Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ICE BIM Conference 2011

ICE BIM 2011
Wednesday 19th October 2011, London, UK

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA

ICE has put together an expert speaker line up who will guide delegates through the project lifecycle, share experiences and best practise. The day will consist of detailed case studies, presentations and discussions on how BIM can benefit all of the supply chain. The conference will start with the client view, supply chain delivery, support and conclude with a facilitated debate around asset management.

ICE BIM 2011 will be a key meeting for engineers, consultants, contractors, architects owners and operators of construction projects.

Speakers include The Cabinet Office, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Crossrail, BAA, Gatwick Airport, Parson Brinkerhoff, BDP and the Consolidated Contractors Group.

Registration details can be found

BIM and The Government Estate - Summary

The seminar was opened by John Lorimer, the Capital Programme Director for Manchester City council. John set the agenda, and gave an overview of Building Information Modelling and Management. Management seemed to be the ‘buzz’ word in the government strategy seminar; everyone is looking at BIM, but the government are also interested in the 6D side of BIM – Facilities / Lifecycle Management.

Just to clarify the different ‘dimensions’ of BIM are:

2D - Something with 2 dimensions (flat)
3D - Something seen in 3 dimensions e.g. width, length and height.
4D - Adding the aspect of Time to a project (phasing/sequencing)
5D - Adding the aspect of Cost to a project (cost estimating)
6D - The aspect of Life Cycle / Facilities Management (owner/FM)

John also made a point that The Centre for Construction Innovation had hosted BIM seminars as far back as 2008.

The view of the Government was next on the agenda, Terry Boniface, the Programme Manager at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills gave details of the government’s strategy.

Terry referred to the government construction strategy, a document I forwarded on a week or so ago. (this was published by the cabinet office in May 2011) Some of the key statements in that strategy are:

“Government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM as a minimum by 2016”

“A staged plan will be published with mandated milestones”

“This will be a phased process, working closely with industry groups”

“Allow time for industry to prepare for the development of new standards, and for training”

The government are looking to make a 20% saving on future construction projects, and see BIM as part of that process – more efficient tendering, improved coordination, reduced RFI’s, reduced abortive works, etc. The government want “Improvement in cost, value and carbon performance.”

A chart was presented that showed the recommendation made to the government; it consisted of Levels 0 to 3. Level 0 being 2D CAD, Level 3 being fully integrated BIM. The interesting thing is that by 2016 the government are only aiming for Level 2, which is collaboration. I would have thought that to achieve collaboration, you require integration? We integrate the Architecture and Services models into our Structural model as part of the collaboration process….

The next steps involve the publication of a mobilisation plan, which is expected to be published towards the end of July, and the government will be putting together some work packages which the requirements for BIM can be trialled.

The information provided at the seminar was based on a document in the post below titled; Building Information Modelling (BIM) Working Party Strategy Paper, March 2011.

This 107 page document is a recommendation from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and it is expected that the government strategy will be close to this recommendation.

Laing O’Rourke were next to take the stage, as a contractor, they really have embraced BIM. They employ BIM Engineers who are responsible for linking all the different models together in Navisworks, producing 4D Construction sequences – adding the element of time to the model, so it can sit side by side with the construction programme and at any given moment you can physically see where the project is compared to where it should be.

They are also responsible for 5D scheduling – costing up the project using BIM, and add things like tower cranes into the model so they can see how it will affect surrounding buildings for example.

They also presented a case study along with Ryder Architecture, of Manchester Central Library. Laing O’Rourke used a 3D model for site set out, to liaise with police and local authorities – show them any hazards, etc. and liaise with local businesses, so they could see in 3D what would be happening in the area. A 3D model was also used for a site safety induction video.

BIM was not used on this project until after Laing O’Rourke won the bid, they had the ability to influence the design team to work in a BIM environment, and assisted in up-skilling team members and the client.

Ryder Architecture used 3D Laser Scanning / Point Clouds to build a model of the existing library building, and from there used BIM for collaboration, clash detection, people movement and 4D (Timeline) construction sequencing (using Navisworks.)

This project is still on site, but the feeling is everything is going well to date.

Manchester City Council are looking to “own” this model, so it can be used for Facilities Management (6D.)

The seminar was attended by 83 people from 57 companies ranging from Engineers, Architects and Contractors through to Local Authorities, CAD Resellers and Universities.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Report to the Government Construction Clients Board on Building Information Modelling and Management

Building Information Modelling and Management BIM(M) is a managed approach to the collection and exploitation of information across a project. At its heart is a computer-generated model containing all graphical and tabular information about the design, construction and operation of the asset.

