Archive for the ‘Things that matter’ category

The 10 CAD Commandments Version 2012

2012.12.31

10-commandments

Unlike the Biblical Ten Commandments, some of these are likely to need updating as time goes by, though most, hopefully, will remain timeless pearls of productivity wisdom. 😉

I. Without getting into a theological / religious discussion, there is one G_d but there are clearly many CAD offerings, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses, from features, industry support to cost of ownership or use. Therefore, don’t be #CAD or #BIM software dogmatic. Instead, pick the right or best tool for the job. To know a program is to love it. However, beware there may be a much better way that you simply don’t know about, yet. Keep an open mind. Or at least, make sure you’ve reasonably exhausted and mined all the CAD power accessible to you. Try something NEW today.

II. Draw / Model full actual size. Don’t invent dimensions that don’t exist. A 2 x 4 stud is much closer to 1.5" x 3.5". If you have more exact or statistically meaningful dimensions from your lumber supplier, such as 3-5/8" (or whatever material or source), then use that!

III. Whenever possible, work in 3D. It’s better, faster and easier. Learn how to do it, if necessary. What else would you expect for the 3rd dimension commandment?

persistence-disint

IV. Don’t use programs like it was 1999. Find a way to add material, labor, time and cost data. This has actually been possible for a long time, arguably since 1989. Increase the value and wisdom of your CAD data and design wisdom by juggling more than mere geometry when making decisions. BIM and PLM are about entire product and building life cycle, so is smart and wise Computer-Aided Design/Drafting (CAD). To remember this commandment think of space-time continuum or 4th dimension.

V. Use Smart, Rules- Family- or Style-based, Parametric Objects whenever possible and practical. Think of this as creating your own custom designer DNA, cookie cutter or money making machine. Graduate beyond generic 2D geometric primitives at the first chance, no matter what industry you work in.

VI. Before creating custom content or details research any applicable industry content already in existence. Don’t unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. Don’t use borrowed content without essential improvements or without permission. Run you business legally.

VII. Before inventing company or individual company standards research any applicable industry standards. Don’t unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. Don’t use borrowed content without essential improvements or permission.

VIII. Make the best of what you have, both in the hardware and software side of your practice. Remember, the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener wherever you water it. You may feel it was greener in the past. Actually, it never gets any greener than green. It will look great whenever and wherever you take good care of it. Therefore, assume you CAD tool is omnipotent. Make it do whatever you want, the way you want.

79645_hastewaste_smIX. Draw / Model things once and use / clone many times. Being a lazy draftsman or modeler in this fashion is actually being wisely lazy. Make it so! Recycle data, specs and details whenever possible.

X. Want immediate improvement? Don’t rush. Haste makes waste. CAD productivity doesn’t come from rushing. It comes from good planning and organization. Finally, please care and give a damn. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, because in that case “All You Need Is Love.” Otherwise, please change professions to something where you can invest all your hear and soul, and therefore be happy, because you only get to live once.

Please comment about your own favorite words of CAD and productivity wisdom.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, because in that case “All You Need is Love.”

Best wishes for the best be yet to come for you in 2013 and beyond!

Successful BIM Diet: No Spaghetti Please!

2012.11.16

20121116 0452 MEP Clashes Capture

Time is ticking and you don’t want the construction schedule to slip. You must decide wisely who must move. Who are you going to call?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher

In construction projects there’s been a customary and historical pecking order among team players fighting for space to place their equipment, connectors, fittings, pipes, conduits and the like, that goes like this:

1. Architectural – They say, “Make room, move out of the way you mere mortals… Here comes the Architect!” Winking smile

2. Structural – They warn, “Do you want the building to collapse?”

3. Plumbing – They threaten, “Do you want the toilets to back up?”

4. HVAC – They whine, “We will run out of space unless you move!”

5. Fire Protection – They’re told, “Hey, you have plenty of pressure left in those pipes, move!”

6. Electrical – They’re commanded, “Sparky, move! For heaven’s sake, you don’t even have to worry about voltage drops!”

7. Everyone else – “Place your equipment in whatever space is left over.”

20121116 0536 Messy Spaghetti images

Please, don’t build a mess!

This might fly in a retrofit project. For new construction, aim for something better and simpler.

Unfortunately, running BIM coordination using that overly simplistic approach leads to building designs that are unnecessarily difficult to construct and later maintain during the life of a building.

To create a building we can all be proud of, designers and builders must think holistically and simultaneously. Give up the “us versus them” attitude. When coordinated properly, building systems are easier to follow and understand, and therefore, easier to fix and maintain. But they are also a lot cheaper to install, erect and construct.

