What email address or phone number would you like to use to sign in to Docs.com?
If you already have an account that you use with Office or other Microsoft services, enter it here.
Or sign in with:
Signing in allows you to download and like content, and it provides the authors analytical data about your interactions with their content.
Embed code for: BIM for manufacturing, a missed opportunity?
Select a size
I gave this talk at the BIM summit 2016 in Dubai.
BIM for manufacturing
a missed opportunity
Godwin Austen Johnson
next week in Porto
too much detail
hard to find
many posts from my blog amount to content rants
so are manufacturers lagging behind?
..NOT according to THESE GUYS
a different point of view
condensed into 5 mins
d r i v i n g t h e p r o c e s s
BIM = collaboration
software is easy
culture change is hard
get the manufacturers involved in
the technical solutions will follow
street market/coffee shop/ “process”
the real collaborators
it’s already happening, we just have to give them the right digital tools
one-way, linear process,
slow, BIM disconnect
SO WHAT IS BIM ANYWAY
a couple of different takes
MY SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK
what about yours ?
so what about manufacturers
how are they responding to the digital revolution
connect to their database
visually rich, user-friendly
single building model
or something a bit more complicated
a couple of examples of how things are and how they could be
less modelling effort … or better decisions?
or imagine this
waterproofing specialists accept an extract from your model & mark it up with links to proposed specs, details … questions to initiate a dialogue
go through 2 or 3 iterations via a shared workspace
maybe even get a 3d surface to represent the membrane in your model
are we really trying to practice “open BIM”
or are we clinging to our own vested interests …
a definition of BIM that maintains our own position as pioneers and experts
section box + filters alternate versions
flatten / simplify / filter
“virtual drone” cameras
capture BIM as shell with applied bitmaps
section box + filters+ history
the principle of interconnected collaboration spaces
could have many applications … for example the shift from small scale details to city wide planning
a conventional view
an extended view
Stop thinking like a BIM manager many other viewpoints are just as valid
its not all about robots
how to connect the rich & diverse world of Builders and Buildings
get the PROCESSES right
focus on COLLABORATION…
think about how BIM can HELP MANUFACTURERS to contribute more effectively to GOOD DECISIONS
FORGET ABOUT CONTENT
we need INTERACTIVE
Next week I will be in Portugal participating in an event called the Building Content Summit.
It’s a one day event that acts as a prelude to a 3 day conference, where I will be giving 2 presentations and attending more than a dozen others. My first session deals with BIM content, a system for generating modular door families that I have been developing at GAJ. The second session is very different, it is a set of reflections on a journey that I have been taking for more than a year now, creating a digital model of the Bank of England as it was when Sir John Soane retired some 200 years ago. It’s an obsession of mine, using BIM for historical research … and a fascinating period, the age of revolutions when Europe started to make the transition from animal power to fossil fuels.
But today’s talk is about another of my obsessions. Building Content. This will be my second time to attend BCS, I participated in the inaugural event in Washington just over a year ago. There will be a lot of talk about what is wrong with Manufacturer Content and why the process of making this available is not going as smoothly as we all had hoped.
And it’s not just other people doing the complaining. I have done my fair share of griping on my blog over the years. I have a particular thing about the terribly ugly attempts to represent Sanitary Ware and Furniture as BIM objects. There is just so much really ugly stuff out there that any self-respecting architect would not want to see despoiling their drawing set.
So what does this mean? Are manufacturers really way behind the curve when it comes to BIM. Are they just really backward and slow to adopt digital technologies? This is a well known diagram, and my take on how us “BIM EXPERTS” tend to use it to poke fun at the rest of the industry who aren’t pursuing BIM as avidly as we are.
But the strange thing is that leading figures in the sphere of architecture and design, (and I’m talking about seminal thinkers here) have been complaining for almost a hundred years now that the Building Industry is light years behind the Manufacturing Sector. That we should be following their lead in terms of mechanization, prefabrication, mass-production, modern materials etc etc etc
So what is going on. I’m going to insert my Porto presentation at this point. It’s just a 5 minute “response” on behalf of architects generally. and an attempt to present a rather different perspective
First of all I think we are using all the wrong metaphors. I must emphasize here that I am not blaming the 3 organisations mentioned here. They have all made tremendous contributions to the world of BIM, much more than I ever will. We are all at fault here for setting off in the wrong direction and it took me some years to come to this realization. But the supermarket, shopping, repository metaphor is NOT an appropriate way to imagine how manufacturers should be relating to the BIM process.
