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Re: Re: Small office use of Autodesk Revit Structural

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From: "Jordan Truesdell, PE" <seaint1(--nospam--at)>
Date: Mon Jun 26 15:34:22 CDT 2006
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Small office use of Autodesk Revit Structural

I find it interesting that this is the editorial topic (or similar to) 
in the Structure magazine that just landed on my desk today.  Frankly, I 
would be surprised if BIM worked at all for most residential 
construction. Not because of its capabilities, but because of the people 
in the field. Most residential crews are (effectively) unsupervised by 
people who are trained to understand how the building systems 
interoperate, or even how to read a set of prints, except for the 
dimensions.  Naturally, this is a generalization, and I know builders 
for whom this is not the case - but they are few. 

BIM is just getting to be where mechanical modeling was over a decade 
ago. Also, based on that experience, there may be very little use for 
BIM in the shop that does small, custom work.  3D modeling works well 
for two cases - large projects which are so complex that 2D renderings 
are difficult and complex in order to accurately portray the condition, 
and where you will be building many (nearly) identical units.  Building 
a model for a one-off, small job is a task which is disproportionately 
large compared to the documentation needed to construct the building 
with the tradespeople in the field.

I would be curious to know how close Don's project in the field conforms 
to the project in Revit if there isn't a full-time GC supervisor on 
site. In other words, is the time spent modeling, checking, and 
documenting the interfaces of the system sufficiently communicated to - 
and read by - the subs in the field, or do they look at the picture and 
the corner dimensions and go from there?


You are probably right about the precise nature of BIM in residential construction, however that is not why I think it will end up dominating CDs and soon.

It will end up dominating CDs for the simple reason that, theoretically, it draws everything, or at least most of the main components, only once. After that it is the program that cuts the sections, draws the elevations, schedules the doors, and then cross references all of it, not a human.  That intrinsically seems faster and more precise to me. Maybe not now, but very soon.

Whether this iteration of Revit is the program that turns that modeling corner for real, (I thought ADT was going to be it, but it is only a semi-BIM program, as is Archicad, etc.) remains to be seen.

As for the GC or sub in the field, imagine getting a phone call with a question, booting the project and cutting a brand new section precisely where the question has arisen, printing it and faxing it to the field.  In fact, I could imagine GCs getting the 3d Model to mess with in the field so they can spin and zoom wherever they want to more fully comprehend my intent.


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