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.


LEED, Sustainability, and the Federal Government – Report Card – 2012

The Federal agency scorecard relative to 2009 Executive Order the government to meet energy, water, pollution and waste reduction targets is now available.
Green, yellow or red values were assigned for seven (7) metrics, with no overall score.Oddly the Department of Energy scored to “reds” for poor reductions in fleet petroleum use and poor progress in developing sustainable buildings.

The EPA and GSA score all greens… which is curious at best.  The GSA, for example doesn’t even have a centralized, efficient project delivery method for facility renovation, repair, sustainability and minor new construction projects, despite the fact these processes are readily available.  Further the GSA has yet to get control of its inventory and related efficient use of space.

The Department of Homeland Security and Office of Personnel Management scored poorly, while the Army Corps of Engineers curiously scored the worst, with red marks in all categories.  The latter, in theory, has the technical expertise to effect change, put apparently continues to suffer from management issues.

The Scorecards:

Develop Agency Sustainability Plans

Under Executive Order 13514, Federal agencies are required to develop, implement, and annually update a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that describes how they will achieve the environmental, economic, and energy goals mandated in the Executive Order. Agencies must prioritize actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. The plans are updated each year, reviewed by CEQ and approved by OMB to ensure that actions are carefully aligned with resources, Administration priorities, and the Federal budget process.

In furtherance of the Administration’s commitment to transparency, the annual Sustainability Plans are publically accessible. Each year after the plans are approved, the agencies post them on their websites. On October 31st, 2011 the agencies released their second annual Sustainability Plans.

Click on the links below to view individual agency OMB Sustainability/Energy Scorecards for 2011:

Department of Agriculture Department of the Interior
Department of Commerce Department of Justice
Department of Defense Department of Labor
Department of Homeland Security National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of Education National Archives and Records Administration
Department of Energy Office of Personnel Management
Environmental Protection Agency Smithsonian Institution
General Services Administration Social Security Administration
Department of Health and Human Services Department of State
Department of Housing and Urban Development Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tennessee Valley Authority Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Postal Service (Not Available at this Time)

via – Premier  cost estimating and project management software for efficient facility renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction project – JOC – Job Order Contracting – SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA ….

Now if all the Departments and Agencies would realize that life-cycle facility management is the path to sustainability…

Sustainable Grounds / Landscapes

State universities continue to make strong efforts to bring sustainability to their campuses through capital and curriculum related projects. However, these efforts have not yet been paired with strategies for improving the sustainability of the landscape.

Framingham State University, an institution noted for its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, has begun to move in this direction: in January 2012, FSU contracted Land People Habitat LLC to develop a Sustainable Grounds Development Plan for the campus landscape.

Sustainable Grounds / Landscapes

This document contains the work completed under this contract, and explores the existing conditions of the landscape and the needs and desires of the community in order to propose design and maintenance schemes that will close the loop of sustainability at the university.

BIM Construction Cost Estimating – Top Ten List

First and foremost BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  While the industry is currently fixated upon 3D visualization tools, aka Revit, Archicad, Bentely… they only represent components of a BIM solution.

Construction cost estimating, and facility life-cycle cost estimating are critical components of any facility design, project delivery, repair, renovation, sustainability, or planning function.

Here’s a list of BIM Construction Cost Estimating Requirements:

1.  Collaboration – involvement of all stakeholders – Owners, AE’s, Contractors, Oversight Groups, Community …

2. Transparency – Appropriate access to cost information, and associated comparison to published independent third-party costs such as RSMeans Cost Data.

3. Consistent Format and Terminology – Use of a standard set of terms and data architectures such as Uniformat, Masterformat, Omniclass.

4. Metrics and Benchmarks – Time, Accuracy, Cost

5. Proper allowances for local conditions – geographic, weather, productivity of labor, …

6. Appropriate level of technology to assure productivity, collaboration, security, audit trail.

7. Robust Process – The application of a robust process and business “best-practices” with a focus upon continuous improvement.

8. Appropriate knowledge of all “levels” of construction cost estimating and their potential accuracy – Square Foot / Conceptual / Building Level Construction Cost Estimating, Assembly / System Level Construction Cost Estimating, Unit Line Item Construction Cost Estimating.

9. Knowledge of the impact of the Construction Cost Delivery Method upon construction costs and life-cycle costs – Design-Bid-Build, CM@Risk, Design-Build, Job Order Contracting, Integrated Project Delivery

10. Fundamental understanding of Total Cost of Ownership and Facility Life-cycle Management – Physical and functional conditions, Operations, Sustainability, Renovation, Repair, Efficient Project Delivery Methods ( IPD-Integrated Project Delivey, JOC – Job Order Contracting )

A Step Closer to BIM? NIBS and AIA Working toward Centralized Building Information Resource

Let’s face it,  the virtually singularly low rate of productivity of the AECOO (architecture, engineering, construction, operations, owner) sector for the past several decades is due to our CULTURE.

As a group, we are kings of the “not invented here” syndrome… or the “my way is the better way” syndrome.  Also, the “let’s keep the Owner in the dark” or the “let’s not work together”, and the “bid low and make it up in change orders” , or “let’s accept the lowest bid and hope for the best” approaches to ruin.

