The architecture and building industry’s biggest event of the year, ArchitectureBoston Expo, was held just a few short weeks ago. The three-day conference had presentation and workshops in a variety of formats and multiple educational tracks like “building performance,” “codes and regulations,” and “the future of practice.” Architect Rachel Lanzafame, AIA, LEED AP BD+C offers recaps two sessions she attended last month on the links between BIM and facilities management and the lean construction process.

BIM solutions for facilities management

with Scott Burke of IMAGINIT Technologies and Chris D’Souza of ARCHIBUS Inc.

What happens to all the hard work that goes into our Revit models after we turn them over to the client at the end of a job? Most of the time, probably nothing. Some of our clients use facilities management software, but what can we do on our end to make what we’ve already done useful for them?

IMAGINiT Technologies has developed third party software that helps prepare Revit models to interface with facilities management databases. This will allow information from rooms, equipment, and furniture to be cataloged and managed.

ARCHIBUS has also developed an extension for Revit which is a bi-directional link between their own facilities management software and Revit. This is the heavy-duty stuff – maintenance schedules for equipment and building systems can be tracked and the as-built model can be kept up to date with this information.

This could be a good service for some larger clients, and on projects where the contractor is also using BIM. It starts with understanding what facilities management software they’re using and how we can help them to integrate the BIM model with it. It could be valuable for both us and clients to extend design work into a useful tool for managing and maintaining the building.

Lean Construction

with Colin Milberg of ASKM & Associates and Brian Anderson

How can we maximize value and minimize waste in design and construction?

Although the title of this seminar was “Lean Construction 101″ most of the discussion centered around using Lean principles during the design phases of a project.

The origins of “Lean” are from manufacturing (mostly from Toyota), but its principles are now being used across other industries. Some attendees had a hard time seeing its value translate to the design world. A couple architects were concerned that the presenters were suggesting that an iterative design process is wasteful, when in fact they were saying just the opposite. “Value” is something that needs to be defined by all the stakeholders at the beginning of a project. And if thoughtful, creative design is valuable (which I think we all agree it is) then we can work to eliminate practices that don’t contribute to that goal.

Some strategies for achieving this (many of which Bergmeyer already does as a firm):

  • Create opportunities for productive iterations. Working with a cost estimator or a CM early on in a project is one way of doing this. Provide only as much information as is necessary to get a response. By not traveling too far down the wrong path, we have more time available to explore more options and potentially be more creative. Create learning and engagement with the owner. By helping the owner feel invested in the decisions that are made, they are more likely to be satisfied with the end result.

One exercise that was particularly eye-opening proved that multi-tasking is not always as efficient as we may think. Try it here:

The idea is that multi-tasking can be counterproductive if it is creating a bottleneck and prohibiting us from getting others the information they need to move along with their work.

Published Nov 24, 2014