First meeting of the Spanish Group for Lean Construction

I just came back from spending the day in Valencia, Spain were today I attended the first meeting of the Spanish Group for Lean Construction.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
It was an interesting day with some very good presentations on Lean Management, Lean Processes and some quite interesting case studies.
My favourite one was the presentation by Paulo Napolitano from the US general contractor Herrero, who explained their use of the Last Planner System.
Overall it was a great way to see that everyday there are more and more people in the AECO industry in Spain who understand the need for a more eficient industry and are willing to do something about it and share it with others.
Hopefully on the next meeting we will be able to show something of what we have been working on at Croxley to improve the Design and Construction process. Of course I will share as much as I can here with you.
Sorry for the long period of posting silence. Hopefully will post more regularly from now on.

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Currently Reading: BIM and Construction Management

Very interesting Book on the BIM process focused on the Construction Management practice
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Someone I like to call my mentor, for I have learned so much in the last months talking to him, recomended me (and gifted me) the book I am currently reading. "BIM for Construction Management. Proven Tools, Methods and Workflows" by Brad Hardin, LEED AP, AIA.

I am half the way through the first chapter and I am already extremely satisfied about the book. The book starts with an introduction to the benefits of BIM (brief) and an overview of the most common construction delivery methods with their strong and weak points. The rest of the book is a compilation of how to plan ahead, how to organize the processes and how to manage the huge amount of information that is generated through BIM. A must read if you are into BIM and Construction Management or Process Improvement, or both or if you simply want to read a great book related to Construction. Some links below if you are interested in getting a copy.

or or

I can't say I read all of it, but I can say I recomend it based on the part and bits of chapters I have read. It talks about processes and I think BIG BIM is all about that: Process, process, process...

For more Book recomendations check here.

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Lean Construction and Lean Architecture

Can Lean principles be applied to Architecture? To architects? Or are they only for Construction?
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I was doing some research on Lean principles applied to Architecture and found some interesting articles I thought I'd share. But first, and for those who don't know anything about "Lean", I'll do a very brief introduction.

The term "Lean" applied to industry comes from the methodology applied by Toyota in their manufacturing to eliminate what is commonly known as "waste". Related to Lean, waste means anything that doesn't bring value to the end customer. I think the wiki article on Lean manufacturing is good to get an insight of the Lean principles, so I will not extent myself much more on the topic.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, some pioneers (mainly Koskela, Ballard and Howell) started to push for the implementation of the principles applied in Lean Manufacturing to the construction industry. This is now referred as Lean Construction, and to summarize in one sentence, it tries to improve the construction industry by eliminating anything in the process of construction that doesn't bring value to the project.

Lately, I was doing some research on how this Lean Principles can be applied to the everyday practice of architectural firms, and to architects in general. I came across this website called Lean Architecture. They have a couple of the articles there available that I found quite interesting, so I thought I'd share them here. Then I thought I needed a bit of an Introduction, and so I ended up with this relatively long post. So hope you find it interesting.

Lean principles can be important to optimize the way things are done in the AEC industry, will dig into them further on later posts, this was just a first intro on the topic. What is your opinion on Lean? Did you know about it? Do you think the principles are useful? Do you think they are too theoretical?

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Vasari: Parametric Design and Energy Analysis Webcast

Autodesk is hosting a webinar on Energy Analysis and Parametric Design based on Vasari
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Next Thursday March 17th, there is a webinar from Autodesk about Parametric Design and Energy Analysis. It will show some of the features related to this topic in Vasari.

From the Autodesk Student Community page:
We will discuss energy simulation workflows and why students need to be aware of the tools available. Attendees will learn more about Autodesk® Project Vasari, an easy-to-use, expressive design tool for creating building concepts. Project Vasari is focused on conceptual building design using both geometric and parametric modeling. It supports performance-based design via integrated energy modeling and analysis features. We will also discuss passive thermal analysis and other tools available to accomplish sustainable design goals.

You can register for the webinar here, and see more information and other Autodesk Webinars here.