Straight runs should generally rule over multiple turns and twists. Indeed, Model Building Codes limit the number of bends you can have before you’re required to provide cleanouts, access panels, junction boxes and the like.

To avoid trouble it is ideal to start project trades coordination as early in the design process as possible. Unfortunately, I have seen large Architecture / Engineering companies, who employ architects and engineers under the same roof, work as independently as if they worked for totally different owner firms.

Perhaps the main problem in general is the need to design buildings by committee. Things are just too complex for a regular human being to master all the nuances of building design.

I think the design by committee approach is too time consuming and wimpy. Somebody, either an architect or experienced BIM coordinator, needs to take their best shot at placing building system components in the ideal location and then get the approvals and blessings or improvements for each of the individual building trades.

Simplicity, safety, efficiency, constructability and economy should be the guiding principles. As an architect or building designer, learn to provide enough space for the equipment and required installation and maintenance clearances. Straight runs are nice. Short runs are even nicer. Less pressure loss or voltage drops due to friction or resistance. Please avoid placing equipment in ways that will require extra mile long runs.

20121116 0541 Pecking Order images

Starring from left to right: sparky the Electrician, FP or their buddies, HVAC, Plumber, Structural and the Architect, Project Manager or Lead BIM Coordinator at the far right. 🙂

After all, there are only so many miracles we can perform at the job site. There are times when it’s simply better to go back to the proverbial drawing / design boards. To avoid that at all costs requires one or possibly two ambitious individuals to give a design layout their best shot, without regards to playing favorites among trades.

20121116 0548 360_wfavoritism_1003

While it’s generally true that you can’t make everyone happy, don’t minimize your chances by playing favorites!

Indeed, for construction projects to work well, somebody must perform the role of the wise parent that doesn’t play favorites. That also means not letting a whiny, “squeaky wheel” child run the show by throwing tantrums. Impartiality and taking care of each individual trade’s need should be the guiding light. It is balancing seemingly opposing tensions that makes building design such a beautiful challenge. Don’t give up. Find a way to make it work!

Keeping Work Groups the Right Size and Makeup is a Wise Idea

2012.03.15

Thinking “MEGA Design Firm” reminds me of http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/30/9-women-cant-make-a-baby-in-a-month/

Part of the beauty of Information Technology is how talent trumps numbers and brute force. IT is a sort of equalizer. I don’t think great design works the same way as large economies of scale do. When you add too many people, things start falling apart a la Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” fashion. 😉 Like Greg Howes writes here (http://lnkd.in/pzcMDD ), “…it would likely be like herding cats for them all to collaborate…” That word picture makes a great point against larger than necessary groups or companies.

It is inspiring to watch this video where “Peter Märkli discusses the structure of his practice – working with only as many people as a particular project requires.” You can watch the interview video here: http://www.archdaily.com/214707/interview-peter-markli-on-education-research-and-practice-in-architecture/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ArchDaily+%28ArchDaily%29

“This means we never work with many people but always with around ten or twelve.” Peter Märkli, Architect

“This means we never work with many people but always with around 10 or 12.” — Peter Markli

[I know, redundancy. This quote is worth repeating!”]

The number twelve seems to be an ideal number for groups. Larger groups tend to split up. Smaller groups don’t provide enough diversity or strength to achieve synergy. It must not be accidental that many boards of directors are made up of 12 members, that basketball teams have 12 players (soccer is odd with 11) and that Jesus picked a group of 12 disciples.

However, it’s not enough to pick the right number. You must also select the right team members to achieve an ideal balance between harmony and tension. Your team must have the proper makeup, pun(s) intended. Look at the Hollywood Last Supper above for inspiration.

Arguably one of the most difficult pills to swallow is having a “Change Agent.” While not always a pleasant experience, s/he can alert you to problems while there’s still time to do something about it. It’s important to learn not to shoot the messengers of Good News, even if it’s news that are bad in the short run, but great in the long run. Think of wisdom as the ability to make decisions that will make sense taking a long time frame into account. Instant gratification is alluring, but wisdom is always the best choice of action: knowing *AND* doing what is right.

ActiveWords Is a Great Windows App

2012.03.15

@ActiveWords is a great #Win #App. @robincapper ThankU4Referral. Still not using it for #CAD. Please share examples. http://ow.ly/9GfqF

What Does ‘Lead with LUV’ Mean?

2011.05.28

What Does ‘Lead with LUV’ Mean?. The best infomercial I’ve ever seen!