Collaboration with other software
About model and data exchange with 3rd party solutions: Revit, Solibri, dRofus, Bluebeam, structural analysis solutions, and IFC, BCF and DXF/DWG-based exchange, etc.

Looking beyond printed plans

Geoff Briggs
Mentor
I'd like to spur a dialog about the next generation of publishing, data exchange and collaboration.

On the one hand I fully agree on the need for PM enhancements. In fact, based on the static nature of the requirements placed on a printed CD set, one could argue the possibility of a fully completed PM that would leave little left to improve.

But the BIM paradigm is all about the creation and sharing of a data model that is more sophisticated than anything that can ever be printed. ArchiCAD offers the opportunity to leverage the virtual building model in such a way as to create more value with less effort. But we're stuck between generations, developing elaborate models only to print old fashioned plans.

So what's next? What are users doing now to push the envelope? What new tools does ArchiCAD need to enable a higher level of collaboration? And what new procedures and business models do we as designers need to develop to replace the safety cage we've built by standardizing on a static, 2D publishing model?
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
I & I Design, Seattle, USA
AC7-27, M1 Mac, OS 14.x
12 REPLIES 12
Dwight
Newcomer
Excuse me for being an old guy, here, but if we make totally electronic, holographic and dynamic building data, what will the lawyers have to work with when things go wrong?

We sometimes forget that in our excitement to describe a building that construction documents represent a part of a contract document - specific payment for specific work units...... and I believe that things need to crystallize at some point - on paper.

I wonder what others might say about the other side of the fence - those more experienced in construction management than me.....
Dwight Atkinson
Anonymous
Not applicable
The lawyers would get a .pln file like everybody else. What better way to end a dispute than with a fully detailed model? I just realized after reading your signature that the lawer comment was sarcasm. Once the PM's, contractors, plan checkers, planners and estimators are all equipped to recieve and review some standardized form of the BIM, paper plans will be a thing of the past. The builders exchanges already have "Electronic Plan Rooms" that allow estimators to review and perform take-offs online. This allows a prime contractor to access a much larger base of bids and a subcontractor the option to bid on more projects. Overall the exchange and reproduction of paper plans is expensive and cumbersome.
Dwight
Newcomer
With all due respect, your reply seems to be that of a person who has never testified in court about a contract.

How many contract law suits have you been in?
How many disputes over the extent of a finish in a contract, say, or of a fire protection system?
How many projects have you forensically needed to figure out what somebody who is no longer with the firm did to describe a change order five years ago?
For example, last month a lawyer's researcher called me about a meeting that took place in 1980 where I sat in as an intern about a fire access lane for a condo development that, now, wants to build a fence in the ROW. And my old boss [drinker-sloppy notes] died in 1986.

My last post asks how we will solve the legal issues of not having "hard documents" to rely on - just look at how difficult it is to understand the ArchiCAD model electronically if you are not its author - and I don't mean two storey homes, I mean high-rise commercial properties... and you seriously think lay people and the courts will come to rely on an abstract electronic file.... it could happen, but how do we build in the legal safeguards?
Dwight Atkinson
Anonymous
Not applicable
Dwight and Mark,

I am of two minds on this one. On the one hand I am an old fuddy-dud who doesn't see printed drawings going away any time soon. On the other I have always been excited by the possibilities of the interactive virtual building in the hands of the right team.

I think traditional patterns (bidding and building from paper documents) will be around a long time yet. When you consider the liabilities and long standing patterns of relationships between many diverse participants it seems unlikely that things will change rapidly. Perhaps not at all.

The technology will also have to improve dramatically as well. Printed paper it still by far the highest resolution output/display device we have. One D-size/A1 sheet is minimally 10800 dots X 7500 dots = 81 million dots (and that's at 300dpi - it's four times as much at 600dpi). My big, beautiful Cinema display at 1920x1200 is only 2.3 million.

The other big advantages of printed output is low cost and having total control of what the recipient sees; paper is the ultimate WYSIWYG.

I am becoming quite enamored of PDF as an electronic alternative to paper. This format could be a stepping stone (with acceptable security measures) toward electronic contract documents.

I could go on, but I'm beginning to ramble, it's getting late and I have to catch a flight to Chile tomorrow - I mean today... oops it's definitely getting past my bedtime.
Dave Jochum
Enthusiast
I realize this discussion is in its infancy, but it seems the obvious is being overlooked. I agree with Dwight questioning whether or not we can expect laypeople to understand and extract info from a BIM model. Are you guys working with the same plan checkers I am? How about the contractors? All the building management possibilities are great, but let's keep in mind that our primary task as architects is to convey a building design to the trades who in turn construct the thing. How is a plumber with pipe lube all over his hands supposed to access and maneuver around a computer model? Voice commands, maybe, to a sealed, somehow unbreakable display screen with a wireless connection to a server located--where? That is if the carpenter's skill saw and the laborer's jackhammer don't drown him out.

Maybe, Geoff, I'm thinking in a different time frame than you are. I'm thinking many generations ahead--of people and technology.
Dave Jochum
J o c h u m A R C H I T E C T S http://www.jochumarchitects.com
MBP 16" (M1 Max) 64 GB•OS 13.5.2•AC 27 Silicon (latest build)
Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Geoff wrote:
So what's next? What are users doing now to push the envelope? What new tools does ArchiCAD need to enable a higher level of collaboration? And what new procedures and business models do we as designers need to develop to replace the safety cage we've built by standardizing on a static, 2D publishing model?
Hi guys,

I latched onto Geoff's use of the word "collaboration" more than the mention of 2D plans. There's a lot beyond printed plans ... but like most of you, I still see printed plans in the future. So, going off on the "collaboration" tangent...