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New Sketchup Online Publication

SketchuCation has released the first edition of their new online publication
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Got an email recently from SketchUcation mentioning the new online publication they just released. It is called CathUp and covers topics related to SketchUp and some of the applications you can use with this great tool. You can either dowload de PDF or see below the interactive version.

Nice initiative.

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Question: What BIM platforms would you choose for Design through Construction BIM?

What do you use? What would you use?
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This is an open question for those who are involved in real BIM, not just using it to produce 3D models, but to really squeeze all its power from design through construction (using it for accurate Quantity Take-Offs, Clash Detection, and COnstruction Simulation).

I'd like to know what combination of Software packages are you using to get a first understanding of the budget needed and to get some insights on what you think it is great from your work flow and what it is not.

The idea is that where I work, we want to become BIM for Construction champions in Spain, but the company also provides design services, so the spectrum of BIM needs is quite wide.

My first thoughts are to use Revit as the design platform and to test the Vico Office Suite as our Virtual Construction Module. I am tending to favor Vico products because we already use Vico Control for project scheduling, so the integration with that would be much easier.

Do you find this to be the right combination? How well do Revit models integrate with Vico Products? If you are involved in a similar workflow (and for that I mean you are doing real BIM, not just marketing BIM), what are you using?

Please share your insights in the comments section.


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The 5D Virtual Construction Workflow

Join today's Vico Webinar about 5D BIM workflow
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More about BIM for Construction Managemente from Vico Software. Join the webinar here

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BIM 360 All day event is today

An all day event about BIM starts in a few hours
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Received recently an email from SmartBIM anouncing an all day event organized bu IMAGINIT Technologies with Webinars about BIM. THe event is today, so if you are interested, follow the link to register.

Description follows:

BIM360 Event

What are you getting out of Building Information Modeling (BIM)?
BIM has changed the way we generate, display, exchange and manage building data. As a result, architects and engineers working in a BIM environment are creating and sharing more data and model based deliverables than ever before.

Join IMAGINiT Technologies for BIM 360—our full day, virtual event Thursday, February 17 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM EST

Expert-led sessions will explore how the adoption of BIM and the resulting data, models and representations can be used to bridge information gaps, improve visibility and drive collaboration between various stakeholders, positively impacting all facets of the business. From initial design, through to facilities management once the building project is complete; learn how BIM data can be used to accelerate project timelines.

Without leaving your desk, you can spend a few hours listening to industry experts as well as interacting with your peers in our virtual lounge on how they are putting BIM data to use throughout their organizations. With tracks targeted toward managers and software users, there is something for everyone at BIM 360.

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(References) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

List of references used for my Master Thesis
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If you are looking into researching the topics of BIM and Project Management, maybe some of the references I used for my Master Thesis might be useful for you. So here they come.