As I’ve previously noted, the altered world economic and environmental landscapes will force CULTURAL change in our industry.  Architects, Engineers, and Contractors new motto will be “our best customer is a smart customer”.  Why?  It’s simple, collaboration and improved “cradle to cradle” facility life-cycle management approaches will be required for survival.  Furthermore, cloud computing and proven collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and “IPD-lite”, also known as Job Order Contracting, the latter for facility repair, renovation, sustainability and minor new construction, will converge to enable knowledge sharing among all facility stakeholders.

The signing of an agreement between The American Institute of Architects and the
National Institute of Building Sciences to Work Together on Promoting Building Industry Research and Knowledge
is just one indication of the our “changing AECOO landscape”.  It demonstrates the two organizations’ mutual interest in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance buildings and the desire… no better yet the recognized NEED TO COLLABORATE on issues surrounding these topics.

A primary initial goal of the “partnership” is the joint development of an on-line portal for building industry research and knowledge.   It’s amazing how many in our industry are not even aware of NIBS or Smart Building Alliance.  The march toward BIM, and recognizing its true potential as “efficient building life-cycle management support by technology and standardized processes, taxonomy, etc.” vs. “pretty 3D pictures” will know hopefully gain traction and momentum.

Building Information Management Framework - BIMF

via – premier software for cost estimating and efficient project delivery – JOC, SABER, IPD, SATOC, MATOC, IDIQ, POCA, MACC, BOA ….

The Benefits of BIM, Life-cycle Management, Sustainability and High Performance Buildings

In many ways BIM, Life-cycle facility management, sustainability, and high performance buildings are interchangeable terms… some of us just don’t know it yet.

BIM is the life-cycle management of facilities (vertical and horizontal built environment), support by digital technology.  Thus BIM is part process and part software.  Life-cycle management includes all physical and functional conditions of a structure (physical condition of major systems, sub-systems, components, functional conditions-suitability for current mission, life/safety/security, access/ADA, utilization, ….) and all associated strategic, capital, and tactical planning.  High performance building management and sustainability also includes these factors, with a focus upon environmental impacts-Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

The benefits of BIM, Life-cycle management, sustainability, and high performance building strategies go well beyond financial considerations, though productivity and improved performance is sorely lacking within the AEC communities.

The following are just a few of the benefits of Sustainability and High Performance Buildings:

– Improved building occupant productivity ( studies indicate that approximatley $260B Billion lost annually due to poor indoor air quality-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).  Productivity gains have also been linked to factors such as day lighting (7-8%), temperature, ventilation,

–  Goodwill, enhanced image.

–  Reduce environmental impact / carbon footprint:  energy, water, waste, pollution (CO2 emissions, pesticides, fertilizers, …)

To put facility costs into perspective, here’s an example from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).  Annual costs in the private office building sector average $200 per square foot for salaries, $20 per square foot for building costs, and $2 per square foot for energy use – a 100:10:1 ratio.   It is therefore relatively easy to calculate direct cost savings relative to productivity and energy improvements.

via – Premier software for efficient construction project delivery – visual cost estimating and project management – JOC, SABER, IPD, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, IDIQ, POCA, BOA, and exclusive enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database.


Fram,ework for High Performanc Building Managment, BIM, and Sustainability




Source: Quantifying the Hidden Benefits of High-Performance Building, TAMU Mays Business School Cooperative Study, December 2011

Bryson York, Emily. (2010, August 28). Goodwill, better business grow from going green.
U.S. Green building Counsel. (2010). LEED for New Construction.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Gregory.(2006). Greening America’s Schools Costs and Benefits.
Beko, Gabriel, Geo Clausen, & Charles J. Weschler. (2008, October). Is the use of particle air filtration justified? Costs
and benefits of filtration with regard to health effects, building cleaning and occupant productivity. Building and
Environment, 43(10), 1647-1657.
Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor
Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and
Research, 2(3), 193-208.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Mixed Mode Conditioning Systems.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. High Performance Lighting.
U.S. Green building Counsel. (2009). LEED® for Retail.
Gardner, Ken. (2010). Overcoming Barriers to Green Building.
Miller, Norm & Dave Pogue. (2009). Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?
WBDG Sustainable Committee. (2010). Sustainable.
Romm, Joesph & William Browning. (1997). Green Building and the Bottom Line.
Issa, M.H., J.H. Rankin, & A.J. Christian. (2010, January). Canadian practitioners’ perception of
research work investigating the cost premiums, long-term costs and health and productivity benefits
of green buildings. Building and Environment, 45(2010), 1698-1711.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and Research, 2(3), 193-208.
Hepner, Christina M. & Richard A. Boser. (2006, December). Architects’ Perceptions of LEED Indoor
Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity. International Journal of Construction Education and
Research, 2(3), 193-208.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Daylighting.
Hoffman, Andrew & Rebecca Henn. (2008). Overcoming the Social and Psychological Barriers to Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Romm, Joesph & William Browning. (1997). Green Building and the Bottom Line.
Fisk, William J. (2000). Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their
Relationship with Building Energy Efficiency.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Daylighting.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. High Performance Lighting.
Gregerson, John. (2010). The Thermal Comfort Zone.
Gregerson, John. (2010). The Thermal Comfort Zone.
Fisk, William J. (2000). Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their Relationship with Building
Energy Efficiency.
NSF/IUCRC Center for Building performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University. Mixed Mode Conditioning Systems.
International Society of Sustainability Professionals
Fisk, William J. (2002). How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity.
Fisk, William J. (2002). How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Kats, Greg. (2003). The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Building.
Lipow, Gar W. Cooling It: No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming.
Cascio, Wayne and John Boudreau. (2008). Investing in People. (p. 195-215). Pearson Education, Inc.

