Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rules to Follow or Follow the Rules

It's been one busy month & a half with deadlines every 2 weeks & on top of that having to move into my new home doing new paint, replacing carpet, accent lighting, refinishing the "original" wood flooring, & landscaping of half an Acre (Colonial Style Home)...I'm getting tired just recalling all I've been doing...LOL

Things I’ve started to notice more while in the “Trenches” & assisting an Interiors Project (a 500K SF Project); that everyone should keep from getting out of hand & some other things I just want to point out apart from the standard knowledge.

1) Too many “Junk Families” or duplications/extra that need to be refined to 1, 2 or 3 – Remind everyone on the team BIM Leaders are in charge of “approving” families to be incorporated in the files or to create more family types, or to be informed if the one creating it is deemed to be competent enough to do it on their own.

2) Also I’ve noticed “Fake Tagging”; Inform “Greenhorns” of no faking at all costs, CREATE “NOTE BLOCKS” INSTEAD. A BIM Leader should be consulted.

3) (for when Match-lines need to be slightly different in each floor) Match-lines in each level file should be set to Floor to Floor & not to Unlimited; it will be less of a hassle when dealing with Atrium spaces that require other files from different levels to be linked in.

4) Avoid “in-place, walls” as much as possible (for better wall joints); if a niche then minimize it to that spot & not the whole wall or use the Wall Opening Tool & create a wall type to have the desired depth of the niche. Model Graphic styles should be set to “wire frame” unless there are special circumstances for floor/area/enlarged plans; & detailed blowups using detail components should be set @ “hidden line” mode.

5) If a file gets corrupted only “BIM Leaders” should be the ones’ resolving the issue, or if anything goes wrong a “BIM Leader” should be involved & not just informed of a decision/action performed to make sure it’s done correctly. I’ve seen different cases where people thought they were competent enough to handle it & the issue wasn’t resolved correctly & a BIM Leader still had to handle it anyway.

6) Providing CAD Backgrounds to Non-Revit Consultants; don’t spoil them or pamper them; simplify the exporting process for you as much as possible on a Multi-Revit file Project & give them 1 hard copy of our ARCH dwgs for them to Coordinate.

7) Best Rule to Follow so Not to Shoot Yourselves in the Foot: Let the “BIM Leader” (with consultation of a BIM Manager/Leader & “some Input” from a PA & or PM with “enough” Revit Experience) decide on how to do any File Management - creating more files to link/Revit Schedules, worksets, families, what could Possibly be done in CAD if a Situation presents itself & (coordination of Dummy Sheets), etc, etc… a PA or PM should not also be a BIM Leader (they have Bigger fish to fry) because it spells disaster for when it comes to maintaining the files.

8) It’s the BIM Leaders job duty to coordinate Any Data between files, let them deal with the process.

9) After each deliverable it will be wise to have a brief “Revit meeting” to discuss issues encountered & their solutions no matter how insignificant so others can learn from it to increase their skills & to also reinforce the “Best Practices/Standards” (practices/standards of (Company Here) & of Revit) especially for the “New Team Members”, because of special circumstances in the Project, some deviations from best practices may be in effect.

10) If someone from another Office will be assisting, Isolate them to an Area that no one else in the team will “touch”. Dept/Area/Floor/View Types like walls are to floor plans & ceilings are to RCP’s & most wall components are to elevations. That way they won’t have to waste time waiting on a S.T.C. from someone on the team.

11) “Custom” & or Complex millwork/casework as families rather than “in-place families” is a good idea. “Management”

12) ALSO, the burning question most asked in all firms making the transition to Revit;
Q: “Who will be the most successful in Revit like the ones’ in CAD”
A: The Ones’ that know how all the Pieces of a Building come together & not just know how it’s supposed to “look on paper”
– just because someone is a wiz in CAD doesn’t mean the same success in Revit; & the ones’ more software Savvy or inclined to learn new Software will have some success depending on their Building knowledge.

13) Remember: BIM Leaders are the first line of defense to “enforce” standards/best practices.

