AEC Tech News (#225)

9 Apr, 2008 By: Heather Livingston

Livin' Large with BIM

How BIM operates in a large design firm.

By Heather Livingston

Heather Livingston photo

A few months ago I spoke with architect William Badger, AIA, in Manchester, Vermont, to get a feel for how the transition to building information modeling (BIM) was progressing in small design firms. Bill's take on the process was that it was slow going, but overall was good and worthwhile. To find out how a large firm is dealing with the transition, I spoke with Jordan Goldstein, AIA, managing director at the Washington, D.C., office of Gensler. Because of the substantial resources available to large firms, many have taken the lead on the adoption of BIM and 3D technologies, and Gensler is no exception. Its point of view is unique because of the vast number of users in each office and the size of the projects. How has BIM changed the firm's practice? Here's what Goldstein says.

HL: Which program is Gensler using?

JG: We're one of the largest subscribers and users of [Autodesk's] Revit, and we've had it in the firm for well over a year-and-a-half as a main staple program. We've been experimenting with it longer, but to actually weave it into projects has been a year-and-a-half, at least. We are striving to do every new project that comes in, whether it's architecture or interiors, in Revit.

HL: How did Gensler handle adoption: by office or firm-wide?

JG: [Implementation for] the entire firm would be the lens through which we've looked at it, [although] I think the larger offices have certainly been great testing grounds for it. We tried to do it on projects that range in size and scale, but it certainly has been used more comprehensively for larger projects that are complex and involve architecture and interiors: projects that really allow us to explore not only potential phasing of a project but also integration of multiple trades.

HL: How many in your office are using Revit?

JG: Well in Washington, D.C., we have 275 people, of which about 220–225 are architects. Everyone's gone through our internal Revit training program, but obviously if they don't have a chance to use it right away, it's hard to refine the skills. Of active users, I'd say we're probably about half of that. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Vermont-based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology. She can be reached at


AEC Insight:
AEC on Macs

By Jerry Laiserin

Apple's January 24, 1984, public announcement of the original Macintosh computer touted the system's "extraordinary computing power with exceptional ease of use" — characteristics that remain true of Macs today and that help account for the system's continuing appeal to creative professionals.

That appeal, however, has not extended to the global mass market. Of the nearly 270 million personal computers sold worldwide in 2007, less than 3% were Macs. (In the U.S. market, which skews toward a more affluent, better-educated, and more creative demographic, Macs accounted for just more than 6% of new personal computer sales.)

Despite these demographic odds, dedicated fans among AEC professionals remain loyal to the Mac's ideals, using Macs in far greater proportions than the general population. This loyalty is supported by a wide assortment of Mac-native software capable of any AEC practice task. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

National BIM Conference
May 19-22, 2008
Anaheim, California
This conference will explore building information modeling (BIM), AEC interoperability, and IT technology for the entire facilities, design, and construction team. Read more

Eco-Build America and AEC-ST
May 19-22, 2008
Anaheim, California
Two events combine to showcase the latest evolutions in green building, sustainable design, renewable energy, environmental planning, construction technology, and more. Read more

ZweigWhite's AEC Technology Strategies 2008
June 12-13, 2008
Las Vegas, Nevada
This ninth annual information technology conference brings together all the AEC disciplines, gives equal time to the business issues driving technology, and involves both technology managers and business managers from AEC firms. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on