Secondly we are letting the wrong people drive the process. Almost everyone in Porto will belong to one or other of these three categories. There will be BIM managers and Digital Technology specialists from Design Consultants, people who make a living out of making and/or hosting content, and BIM specialists from Manufacturers Head Offices. We all have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo which is how we make a living.
OK so I’ve pointed a finger at what is wrong and stirred up the hornets nest a bit; potentially been quite divisive. So let’s pause for a moment and establish some common ground. Here are a couple of things I think we can all agree on. BIM is all about collaboration. The real challenge here is changing people’s mind set. What I’m trying to say is. We shouldn’t be focusing our attention on technical challenges. They will get sorted out if only we can get the PROCESSES right. We need to actively involve manufacturers in collaborative BIM processes. Instead of making more demands on them we should be inviting them to participate in a collaborative processes that will bring benefits to them.
So perhaps we should adjust our metaphors towards a much more interactive style of retail operation where people haggle and bargain, or hang out to discuss politics and sport. Stop talking about BIM objects and content. Focus on processes and interactions, decision making, problem solving. Manufactures can contribute, they have lots of useful knowledge and experience.
In fact this collaboration is already taking place. It’s been around for much longer than BIM, but the people doing it are generally rather removed from the BIM space we operate in. We interact with them, but they are not really integrated into BIM as we practice it on a daily basis. There are exceptions, but as a rule they live in a different world. I’m talking about the designers who make problems for us be keep asking us to change the model, and the support services that all the major manufacturers operate on the ground in all the major cities of the world. This is just a quick selection of business cards from my desk drawer. These are specification advisors I have met over the past few months. Most of them are aware of BIM by now, and their head offices have started to do something about it, but they don’t think it will impact on the way they do their work. They meet up with designers, look at drawings, issue specifications, prepare proposals, help to inform better decisions … but none of this is done “the BIM way”
This is a tragedy and I’ve tried to capture it in diagram form here. On the left we have BIM, and the way that Manufacturers participate in BIM according to the current model : the “Can of Beans” metaphor. It’s pretty much a one-way linear process. Manufacturers commission Content Creators, who make objects which are stuffed into a web site. Digital modelers find out from the design team (too late in the day) what product has been selected, they try to find this on the web, then they look at it an complain about the way it’s been made, and stick it into the model. On the right hand side we have real collaboration taking place, but mostly by non-BIM processes. People email pdf drawings around, maybe a bit of 2d CAD, lots of very valuable face-to-face discussions and sharing of experience but a deep and sad disconnect from BIM.
OK let me say my little bit about BIM at this point. Maybe a slightly different take on what that term stands for.
Firstly it’s about information and how we handle it while designing and constructing buildings. We are trying to solve problems, to make decisions, and digital tools can help us to do this with a fuller understanding of what the problem is and what the impact of our decisions may be.
Secondly, BIM is just a label for a process that we are still trying to understand. It represents that part of the digital revolution that impacts the construction industry. If you draw a graph of almost any variable that could represent human social development (global population, energy use, size of the biggest city, volumes of steel production, number of books published) and you plot that over hundreds or thousands of years, you will get a very shallow gradient up to the late 18th century, then over a period of 50 years or so it will turn sharply upwards. This is what we generally call the industrial revolution and with hindsight we can see that it represents the shift from animal power to fossil fuels. That is what enabled the sharp change of direction. We now realise that fossil fuels are a finite resource. The orange rectangle has two corners and it would seem that the digital revolution is coming at a time when the curve will have to change. Can digital tools help us to readjust our economies so they are no longer dependent on continuous growth and change? Is there another solution? Can the we just keep making more stuff for ever and ever? I’m not trying to predict the answer here, just presenting the questions as a diagram and suggesting that BIM is part of a larger process that we don’t yet fully understand.
We all know that the digital revolution is changing our world. This is just an example from my daily life. I have 3 children, all living in different continents. As a family we keep in touch on a daily basis via social media like what’s app. A couple of weeks ago my younger son Tom was visiting his brother in England, I got photos of him with his nephew, my grandson. Then he flew back to Singapore and I got a message saying he was safe but jet-lagged. Then Joe and family moved to a new flat and sent me a picture of my grandson in their new living room. A day or two later, hurricane Matthew hit Florida and we were all talking to Wendy in Florida, luckly on the west coast so fairly safe as long as she took basic precautions and stayed in doors. There is nothing unusual about this. Most of you could probably tell similar stories. The point I want to make is that information is travelling much faster than it used to, and it enriches our lives. It works because of well-structured databases that communicate with each other via the cloud. That is the essence of the digital revolution … and the essence of BIM
So let’s get back to manufacturers. Are they really behind the curve? How are they responding to all this?