The benefits of supply-chain integration in the construction sector are largely understood in terms of performance improvement, greater project ‘certainty’ and reduced risk. One of the key factors in achieving successful integration is the accuracy, effective flow and intelligent use of information which BIM(M) – by requiring interoperability of information – will encourage. In addition to design and build benefits, one of the main value-added applications of BIM(M) is in the post-construction phase, through the on-going management of assets for optimum value in space utilisation, running costs and energy/carbon reduction.

In September 2009 Paul Morrell, The Government’s Chief Construction Advisor, presented a short paper to the board outlining an Industry working group, commissioned by BIS, to provide a report on the potential future use of BIM. The Government Construction Clients board adopted the working group and agreed to receive its final report.

The final report was presented in March 2011 and provides Government Clients with a suggested roadmap and strategy to enable the progressive use of BIM on Government building programmes as well as providing a framework for procurement and delivery standards. The report also considers the training and support required to enable the industry to rise to the BIM challenge.

The Government Construction Strategy was published by the Cabinet office on 31 May 2011. The report announced the Governments intention to require collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016.

There are a number of Institutes, Industry groupings and standard setting organisations (see links) developing knowledge on the implementation of BIM practices. The Government clients group will engage with these groups and seek comment on its BIM implementation strategy as it progresses.

Source -

The BIM Working Party Strategy can be downloaded here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Look

I've been having problems recently with the template of the blog, the side bar (to the right) was shifting to the bottom of the blog.

So I decided to change the template, hence the new colour scheme.

However, when I view the blog on my laptop, the side bar is still at the bottom of the page, on the other hand, when i view the blog on my phone, all is as it should be, the side bar is to the right of the page.

Is anyone else having problems viewing the blog?

I would appreciate your feedback.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BIM and the Government Estate: The Strategy for the use of BIM on Public Projects

There is an event next week in Manchester that will outline the governments BIM strategy for the use of BIM on public projects.

Details are below.

Venue Details

113-115 Portland Street
Greater Manchester
M1 6DW


The Government is due to announce its strategy regarding the future use of BIM on the Government Estate. It is expected that the Government will endorse the Low Carbon Construction Report’s recommendation that BIM should become a key part of the Government's future procurement and operation of its buildings and Government will set a Roadmap leading to a requirement for BIM information from all bidders and contractors on future public sector projects .

Integrated BIM and digital models mean a fundamental change in the design, construction and facility management processes that involves data sharing between all shareholders based on digital models that can be used from a project's early design stages through to completion and monitoring of subsequent performance.

As one of the leading regions for BIM in the UK, the North West are delighted to offer a fantastic opportunity to share the views of Government directly with you – the Centre for Construction Innovation and Constructing Excellence offer you the chance to find out:

What the Government is planning to do with regards to BIM;

The implications this will have for clients (especially those in the Public Sector);

What the next steps will be; and

How you can get help to understand and deliver projects that unlock new ways of working that will reduce cost and add long-term value to the development and management of built assets in the public sector.

If you are already using this technology and want to know how you can influence clients; if you are a client that is already using this technology, but want to know more about it; if you are not using this technology, but would like to or if you are interested in finding out how you can learn more and be signposted to further help and advice – both technical and non-technical – then this seminar is for you.

The Seminar will be Chaired by John Lorimer, Capital Programme Director, Manchester City Council and Chair of the Constructing Excellence BIM Task Group with support from Terry Boniface, Programme Manager at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, a member of the Government/Industry team developing the Government Strategy. The Seminar will include examples of BIM that are on-going in the region and details of where and how you can get further help - from academic courses [UoS] to signposting and awareness training [CE/CCI].

Follow this
link for registration

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excitech Revit Toolkit - Coordinates 2012

The Excitech Revit Toolkit - Coordinates is now available for download for Revit 2012.

The Excitech Revit Toolkit is a set of utilities developed and published by Excitech to enhance the benefits you get from Revit technology.

The Revit toolkit contains a modular installation utility that makes additional utilities easy to add in and manage.

The first tool released is for Coordinate Scheduling.

Revit Coordinate Scheduling Tool
The FREE Excitech Revit Coordinate Scheduling application is a powerful tool for Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP that will enable users to automatically acquire precise X, Y and Z coordinates from certain Revit objects.

This allows users to more rapidly produce schedules of, for example, piling and services; as well as to publish coordinates for complex geometry across 3D space.