14) Remind Team Leaders that are more CAD oriented (still working on other CAD projects) & still new to Revit to pick-up on the Revit Terminology & Practices; they need to always be thinking in 3D when “Redlining”, so that the more experienced Revit production team with terminology (BIM Greenhorns, Annotators, Modelers, & Leaders) will have less confusion & questions to verify or even for the new Interns that may not be that savvy.

15) TIP: if you need to move a view to a different sheet have the 2 sheets open, then in the Project Browser in the Sheet Folder Expand the Sheet to see the views within; click & drag the desired view to move to the sheet in the Browser then move the Pointer to the sheet you are wanting to move it to & you’ll see the ghost outline of the view around the pointer ready for placement.

16) One should create an Official Job Duty List for the BIM Production Team so who’s ever Deemed to whichever of the 5 skill levels to concentrate more on those duties than to where more Hats than they should unless they are getting ready to up their skills, so to create less problems. ((the 5 Skill Levels: 1) BIM Greenhorn 2) BIM Annotator 3) BIM Modeler 4) BIM Leader 5) BIM Manager))

17) Create a Do’s & Don’ts list or a Lessons Learned list for BIM Projects to have all leaders in a project to read over, let’s not trip over the same Rock. So an accumulated List of Best Practices (32-bit & of 64-bit) & of “Do’s & Do Not’s” (AKA: Lessons Learned) (32-bit & of 64-bit).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Economic Downturn but Upturn for BIM?

Reflecting on my Career in Construction & Architecture one theme is appearant, "Being at the right place at the right time with the right people with the right disciplne". I guess beause
I let the "Man up stairs to lead the way", meaning knowing how to read the clues.

For example, this Joke kind of drives the point, I'll make it a shorter version:
A man was stranded out at sea; he says God I want you to Save me; a plane then ship passes by, but says no I want God to save me; then in Heaven he tells God why didn't you save me! Well, didn't you see the Plane then Ship I sent you, Dummy! AH AH AH!
To get something else off my chest; we are here given "free will" with rules to follow kind of like Free Speach with rules like not "crying wolf"; but anyway!

Reflecting back at all my friends I tried to help by bring them onboard before Texas felt the Pain ("I'm Happy Here"; it should have been more about the Future). I bet some of them that couldn't read the Clues are kicking themselves in the butt, LOL. I preached to them to Learn Revit to get a better foot in the door, Mr. Akin drives the point why in his Blog, it's the future of everyone's survival. Some of them looking only found out that the only jobs left where "Revit Positions" now they see the light, it's kind of like the man finding himself in Heaven that I mentioned earlier, but I feel for them being now close to a year with out jobs; just look for those clues to guide you. Now as I was saying in the beginning about "Right..." it so happens that my office has fared better than the rest of the sitelite offices, but still. We have a foot hold in certain areas (too late for everyone else, LOL) of the world that will brighten our future; I hope someone is reading the clues. The prospects in the States are getting more competition than usual so also looking elsewhere is the next best thing. I would love to share some of the insider secrets to that success of getting a "Foot-Hold" that I have learned from my Office Principals, but I would be shotting my Economic Future/Job Security in the Foot maybe, LOL. Just keep looking for those clues because some of the insider info I've been lucky to learn about on the Economy says it's going to be a rough 4-5 years for the States. Only BIM will keep you from crossing into the Dark Side, or at least keep you from falling all the way in from the Info I've seen. "Good Journeys"!

Visibility Settings of Equipment in Elevations

I'm trying to make it a habit of posting every 2-4 days, but with deadlines now coming every 2-4 weeks (coordination sets, qc/qa, then for whatever issue for an area/diliverable phasing, aka:Fast-Track) till November. Then on top of that buying a home.

So we have View Templates like for Typ. Floor Plans, Enl. Plans, Interior Elevation, etc...

