Mar 19, 2010

Is BIM right for you?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been around for years. When it became the trend in the Construction Industry, some embraced it almost immediately. Others wanted to wait it out and see how the more adventurous would do first. It seems to be everywhere nowadays. But what exactly is BIM? It is a computer-aided process that generates and manages building data information throughout the life cycle of a given structure. True or not, this proposed function sounds suspiciously broad to many professionals. In more practical terms, BIM is currently used with the upgraded Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in 3D; game changer in design and construction management. There are several programs that can offer BIM integration.

Today, we have building proposals and client requests wanting us to work with BIM. And sometimes, even more specifically, we are told in which BIM program the work has to be. It’s definitely a different way of working with building information. It offers team sharing flexibility, interdisciplinary coordination, the obvious 3D advantages, not to mention all the possible 4D, 5D, and green analyses you can imagine. Those of us working with BIM couldn’t do without it now. It seems intuitive and direct -at times.

On the other hand, those faced with the decision of picking one BIM product, usually pick between two of the most popular options in the US market: ArchiCAD (by Graphisoft), and Revit (by Autodesk).

Which BIM can work for you?

The answer: It depends. It is hard to say which program is better without comparing them side by side. After working with both, I would hand pick features of one and implement them in the other to create a sort of super-charged version to meet my specific needs. Each program comes with a set of particular advantages that you can tap depending on your delivery model(s). Definitely, be informed before moving along.

When is it a good BIM time?

Typically, a learning curve moves at a positive exponential rate. And there is no difference when learning this program. Account for additional upfront time, a new design process with your team, and new delivery outputs. There are transition bumps along the way. New is different, but can also be more efficient. Be in a change-ready mindset. Anytime something new is put into place, there is going to be an interval of integration time involved.

The same old still works.

Yes. And same in, same out. These are changing times in a market where distances seem to be shrinking. Competition is everywhere, more so than ever. BIM is becoming an industry standard. That being said, it is likely we’ll have a standardized interchangeable platform in the near future. Similar to the interchangability of word documents in PCs and Macs, this platform would allow all types of BIM products to co-exist and extrapolate data without losing information. This could be achieved within a common frame.

The more we engage in BIM, the more we will multiply its advantages for the benefit of the industry and our services. I believe BIM is still in its infancy and that the best of it is around the corner. There is still work to be done in the BIM-sphere.

Mar 12, 2010


This is a happy day. The day I open the mail and it says go ahead, you can finally call yourself Architect. What did it take? Seven years of education, over 3 years worth in IDP hours, 2 years of shear torture and examination, and lots lots of determination...
Feels like someone should be calling me not just architect, but your honor, or something.

Just as if I were getting the Pulitzer Price, I am very excited if you can't tell, thank you family, and an special thanks to the ARE forum, a great source for tips and moral support.

To those still in the process, hang in there captain, it is possible.
mvs_the Architect, AIA

Mar 9, 2010

Healthcare Guidelines 2010

Around this time last year, architecture firms were asked to send suggesting revisions to the 2006 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. But architects were not the only ones invited to the round table. Nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, neonatologists, infection preventionists, administrators, facility managers, consulting engineers, safety and security professionals, risk managers and over 25 state, federal and private enforcing authorities have participated too. Finally, the 2010 FGI Guidelines are here.

It's said that the 'significant' changes from the 2006 edition are marked along the sides. For the Health Facilities Management article on the 2010 Guidelines, click here. Also try their official press release back in November 09. Both links list their mayor changes. For $168, you can get it on the FGI website.

Last year I sent a few suggestions on quiet and isolation rooms in Mental Health Facilities... I'll have to check and see if they were added. :)

Mar 4, 2010

New Model Practice

Recession, what recession?

The latest issue of Architect magazine has a catchy title on its cover: New Model Practice, Great Recession? Let's Start a Firm. Three young firms got started when their principals decided to stop knocking on architectural offices's doors, and started looking for project opportunities on their own.

No money, no problem. Today's online freeware is proven to be a great deal. Why pay when you can get it for free? It helps them connect to clients and their own team from each of their satellite 'offices'. Sure not all features will be available, and that's the price of free. International competitions are helping them gain visibility and experience. Small and government projects provide them with a source of income. A new book project is in the process. And a design co-op has been established and helps them network and seek more project opportunities.

I like that positiveness. But are these new practice models? We have heard of freeware, co-ops, satellite offices, competitions... What we don't get to hear much of is a positive attitude in the midst of the economic slowdown that directly affects architects and designers. For that, I appreciate the article.

It could be that after all architecture can be recession-proof... at least some.

PD: another article on similar subject.