The Operational Side of Sustainability – Sustainable Landscapes

Any Owner with a significant portion of lawn, natural, and/or impervious surfaces – typically Educational, Healthcare, Government, Hotel/Lodging, Transportation, and Recreational organizations – needs to consider a  landscape management strategy.

Maintenance costs, energy/water usage, security, carbon footprint, and aesthetics are all directly linked to sustainable landscape strategies.

Initial implementation is, of course important, long term operational aspects and adaptation, however, are the keys to success.  Beyond initial design work (renderings, plant selection, overall strategies), a HANDBOOK OF BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR THE LANDSCAPE (Ground Maintenance Handbook) is a requisite component.    The Ground Maintenance Handbook should include step-by-step strategies for installing and maintaining the landscape designs over time. It must be a living document that is updated as new discoveries and adaptations are made by the landscape crew. It is grounded in the concept of adaptive management, where the goal is to plan responses to multiple outcomes (e.g., deer eating the seedlings and invasion by bittersweet).

While this may be a lot to ask from a traditional landscape firm,  and is the piece that is often missing from landscape plan, the Ground Maintenance Handbook is a requirement for success.

Sustainable Landscape - Adapative Maintenance Strategies

Sure, everything might look great when it’s installed at full maturity for completion photographs. But what happens afterwards?

See more at ….

DOE Standard 90.1–2010 Said to Provide 18% Energy Savings for Commerical Buildings vs. 2007 Standard

DOE has determined that the quantitative analysis of the energy consumption of buildings built to Standard 90.1–2010,as compared with buildings built to Standard 90.1–2007, indicates national source energy savings of approximately 18.2 percent of commercial building energy consumption. Additionally, DOE has determined site energy savings are estimated to be approximately 18.5 percent.

States are required to certify that they have reviewed the provisions of their commercial building code regarding energy efficiency, and as necessary, updated their code to meet or exceed Standard 90.1–2010.

Certification statements by the States must be provided by October 18, 2013.


DOE Energy Standard

DOE lists the States that have filed certifications and those that have or have not adopted new codes on the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy Web site at Once a
State has adopted a new commercial code, DOE typically provides software,
training, and support for the new code as long as the new code is based on the national model codes (in this case, ASHRAE Standard 90.1).
Some States develop their own codes that are only loosely related to the
national model codes and DOE does not typically provide technical support for those codes. However, DOE does provide grants to these States through
grant programs administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). DOE does not prescribe how each State adopts and enforces its energy codes.

(1) Large amounts of fuel and energy are consumed unnecessarily each year
in heating, cooling, ventilating, and providing domestic hot water for newly
constructed residential and commercial buildings because such buildings lack adequate energy conservation features;
(2) Federal voluntary performance standards for newly constructed buildings can prevent such waste of energy, which the Nation can no longer
afford in view of its current and anticipated energy shortage;
(3) the failure to provide adequate energy conservation measures in newly
constructed buildings increases longterm operating costs that may affect
adversely the repayment of, and security for, loans made, insured, or guaranteed by Federal agencies or made by federally insured or regulated
instrumentalities; and

(4) State and local building codes or similar controls can provide an existing
means by which to assure, in coordination with other building
requirements and with a minimum of Federal interference in State and local
transactions, that newly constructed buildings contain adequate energy
conservation features. (42 U.S.C. 6831)


via – Premier software for efficient project delivery – JOC, SABER, IPD, SATOC, MATOC, IDIQ, MACC, POCA, BOA – Cost Estimating and Project Management.

Michael Erbesfeld, U.S. Department of
Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy, Forrestal Building,
Mail Station EE–2J, 1000 Independence
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585–
0121, (202) 287–1874, e-mail:

Sustainabile Landscapes for Public Institutions – DOD, Higher Education, Federal/State/Local Government

Sustainable Landscapes = Ongoing Cost Reductions, Environmental Responsibility, & Safety

Sustainable landscapes are central to ongoing site cost reductions, environmental responsibly, and meeting anti-terrorism standards.

To see current work in this area visit – .

Sustainable Landscape Design



Benefits of these newer approaches include:

– Reduction in Landscape Maintenance Costs
– Improved Safety/Security
– Use of Native Plants
– Reduction of Chemical and Mechanical Inputs
– Invasive Plant Species Mitigation
– Enhanced Landscape Appearance
– Improved Ecological Functioning of Landscape
– Compliance with Anti-Terrorism Standards