I ran into what I thought was 2 anomolies; 1st, was dragging a specialty equip into an area & it changed its appeaerance as it was crossing a maginary plane & it didn't change no matter what we did like the Lineweight tool or all the other possible visibility settings; 2nd, Equip was not visible , but could see it if you hovered the mouse over it & all other possible visibility settings didn't pan out either.

Solution: reapply the view template & if it dosen't change (like it did in the aformentioned) then it's "corrupt" in some way & you will need to recreate it or apply another that's suitable. No matter how much I tryed fixing the View Template it wasn't panning out. Maybe because once the view template was applied a team member later altered settings within the views rather than updating the View Template (either a brain fart for the whole time or someone with a skill level of a beginner "BIM Coordinator" LOL)?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adding Useful Content for your Template

First of all I would like to thank Gregory Akin, from Revit3d, for his support. I be in contact as soon as a series of deadlines on a Fast-Track Project of a 500k SF Hospital passes; if IPD was in place from the very begining it would have been a very smooth road, but none the less I'm proud of Management for making it as smooth as possible. Also if MEP was also done in Revit, but that's another story to be later told.

Browsing around the Web researching this topic provided one constant theme, "Intellectual Property", & of course many helpful hints for the "beginner", but I'm past that. My Firm is updating to the 2010 & slightly improving upon the current Template that still has some ways to go as in having the best substance in regards to the Early Design Phase. Though I'm not incharge, I'm taking the initiative to find the most useful content to have added.
What I'm getting at is useful Schedules with Parameters that outline Program constraints (like occupancy loads, etc...) & IBC/ADA/BOCA/State Codes that are applicable among other typical schedules that haven't been added like for instance the Massing. I just wish there were downloadable content for such things. Of course most of the content would most likely involve having "Shared Parameters"; & as you can see I just opened up a whole Box of Worms for just little 'ole me to enbark upon. I need a little help from ya'll out there too if possible. I'll share too.
"Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I've ever known." (LOL) Just a little more about me. I like to work Smart not Hard, but at the same time work hard "Now" to make "Later" easier. I'm beyond "Do it Right the first time" (that goes without saying), because the break throughs of Technolgy & Ideas will always have some affect on what's "Right" today to what's "Right the first time" tomorrow. So I'm always searching for what Tomorrow will bring. As a BIM Leader you must have this mentality, after all it comes with the territory. Let me show you, there are 5 skill levels of BIM: 1)BIM Greenhorn 2)BIM Coordinator 3)BIM Modeler 4)BIM Leader aka: Asst. BIM Manager 5)BIM Manager; notice I mentioned the words (Asst & Manager) & anyone familiar with leadership roles know that an "Assistant" does the Leg Work. I gotta go, I just created a mond of work for me to do that will apply to all the Offices aka: Job Security. "And I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time but here I go again, here I go again". (LOL)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Growing Pains

No better way to describe how I learned all about Revit than what the title states; I joined the Firm that I'm with 3 years ago on the 1st of August and no better way to celebrate it than creating a Blog about my experiences in the Revit World, but a little more about me before desert.

I grew up around the Houston Area & worked here till I went to California to get a little more diverse experience in Architecture then some time later the Housing Meltdown began and I had a little "Birdy" that told me it was only the tip of the ICE BERG, & thank God I got outta' Dodge before $%!# hit the ceiling to land back in one of the more stable areas of the Country. The best thing I brought back was discovering Revit for myself and not having to deal with so many "Flakes". LOL

The AEC firm I joined was introduced to BIM a few months before I joined & one of the Offices had just started a Pilot project, to which I later transfered to, and so Started my "Growing Pains" becoming a BIM Leader. The frist BIM project was thrown into the middle of was half CAD & Revit then from there it was Revit to the Max. We quickly discovered how important it was to quickly develop Office wide "Standards/Best Practices/Families" ASAP; and OH MY has it been a long road to have something with substance in Place. If anyone out there is with an A/E firm with multiple offices they know what I mean (Politics, Groups & "Committees"...OH My), but it makes "Climbing up that Mountain" an even more "fullfilling" experience, any "Competitor" knows what I mean......