Here is another article that I wrote a little while ago about the challenges we are facing as an industry with clients/asset owners asking for model deliverables just because they think that is what they need because everyone else wants them.
Is anyone in the community working with clients that specifically want models delivered at the completion of the project? It would be interesting to know how many Archicad users are experiencing this in the industry across the globe.
As I have noticed, the usual client does not care at all whether there will be a project built on the basis of drawings from BIM models or drawings made in 2D by hand in Archicad or AutoCAD. The BIM model is relevant only if the client wants to be able to manage such an asset after the building is commissioned. But I haven't met such people, because usually the client wants to build and sell real estate. Maybe in other countries it is different.
It is common here in Australia with the government clients that I work with and I am finding more and more clients are asking for models to be provided without knowing what they are going to do with them. They only ask for them because everyone else is asking for them. Hence my article, to raise awareness to people in industry.
Here in the US, if you carry Errors and Omissions insurance, the insurance companies frown upon architects turning over digital assets without huge disclaimers and frankly higher fees.
The more interesting question is what kind of exposure do you open yourself up to if you deliver a model that isn't 100% "as built" type model. Not to mention, how many clients keep Archicad or Revit current with staff that know how to use the software.
Really sounds like, as others have mentioned here, that end users are being encouraged by the software companies to ask for the models - seems like a scheme to sell more software with no benefit to the design professional and mostly opens them up further to additional liability.
The only clients asking for, or expecting, 3D models are my clients requesting FBX for digital asset libraries. Also wanting it as a feature rich format for bringing into Unreal or Unity. Sadly, we know at a minimum, a SketchUp subscription is required to convert to FBX, after save to SKP from Archicad.
I have found this position from (your insurers) to be really a bit of a cop-out. For decades we have provided hard copy drawings / PDF / DWG files of our designs to clients/builders. A model is no different from previous iterations of information that we are releasing already. There is no need to provide a disclaimer if you state the purpose that the model has been created and the suitability of its use. If you also have an accompanying schedule listing what elements are in the model then this also indicates to the receiver what they should expect and rely on. Then moving to as constructed there are several methods of recording and documenting the level of accuracy and reliability of the data/model that is being provided against the real asset. So it is all achievable, and here in Australia, there are no additional Professional Indemnity Insurance costs for doing so.
As to why it is being pushed so hard, honestly, I don't think the software vendors are the primary ones pushing it as much as the BIM consultants are pushing for it. They know the client doesn't have the skills to maintain the models, and they are looking to set themselves up with long term contracts to maintain the models for the clients.
But be sure that globally in the next decade there will be a huge shift towards this direction and the profession need to be prepared for it.
Rex I am guessing it depends on what role you are playing in the modelling for your clients right? I am assuming that you are handing over your models for visualisation purposes rather than for Facilities Management purposes? Or are they running Unity as the visual interface for their FM/BMS or digital twin platform?
Two purposes... one is a client who is building a virtual facility in the metaverse (and using that term makes me semi-cringe, lol). The other is a gaming company I design assets for. The first in Unreal (for now) and the latter in Unity. In order to maintain maximum compatibility they request FBX.
I simply can't believe Graphisoft is being so short-sighted about the diversity of projects their clients use Archicad for.