referral business - lowest marketing costs mean higher "profits" per project. Also I get "premium" fees for certain kinds of work because I can meet client's timetables and they can get production lines running on or ahead of schedule.

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