Category Archives: BIM

Will Asian Women be the BIM Industry Decision Makers of the Future?

On the way to the deep jungles of Cambod by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr

This and other very many important questions were pondered last week at the Australasian Revit Technology Conference held in Auckland.  One of the things that I love about the conference is the wide variety of sessions conducted from the very technical to the very philosophical.  The title of this post came from a session very much of the philosophical bent where Chris Razzell (HASSELL) and Jason Howden (RTV Tools/ Woodhead) posed a series of questions to each other whilst sitting on a velvet couch with a sequined  cushion and then creating info-graphics based on audience votes.  Now the question posed was actually, who will be the decision makers of the future? And Chris’s answer was asian women – but really it was an irresistible  blog title wasn’t it?

Anyway Chris was suggesting that due to population and development growth potential, Asia will over time become the drivers of the construction industry and potentially of BIM and that women should be more involved in all kinds of industries. I’d like to think he was also suggesting that if more women were involved in decision making in BIM then the industry would be further advanced and the arguments of BIM execution plans would have already been solved?*** Whilst over the 5 years that I have been attending RTC the number of female delegates has increased, there is still a clear dominance of males within the BIM world, both as conference attendees and speakers. There is also an absence of interior designers as well, a concern for anyone working in this field I think. As an interior designer (or an architect or an engineer) you are going to need to understand BIM or you will be left behind – I think it has become clear that BIM is not an industry trend, and no matter which package or software we use -the way that the design and construction process works is changing significantly due to all kinds of technology.

Embracing Change was the theme of this years conference and I wonder if it was this theme rather than an industry trend that meant there were a lot less presentations focussing on integration this year? Or have we learnt to integrate? I hope we haven’t given up on integration (I didn’t get that feeling from any of the discussions I had).

I thought the choice of speaker for the keynote speech was an unusual one, prior to the conference I was trying to figure out what a child psychologist might have to say to a bunch of BIM managers (it happens that my own partner is actually a child psychologist). But Nigel Latta spoke about change, how to deal with change and how to deal with difficult people who are resistant to change. A keynote speech which was very appropriate to the theme, but also with something for everyone to take home – just in case you are stuck in a woodworking shop with a murderer, now you know how to handle it.

Whilst this is the first RTC where I’ve learnt how to deal with a murderer in a woodshop, one of the things I like about RTC is the variety not just of approaches but of disciplines, techniques and tools – from very technical talks about families and parameters, to using Revit with a variety of plug ins and add ons and through to the industry update and business talks of the principal’s stream. There really is something for everyone – even for ArchiCAD users (there was one in attendance, as well as a comparison of Revit and ArchiCAD by Rodd Perey from Architectus). However, if you want to know about the detailed variety of the talks, I can’t really help much – I realise now I spent half the conference listening to either myself, Jason, Chris or Rodd speaking. No wonder I felt like I hadn’t seen much variety this year!

In reviewing the overall program this year there was a focus on adaptive components, family building and using Revit and Excel together. Even if I could not attend everything there was always the opportunity to either browse the session materials online (the new app was great) or discuss with other conference participants during the breaks. One of the main questions discussed over drinks was Is there a use for an elephant in my next Revit project? Marcello Sgambelluri (John Martin Structural Engineers) has become famous in the Revit world for his classes on building crazy Revit families including elephants, cows and human faces. This then lead many onto the question, can I use adapative families for anything useful? One which was apparently answered by Tim Waldock (PTW) in his session which demonstrated various uses including egress paths and fencing that worked over terrain models. Even if I can’t use it, I’m still looking forward to seeing Marcello’s promised peacock next year, it is great to see people pushing the boundaries of Revit rather than saying Revit can’t do that!

I got some great and very useful tips from presentations by Jason, Katia Gard (The Buchan Group) and Callum Freeman (Assemble Ltd). For me, like many experienced Revit users the little things we find at RTC talks can really be helpful to us back in the office. There are so many times that I feel talks either validate my own existing workflows and methods (so therefore there is no point wasting time looking for a better way) or they give me a few great and very practical tips that I almost can’t believe I ever thought of it myself (filters or phasing for your white card models). I’m also going to have another look at Sketchup following Jerome Buckwell’s(Jaxmax) talk on integrating Sketchup and Revit. Now I just need to find a Revit office to go apply them in!

Overall, a great RTC. Everyone I spoke to thought the quality of speakers was great, I didn’t speak to anyone who attended a class they thought was really poor.  Thanks to the organising committee for all their hard work.

It did feel smaller this year, partially I think due to being in such a large hotel, whereas at Wollongong last year the conference basically filled the hotel. Perhaps also due to a number of noteable absences as its appears there is a BIM baby boom (half the organising committee were not there due to babies about to or just born). The Langham hotel was generally a pretty good venue, although for some reason seemed surprised that a conference of 300 people required well in excess of 600 wifi devices to be connected – leading to internet connectivity problems on the Friday. As a speaker trying to download a presentation onto my iPad at this point, I was very relieved at how easily the RTC Events staff were able to help me and sort out a laptop for loan. And by the Saturday the internet problems had also been resolved, so points to the venue for sorting it out so quickly.