Collaboration of ArchiCAD with other software:

I think that AC should continue to grow (as it has) to enable more automatic generation of information and sharing with other applications. For example, in the future we should be able to publish the output of the interactive scheduler - to PDF, Word, Excel, Acccess, Filemaker, etc. Better yet, external applications should more easily be able to access any and all data stored in the PLN file. (Pull vs Push technology.) The current ODBC driver allows limited access to some of this data for Windows users and is a step in the right direction IMHO.

Graphisoft leads the way with IFC support, permitting collaboration with users of other software platforms ...and a common language for the use of other software products, such as NavisWorks, plan "spell checkers', and more.


Collaboration with other design professionals and engineers

How much more might we want or need beyond IFC and DWG?


Collaboration with Contractors and Construction Management

And lawyers. This gets dicier and I should go to bed! 😉

Karl
One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.3, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB
Dwight
Newcomer
It is great that you are all so positive about getting things built, and collaboration and coordination and happy good things like that. Yay! Certainly our colleague Mitch showed [at ACUW - don't you wish you were there?] how comprehensive 3D imaging helped co-ordinate a massive project. However, this was only achieved at some massive cost... and certainly not with a fixed price contract.

I feel like a cynical old guy worrying about getting my "donkey" sued off when some contractor interprets a thing I did wrong - or deliberately contrary to what I intend. And the only thing that protects me is what I put -IN ABSOLUTE CLARITY SO EVEN A MORON WOULD GET IT - in the contract documentation - and can prove my contract ten years hence.

And standing in a courtroom with a [favored, yet common expletive as adjective] .pln isn't going to help establish what was in that contract or not.
Dwight Atkinson
Geoff Briggs
Mentor
I would agree that paper is not going away any time soon, it has far too much history and retains many advantages. The resolution gap, although it is closing, certainly favors printing. As does the job site durability. But digital media have their strong suits as well, vibrant color, zoomability, interactivity, etc.

Of course the last one, interactivity, forms the tip of the spear. Full access to the model is great with the right team but brings many pitfalls. Let the client walk thru the virtual building, but does that mean we have to polish every room? And what if they don't like what they see and we're not there to explain, convince, sell. Sure would be nice if the builder could query the model but wouldn't that mean we'd be forced to model every detail and maintain unreasonably high accuracy?

I don't think giving the lawyers a .pln would be a good idea (unless it made their brain explode). But the fact that a printed plan is best in the rain or for Joe Greasyhands ignores the modern reality of a fully equipped, moderately climate controlled job site office. And while there are plenty of knuckle draggers out there I find most project managers more computer savvy than structural engineers. Clients, ever younger and more tech friendly, are accustomed to hi-tech communication.

This subject also treads on some thin philosophical ice. The big dog where I work today said, "Architects are supposed to design everything in advance", a simple statement just like, "I believe that things need to crystallize at some point - on paper." Maybe it's because I came up through the trades, but in today's world of increasingly complex building systems, accelerated schedules and tight regulation, this strikes me as unrealistic at best, arrogant anachronistic elitism at worst. Design professionals won't maintain their place at the top of the pyramid just because they have AIA after their name. The pyramid is being replaced by a round table. Take a seat.

So in my view paper has it place, but we need to open up to the myriad other collaborative tools the digital age has handed us. The hurdles are indeed high but I'm sure we'll find that the technological ones are the easiest to overcome. I'm in agreement with all my comrades here that evolution in social, legal and business relationships will be more difficult and may prove a long way off.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
I & I Design, Seattle, USA
AC7-27, M1 Mac, OS 14.x
David Collins
Enthusiast
I sat in on a Workshop at Build Boston last year that quite blew me away. The designers from Moshe Safdie Associates described how they worked with the contractors to build the very complex skylight system of the Peabody Art Museum. The skylight looks like a huge wooden ship hull, turned upside down and then curved in plan, maybe 200 meters long. A gorgeous shape, but it looked absolutely indeterminate structurally, a nightmare to document, detail and fabricate.

But the designers, using AutoCAD by the way, had created the shape as an assembly of four pieces each of which had been sliced out of a giant virtual torus. This meant that 90% of the components were repeating identical parts. (Stay with me now, I'm coming on topic...) The skylight fabricators were also at the workshop. They basically took Safdie's computer model and fed the data into their own CAD/CAM system. Apparently they were the only fabricators able to work this way and their bid was by far the lowest, because they were able to understand how simple the thing really was. You can see the other bidders just coming up with some number off the top of their heads and then doubling it, just to be sure.

Ultimately the CADCAM system manufactured each of the skylight components complete with all the odd endcuts and boltholes. When the anchorplates for the skylight were in place they did a 3d laser survey to confirm the actual locations and then made adjustments to the computer model. In the end, the whole thing was fabricated with a margin of error measured in millimeters. No leaks, either.

Now, of course the architect and the fabricators had flatland contract documentation for all this stuff. And there were structural engineers and glazing subcontractors in the mix, as well. But what I thought was cool was that the real work happened in virtual reality and the most critical exchange of information was all digital. The 2d documentation happened in parallel, largely to have a signed legal record of the work.

I think we'll see more and more computer literate builders in the future, who will want to use the virtual model in ways that go way beyond just general 3d visualization, for material take-offs, fabrication and verification. We'll still have flatland paper contract documents, but these will be more like a legal record of what was done, rather than the way information gets passed along.

David Collins
not holding my breath, incidently.
most of the builders I work with can't figure out how their cellphones work
they have to ask the kids
David Collins

Win10 64bit Intel i7 6700 3.40 Ghz, 32 Gb RAM, GeForce RTX 3070
AC 27.0 (4001 INT FULL)

Start a new conversation!

Still looking?

Browse more topics

Back to forum

See latest solutions

Accepted solutions

Start a new discussion!