  • Alshawi, B. and Ingirige, B. (2003) “Web-enabled project management an emerging paradigm in construction”. Automation in Construction. Volume 12, pp.349-364.
  • Atkinson, R. (1999) “Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, it’s time to accept other success criteria”
  • Autodesk (2002) Building information Modelling.
  • Autodesk (2007) BIM and cost Estimating.
  • Aouad, G.; Lee, A. and Wu, S. (2006) Constructing the Future: nD Modeling. London, UK and New York, USA: Taylor and Francis.
  • AIA (2009) The Business of Architecture: An AIA Survey Report on Firm Characteristics.
  • Allison, H (2010) “10 Reasons Why Project Managers should Champion 5D BIM software” VICO Software.
  • Architect’s Journal (2009). CAD - The greatest advance in construction history.
  • Baccarini (1996) “The concept of project complexity - a review”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 14, pp. 201-204.
  • Bansal, VK (2011) “Application of geographic information systems in construction safety planning”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 29, pp. 66-77.
  • Bayo-Moriones, A. and Lera-López, F. (2007) “A firm-level analysis of determinants of ICT adoption in Spain”. Technovation. Volume 27, pp. 352-366
  • Benjaoran, V. (2009) “A cost control system development. A collaborative approach for small and medium-sized contractors”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 27, pp. 270-277.
  • Bentley (2003) Does the Building Industry Really Need to Start Over?
  • Bosch-Rekveldt, M.; Jongkind, Y.; Mooi, H.; Bakker, H. and Verbraeck, A. (2010) “Grasping project complexity in large engineering projects: The TEO (Technical, Organizational and Environmental) framework. International Journal of Project Management. Article in Press
  • Broquetas, M. (2010a) From CAD to BIM: Part I - History of CAD.
  • Broquetas, M. (2010b) From CAD to BIM: Part II - History of CAD.
  • BSI (2010) Constructing the Business Case. Building Information Modelling. London and Surrey, UK: British Standards Institution and BuildingSMART UK.
  • Chan, A. P. C.; Scott, D. and Chan, A. P. L. (2004), “Factors Affecting the Success of a Construction Project”. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. Volume 130, pp, 153-155.
  • Clough, R.H.; Sears, G.A. and Sears, S.K. (2008) Construction Project Management. A Practical Guide to Field Construction Management. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
  • Eastman, C. (1999) Building Product Models: Computer Environments Supporting Design and Construction, CRC Press, Boca Raton FL
  • Eastman, C. and Siabiris, A. (1995) “A generic building product model incorporating building type information” Automation in Construction. Volume 3, pp. 283-304.
  • e-Business Watch (2006) A Pocketbook of e-Business Indicators. A portrait of e-business in 10 sectors of the EU economy
  • Europapress (2010) El 66 por ciento de los españoles no habla inglés, según un estudio. Europapress
  • European Commission (2009) COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT on the implementation of Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Roca, X. and Gangolells, M. (2007) “Adoption of web databases for document management in SMEs of the construction sector in Spain” Automation in Construction. Volume 16, pp. 411-424.
  • Fortune, J. and White, D. (2006) “Framing of project critical success factors by a systems model”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 24, pp. 53-65.
  • Fox, S. and Hietanen, J. (2007) “Interorganizational use of building information models: potential for automational, informational and transformational effects”. Construction Management and Economics. Volume 25, pp. 289-296.
  • Given, l.M. (2008) The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. Volume 1&2. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Grilo, A. and Jardim-Goncalves, R. (2010) “Value proposition on interoperability of BIM and collaborative working environments”. Automation in Construction. Volume 19, pp. 522-530.
  • Haymaker, J. and Fischer, M. (2001) “Challenges and Benefits of 4D Modeling of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Project”. CIFE Working Paper #64. Stanford University.
  • Holzer, D. (2007) “Are you talking to me? Why BIM alone is not the answer” Association of Architecture Schools Australasia Conference, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
