Is Cloud Computing More Important than BIM?

Is focus upon the 3D component of BIM an unfortunate distraction?

BIM, Building Information Modeling is the ability to create a dynamic information model of the built environment (above and below ground, inside and out, horizontal and vertical physical infrastructure) for use in all real property related activities:  concept,  rapid prototyping, planning, design, engineering, construction, physical and functional condition monitoring and management, financing, capital reinvestment, insurance, facility management, renovation, repair, sustainability, utilization, leasing, valuation, procurement, sale and decommissioning  with appropriate shared, secure, and collaborative information access and use.

The advent of Cloud Computing, combined with the cost to capture, store, and process information  falling to near zero,  is enabling new capabilities for secure, real-time collaboration.

The altered world landscape relative to the built environment is upon us all.  In addition to technology changes that are altering the ways we interact and conduct business on fundamental basis, there are economic and environmental imperatives.   All of which lead to the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations and Owner) sector and its stakeholdings needing to collaborate to achieve better, quicker outcome,  at less cost,  and with less risk.

Key challenges to BIM in terms of its true potential, the life-cycle management of the built environment, include:

– The development of uniform standard process, terminology, and technology environments for the new BIG DATA world , encompassing  all  ‘built environment related knowledge domains, competencies, and activities.   

– Clear organization and classifications of information and associated access  rights and rights to use, enabling appropriate, uniform basis intra and international use.

– Workflow-based  Cloud-computing services environments, and plug-ins that are vs.  monolithic traditional software frameworks which are web enabled via virtual server, or even traditional 3-tier web applications such as .NET.   4-tier applications are needed with the ability to link and reuse  information in any manner  relative  to identity/location, building, area, floor, room, occupancy, use, physical and functional conditions,  standardized and actual costs (material, equipment, and labor), et al… – to provide common ‘highly secure’  models for short and long term decision support.

– The acceptance and increased use of collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC).  The latter a form of IPD specifically targeting facility renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction projects.

–  AUTHENTICATION, ACCESS CONTROL, COLLABORATION, AND STANDARDS …  4Clicks Solutions is about to release a powerful new Cloud Computing solution called CEASEL. It focuses upon transparent construction cost estimating and efficient project delivery.  Each user to controls their own ‘domain’ and access policies (ie ‘who’ can access ‘what’ data, ‘when’ and ‘how’ ). Data in NEVER deleted and  ALL user access and activities are tracked.. .the best form of security.    “Data independency” and  appropriate access for all asset owners, managers, and service providers is supported.   Project development time is reduced because users don’t need to create an identity store and access control system for each project, and projects, estimates, etc. can easily be updated and re-used.

New authentication methods or new kinds of user credentials can be adopted by upgrading just the authentication service.  Associated contracts,  projects, and estimates don’t need to be re-coded.  Changes to access control policy can be made quicker and more easily because it is consolidated in the one place. 

Dedicated and focused security service leads to better overall security – compared with each organization having a part-time resource for security management. 

Security improvements benefit all projects at the same time. 

Less time and effort is devoted to security administration as administrators only need to understand and use one security framework rather than a different one for each project.

Errors are reduced because there is no duplication of identity data and access control policy.A unified view of identity and access control policy is achieved for each user, without breaching the security of other users.

Simplified , auditing and reporting.

If you are interesting in being a pilot user of this new capability, please contact me directly.

 

NIBS – Building Innovation 2013 Conference

I am writing this from Washington, D.C. while participating in the NIBS Building Innovation 2013 Conference.   The buildingSMART alliance conference is part of this gathering under the title “Integrating BIM: Moving the Industry Forward.”

BIM education and practice requires focus upon process and associated return-on-investment.   Robust communication and adoption of standard and/or “best practice” construction planning and delivery methods specific to efficient life-cycle management of the built environment are sorely needed.

