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Humble has spent £21,000 to install two Revit workstations along with the added expense that arises from bringing in people to work on AutoCAD while others train on the new system. The investment, however, is geared towards the long term, and his firm is currently working on nine BIM projects. “Our projects are slow burners,”

he says. “They may be built three years after the design is started, so we are just seeing our first BIM designs reach the construction phase. From the client’s perspective, we expect to see many advantages when the buildings are complete. In terms of facilities management, they will have better, more detailed information on which to base preventative maintenance. Knowledge is power.”

Top tip: use it live Humble’s advice for companies implementing BIM is to use it on a live project or there will be little time to play around with its capabilities. The real catalyst is to use it on a project that brings the solution to life, a project with commercial realities resting on its outcome. “You can’t hold back the tide,” notes Humble. “Four years ago we were working with a firm of architects from the US and they said they would handle the Revit side for us. Now, we are expected to have BIM ourselves. Everything must have a commercial benefit, so I hope we see that. We are committed to changing all of our workstations to the Revit platform. But I would advise firms not to underestimate the time this kind of introduction takes. At first, it was two or three times slower than using CAD, but it is balancing out as we move up the learning curve. “I would tell people to have one


“I have seen Revit used in offices of just two people... Their thinking, and ours, is that if you don’t like change, you will like obsolescence even less”

The catalogue question

BIM objects combine many features – information content defining a product, a geometric representation of its physical properties, functional data that enables the object to be positioned as if it were the real thing, and visualisation data to provide a recognisable appearance. Given the range of equipment that might be specified, the libraries or catalogues of these products are potentially vast. Some architects and engineers are choosing to use their own object libraries rather than relying on external sources, although extensive object libraries are available in Vectorworks and Graphisoft

“Standardising BIM software is a hot topic”

ArchiCAD – as just two examples. “Standardising BIM software is a

hot topic,” says Andrew Humble FCSI. “We researched what our project team members were using and everyone said we should go with Revit. That has been the right choice for us, but there are other platforms out there. Some catalogues integrate well, but we have not had to use them, so we don’t know them first hand. Some say not all of the information is transferred over.” FCSI Revit standards can be downloaded from the TAD page of the FCSI website.

person learn Revit at a time and let them work just in that system. Then have them go back to training as they will discover new features after they’ve had their initial one-week minimum training period.” Carlson adds: “Remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has taken us six years to get where we are on Revit. The time is extended partly by the fact that the industry is still moving forward, and because more products are being added to the information libraries.”

Although the transition time and upfront cost of a solution such as Revit may clearly mark it out as suitable for larger firms, Carlson firmly believes that even small design companies can benefit greatly. “It is now a question of ‘when’

rather than ‘if’ people make the change, even in Europe, where architects have yet to use BIM as much as they are elsewhere. We have many people here, and many hands make light work, but I have seen Revit used in offices of just two people, where they are tech- savvy and have decided to be early adopters. Their thinking, and ours, is that if you don’t like change, you will like obsolescence even less,” he remarks.

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