  • IAI (2010a) BuildingSMART International
  • IAI (2010b) Information Delivery Manual
  • Kadefors, A. (2004) “Trust in project relationships—inside the black box”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 22, pp 175-182.
  • Kaner, I.; Sacks, R.; Kassian, W. and Quitt, T. (2008) “Case studies of BIM adoption for precast concrete design by mid-sized structural engineering firms”. ITCon. Volume 13 pp. 303-323.
  • Khanzode, A.; Fischer, M. and Reed, D. (2008) “Benefits and lessons learned of implementing building virtual design and construction (VDC) technologies” ITCon. Volume 13 pp. 324-342.
  • Khemlani, L.; Timmerman, A.; Benne, B. And Kalay, Y.E. (1998) “Intelligent representation for computer-aided building design”. Automation for Construction, Volume 8, pp. 49-71.
  • Lancaster, G. (2005) Research methods in Management. A Concise Introduction to research in management and business consultancy. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Lawson, B. (2002) “CAD and Creativity: Does the Computer Really Help?” Leonardo, Volume 35, pp. 327-33
  • Lee, C. (2008) BIM: Changing the AEC Industry: PMI Global Congress 2008--North America. Proceeding. Denver, Colorado, USA: Project Management Institute.
  • Leicht, R. and Messner, J. (2008) “Moving Toward An ‘Intelligent’ Shop Modeling Process” ITCon. Volume 13 pp. 286-302.
  • Maning and Messner (2008) “Case Studies In BIM Implementation For Programming Of Healthcare Facilities” ITCon. Volume 13 pp. 446-457.
  • Maunula (2008) “The Implementation of Building Information Modeling – A Process Perspective”. Helsinki University of Technology SimLab Publications. Report 23.
  • Maurer, I. (2010) “How to build trust in inter-organizational projects: The impact of project staffing and project rewards on the formation of trust, knowledge acquisition and product innovation”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 28, pp. 629-637.
  • McGraw-Hill (2008) Building Information Modelling (BIM). Transforming Design and Construction to Achieve Greater Industry Productivity
  • McGraw-Hill (2009) The Business Value Of BIM. Getting Building Information Modeling to the Bottom Line.
  • McGraw-Hill (2010a) The Business Value of BIM in Europe. Getting Building Information Modelling to the Bottom Line in the United Kingdome, France and Germany.
  • McGraw-Hill (2010b) Green BIM. How Building Information modeling is contributing to green design and construction.
  • Nitithamyong, P. and Skibniewski, M.J (2004) “Web-based construction project management systems: how to make them successful?” Automation for Construction, Volume 13, pp. 491-506
  • Onuma. K. (2009) “The BIM Ball –Evolve or Dissolve. Why Architects and The AIA are at Risk of Missing the Boat on Building Information Modeling (BIM)”. BIM Construct.
  • PMI (2004) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Third Edition. Newton Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute.
  • Pratt, M.J. (2001) “Introduction to ISO 10303 - the STEP Standard for Product Data Exchange” Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering. Volume 1, pp. 102-103.
  • Ricadela, A. (2007) “LinkedIn Reaches Out”. Businessweek.
  • Succar, B. (2009) “Building information modelling framework: A research and delivery foundation for industry stakeholders”. Automation for Construction. Volume 18, pp. 357-375.
  • Taxén, L. and Lilliesköld, J. (2008) “Images as action instruments in complex projects”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 26, pp. 527-536.
  • Teicholz, P. (2004) “Labor Productivity Declines in the Construction Industry: Causes and Remedies”. AECbytes.
  • Volm, J.M. (2010) Research Methods in Project Management [lecture notes] Deciding on the Research Approach & Choosing a Research Strategy. Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart. Stuttgart, June 2010.
  • Wikipedia (2010) Building Information Modelling
  • Williams, R. and Edge, D. (1996) “The social shaping of technology”. Research Policy. Volume 25, pp 865-899.
  • Williamns, T.M. (1999) “The need for new paradigms for complex projects”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 17, pp. 269-273.
  • Williams, T. (2002) Modeling Complex Projects, London, UK: Wiley.
  • Yessios, C.I. (2004) “Are We Forgetting Design?” AECbytes.