Well the truth is that they all have databases. Their businesses are highly digitised and they are fully aware of the potential for cloud services to make their relationships with their clients more effective. These are just a few examples of the apps and web services that manufacturers are developing. The main point I want to make here is that they are focusing on making apps that are easy to use and interactive. Compare that to the way that we have been conceptualizing their contribution to BIM.
Instead of asking them to conform to our preconceived notion of BIM which is built around what architects and engineers do, perhaps we should adapt our ideas to what they have been doing in the digital space. Maybe we need to loosen our grip on the single building model idea. Yes it still has a lot of value, but maybe it is just part of a bigger picture. Maybe we need lots of collaborative spaces where interactions can take place
And there are signs that this kind of thing is starting to happen. This is an interesting startup cloud service called Fohlio. It’s a drag and drop approach to specifying products like Sanitaryware or tiles, the kind of thing that our Interior Design department does all the time. It doesn’t link to BIM as we think of it. But by my definition this is part of BIM and there is no reason why the connections back to our conventional BIM models could not be made in time.
For example, here is another initiative called Flux, which specifically addresses linking different software packages together. It’s a bit like google translate but for the software tools that we use all the time. This is a way to link the design team more directly to the BIM team. It could also link the schedules made in Fohlio to a Revit or Archicad model. I like it because it’s all about getting the process right and trusting that the end products will evolve over time.
Here is an app that used to be called GPD Tools but has now become Sweets Product Tag. It’s aim is to make it easy for end users to append manufacturer information to elements in a BIM model. Instead of downloading manufacturer objects you can get the app to add date to your existing generic components. Select an element and ask the app to display the available products in the Sweets database that match the element or material type. Select the one you want and it will populate the appropriate fields with Manufacture name, product code etc. It’s quite simple and user-friendly.
And this one is very new. It was announced just a couple of weeks ago and it may be very close to the network of collaboration spaces I have been imagining, It’s difficult to say for sure at this stage but it looks very promising.
Much will depend on how widely it is used. Will the specification advisors on the ground take to it? Will those designers who are intimidated by the cumbersome nature of current BIM software find this user-friendly and responsive?
So let's take a closer look at a typical situation where collaboration currently takes place, and imagine how more effective this could be if it was truly integrated into BIM processes.
Door hardware is almost invariably specified with the help of suppliers who cultivate relationships with architects and offer a complimentary service,
We give them a door schedule and floor plans. A couple of weeks later they deliver a hardware schedule: cut sheets describing the sets and a list of which doors each set applies to. Feeding these back into the model is a laborious process, and along the way discrepancies accumulate. We make mistakes, they make mistakes and the design continues to evolve.
If everything was digitally connected, doors would have a unique identifier so it wouldn’t matter if we changed which room they were associated with, the system would know which door it was and both sets of information (ours and theirs) would stay in sync. We could make last minute updates with relatively little effort and go through 3 or 4 collaboration cycles in the time it now takes to do one. Less hassle, better decisions, fewer mistakes.
Imagine a collaborative space which is kept in sync with the main model. Filters can be used to explore functional relationships and inform discussions between architects and technical specialists.
Recent changes can be isolated and discrepancies highlighted. Wouldn’t the quality of decision making be so much better. We could work more efficiently too of course, but for my money the biggest gain would be in the quality of the decision –making process, the extent to which we could tap in to the experience that specialist suppliers have to offer and apply it to the specific circumstances of our project.
Two of the major international suppliers have started to think along these lines.Assa Abloy have an app called openings studio which is capable of interacting with a BIM model via a plugin. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available in the Middle East. The local representative is looking into this but at present it’s primarily US based, where the app does put you into direct contact with your local representative. So it’s very promising, linking the right people together and applying digital tools to the existing collaborations structures.
Allegion have a comparable set of tools that also link local advisors to design firms in a digital way. This one is available in the UAE, but I don’t know if it has really caught on yet. Ideally I would like to see a neutral collaboration space where you could meet up with any supplier/manufacturer in the market place, but at least these proprietary apps are a step in the right direction.