It is amazing that Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and “IPD-lite”… the latter being Job Order Contracting and SABER which are forms of IPD specifically for renovation, repair, sustainability and minor new construction…  are not being brought to the forefront as critical aspects of BIM.    It is the construction planning and project delivery method that sets the tone of any project and ultimately dictate relationships and associated successes or failures.

Collaboration, transparency, and performance-based win-win relationships are necessary components of a BIM-based philosophy.  Yet, these and other critical aspects; including  defensible, accurate, and transparent cost estimating and standardized construction cost data architectures, are neither in  forefront of current thinking nor receiving an adequate allocation of resources.

 

Far too much emphasis continues to be place on the 3d visualization component aspect of BIM, IFC format pros and cons, and other “technology” areas.

 

Technology is NOT what is holding back BIM, it is the apparent lack of understanding of … and associated failure to adopt … facility life-cycle management processes… combined and what can only be described as a pervasive “not invented here” attitude.

Many of of our peers are reinventing the wheel over and over again at tremendous cost to all stakeholders…Owners, AEs, Contractors, Subs, Oversight Groups, Building Users, Building Product Manufacturers, …not to mention our Economy and our Environment, vs. sharing information and working toward common goals.

Cloud Computing, Construction, Engineering, Architecture and Productivity

Cloud computing is a more than catalyst for change, it is a DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY.  Cloud computing will drive significantly enhanced productivity within the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Facility Management Sectors by enabling the consistent deployment of integrated project delivery methods.   Owners, Contractors, Architects, Engineers and stakeholders of the built environment will benefit if they focus upon CHANGE MANAGEMENT and how to best leverage cloud computing.

  1. Collaboration – True cloud computing (vs. cloud-washing, or simply posting legacy application to the cloud) lets users  work concurrently on projects in real-time (milliseconds)… virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Multi-language and mult-currency, etc. can easily be implemented.
  2. Security – Information is NEVER deleted.  This is potentially the best form of security available.   “Who” does “What” and “When” is always tracked and changes can be “rolled back” at any time by authorized administrators.  Furthermore, only changes are transmitted vs. full data sets and even these are encrypted.
  3. IP Protection – Despite all the “hype” to the contrary, it is YOU, the user who determines how, when, and where to publish data.   For example, you can maintain information in your private area, publish as read only to specified members within a private cloud…or publish to all members in a private cloud, or publish information to all members in public cloud and enable rights to use and modify data.
  4. Visualization –  Despite the pervasive misunderstanding of BIM and unfortunate focus upon 3D visualization, DATA visualization and the associated development and implementation of the colloborative life-cycle management of built environment are the benefits provided by BIM.  Cloud computing will accelerate data visualization and transparency among all stakeholders of physical infrastructure and promote performance-based processes.
  5. Agility – Our work and natural environments are changing at an accelerated pace.  Rapid deployment, monitoring,  and the associated modification of processes and policies is becoming increasingly important.  Cloud computing deploys process faster than any other method currently available.   There is no longer a need to rely upon internal “IT” for deployment or applications specific changes.
  6. Mobility – It is neither cost effective, nor efficient to have everyone working in offices or specified work settings.  Resources need to be tapped from multiple locations enabling use of “the best of the best”, and resources with localized resources and/or capabilities.   Cloud computing allows direct, transparent access to local resources while also communicating centralized processes and procedures.
  7. Centralization of Information – While information can be scattered among several data centers, it also can be instantly consolidated to provide global management in support of an organization’s mission as well as associated, efficient local action.
  8. Business Continuity – True, Internet access is required, however, would you rather store your information at your location and risk catastrophic failure, or have your information at multiple locations designed with redundancy, power backup, etc.?

BIG DATA and EFFICIENT CONSTRUCTION METHODS (Integrated Project Delivery, Job Order Contracting), CLOUD COMPUTING, and BIM are here to stay, are you ready?

via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, …

Roadmap
Roadmap
BIG DATA
BIG DATA

BIM Evolution

In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
– Charles Darwin

BIM, the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology, requires a fundamental change in how the construction (Architects, Contractors, Engineers) and facility management (Owners, Service Providers, Building Product Manufactures, Oversight Groups, Building Users) sectors operate on a day-to-day basis.  