The coordinates are added to the objects element properties which will allow schedules to be generated and tags to be placed.

The application has been designed to publish X,Y and Z coordinates to selected object categories and store these within the objects instance properties.

To maintain the accuracy of the coordinates the Excitech Revit Coordinate Scheduling Tool has the following built-in checks which will prompt the user when performing one of the below operations.

•Viewing Schedule Tables
•Saving Documents
•Saving As
•Opening a document
•Exporting a file
•Closing Documents
•Synchronising with the Central File

You can download the toolkit

UK Government Construction Strategy

Alan over at The Revit Learning Curve has posted details about the UK Govenments Construction Strategy report, which was released last month.

Here is alan's post.

"....Building Information Modelling (BIM) is now emerging as a common requirement on both public and private sector projects alike. Only recently, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to make savings of at least 20% across all public sector construction projects and that BIM is to be mandated to help drive more efficient cost benchmarking.

Standards are currently being drawn up with a view to roll out BIM on public projects in 2012...."

You can download the report

The government are also due to release a BIM Implementation Plan, which is due to be published this month, I will keep my eyes open and post the details asap.


The Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards are now available for download.

The Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards (ANZRS) was an initiative conceived at RTC (Revit Technology Conference) 2009 in Melbourne (I was present at this event) in response to the Revit user community’s frustration with lack of consistency and quality in Revit families available from Autodesk, Content Creators and other sources.

It’s been a mammoth effort, and not without the contributions of dozens of volunteers, but RTC 2011 marks the first public release of the Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards – for Content Creation and Management.

The project has attracted interest globally.

Feedback was received from a number of contributors during the recent Peer Review process, and this has been integrated within the body of the work. On the basis of what was presented during this review, several local content creation firms have already agreed to adopt the standards. These include KarelCAD (DesignContent), Benn Design and ProductSpec .

The document pack constitutes:

1.Introduction and project contextual information
2.Forms articulating criteria to be met in order to comply with the standards
3.Reference material to assist content creators to surpass minimum requirements.

The Revit Content Model Style Guidelines produced by Autodesk were the first widespread effort in this direction. However, we find some of their prescriptions and guidelines lacking – so, we figured we’d form part of the solution by contributing our own for public use.

ANZRS addresses content standards for Autodesk Revit only. It does not attempt or purport to be a product- or vendor-neutral standard. This was predominantly because such efforts require enormous amounts of effort and buy-in from so many parties, and sometimes made more complex by proprietary limitations. We felt that if we could help get the Revit-aligned part of the industry to agree on something, that it might be an easier step to take to get everyone on board to something greater.

The committee is actively in dialog with other related parties and projects, in the interests of optimizing our alignment with them and vice versa. Such initiatives are:

AEC(UK) BIM Standard, and;

The ANZRS can be downloaded

The pack includes a 72 page printable pdf, and shared parameter .txt files for Revit Structure, Revit Architecture and Revit MEP.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Revit and Bridges

I am currently looking into the use of Revit for modelling, presenting and documenting bridges.

My colleagues overseas are having a lot of success with bridges using Revit, and I have read numerous posts that Revit is good for the 'high end detailing' on a complex bridge.

I wanted to share a couple of images, the first is a quick and simple render I have just done on a bridge.

The others are more detailed images produced by my colleagues overseas.

I will report back here with more information and details once I get stuck into some bridges using Revit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Revit ST joins Twitter

I have opened up a Twitter account for Revit ST.

Follow RevitST for live blog updates and other Revit 'tweets.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Revit & Structural Analysis

I have always maintained that the Structural Analysis 'bi-directional' link between Revit Structure and the numerous analytical packages out there is a myth.

Engineers analytical requirements are not as precise as the detailer at the front end of the project.

An engineers analytical model could be 10mm, 50mm, even 100mm out, whereas a construction / documentation model has to be 100% accurate. After all, this is what is used to work out tricky buildability area, take accurate steel weights and concrete volumes, not to mentions detailing difficult connections.

It is due to this very reason that I have always taken a stance that an analytical model exported to Revit, only has its uses at the early stages of a project. Tender stage for example, the analytical model will be fairly accurate (it has to be if the engineer wants to give a good estimate of the actual costs involved.) It is so easy and time saving if the tender documents are produced from an exported analytical model.

You could produce a set of annotated GA's for a large building in well under a week. The cost savings for the consultant alone will be huge, compared with traditional 2D or starting from scratch.

