Sunday, May 1, 2011

How the BIM Process effects the "Studio" environment

I haven't been able to post many of my recent experiences due to the fact after having my 3rd child (3rd daughter, oh my!) and then being part of a staff reduction, then luckily finding another BIM Manager role quickly (was a miracle, thank you Lord); well, it's been a very busy the past several months. After being part of a group Implementing BIM in my previous employment, I now find myself in the same role, but sweeter. I hold the reins & their is no BIM committee slowing me down b/c I am the committee, lol. So that's a load of responsibly of having to deal with and traveling to 9 offices rather than staying at 1 location doing video conferencing previously.
The 2 Firms are structured totally different down to their mission statements. I happen to chat with an ex-co-worker recently about it, then it hit me, an epiphany of sorts. The key ingredient of Implementing the BIM process to make it a Grand success from every direction is how the "Studio" is structured & not just have everyone using BIM tools. Now I've seen it first hand from both sides and the winner is my current place of employment for utilizing Integration & Versatility.

How not to have an office studio structured to ensure a grander success....

Having your own Designers in their own "Island" & the Production team really degrades the BIM Process & in it's own hidden way hits at the "Bottom Dollar" or ROI if you will. So the Production Team is using Revit & the stubborn Designers that want to keep using CAD & Sketch-up will be their demise, but that's also a culture issue for not demanding BIM across the board. Then the more you have "Designers" going straight into designing & not learning about "reality", well, you don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure out the rest of that story. Now here are the results that I experienced. The Designer selects a "theory" for SD then in DD we explain the "applied dynamics" and possible issues that may affect the "desired" look they are wanting to have, then some back & forth & further studies for how the details will work; a constant zooming In & Out of the Project Lens & more effort than it should be for each design intent in every area since the "Designer" has little or no experience of the Production Process thus missing out on learning how things really come together. Just like when someone looks up the meaning of a word they will always remember it rather than someone just telling them what it is, which has to occur several times before it sinks in. I understand the argument of this approach being that to get a more "Specialized" service thus being efficient, but for BIM, pha-get-a-bout-it, as they say in NY. The front end my see "efficiencies", but it's all lost & then some moving into the DD phase as described above. So will the "efficiencies" for the Production team for this reason.
The way I'm seeing it in my current location is that SD & DD is "Steamlined" as is the Studio team, along with being "Versatile". A faster ROI if you will. So a person more geared toward Design will have the lead on "designing", but having taken part of the production process (being Versatile) will make an informative judgment eliminating so much of the back-n-forth/tit-for-tat because they will do the necessary exploratory process of how the "details" will look & not just the surface of the elements in composition. As the saying goes, "The devil is in the Details". Of course, with more experience come more knowledge, but in the world of today it's the story of the Lion vs. Gazelle. No longer are the days of being the "Toilet Architect", where you got specialized in area per area. It's all Integrated learning on the go, like the gazelle wanting to survive, you snooze you loose. So "A house is divided against itself cannot stand." (Specialized Studios), and "A family that prays together, stays together" (Integrated Studios). Now that HINTS to many other factors that are leading to Great successes that I'm noticing all around me & fewer, "elsewhere". For me it's as clear as daylight which process works best. All I wish to say to the firms with the "old school" format, keep doing what you're doing b/c your days are numbered.
So not only am I the Firmwide BIM Manager/BIM Leader, I also assist in resolving design issues, production, coordination, & utilizing Navisworks. I'm worth every penny they are paying me, lol. I feel free to fly rather than a bird in a cage.