BIM, combined and  Cloud Computing are game changers.  They are disruptive technologies with integral business processes/practices that demand collaboration, transparency, and accurate/current information displayed via common terminology.

The traditional ad-hoc and adversarial business practices commonly associated with Construction and Facility Management are changing as we speak.    Design-bid-build and even Design-Build will rapidly go by the wayside in favor of the far more efficient processes of Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Job Order Contracting – JOC, and similar collaborative programs.  (JOC is a form of integrated project delivery specifically targeting facility renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction).

There is no escaping the change.   Standardized data architectures (Ominclass, COBie, Uniformat, Masterformat) and cost databases (i.e. RSMeans), accesses an localized via cloud computing are even now beginning to be available.   While historically, the construction and facility management sectors have lagged their counterparts (automotive, aerospace, medical, …)  relative to technology and LEAN business practices, environmental and economic market drivers and government mandates are closing the gap.

The construction and life-cycle management of the built environment requires the integration off several knowledge domains, business “best-practices”, and technologies as portrayed below.   The efficient use of this BIG DATA is enabled by the BIM, Cloud Computing, and Integrated Project Delivery methods.

Image

The greatest challenges to these positive changes are  the CULTURE of the Construction and the Facility Management Sectors.  Also, an embedded first-cost vs. life-cycle or total cost of ownership perspective.  An the unfortunate marketing spotlight upon the technology of 3D visualization vs. BIM.   Emphasis MUST be place upon the methods of how we work on a daily basis…locally and globally  − strategic planning, capitial reinvestment planning, designing collaborating, procuring, constructing, managing and operating.  All of these business processes have different impacts upon the “facility” infrastructure and  construction supply chain, building Owners, Stakeholders, etc., yet communication terms, definitions, must be transparent and consistently applied in order to gain  greater efficiencies.

Some facility life-cycle management are already in place for the federal government facility portfolio and its only a matter of time before these are expanded and extended into all other sectors.

BIM, not 3D visualization, but true BIM or Big BIM,  and Cloud Computing will connect information from every discipline together.  It will not necessarily be a single combined model.  In fact the latter has significant drawbacks.    Each knowledge domain has independent areas of expertise and requisite process that would be diluted and marginalized if managed within one model.   That said, appropriate “roll-up” information will be available to a higher level model.   (The issue of capability and productivity marginalization can be proven by looking a ERP and IWMS systems.  Integration of best-in-class technology and business practices is always support to systems that attempt to do everything, yet do not single thing well.)

Fundamental Changes to Project Delivery for Repair, Renovation, Sustainability, and New Construction Projects MUST include:

  • Qualifications Based or Best Value Selection
  • Some form of pricing transparency and standardization
  • Early and ongoing information-sharing among project stakeholders
  • Appropriate distribution of risk
  • Some form of financial incentive to drive performance / performance-based relationships

BIM vs Information Silos

 BIM is not about software or technology but about CULTURE CHANGE and CHANGE MANAGEMENT.

BIM is about simplifying and adding visibility to the life-cycle management of the built environment.  You are either “on-board” or “not”.  It’s up to you.

BIM and FM are synonymous.  Unfortunately there are very few instances of BIM.

The biggest mistake made by most people new to BIM is to assume that BIM is all about technology, and so focus all their efforts on mastering the technology rather than considering the impact that the application of this technology will have on the processes among Owners, AEs, Contractors, Subs, Business Product and Service Providers.