I have then always taken the stance that the Tender model is 'binned' (archived) and a fresh model is constructed after tender, whilst the Engineer continues to 'tweak' his / her analytical model as and when required through to Construction issue.

Mark Fox over at
Revit FOX has thrown an interesting spanner in the works with his post Revit / Analysis Software - The Missing Link.

He explains his way of working, which the concepts / philosophy is more or less the same as mine, but he does things the opposite way round. He uses the 'one' export from Revit to the analysis software, at quite an advanced stage.

....Firstly, the model should always be created in Revit. My reason is simple. Whilst Engineers are very fussy about some things, there are also some they couldn't care less about; the accuracy of the analytical model generally falls into the ‘I’m not that bothered’ category. Mr Engineer is often ‘not that bothered’ if members they model are 100mm one way or the other. Analytically and from a design POV it generally makes very little difference to them. So why let them start the model and then give it to Mr Technician who then spends hours correcting it? Just start in Revit in the first place right?....

This has led me to think about a second step in the process I follow, combining both of the above points into one approach.

Once the tender documents are produced and the tender model is 'binned,' the construction model can start to take shape, and can be exported to the analysis package.

Whilst this is not a true bi-directional link, it would mean both technician and engineer are working on models that are more or less exactly the same.

Like all of these things, time is always a problem, so the workflow would have to be set up early on, but I do think this approach could work quite well.

STRATUS - Cloud Technology

Here is part of an article posted on
AEC Bytes that I think is well worth reposting.

The full article can be read

....Stephenson & Turner New Zealand Ltd have developed and implemented a Private Cloud-based technology named STRATUS for the delivery of Autodesk Revit as an online service. STRATUS has been operational for the past 12 months, with immediate and tangible benefits for the company and its clients. This article describes the background and rationale for S&T’s STRATUS development, and discusses additional details including the technology’s features and the benefits afforded by STRATUS to the firm.

The development of STRATUS can be traced back to 2006, when S&T successfully applied to the New Zealand government for a “Foundation for Research, Science and Technology” funding grant. This funding module enabled the company to embark upon a research program that was focused on supporting S&T’s implementation of BIM. This research included the evaluation of remote computing technologies to assist with the rapid deployment of Autodesk Revit over LAN and WAN connections. The company’s 2006 studies highlighted that 3D-Graphics remote computing was not a feasible option due to the relatively poor performance of remoting protocols available at that time. The company made the decision to shelve further research in this area until these technology barriers could be overcome at some point in the future.

In 2009, the company’s remote computing initiative was reinstated. Various emerging developments in 3D-Graphics remote computing technologies prompted this move, including developments by Calista Technologies (since acquired by Microsoft) and Teradici (now in a co-development agreement with VMware). The options explored included technology packages from VMware, Citrix, Quest, HP and Microsoft. The technology from Microsoft soon emerged as the leading contender and was promoted to the level of a proof-of-concept study, at the conclusion of which the firm’s owners decided to invest in the development of STRATUS to support the Revit team production environment.

Within a few weeks following the implementation of STRATUS, it was driving all of S&T’s active Revit projects. The STRATUS deployment quickly expanded to include a number of multi-office collaborative Revit-based projects being run over WAN links. Early 2011 saw a quadrupling of the company’s STRATUS capability in order to address the burgeoning increase in S&T’s demand for Revit-based remote computing.

Geographically distributed Revit user teams can easily and securely collaborate over the public Internet using the STRATUS Private Cloud. The available bandwidth and latency of a remote user’s WAN connection will dictate the number of concurrent STRATUS users at the remote office. S&T has found that 100-400 kbs of bandwidth is required for each connection depending upon the specific activity of the remote Revit user. Latency between the remote user’s office and the STRATUS data center should ideally be less than 50ms to ensure that the Revit remote-application response time remains unobtrusive to the remote user’s experience.

Australian-based STRATUS test sessions have been conducted back to the New Zealand-based STRATUS Cloud without any significant performance degradation. STRATUS has demonstrated the capability to deliver Revit modeling access to a geographically distributed and mobile Revit-based workforce.

With S&T’s STRATUS Cloud, the Revit application and the Revit files both reside in the STRATUS Cloud data center. Remote Revit users connect to the STRATUS Cloud to access their Revit applications and Revit files, irrespective of their physical location, assuming the minimum requirements for WAN bandwidth and latency are met. The STRATUS-based Revit applications consume the system resource of the STRATUS Cloud servers, which far exceed those of any typical personal computing hardware. The Revit files remain secure in one location, supported by a comprehensive disaster recovery plan with fully redundant failover systems.

