Year End BIM Evaluation

It is now the end of another year, with all the experiences of life that comes with that year.  As such, we tend to evaluate the past year and look forward to the challenges and experiences of the new year.  That includes all different aspects of our lives, including the personal and professional sides.  However, in additional to individuals doing this, organizations need to do the same thing.

Since this is an building industry oriented blog, I am going to touch on what I believe to be an important component of AEC firms in the technological age in which we now live.  That is the evaluation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) within your firm.  While there are still many AEC firms that have not moved into the world of BIM, it is becoming more common and more important in the industry.

It is extremely important to evaluate BIM within a firm.  There are costs associated with moving toward BIM integration and it is important to understand whether your firm is getting a return on that investment and how it can be improved.

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Software – The Cost of Doing Business

ALERT!  Breaking News!  Computer software can be expensive!!

Okay, I realize that isn’t really breaking news and is something that people already know.  However, the fact that people are already aware of that is what can create issues.  While various software packages can be expensive, design software is one of those software categories that really is expensive.  I have previously written a blog article on architectural design software packages under $2500 entitled “Inexpensive Architectural Design Software“, but those packages are not the mainstream products being utilized.  For most companies to compete in the AEC design community, they are pretty much required to utilize a software package that will cost a minimum of $4,000.00 per user.  Most software packages also either require you to be on a subscription plan or make you pay a large upgrade fee to remain up-to-date with the software.

Regardless of the method that you use to pay for the software, it is a large expense for each user.  However, I must say that is the cost of legally doing business.  If a company (or individual) wants to participate in a market that requires design software, then the software costs must be considered part of the business expense.  I may not like the cost to play, but I still want to play, so I need to pay.

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Navisworks Product Differences

As Autodesk® Navisworks® becomes more common in the AEC community; I thought I would touch base on the basics of the differences of the various Navisworks® products.  If you are venturing into the world of Navisworks®, hopefully this will help get you started.

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Longevity of BIM Files

Many, many years ago, architects started designing buildings and puting their designs down on paper so that builders knew what was desired.  As time has moved forward, some designers are now creating electronic Building Information Models (BIM) for design and construction purposes.  In some cases, BIM files are being passed to the owners for future facilities management.  Thinking long term, how long will those BIM files be usable and will those BIM files ever get upgraded?

While I am a big proponent of BIM, I am concerned about the usability of BIM files in the future.  This is due to 2 primary reasons:

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Navisworks Exporter for BIM Models

Autodesk has released a utility that will benefit users that need to create a file to be used with the Autodesk’s Navisworks 2010 program.  This is excellent news as users no longer must have a licensed copy of Navisworks Manage installed on their computer to create this file.  This has real benefits to companies needing to create the exchange file.

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