So another year to wait for RTC again, unless you happen to able to get yourself to Vancouver for the North American conference in July or Delft, the Netherlands for the inaugural European Conference in September. Unfortunately I don’t think I can so, see you in Melbourne next year (we started working on our presentation ideas on Saturday night)!

So what where the discussions and questions you remember most out of RTC? What were the great tips you learnt? Will the Razzell Dazzle index overtake the MacLeamy curve as the most overused conference graphic? Do the bars in Britomart open after midnight? (answer=yes) Can I edit my powerpoint notes on my iPad? (seriously can anyone help) And importantly how can I fit a peacock into my next project? (I reckon as an interior designer I might have more luck than the structural engineers) And if you weren’t there, why not?

***Chris provided this further comment following the conference “Much as it got a laugh, I firmly believe that women have a very important part to play in the future of our industry, particularly Asian women. We all know that it’s the Asian Century, yet many ASEAN countries still don’t treat women equally in the workplace and retain the grossly outdated opinion that women should be subservient. My wife (who’s Vietnamese) often makes better decisions than I do and if Asia is to become the super power that the world deserves, it needs to listen to it’s women.”

Image credits:
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Stuck in Customs 
(And I think its great I managed to find an image that wasn’t about technology to link at least 3 of the things mentioned in this blog together!)

The Midnight Lunch: My favourite (mostly) design blogs and websites

Who Needs Books? by boltron-, on Flickr

This week I’ve been pretty busy preparing presentations for the Revit Technology Conference which is being held in Auckland 16-18 May (you can still register here). I’m giving 3 presentations – topics are using information as part of the design process, revit and room data sheets and the economics of BIM from a design practice perspective.  Anyway as a result of all this conference prep I’ve been pretty busy and thought this week I would share with you my favourite blogs and websites related to interior design, workplaces, BIM, innovation and collaboration. Some I subscribe to via email and check out every post, others I have in google reader and I view on the flipboard app (I still don’t know what I’m going to do when google kills the google reader – any suggestions? I love the flipboard interface for the aggregated feeds).

Happy reading!

This is one I have subscribed to for ages. One of the only Australian interior design blogs with any commerical project/product content, but also just so beautiful to look at. A little interior design eye candy in your mail box every day, its writer Dana also has a very personal and witty style. I also love design free Thursday which often focuses on art – frequently of the very kitsch and very funny variety, I often share Thursday posts with many non design friends. If you subscribe to one interiors blog, I say make it this one (as well as The Midnight Lunch of course!)

Office Insight
Heaps of articles from a variety of contributers on workplace design, real estate and culture. UK based. I can always find something to read on here.

Workplace Unlimited
I was just recommended this one recently, it is written by Nigel Oseland an Environmental Psychologist and Workplace Strategy Consultant. One post in particular was suggested to me where Oseland blogs about the comparison between workplace design and zoo design. I need to find time to sit down and read more.

Workplace Design Magazine
An interior design magazine, but focussed on the workplace. Ideas, projects, products. You get the idea.

Double Helix
This is a relatively new blog, some great posts on workplace consulting – check out Crunchy Creative Clusters. But some of the other posts do seem a bit random.

New Ways of Working
One I have only recently found described as combining real estate, HR and IT. A lot of posts on teleworking and sustainable workplace design. Best of all is the infographic of the week.

Office Snapshots
Want a peek inside Google, Facebook or Microsoft offices – here is your website. Photos and some commentary on great office fitouts from around the world. Odd thing is, its not curated by someone with a background in design or workplaces but a teacher!

Life of an Architect
An American architect named Bob, blogs on all sorts of aspects of practicing as and just being an architect. Great writing and great sense of humour. One of my favourite posts was one for Valentines Day Architect+Architect=??

Green Futures
Another quite new blog, this one a local Sydney blog on architecture and sustainability. I like the idea of daylighting the Tank Stream.

Is this the webzine for architecture and design? Does anyone who is an architect or designer not already subscribe?

Australian Design Review
Get the local architecture and design news.

News of all things BIM with a focus on interoperability.

Practical BIM
This blog is all that its title promises – a practical view of BIM. Posts are well written article on many aspects of BIM project delivery, very much focussed on working with BIM in a real project environment and not just doing crazy techy things because we can.

Another very practical BIM site, which aims to discuss things BIM which “need fixing”.

Seth’s Blog
If you have read Seth Goodwins books, you should read his blog. Or if you haven’t read the blog anyway. Just a couple of paragraphs of wisdom on all sorts of stuff every day. I would describe the common thread of the stuff as being about communication and dealing with other people – something we all need to do all the time.

Innovation Excellence Weekly
A good place for articles on collaboration and also often technology. It is where I came up with the name for this blog.

The other sites I frequently seem to find myself on are the business sites, Inc and Forbes.

What are your favorites? Perhaps you can put me onto some great new blogs – there seem to be more and more starting up all the time.

PS On Saturday I’m going to be in the audience at TEDx Sydney, so next weeks post will feature my thoughts on something great from the day – there are so many interesting presentations I think it will be hard to choose! They are simulcasting live to satellite events at heaps of places so if you have nothing to do on Saturday think about heading to one of the satellite events.

Image credits:

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  boltron-