CAD Central

31 Jul, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

BIM Experts Share Secrets to Success

AIA 2006 Convention: BIM Experts Share Secrets to Success

BIM (building information modeling) practitioners compared notes at the 2006 AIA Convention held June 8-10 in Los Angeles. Phil Bernstein, vice-president of Autodesk's Building Solutions Division, moderated the session "Moving to BIM: A Progress Report." He observed that leaders at firms adopting BIM have assumed a revolutionary attitude of sorts, but that BIM adoption is not revolutionary, but rather evolutionary—requiring a step-by-step approach and often a project-by-project approach.


Patrick MacLeamy, CEO of HOK Group, told attendees why HOK—with its 2,200 employees in 23 offices—decided to adopt BIM. He told his firm, "We had to, or we would die," because of the complexity of work and increasing risk environment.

"The impatient CEO wants this transition done yesterday," MacLeamy said of himself. The firm has encountered a lack of consultants trained in BIM, and a lack of interoperable software. Also, because BIM requires collaboration throughout the building process, "new management techniques are necessary to make this work," MacLeamy noted.

"Start now," MacLeamy advised other firms. Be simple and clear about BIM and its benefits or staff won't understand it, and provide adequate technical support. Take the attitude that "perfection is the enemy of progress."


Scott Simpson, president and CEO of The Stubbins Associates, echoed the experience that BIM adoption requires more than just a technological change. "It must be approached from the behavioral side, not the technical side," he said, because behavioral changes are more important for BIM to be successful. In his view, the unit of progress for BIM is the ability to make better decisions. 3D technology allows clients to finally understand in real time what architects are trying to communicate via their designs.


HOK's MacLeamy summed up with a prediction about AEC design five years from now: "Design–build will be looked at as a curious process," he said. "Why did we ever do that?"

Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's Web editor.

Daratech Sizes Up GIS Market

Market research firm Daratech forecasts that worldwide GIS/geospatial revenue will reach $3.6 billion in 2006, up from $2.82 billion in 2004. Sales of commercial data products and the emergence of desktop and Internet-based systems are driving this growth, according to Daratech.

In 2004, software revenue reached $1.5 billion, or more than one-half of total GIS market revenue. Leading the market in software revenues were ESRI, Bentley Systems and Intergraph. Together, these three companies earned about one-half the industry's total software revenues. Other software leaders included Autodesk, Leica Geosystems, GE Energy, MapInfo, MacDonald Dettwiler, SICAD Geomatics and LogicaCMG.

 Daratech predicts the GIS market in 2006 to increase by 10% over 2005 total revenue. (Chart courtesy of Daratech.)
Daratech predicts the GIS market in 2006 to increase by 10% over 2005 total revenue. (Chart courtesy of Daratech.)

Data accounted for one-quarter of total revenue, or $677 million. Sales of commercial data sets are projected to continue to grow strongly as consumers and businesses become more aware of and purchase geo-enabled devices.

Services made up 20% of revenue, or $536 million, and hardware accounted for 4% ($113 million).

BIM and Outsourcing

"I see architecture going in two directions—BIM and offshoring—and we can do both," said Michael Jansen in an interview with Cadalyst at AIA 2006. Jansen is president and CEO of Satellier, a Chicago-based provider of outsourcing services that are about 85% CAD.

Satellier positions itself as more than the typical offshoring service; Jansen said he aims to be proactive in helping his architectural clients transition to BIM. "If we can make BIM effective and convenient for our clients, they are more likely to do it. Rather than fight [the change], let's make the rules."

Jansen estimated that 7% of the company's clients are currently using BIM. With a design staff based in India, the company does most of its CAD work using software from Autodesk and Bentley Systems, he said. —NSJ

Grizzly Details

Google, which earlier this year acquired @Last Software and its SketchUp 3D modeling technology, previewed Grizzly at the AIA convention. Grizzly is a pre-beta product that the company touts as a digital version of the traditional, paper-based architectural presentation. Grizzly will allow users to embed live 3D SketchUp models in a 2D presentation along with text and other photographs and graphics. A release date is not yet available.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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