In contrast, Autodesk’s newly introduced Revit Server uses Revit applications installed on the Revit user’s personal computer, consuming the relatively finite system resources of the user’s local machine. The Revit model files do not reside on one file server; rather, with Revit Server, several offices are connected together with Revit Server responsible for replicating central files to each office and keeping them coordinated.

Well before Autodesk released Revit Server, S&T had already deployed STRATUS Private Cloud for Revit. While S&T had 2 offices that needed to access the same Revit models, their needs had also evolved to remote and mobile access for S&T staff, consultant access, and several other situations where access to Revit files was needed by people in all kinds of locations. Now, any of S&T’s STRATUS users can access their Revit application and Revit models from any device that is connected to the Internet. The author has personally accessed 500+MB Revit models from a laptop, iPad and even an iPhone. The challenge is that the needs of S&T’s Revit users keep evolving, so the agile technology of the STRATUS Private Revit Cloud enabling a remote and mobile Revit workforce is a significant advantage.

Depending on your company’s situation, Autodesk’s Revit Server may very well cover your requirements. If your requirements go beyond Revit Server, then a Private Revit Cloud project like STRATUS might well be on your company’s IT strategy roadmap....

Extinction Awaits Firms who Ignore BIM

I read an article this morning on New Civil Engineer titled "Extinction awaits those firms who ignore BIM"

Due to NCE been a subscription only website it wouldn't be wise of me to re-post the article here, but I will share some parts with you.

....Government efficiency mandarins this week fired a wake-up call at the construction industry with news that from 2016 building information modelling (BIM) will be used for every single publicly funded building and infrastructure project. The move is a core part of the new Government Construction Strategy....

....Last month chief construction advisor Paul Morrell said that firms who failed to adopt BIM risked being “Betamaxed out” of existence.

Morrell was speaking at an event convened by Riba commercial arm NBS after an industry-wide survey revealed alarming ignorance over BIM. NBS’s survey found that just 13% of those working in the industry were aware of BIM and currently using it. More than four in 10 had never heard of it....

....Autodesk’s own survey – albeit of delegates at its own user conferences in London, Munich and Milan towards the end of last year – found that the vast majority of firms expected to be using BIM by 2013.

Of those polled, 60% in the UK, 57% in Germany and 55% in Italy were already using BIM methods. But of those respondents not already using BIM, 82% in the UK, 85% in Germany and 42% in Italy expect to do so within the next two years....

It appears the slow uptake of BIM in the UK is going to have to change, the government are going to force this change on consultants and contractors, in an attempt to streamline the industry, and bring it into the 21st century.

The transition from 2D to BIM is on a comparative scale to the transition from pen and ink to CAD.

The industry faces some tough times in the current economy, it will be interesting to see how the companies that don't take up BIM stand when we finally reach that light at the end of the tunnel.

The full article can be read here

NCE BIM Article

NCE is an excellent publication, one well worth signing up for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Revit ST: One Year On (Off Topic)

So, the blog becomes one year old later this month, I have made 76 posts in the last 12 months and had over 20,000 hits. When I started this page I didn't think I would ever get to 10,000 hits, so my expectations have been far surpassed.

It has been a difficult year for me on a personal level; I have lived in 5 houses, in 3 different countries, and had 4 different jobs, not to mention having over $10,000 worth of belongings stolen from my house after a break in.

To top that off, I sadly watched a family member pass away in January. RIP. (If anybody wants to help my fiancé raise money for Cancer Research UK, please, follow the link at the right of the blog, it is a great cause, and every little helps)

On a positive note, the blog has clearly been a success, and I have also helped found RUGLeeds (The Revit User Group Leeds,) which was a massive success.

To top that off, I have also been busy planning my wedding! (November the 26th 2011) So I guess life could be worse.

I have had the chance to work on an amazing project, as the lead (or should I say the only) Revit modeller for a multimillion pound theatre development in the UK, and I am now back with my old company, Opus International Consultants, heading up our on-going Revit development in the UK business.

I just want to thank everyone who follows the blog, and thank those of you that leave me comments, I don't get chance to reply to all of them, but I do make an effort.

Hopefully we can hit the 50,000 mark by this time next year!

Friday, June 3, 2011

UK Terminology - Hotfix

I have just received an email from Ralph Pullinger at Autodesk to confirm the hotfix for Revit 2012 UK terminology is now available.

Follow this
link to download.

This hotfix addresses issues related to UK specific terminology not being present in the User Interface after default installation.