IFMA BIM Lifecycle Operations Community of Practice (BIMLO COP) Kickoff Meeting Video – http://www.gosee.tv/bimlco/

BIM requirements:

  1. Organizational Commitment
  2. Collaborative, Efficient Project Delivery Methods (IPD- Integrated Project Delivery, JOC – Job Order Contracting …)
  3. Standards (OMNICLASS, COBie, IFC), Common Terms, Definitions, Metrics, Cost Data (Standardized Cost Data, example-RSMeans)
  4.  Life-cycle Information
  5.  Open digital technology supporting the above
  6.  Continuous Training and Improvement

via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier software and services for construction cost estimating and efficient project delivery – IPD, JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA…featuring the best representation of RSMeans Cost Data, exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item database.

BIG DATA, BIM, Life-cycle Management of the Built Environment

BIM and Change Management – Sustainability and Life-cycle Management of the Built Environment

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.    3D visualization vendors have marketed BIM poorly.  Their focus has generally been upon 3D modeling and associated visual objects vs.  the collection and use of valuable and enabling INFORMATION.  Sure 3D visualization is a great tool, and a useful component of BIM, however, it’s not even the most important aspect.

Many, if not most organizations will  require significant “change management” in order to successfully implement life-cycle management / BIM. Owners, AEs, Contractors, Oversight Groups, Business Product Manufacturers,  and Software Vendors  will need to adopt a better understanding of several, currently disparate knowledge domains / competencies and technologies and work towards efficient, transparent information sharing and collaboration among all area, professionals, and stakeholders.

Cloud computing / social media, BIM, and other ‘disruptive technologies’ combined with market demands driven but altered environmental and economic global landscapes will likely help to drive change, however, timing is uncertain.

There is a serious hole in the Architectural, Engineering, Construction and Owner Sectors’ level of understanding of building performance and legacy beliefs and process simply don’t work.   – adaptation of work by Melanie Thompson of Get Sust!

Roadmap

We must  initiate a wider discussion on what constitutes an appropriate, progressive life-cycle management of the built environment.

“We are moving from the era of ‘talking about deployment’ to the era of ‘deployment’ – over the next few decades there will be billions spent on energy-efficiency retrofit projects and it is crucial for policies to be underpinned by reliable technical data and strong evidence of the benefits that can be achieved.” – Bob Lowe, Deputy Director of University College London’s Energy Institute

The effectiveness and efficiency of this deployment will  be dependent upon people asking the right questions.    Efficient project delivery methods such as Job Order Contracting – JOC, a form of Integrated Project Development – IPD, that specifically targets renovation, repair, sustainability and minor new construction will be integral to successful BIM or life-cycle management based solutions.   Collaboration and longer term relationships are primary components of JOC and equally central to BIM processes.

IPD – Integrated Project Delivery and JOC – Job Order Contracting

“… We are in a war-like situation and therefore have to accept a two-stage process: do the best we can with what we’ve got, plus keep on researching.” – Jim Skea, Chair – Sustainable Energy, Imperial College of London

Behaviors across all AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner) professions, building users, and oversight groups must change.  Ad-hoc, inefficient, and adversarial construction delivery methods such as Design-Bid-Build represent a serious impediment to efficient use of resources.  Additionally,  life-cycle management must be addressed on portfolio and local levels within the context specific buildings (or structures), inclusive of type, activity, and utilization. For this we need a fundamental shift in approach, applying the proven as well as yet to be developed methodologies and tools developed.

The impacts of social media and social sciences will expand exponentially.    ” Conventional building researchers are ‘positivistic’ (measuring and monitoring objects and systems) while the social scientists, who inhabit a world of case studies and qualitative data, are ‘interpretivist’.  Interpretivist research include studies of:

  • occupants and their engagement with technologies;
  • technologies and policy mechanisms in-use (implementation); and
  • changes in business models, supply chains, the distribution of risk and responsibility, professional identities, the division of labor and so on.
BIM Strategy FRAMEWORK

Job Order Contracting Process

September 2012 –  via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for JOC, Job Order Contracting, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, POCA, BOC, MACC ….  featuring exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Data with modifiers and full descriptions.