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Tekla BIMsight: Free Collision Detection From Tekla

If you are not ready to pay for Navisworks or Solibri, Tekla offers a free program that might work for you
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Always looking for new BIM programs and today through Revit OpEd, learned about Tekla BIMsight. It seems to be a free tool to do most of what you would normally do with NAvisworks or Solibri Model Cheker. Haven't tried it, but free tools always get a special treatment at CAD Addict.

And of course it goes straight to the List of BIM Software & Providers.

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Revit Model Clean-Up

Keep your file size down by removing unneeded families
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If you have been testing families and then using different ones you might want to eliminate those you no longer need. TO do that, Revit has a simple option. Just go to the Manage Tab and click Purge Unused.

A dialog will open and you will be able to select one by one the families and groups you want to purge (or you can alternatively select ALL unused and purge them).

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(Summary) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

The summary of my master thesis. More to come soon.
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See the previous post for more information on the Master Thesis and to see the Power Point presentation I used. Here you will find a brief summary of the thesis (the thesis has 22000 words). I am now in talks to publish the MT in a scientific journal. If that happens I guess I will not be allowed to publish it here, if it doesn't happen, then i am planning to publish it by Chapters or sections here.

Master Thesis Summary:

Building Information Modelling [BIM] is the most commonly used term to describe a set of parametric tools and processes for the creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional information regarding the design, construction and/or operations of a building, with the purpose of improving collaboration between stakeholders, reducing the time needed for documentation of the project and producing more predictable project outcomes.

Although the rates of companies adopting BIM (McGraw-Hill, 2010a) and the research about the topic has been steadily increasing in recent years, there is very few literature analysing the topic from the Project Management point of view.

To try to fill this void, this dissertation attempted to analyse BIM from the Project Management point of view. The research started with the mission to answer a double research question: “Is BIM a Project Management Tool? How can BIM help Project Managers succeed in delivering complex construction projects?” To answer this, the author analyzed relevant literature, analyzed the benefits of implementing BIM in 35 different construction projects and reviewed the opinions of AEC professionals collected through questionnaires.

The research was successful on proving that BIM is a relevant tool for Project Managers because the benefits found in projects using BIM outnumber the challenges, moreover the benefits found are in line with the role expected from a Project Manager, as defined in the different knowledge areas of the PMBOK.

The literature showed a need for better integration of project teams and collaboration between all parties. It also showed the need for a new way of dealing with information, moving from the document paradigm to the Project Integrated Database paradigm. The information analysed pointed in the direction that BIM could be the tool that allowed this better integration of teams and of information. The research study pursued based on that has shown that it does, with Communication and Coordination as two of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) showing more benefits due to the use of BIM in construction projects.

Paral.lel to the research question several objectives were defined, the first objective was to identify in which aspects BIM is showing more benefits for construction projects. Added to the already mentioned Communication and Coordination benefits, Cost, Time and Quality Improvement were the other three KPIs proven to have more beneficial influence from BIM in projects.

Comparing the main benefits of BIM implementation with the role of the Project Manager was the second objective of this research. The traditional Iron Triangle was used. Having Time, Cost and Quality as a major aspect in which BIM is showing positive effects, proved the relevance of BIM for PM practitioners. The study also used Atkinson’s (1999) Square Route principle and showed that BIM is clearly helping in 2 of the 4 corners of Atkinson’s concept for Project Management Success Factors.
The benefits for stakeholders and the organizational benefits were not so easy to identify. Organizational improvements were mentioned directly or indirectly in the case studies a few times and the questionnaire survey showed some respondents with opinions related to the improvement of the organization because of BIM use.

This research also aimed to define which role should the Project Manager assume within the BIM framework. Almost half of the respondents considered that the Project Manager should be BIM Proficient and 24% of them considered that the Project Manager should be in charge of overall BIM Management. The research shows that BIM is an Information Management Tool that goes way beyond its design functions. For this reason the author is pretty confident to state that it is the PM who should lead the BIM Management the same way the PM is the leader in setting up other IT systems and protocols in complex projects.

The research also showed that there are some challenges for BIM implementation. Mainly, these challenges are related to the Cost and Time needed to train staff to work efficiently with BIM.

The second challenge found was the existence of certain Software Issues that seem to not be allowing the use of BIM with all its potential. The research suggested that the PM should contribute to the solving of these issues, instead of considering the a reason not to use BIM, to be sure they address the aspects that can most benefit projects.

Despite the described challenges for BIM implementation. This research shows enough positive aspect related to the Project Management role, and it is suggested that PMs will benefit a lot from the use of this new way of working.

This dissertation also suggests that further studies should focus on how to improve BIM and aspects of BIM implementation, rather than trying to prove if BIM should be used or not. The AEC Industry needs better practices and BIM is one of them. But researchers should focus on how to make this adoption easier, more cost effective and smoother, and not waste much more brain power trying to convince those who resist change.

To see a complete list of references used for this research check this post.

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