"Revit MEP is quite ideal in terms of developing MEP contract documents. The tools contained in the program greatly assist the engineer in doing HVAC load calculations, sizing of mechanical pipe, and plumbing. Establishing a decent general coordination drawing is also quite possible in Revit MEP.
"However, my experience in developing coordination drawings is greatly assisted in knowing what and how parts are fabricated. We develop coordination drawings for the purpose of fabricating a real world made up of location and serviceability of the engineered design intent. Simply saying that a drawing is coordinated, does not necessarily mean that it can be built. Means and Methods are taken into consideration when actual vendor parts are available.
"In short, the content is not quite there yet."
We need more than this. We need Autodesk to make strategic partnerships with manufacturers (like Victaulic, who has an extensive AutoCAD library) to develop objects for use in Revit MEP.
Why doesn't Autodesk care about builders? Why should any vendor care about builders? (Although I think that Autodesk does the best job of ignoring us..congrats.)
Designers purchase more licenses of Revit. I'm guessing that a design firm that has the same number of employees as Tocci would probably purchase at least 3 to 4 times more (we have 5) - and that is a wild guess.
But builders do purchase licenses. And more than that, we inspire licenses both downstream and upstream. After we discuss the benefits of VDC with owners, they start requiring their architects to work in Revit. (And yes, this has recently happened to us!) We also have the capability to require subcontractors to work in Revit. And we have lots and lots of subcontractors on each project. However, they will only be able to work in Revit if key functionality for builders is there.
So, Autodesk (and other vendors), think big here..and show us that you care.
So why aren't we using Vico?
Well, first of all, we work with architects that use Revit. So at this point, we couldn't use any of Vico's tools for those projects. Also, our accounting & budgeting system is set up using Timberline - switching to Vico would be problematic.
Whenever I meet people who work at companies that utilize Vico, they seem much calmer about BIM. Implementing is no big deal. For some reason, that always bugs me. I feel that BIM/VDC is supposed to work. It is hard. There are issues. It shouldn't be easy or seamless. And for some reason, if it is easier for someone else, something must be wrong, right?
Realistically, I'm sure that Vico users have their share of issues, and I am only seeing the marketing gloss. I know if I were using Vico, I would find issues with it. But their serenity about BIM/VDC still bugs me...
The first was on a BIMForum Emerging Leaders Subforum (EL) call. In January, EL plans to meet with the Academic Subforum to discuss how BIM and VDC can be integrated into the curriculum, so the group is preparing for that.
My personal view on integrating BIM and VDC into the curriculum is that we have to be careful. Adding a Revit class to a Construction Management program is not enough; although exposure to Revit/ArchiCAD/Bentley/etc. is a good idea. However, it isn't about the software. (And honestly, I don't care if a new hire knows Revit unless they are an expert - we're going to reteach it to them anyway.) Students need to learn about the process, about collaboration, about the legal aspects, the real issues. I feel so strongly about this and hope that I can sneak out of Process Mapping Task Force and join this session for a little bit!
The second was this afternoon, when I taught the BIM module of the Woburn High ACE Mentor Program, which Tocci is participating in. In two hours, we (Tocci's Virtual Construction Coordinator, an architect from KlingStubbins and myself) reviewed concepts of BIM (from both the design and build side) as well as basic Revit skills with a dozen or so high school students.
Although I have presented to academic classes as well as taught classes in Revit, this was truly a new experience. Because of the nature of the module, we focused more on Revit than VDC which is so unusual for me! It forced me to think about things from a completely different perspective - most of the students know next to nothing about what people in the AEC industry do, nevermind why BIM/VDC might be a revolutionary departure from the norm.
My conclusion: BIM needs to be taught along with a core knowledge of the construction industry, which includes both means and methods and history. Revit or another similar tool could be used to help students understand means and methods, but when used without proper guidance won't teach the student a whole lot.
I met some amazing people at AU. I also took some phenomenal classes (my favorites were the few of Robert Green's CAD management classes I took). If I met who I met and learned what I learned in the course of a regular week, I would be pretty happy. So why was I not happy with the same results at AU?
1. AU is over hyped. Autodesk, I know you're a skilled marketing machine, but just stop.
2. The General Session wasn't so great. I refuse to be distracted by techno, flashing lights and a panorama of screens. It was cool, but the content was missing. I was promised a vision for the future. There was no vision. As it was later pointed out to me, Autodesk isn't really at the point where it can lay out a vision; they have just acquired quite a few products and need to spend some time making things work together. (Although, I think that would be enough of a vision for Autodesk for me).
3. The classes and the instructors were falsely advertised. Next year, Autodesk should have instructors take a test that will categorize their level of industry, presentation and software experience. The score of each instructor should be posted in the description of all classes they are teaching. Attendees should also have to take similar tests, so that they know where they stand and which classes might be a good match for them.
4. I saw a lot of unrealized potential. Because I have coordinated (and continue to coordinate) BIMForum conferences (granted for 100, not 10,000), I notice the little things at other conferences. AU was so close, but there was something a little off. Bigger is not better.
5. Speaking of BIMForum, I can't forget to mention it. I would be willing to say that the 100 BIMForum attendees (including the beginners who sneak in the door) are doing more innovation with technology and process than the 10,000 AU attendees. They are also sharing more.
For next year, there are a few BIMForum members talking about submitting some real VDC use cases and presentations - no more 'I like BIM. BIM is good' presentations. If I decide to go again, it will be join them in presenting.
I haven't had a chance to check this out much more, but you can demo it on their website.
Sitting behind me in the class was Terry Bennett, Autodesk's Senior Industry Manager for Engineering and Construction Infrastructure Solutions, who was involved with the project. After the class, I spoke with him about the concept of importing laser scan data directly into Revit. Although Revit was used for the Easter Island project, the workflow was Leica --> 3DS Max --> Revit, and from what I understood, not a whole lot of data was pulled in.
I asked him where laser scan data was on Autodesk's priority list; he said something along the lines of:
It will become a higher priority when it becomes more important to Revit users, and currently, it isn't important to them.This workflow is certainly a high priority for me - it will directly improve building quality.
Laser scans done of existing conditions (either site or buildings) will provide an accurate base for the design. Laser scans done during the construction phases will help the team update the model based on as-built information. This allows the team to look at how variation between design and build will affect upcoming work, and gives the team an opportunity to troubleshoot the issue prior to additional construction. This will also provide an accurate as-built for FM purposes.
If you see the value of this, you need to let Autodesk know.
Email me, and I will pass your comments on to Terry. Or post a comment - trust me, I'll be forwarding everything I can to him.
I don’t plan on posting about each and every thing at AU, but there are a few things that I do want to share. Overall, I had a great experience. I learned quite a bit, a lot of good ideas were reinforced, and I met some amazing people. However, I definitely felt some frustrations during the conference, which I’m sure you will pick up on. I know there are quite a few people who are really passionate about AU, so please bear with me – I promise, everything I say won’t be critical of AU/Autodesk.