Bim Priority List?


RodCole
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Interoperability is a great goal. In practice clean data exchange is difficult.

 

A good example is moving a pure ascii text file between Windows and any other operating system. On Windows a line ending is created by inserting both Carriage Return and Line Feed characters while everyone else uses just a line feed. This results in confusion when exchanging text data between platforms. And while this is easy to convert, it isn't always done by every application. For example notepad on Windows is brain dead when it comes to dealing with text files from other platforms.

 

I use this as an example because no matter how complete an export or import format is, there is always something that the format doesn't handle either on the exporting application side or the importing application side. So some data loss is expected today and for the foreseeable future. Which means the goal of clean data exchange will not be achieved except for extremely basic things, such as lines and 3D triangles with simple texture mapping.

 

The IFC standard suffers in that it cannot accurately represent the very rich Chief parametric models of things like windows, doors, and walls. While we could dumb down what we export, the importing of the data after modification in another application would have lost many of the things that we support. It goes the other way too. Some things in the IFC standard are not supported internally by Chief, which while we could support, may not make sense to do.

 

Eventually, if you take the BIM/Interoperability idea to it's ultimate conclusion you end up with vanilla software that can only do only extremely basic things requiring a lot of fix up work at the end to get things the way you want. Parametric models would be poor, maybe good enough to count windows, or doors, but not good enough to provide highly detailed 3D views that look good. The only current solution is simple 3D meshes of triangles with texture mapping which then becomes very difficult to edit. We handle this currently by allowing you to import 3D models from other software.

 

I think talking about these things is important. And where we can step up to good interoperability, such as exporting and importing to/from .PNG, .BMP, .DAE, .DWG etc. we should pursue those areas.

 

I don't want to suggest that we aren't going to pursue the long term goals of interoperability, but what is often easier to do is to supply features in Chief that solve specific problems. Even then some things are hard and so don't get done as quickly as I and everyone else would like.

 

The main thing is to continue talking about what you need. We will continue to try to hit the most important things first. Which of course varies depending on who you talk to.

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Somebody please show me one real-world design-side implementation of residential BIM?  Just one.  Yeah, I didn't think so. 

 

BIM in residential is being monetized from the consumer-side; see Ikea's kitchen app.  Residential design-side BIM would be nice if all vendors published their BIM as a web service or library (like the big kids do with custom BIM on large commercial projects.)

 

I believe Doug hit the head on the nail re: interop.  It's all about making the right choices as a software publisher.  Where you focus your resources.  Does any vendor produce design mediation software (e.g. Trimble Tekla) for residential?  What, there's no market for it?  Ok, then how about that custom export tool for Lumion?  What?  Not every CA customer has forked out $6K for Lumion?  Holy cow! 

 

Choices.

 

The IFC standard is yesterday's news.  FBX is the thing...for now.  Them darned choices.

 

jon

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Eventually, if you take the BIM/Interoperability idea to it's ultimate conclusion you end up with vanilla software that can only do only extremely basic things

 

Doug:

 

I have watched many a BIM webinar where this is not even close to being true

 

Lew

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I think Ed pretty much nails it from a practical standpoint. Besides being an interesting theoretical discussion for some here, I feel we are being a bit ruthless with the terminology. Chief is, and has always been, a BIM solution. BIM means building information model and that is what Chief is creating. Interoperability in turn is something that makes BIM more powerful. When people on top of it starts to throw in that Sketchup is a BIM solution, the discussion is starting to take almost comical proportions.

 

Like Doug said we all have different needs, and when Chief doesn't live up to that it is natural to feel that Chief should have interoperability with this or that program, for example making stairs or material lists. The problem is that this list of formats and their different flavors is never ending. True interoperability is on a program by program basis today as there isn't a single file format that can support all the different features different programs offer, and Chief can't support every of these under the sun, at least not if they want to have some time developing their own program. The only format that comes close is IFC, which is still a young format, and despite the issues Doug mentions it is still the most promising one and supported by both Revit and Archicad, as well as the requirement of a number of governments outside US. It is definitely not yesterdays news, on the contrary it is more of tomorrow's. I personally feel that Chief eventually needs to support IFC, and it would certainly also give it a more professional stamp, but at this state of BIM there are in my humble opinion other areas that are more urgent.

