Our industry colleagues often reach out to us about the troubles they’ve been facing while working on their projects. We’ve noticed some similarities amongst their problems, especially when some of our team regularly faces them themselves as BIM specialists.
We decided to write a response to those problems in the format of an advice column, penned by our new resident agony aunt Wilma. If you’d like to submit your completely anonymous coordination confessions, be they people or technology problems on the job, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m reviewing the details on our steel connections in Tekla Structures for this mega hospital project. I’ve been going through structural drawings with a fine-toothed comb and I’ve spotted several errors that need to be resolved. I’ve been emailing Bob from our internal engineering team to share which components need to be changed. A lot of times we end up exchanging screenshots in order to navigate correctly to a particular issue or point of interest. We’ve been doing this for a while now and it’s a painfully slow process, and to add to that, Bob’s not working in Tekla, which isn’t helping my migraines either!
What should I do?
Fundamentally Frustrated in Fort Worth
Dear Fundamentally Frustrated: We feel your pain. Resolving design issues is hard enough; the politics, the process, maybe even some contractual headaches too. Processes can only fix so much; we can’t make Bob review your drawings.
BUT we can make it a little easier for him to do so and hopefully that’ll make you design review process way more efficient. And give you the transparency to show when you raised those issues and cover yourself. If you track your issues in BIM Track, you can work directly in Tekla; it’s a list integrated directly in Tekla. Those issues also know their location, so every time you need to review an issue in the model, you can just click “view in model” from the issues list and it’ll take you straight to it in the Tekla model. You can assign issues to Bob, give a due date, add notes, and more in BIM Track’s metadata.
How does this help Bob? Well, he can use the BIM Track web viewer to review the issues that need his approval straight in the model just like you can.
I’m an architect working on a city hall renovation project. Our structural team is working in Revit and the users are super competent. To be honest, I’ve had very limited exposure to BIM so far and with my 12 hour days in the office, I don’t see where I’m going to have the time to learn the finer details of Revit, let alone Navisworks. I’m finding myself a bit lost during our meetings; on one side the BIM guys are having trouble communicating with our team, and I feel like I’m working in a silo because I don’t have access to the latest design documents.
I’m always bugging the team to print drawings for me to review. There have been moments where crucial changes were made to the drawings that I didn’t know about and I only realized during a meeting that I was working on the ‘wrong’ document this whole time. My job is my life and this is a crucial project for our firm. I can’t afford to keep finding myself in situations like this.
What should I do?
Lost in Los Angeles
Dear Lost in Los Angeles: Phew we can feel your stress from up here in Canada! First of all, is your firm committed to training employees on BIM? We do think that long-term, this will be a good way to keep your firm competitive. There are less time-consuming methods to get into learning the software, including e-learning classes like Global eTraining before you get into project setup and implementation. You should also flag up to your senior management that you need a resource internally to further your company’s BIM uptake.
However, that's not much help for this mega job you’re working on. If there are several of you in the team, that are not actively working in Revit, we recommend BIM Track. Before you run screaming for the hills “Not another software!”, know that our browser-based web viewer is very easy to access and use. Teams can upload the most recent models, with full revision history, and you can see design issues. It also gets you used to working in 2D and 3D simultaneously so you get the full picture. Think of it as an intro to BIM. You can comment back and forth on issues, assign them to individuals or teams with a date for resolution too, which gives you experience in a live collaborative environment. We assure you, once you get used to working “live” and in BIM like this, you won’t want to look back.
Agony Aunt Wilma