In the wake of the current coronavirus pandemic, it has been difficult to find something meaningful and relevant to write about in the area of AEC technology, the focus area of AECbytes. The best I have been able to come up with is to highlight the impact of the crisis on the AEC industry so far and the response to it from AEC technology. A pandemic like this also behooves us to look into the future and ask how this might change—if at all—the nature of our industry in terms of what gets built, how it will be designed and constructed, and the technology that will be required to support it.
SGA, an architecture and planning firm recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the most innovative firms in the world for the use of BIM in its Virtual Design and Construction approach, shares its perspective on AEC technology in this Firm Profile.
I recently attended an event hosted by the San Francisco Computational Design Institute (SFSDI) in which I learnt about a new initiative by McNeel & Associates, developers of Rhino, to bring the power of Rhino and its Grasshopper add-in to Revit. While Revit already integrates with Autodesk’s own Dynamo application for design scripting, the ability to now also be able to use Grasshopper for this has the potential to dramatically improve Revit’s modeling capabilities, given that Grasshopper is the most well-established, sophisticated, and widely-used algorithmic modeling application currently available.
This article explores this new Rhino.Inside Revit add-in works, along with a broader look at the area of design scripting in AEC and an overview of Rhino and Grasshopper.
The number of cloud-based applications for the AEC industry has been steadily rising since cloud computing was introduced over a decade ago, but so far, most of these applications have been for tasks such as project management, collaboration, model-checking, issue management, and construction planning—tasks that deal primarily with content that has been already created. Applications that actually allow you to author design content using a web browser are few and far between, and even those that exist are primarily desktop applications that have been extended to work on the web, such as SketchUp and AutoCAD. This is why when I came across Infurnia, I was intrigued, because it was developed from the ground up as a cloud-based design application. There is no desktop version and nothing that needs to be installed for it to work.
So how well does it actually work? Let’s find out.
The book, Airport Building Information Modelling, is an extended case study of the implementation of BIM on the new Istanbul Airport project, which is now in operation and is currently the world’s largest airport terminal building under a single roof.
Given that the project is relatively recent, the choice to use BIM for it is hardly surprising—after all, why would any venture not want to deploy newer and more advanced technologies that are available rather than use older and outdated technologies? Thus, the book is notable not because it tells us why BIM was used for this project, but how. Also, one of its authors, Ozan Koseoglu, was the Chief Technology Officer of the project and directly responsible for its BIM implementation, making the “how” come comes straight “from the horse’s mouth,” as it were. The co-author of the book, Yusuf Arayici, comes from academia, and his research and writing expertise is reflected in the content of the book, which is well organized and structured, making the level of detail in it easy to digest and far from overwhelming.
The start of a new decade is a good time to take stock of where we are and where we have been.
I have been in the AEC technology industry for over 15 years, in the course of which I have had the opportunity to observe and study its key trends. I have seen applications that have come and gone, as well as applications that have come and stayed. Often, in the course of my current writing when I have needed to go back and research some of my older articles, I come across an application and I wonder: Is it still around, and if so, how is it doing? A lot of applications seemed very relevant and promising when they were launched. Have they stood the test of time?
Based on my own experience and research, this article captures a summary of what I found.
A few months ago, the organization, IFMA (International Facility Management Association) presented a webinar on “Integrating BIM and FM: Status, Case Study and Opportunities” which included a case study of how BIM was integrated with FM on the new UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) Medical Center in Mission Bay. Unlike BIM for design and construction which are, by now, well established and understood in the AEC industry, there are no known strategies for implementing BIM for FM, so the UCSF-Mission Bay team had to start from scratch and figure it out. The effort has taken years, but it is finally ready and in use in the real-life operation and maintenance of the hospital. An overview of how the BIM-FM integration was done, as shared in the webinar, is presented in this article.
Layer is a new AEC application that was launched close to six months ago to address what seems to be an obvious need in the industry—organizing and integrating the vast amount of disparate data that is typically collected on site during the retrofit or construction of a building project.
You would think that with all the applications we have for BIM, design coordination, model checking, project information management, construction management, document management, and project collaboration, there would be an application that could be used to easily connect notes, images, videos, task lists, etc., to their related building element. Surprisingly, there wasn’t, as the architectural firm, BVH Architecture, discovered while working on a multi-year, multi-phase rehabilitation project of the Nebraska State Capitol, which required the team to document more than 1,300 rooms with nearly 60 data points in each room. They looked hard but could not find a good solution for organizing and coordinating the vast amount of building data that they had collected—the number of photos alone was over 40,000. There was also no way to view the captured data efficiently in Revit, the BIM application they were using. They ended up developing a software solution in-house and, given that the need for such a solution was so compelling but still unmet in the marketplace, they spun it off as a separate company, Layer.