 

I would also love to use a more refined stair tool, but in my case it would of course be better if Chief could do it so I wouldn't have to depend on another program. I can create anything I want in Sketchup or 3ds Max and import it for reference as it is if needed.

 

Instead of just asking for more interoperability in general, perhaps it would be helpful for Chief if we could have a poll and prioritize these suggestions? If IFC is the future, we arguably need bridge interoperability until IFC is mature enough, but these needs will differ tremendeously among us.

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I very much appreciate Doug's comments regarding the dumbing down process that goes on when even a couple of programs attempt to interact with each other.  My feeling is that this speaks directly to what is over complicating the issues and delivering unacceptable results for very high prices.

 

I believe it is this direction that software marketing is taking in general that is the real stumbling block to real world solutions for the average user. I also believe that what is most important is to get to the fundamental issues that are actualy important from an end users perspective.

 

If I was given the choice of having a high priced software that could seemlessly interact with other software in a predifined, dumbed down manner I am pretty sure I would pass on such a wonderful opportunity.  No matter what the media hype and marketing directors think.  I for one don't really care what marketers think, they don't use these programs on a daily basis, so their oppinions hold very little value IMO.

 

What is important to me is having the tools to get the work done that provides the most benefit to my customers, and that, thank goodness, has not changed one little bit.  To over simplify it "What is it?"  meaning they know what they want when they see it, and they want it customized to suit their needs and personal taste.  And, and, and, "How much will it cost" in order to make purchasing decisions.

 

In order to meet these very basic customer needs I would like to have the tools available to get the job done quickly and effieciently.  To me that means that if one program does not provide the result I need, then I want to be able to use one that will.  I also do not want to have to recreate the wheel each time a file exchange is required.  No messing with layer names or coordinate systems, none.  Just swap it and place it at it's exact original location.  This is really just about the basics of geometry and coordinate system compatiblity.  Layer control for symbols would be a big help as well, not just materials.

 

Then I would like to be able to assign and report meaningful information from the model in a format that will either meet the need in house, or be able to export it in that same format to an application that can.  This needs to be done quickly and efficiently as well.

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throw in that Sketchup is a BIM solution, the discussion is starting to take almost comical proportions

 

I can only hope that Chief will be as comical ....

 

somehow I must have watched BIM webinars on a different planet

because very few of these comments make any sense to me concerning inter-operability

 

thus, I have decided to dis-engage from any/all conversations concerning BIM

 

I feel like I am "pissing" in the wind

 

over and out

 

Lew

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I think BIM could be nice for those of you who spec everything in a project. I personally Don't spec much on my projects b/c most of my clients just haven't decided yet, except for some major items. I try to keep my projects as generic as possible for that reason and budget reasons. BIM wouldn't help me much but could help others a lot.

 

^^^^^ THIS!

 

Rarely does a client fully know their specifications at the time of submitting for a permit.  Its usually during the time waiting for a permit does a client end up using the plans to develop their interior design.  I don't even typically work on interiors - since that work is best done by a good interior designer.  The problem is most interior designers aren't using CA so the fact this app is great for furthering the process really means little to me.

 

There are occasions where I am specifically hired to work on interiors - and CA is great.  This is when a true BIM would be helpful...especially for reporting/schedules.

 

For whipping out a permit ready plan set (2D) I've found CA to not be as fast as some other apps.  I'll agree that if the house you are working on is simple, CA could be faster - but my homes are typically far from "simple", so my guys and I get hung-up in CA nomenclature very quickly.....frustration ensues and I give in to going back to Vectorworks.

 

There is a trend to get BIM more standardized - but they have no real authority over the industry.  http://www.nationalbimstandard.org/

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hung-up in CA nomenclature very quickly.....

This is a really good point.I find that reading the help is sometimes quite confusing. A good example is foundations. Foundations are on to many dbx's. As Donald said you don't know what you don't know! I have recently printed the manual (all 1300 + pages) with the hope of unravelling the mysteries of why my plan works and looks right and then with a change in a dbx things change for the worse. I have  a current project garage to a lower level, house with timber floors and additional rooms on slab. The mystery was revealed in rooms defaults. Garages have their own rules. I know some of my problems is my understanding of the program --- but it's not all me. Hopefully x7 will address some of my issues.

