PADT 1.005 – Short & Sweet!
Maybe I've been wrong all along.
Maybe It Can’t Be Done
For quite a while I’ve been thinking that since BIM is just 3D graphics combined with the ability to import and export data, why aren’t there more applications competing in the market? Can’t a 3D Graphics program have data added to the Objects and have the facility to export it out and call it “BIM.” There may be much more to it than that and why some of the other players seem to not be making a dent.
From the Ground Up
It was always interesting to me that Autodesk bought Revit when they had a long-standing 3D architectural application in AutoCAD Architecture. After years of thought, it now occurs to me that the freeform nature of CAD systems is not well-suited as a BIM application. There is an inherent “coordination” of objects that a BIM application should be taken into account.
Constraints or Relationships
With any 3D application, you could add constraints or groupings in order to form “architectural objects.” Walls could be created from flat planes, they could be moved as one, trimmed, deleted, and all the other functions need to create floorplans. Door objects could be designed that “cut” into Walls and the Walls would heal when the Door was moved or deleted. But is that enough?
Are They Going to Miss This?
Is the latest crop of new BIM applications going to miss this and just stop right there? There are a lot of 3D applications with which you could create 3D models, cut floorplans, create sections, do rendering and even create fantastic piles of data. Is there something that makes the BIG Names different and why are the developers taking old technology and trying to turn them into BIM, not succeeding? Relationships!
“Living in a Material World”
This comes on several very different fronts. These are not just 3D objects, but ones that will someday, hopefully, be built into breathing buildings. I’ve advocated it before – there must be a coordinated effort for 3D objects and the materials they’re composed of to have relationships to real-world parameters. Is this Wall brick? Great! What type of brick? How much does it weigh? How strong is it? What’s its thermal gain? Where do find this information? The manufacturer or should there be a central organization dedicated to providing building material parameters? Just Asking!
“We’re in this Love Together”
This is “broken record” territory. In order for this to succeed, there must be open-source file formats for building data exchange. ‘Nuf Said!
“There’s a Hole on the Bottom of the Sea”
Why can’t you just slap data on a CAD(D) application and called it “BIM.” Here’s a better question - Why is Revit building a Relational Database? You’ve seen it before. Unlike just putting lines on a layer and a sheet, building data has many more “relationships.” Grid Lines on Levels, Walls on Grids Lines, Rooms defined by Walls, Doors and Windows embedded into Walls, Components attached to Walls. These “relationships” can cause BIM to be overly complicated and error-prone but is that the fault of the concept or the application and/or UX developer? If I move a Level, everything on that level moves. If I move a Wall, the Doors and Windows move. Relationships!
I Hope, I Hope, I Hope
I hope they don’t miss this. To understand most software, you have to understand it at a conceptual and not just a functional level. The young BIM guns may get the sizzle, but will they get the steak? This is really not hard once you understand some of the core designs that must be put into place. I fear if they miss this, they’ll fail. We shall see!
I’d Like to Help
But this blog doesn’t get very far. More people just want tutorials, instead of the ravings of an old CAD(D) Guru. Sorry. Maybe time to roll up the sidewalk. But I’m still these musings will help users understand the decisions they need to make and that developers would take a hard look before just jumping in.
Dave Edwards has been in the CAD/BIM industry as a manager, developer, consultant, speaker, and author for almost 40 years. He has had 80 magazine articles published, written 3 international newsletters, reviewed over 300 CAD/BIM applications, and 3D modeled 2 Billion dollars worth of architectural projects. He is available for professional alpha/beta testing, application feature consulting, technical documentation support, seminar presentations, and voice overs.
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