BCS 2016- Who is “changing the world” in BIM Content? (or: Conversations with other Platform users…)

While spending Sunday night thinking about BCS 2016 (and what BIM Content means to me), I find myself wanting to rehash conversations I had this week…. One particularly, about Railings. ArchiCAD Railings.  Absolutely Bad*** ArchiCAD Railings. They are done by 3D Media Design, at 3dmediadesign.it or you can catch them on Twitter at @3dmd_BIM.

Railing Content- by 3D Media Design (from Twitter)

The conversation was a simple one: For BCS 2016, we are taking Nominations for the BCS50:  A list recognizing 50 players in the BIM world, who are doing something “game changing” or innovative, related to BIM Content. Let me be very clear about that: I didn’t say Revit Content, I said BIM Content. We’ve been working to get more attendees and representation from folks using other platforms (since ALL of the BIM software manufacturers were present last year), so I tweeted the BCS50 Nomination form to an ArchiCAD firm I know of, and to an AECOSim user I know as well, seeking advice on where I should spread the word.  Almost instantly, I was sent a link to check out 3DMD’s site, and these railings.

Why was I so intrigued? Look, let’s be honest:  Railings suck in ALL BIM Software.  I’ve used all of the platforms, and I haven’t used one that DOESN’T make a mess out of railings.  And so we all hack it in a variety of different ways. I’ve had to make a couple of railings over the years, that I had a method for, but it was ugly under the hood.


Completely hacky railing in Revit

But why did the 3DMD railing video interest me so much? Because I really want to sit and have a beer with them.  Not to be like “kudos on that,” but to get in to the meat of it (not the software specific meat):  How do they make the components so individual baluster sub-objects can be swapped out (assuming they can)?  How does it appear in an Estimate or Quantity Take Off?  (I secretly want to know how long it took to make, too). Can we export specific pieces of data from that to a railing fabricator? How do you get clients to approve curved glass?

I don’t want to ask these things are a critique, but out of genuine interest to find out:  How do we convey what they did there, to Railing Product Manufacturers, so that usability and functionality shown in the video can be had for all railing designers, regardless of software platform? I know Railings are an area that- if it comes down to custom design or specialty design, as a BIM Manager or Implementation “guru” I apologize on behalf of software, and model the railing for the users. And- since a 3D Content Provider and implementation company is doing the same- I would venture to say this problem is widespread.

What I would love to hear discussed at BCS?  How do we CHANGE that? (Disclaimer: It’s not on the agenda, that’s just my dream).

4-15-2014 7-36-29 PM-Handrail2

You REALLY don’t want to know how this is modeled…

I have a dream:  My dream is that designers in ALL platforms (Revit, ArchiCAD, AECOSim, Vectorworks, Digital Project, Chief Architect, AutoCAD Architecture, Sketchup) can all hop in their rig of choice, and model a generic staircase and railing. Then they can click an “Upload to source” button with the stair and railing highlighted, click on the particular product and options selectors, and have it sent to the manufacturer, who will then make it exude AWESOME, and send it back shortly.

Is that going to come out of BCS?  I don’t know.  But if we aren’t even talking about it, how can it ever happen? All this is to say:

BCS is about the issues we face, and the solutions we need to create, for all BIM Content. I would love to see some serious representation, from the ArchiCAD users, the AECOSIM users, the Sketchup Users, as well as the Revit users. I have no doubt there are folks in all of those communities, doing things to absolutely change the face of BIM content forever. (DO they laugh at the concept of OOTB content the way I do?) If you know someone doing amazing things, please nominate them, it only takes a minute.  Do it here:


And now, for something seemingly random, but somehow related.  Do you remember the “old school”  user interface for Word Perfect? The first computer I ever word processed on was a Tandy 1000, using MultiMate (before I had Word Perfect). It was my fathers computer, and I typed on it for fun (I know, right?) but my first school assignments were done in WP, just like the image below.

There is a point to this image, relating to the conversation of BIM Content. Do you know what it is? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with a three letter acronym that we should all forget about, moving forward. If you have a guess, tweet it to us at @BuildConSum. I’d love to see where the conversation goes.

In the meantime, remind Management that you need to be at the Building Content Summit, in July. If they need a good reason why, tell them: “Imagine if I come back from that 2-day event with just 2 ideas on how to streamline our Content Strategy to save 2 hours a week (for everyone)?”  No brainer.

-Aaron Maller

Building Content Summit

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