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For whipping out a permit ready plan set (2D) I've found CA to not be as fast as some other apps.  I'll agree that if the house you are working on is simple, CA could be faster - but my homes are typically far from "simple", so my guys and I get hung-up in CA nomenclature very quickly.....frustration ensues and I give in to going back to Vectorworks.

 

But, what if you were able to use the best of both Chief and Vectorworks together?  Or any other app of your choice for that matter as the need arises.  Use Chief for the model creation and Layout, and use Vectorworks for the heavy lifting where it's features would shine.

 

Not one or the other, and also not a Chief model and then revert to 2D CAD that is not pulled from a model, but instead recreated from scratch.

 

What I would like to see is better integration of both capabilities, Chief models and Layout as well as the best of other 3D solid modeling applications.  Not one or the other, but rather both working together.  The basics are there already, but the file exchange and other relatively minor roadblocks are simply not being properly addressed IMO.

 

By nomenclayture I take it you mean that you are trying to find a particular tool, or possibly how to work with a particular feature and then get frustrated with the inefficiency and time loss and decide to cut your losses and revert to what is at least a known quantity for you and your team.

 

But, what if the tool is not present in Chief, yet another app has the perfect solution.  Wouldn't it be better to take what you have created so far in one program and leverage that for futher developement and then return the result quickly and efficiently back to the originating app?  This is not far fetched by any means.  Chief is actually quite close, but then again so very far away due to ineffiecient file exchange and limited symbols capabilities.

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Here is a U3D file containing the lower floor framing for a project of mine.  I have ways to arrange the framing members on layers, but I am still experimenting to find a more efficient method if possible.

 

So, this file does not have any layer arrangement so far due to the way Chief Exports 3DS files currently.  The U3D file was created by another app that I use for 3D modeling.  This is just the tip of the iceburg as far as the potential for deliverables using a combination of apps cooperatively.

 

Try a few of the various render types to view the model.  I tend to perfer the shaded illustration myself.  Note that the file size is not all that bad either.  I will get after this a bit more seriously by next week I am hoping.

Chief Framing to 3D pdf.PDF

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Not sure what I did. I viewed on my laptop earlier. Failed. Just had another look on my desktop and it is all there. Looks good and promises more. Taking the model out of Chief to create a u3d file is difficult cumbersome. It seems to me that that this could be handled inside chief as an export file. If that is the case then the logic will be that Chief can print to pdf. I don't know what is involved from a coding point of view but I favour the 3d pdf over the Chief viewer for file security and ease of use.

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Couldn't agree more Ed.  Basically it is a save as process from the other app I am using.

 

Where I see this as becoming a very powerful means of communicating the design and engineering intentions is when the foundation, hold downs, and shearwall framing are all organized on layers in the same U3D file including dimensions and text oriented properly on their respective workplanes. I am not really that far from having that working.  Mostly needing to organize things a bit differently and find ways to do the file exchanges better.

 

I also like that once the file is in the U3D format it can be printed to 2D pdf quite easily and viewed on any number of portable devices.  Like I have been saying, this is really not that far off as far as this end of the BIM spectrum is concerned IMO.  Just needs to have a few things fixed that really should have been fixed years ago.

 

From my particular background, I am not so much interested in facilities management as I am managing the construction process from the ground up.  To me that is the first area to focus on for improving efficiency.  I am particulary interested in using the transparent view capabilities.  Chief's viewer is ok for some things, but a royal pain for the most part.

 

Again, parts of the process are not that bad, others are unnecessarily difficult due to the lack of file compatibility that has existed for so long now.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello Rod, I know this is an old thread but is that 3d pdf program called 3dA Systems? I have been looking into this and it seems to be useful. Can I use one of the 3d exports straight from Chief (3ds, dad, dwg) for this program? It looks like it only works with Revit. Will the adobe acrobat pro 11 be able to create 3d pdf's from chief? Thanks in advance!

 

Kc

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From what I understand, there are a few programs that can create U3D files.  I don't remember them off of the top of my head since it has been a while.  It seems like I did post that information earlier in this thread though, so you might check that out.