This type of approach is applicable to all kinds of product areas. For example there is a UK based, spray-on waterproofing solution that works particularly well for landscaped decks and pool areas, such as this hotel project. In this visualisation I have imagined a collaboration space in the cloud where we could meet up with their local representative so that his contributions to our design and documentation process could be more effective and efficient. We could also involve the landscape consultant to the discussions and issues could be resolved much more quickly and completely. Hundreds of firms deploy technical advisors all around the world to help ensure their products are utilized in appropriate ways. They don’t want us to specify the wrong product for our particular situation. They are already looking at our drawings, but surely they could be so much more effective if they were interacting with us via intelligent 3d environments where they could mark up, insert hyperlinks to product data, drop in proposals using intelligent objects … and if they were doing this on a regular basis as part of their routine services, I am convinced that the quality of the intelligent objects would improve rapidly, simply because that would help them to do their work more effectively. At the moment, BIM content is something of a marketing gimmick that their head office is offering. They don’t see it as having any direct relevance to their daily work.
So the message here is about inclusivity. How do we get more people in our industry involved in BIM processes. Perhaps we need to loosen our grip on the concept of the Single Building Model that has served us so well. Of course that is still a central part of the process, but we may have to think about collaboration taking place across a more dispersed network of interactive spaces.
This idea of a network of working spaces linked together by channels that apply rules-based filters to transfer subsets of the geometry and information from one model to another may have other applications too. For example, we don’t have a really effective process right now for working at different granular scales and maintaining automatically updates, unless you embed the whole model. But we don’t want fully detailed models of a joinery item to be replicated hundreds of times in our building. Neither do we want fully detailed LOD400 buildings linked together to form our city planning model.
Surely there must be better ways to handle these relationships, and I think the starting point is to conceive of digital design as a complex web of interconnected design collaboration spaces with rules-based filters to channel the flow of information.
Inclusivity means bringing more people inside the BIM fold. This doesn’t mean that everyone will need to learn Revit or Archicad or whatever. This collage reminds us how diverse our community is, how many roles there are that currently don’t connect very well with BIM processes. And this is just the conventional view of our industry. The next slide offers an extended view of an even larger community out on the “fringes” of our world.
I have a particular interest in using BIM as a historical research tool. I think more people should be doing this in schools, universities, museums … Authors and librarians could be using BIM tools to great effect and the different perspective they bring could surely benefit us all. Am I crazy to think that this should be part of our world? I have a friend from my university days who is immersed in the world of Community Planning, running workshops with local communities so that they can participate in the planning process for developments that are taking place in their area. They make models with cornflake packets, which is fantastic, but surely they could be using digital tools also.
And what about Neufert, or the AJ Metric Handbook. These are resources that all architects use in their daily work, originally drawn by hand, updated to some extent for the CAD era. Surely intelligent 3d models could get these messages across more effectively. Isn’t their a case for a Wikipedia like version of these services, an online resource built collaboratively using BIM authoring software? Let’s be more open minded about where the boundaries of the BIM world lie, if indeed we need to have boundaries at all.
Finally, just because BIM is a new, “disruptive” technology, it doesn’t mean that it should be biased in favour of robotics and prefabrication. Of course those are fascinating new developments, but while we are being inclusive, let’s not forget the guys who work everyday with their hands in so many parts of the world. If we can’t offer something positive to them (and these days most of them are connected to the web via smart phones) then BIM is failing to be inclusive in the full sense of the word. It’s not just about High Tech as far as I am concerned. Let’s not be snobbish or condescending. Those guys laying bricks in Malawi and doing barefoot carpentry in Nepal also deserve our respect, and if they can use WhatsApp they can surely benefit from digital processes relevant to their work environment. Why not?
So in conclusion, we are putting the cart before the horse, focusing our attention of standardising objects and setting rules for BIM content before we have figured out how to apply digital processes to the existing collaboration that takes place between designers and manufacturer representatives on the ground in major cities around the world. We should be putting interactive collaboration spaces into place to support these existing processes. Once BIM content becomes a central feature of the way these people do their work, I am quite sure that issues of quality and standardization will rise to the surface and resolve themselves in a natural and organic way.on taking place across a more dispersed network of interactive spaces.
This idea of a network of working spaces linked together by channels that apply rules-based filters to transfer subsets of the geometry and informat