The Engineering of BIM

One of the most important concepts that I learned in college was a very specific definition of the word "engineering." I don't remember exactly where I first heard this definition, but I seem to recall it was an offhand remark made about the profession by a seminar lecturer. I like it because it is simple yet comprehensive in how it can be applied. Here is my definition of engineering:

Engineering is the use of math, science, and technology to optimize a solution to a problem.

There is a tool set that we use – math, science, and technology – to solve a problem in an optimized way. The focus is on a solution and the tool set makes it the best solution.

BIM Pros: Making Numbers Tell a Story

This post is about numbers and how we as virtual design and construction (VDC) practitioners can use them more effectively. If you're a BIM professional, imagine walking into your next annual review and saying a statement similar to one or more of the following:

·     "I was personally responsible for leading coordination of $45,201,030 of MEP systems on projects last year."

·     "I led VDC efforts on five potential projects, and of those projects we were awarded four of them."

·     "In the past year, I've produced 524 sheets of shop drawings in support of field crews. This work supported 10,233 man hours of field work."

·     "I modeled, detailed, and supported $25,250,450 worth of plumbing installation in the past year."

The BIM-Burning Man Connection

Burning Man has become a cultural phenomenon, growing from a small beach gathering in San Francisco in 1986 into the sixth-largest city in Nevada (larger than the state capital) for one week per year. (Check out this blog to read about the building of Black Rock City!) Upon reflection, Burning Man is a lot like the practice of building information modeling (BIM). So put on a funny costume, drop some acid, and read on as we compare the two.


Career Progression Challenges in VDC & BIM

When I entered the construction industry in 2001, there was a clear-cut career path for me. While the titles and steps may have varied across companies, the progression for someone in project management was nearly an industry standard. The introduction of building information modeling (BIM) created new roles – virtual design and construction (VDC) coordinator and 3D modeler – that changed this simple progression. All of a sudden there was a parallel path in the VDC department of construction companies. This parallel path made an interesting challenge: What is the career progression of a VDC professional and how can they continue to be challenged if they remain specialized?  

The Gamification of Building Information Modeling

Last year, we visited Chris Collins at High Fidelity in San Francisco and learned how they are creating an open source and immersive virtual reality environment. While there, we were told an insightful tale about the power of gamification, which we find relevant to the practice of building information modeling (BIM) in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. We'll relate the story and then extend it to how we believe gamification can be added to BIM.

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