 

What I believe to be the case is that the more expensive apps will create the U3D file with dimensions and possibly text as well.  Most of the less expensive options that I have seen did not have that ablilty.  What I use is a combination of Cheif and TurboCAD Pro Platinum version 21.  This is partly because Chief does not have the abilty to create either text or dimensions directly as 3D objects, but there are ways around that.

 

There are layer issues involved when exporting from Chief as a 3DS file, but the geometry is quite good.  So far the other file types I have checked do not do so well.  Chief also has a few issues with certain types of geometry as well, even when using the 3DS file type.

 

Hope that helps you out Kc.

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Check out the web site for Bluebeam.  It seems like they give a list of apps that are capable of producing U3D files.  BTW their viewer is capable of viewing this file type, and it is actually easier to use than the free adobe viewer.  However it is not free.  There may be an update to Bluebeam since I last looked into it.  Seems like I remember that a new version would be out around the end of Jan or the early part of Feb.

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BIM is just a sales pitch in the end to sell some CAD programs.

BIM in reality is a language of 3d visual communication of design Ideas.

BIM in its computer language is not universal.

CG BIM is more correct CG = Computer Generated.

There is no such thing as complete BIM in the computer world yet and may never be in the current commercial world?

Old fashioned BIM not computer generated is understood by most of us here since we were born in the hand drawing era.

D BIM or Dinosaur BIM, I see my friends tree house, I cut down branches and make my own, ugg.

My Brain BIM sees it and builds my own version.

MT BIM or Mental Telepathy BIM would not need computers or paper, we could transmit our Ideas like on the "The Planet of the Apes" the episode after a nuclear war where mutants developed mental telepathy.

Good thread Rod.

Ed, very good Ideas for a ML suggestions lists, please do it.

Doug, very wise to say we should ask for what we need.

Good comments from all here, I learned some good things here.

And Lew you need to be more specific about what you actually need as Doug says.

I wonder what those who never used pen and paper will say about BIM in the future.

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Funny Cartoon Lew, looks like he has reached MTBIM?

True BIM is good as CAD companies have a target to aim for and some are very committed to reaching that Ideal and goal.

For example the work put into 2d and 3d CAD translation tools by some companies is very promising and they do not throw it into the "Too Hard Basket" but keep working on it no matter the obstacles.

Materials Lists and Schedules are all part of reaching the goal of good accurate and more complete BIM.

So in the case of Commercial CAD more collaboration is needed than in low rise residential BIM so the need for intra operative BIM is greater in ArchiCAD, Revit, Bently and AutoCAD as they are predominantly Commercial Building CAD.

So the onus is own low rise CAD is to provide a more complete package that can do the job on its own with little collaboration.

BTW how good is the 2d dwg translation in X7? we need to be able to import and export CAD files both exploded an non exploded for better editing.

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Fascinating topic. Must have missed it the first time around. I am one who has used Chief since 1997. I am in flux right now as I have decided to transition to Revit but will probably keep Chief as tool to do certain things. I am fairly early in the Revit learning curve but it can do things that Chief could never could do or only do with great difficulty. I am sure like everything else it is not perfect but seems to me to be a giant step forward in many many things and not so much in others, framing layouts come immediately to mind. Will follow this thread and have a million ideas if anyone's interested.

 

Jeff

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Very interested Jeff.

 

I actually follow Revit developement farily closely.  Not so much the details of running the program, but more along the lines of the concepts they are working to accomplish.  My approach however, is to use the best of CA and other apps to do the same things.  What I am finding is that with a combination of traditional CAD and a good solid modeling tool set a great deal can be accomplished.

 

The problem I run into is that for the most part the import export features in CA are stuck in the early 1990s.  That can be overcome for the most part, but it requires far more time and energy than it should, and you have to jump through the same hoops every time a task needs to be done.  Not a fan of recreating the wheel on a minute by minute basis.

 

An example of what I kind of stumbled onto the other day regarding Revit features that can be done in CA with the aid of other apps.  When I was using Blender to set up a CA model to export out to Octane I fumbled around and ended up dragging an exterior wall out away from the building.  CA to Blender equals axons, cool.  There are other things that I am working on that came from this happy accident as well.  If I can pull the wall way, then what else can I do with it?  Tilt it, cut it, reshape it?  Maybe send it back to CA as a symbol.

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