Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Since 2013 I have been working with a specification authoring system known as SpecsIntact. This system uses HTML mark up.

When editing the required submittals, they fall into the following categories:

SpecsIntact Submittal categories
01 Preconstruction Submittals
02 Shop Drawings
03 Product Data
04 Samples
05 Design Data
06 Test Reports
07 Certificates
08 Manufacturer Instructions
09 Manufacturer Field Reports
10 Operations & Maintenance
11 Close Out

Friday, February 3, 2017

SCRUG 2/2/2017 BIMSmith

The review of the first part of the meeting seemed so long that I thought my notes on the second part would get lost...

First off, thanks to the sponsors for the pizza, drinks and cookies. Microdesk, US CAD, Keller Pacific.

Jim Balding introduced BIMSmith.com
The website is a new way for materials supplier to get their information to design professionals. Their site went live early 2016.
Everyone in the room has used Revit to build families. System families are a bit of a pain because they do not use the same family editor for creation. BIMSmith is a web based interface to simplify the process. They use drag and drop for placement of wall layers or ceiling layers. They have drop down menus for when choices are limited. Where products are offered by a manufacturer, they are listed by model options. For example if siding is offered in 4", 6" and 12" sizes, those are the only sizes in the drop down menu. Once you are done designing the wall or pick one of the prefab walls in the "drawer", the build button is ready for a click. It takes a while, but the website gathers all the information available for the components making up the new wall, packages it into a zip file and emails you, and places it in your account page. You may download the zip file and find all the goodies.

  1. Revit system family in a .RVT (Revit template file)
  2. Autocad .DWG
  3. Word .DOC Three part spec
  4. PDF cut sheets
  5. Details if available
Cool Features
Actual Manufacturer products, prebuilt UL listed assemblies, in some cases even screws are a choice, can share creations, 3d view during making process, Earl looks like Don Sutherland

Not so cool
Site is slow, shared parameters not available in web interface, long workflow (create, compile, download, open, copy, paste into project, add shared parameters),

Future Features
Roofs available next, Revit plugin, Pipes, Ducts, 

My Opinion
I will try out the website. Since I am in a company that does not have a mature catalog of walls & ceilings we can use this to build our library & standards. 

Other ideas brought up
WATG and other firms will have shopping malls or department stores. 
  1. Revit Template file - has the basics for every project the company focuses on
  2. Department Store Revit Template file - one level with all wall types, one level with furniture, one level with plumbing, mechanical, electrical, structural, equipment, kitchens, bathrooms, ...

SCRUG 2/2/2017 LODPlanner

Through the miracles of changing schedules, I was able to attend this month's SCRUG meeting - the first in a long while. I estimate that about 60 people showed up.

It was announced on LinkedIn.
It was announced on Meetup.
It was detailed on the SCRUG blog.

After introductions & pizza, it went like this...
The main speaker Clive Jordan gave a bit of personal and BIM history.

In essence models progress over time. Like a painting that starts with one stroke & then becomes recognizable as more are added, a BIM begins with little geometry, accuracy, & information & becomes recognizable as a building information model.

Clive described how the terminology of BIM formed. Some familiar terms like... Level of *. Where the * could be any number of terms. Development, Definition, Information, Accuracy. While this LOD was meant to help in understanding, the splintering of terms has scattered meaning.

The goal of BIM and LEAN construction is to get information where it is needed ASAP. To this end, the BIM Execution Plan & lists of contract obligations were created. Level of Development spreadsheets & lists of who does what by when are created.

The current process of creating the Level of Development (LOD) Plan is a long and brain wracking process. Clive is working on a web based solution to shorten the FIVE day process to create the LOD Plan with LODPlanner.com. Presently the site is a bit slow and it is in Beta testing till about 7/2017.

LOD planner is a question based tool to help one create the LOD document to add to design & construction contracts. Why should one adhere to a rigid set of deliverables or an arbitrary schedule. One may customize what is needed by when the next chunk of design information is needed to meet the next deadline. One can prioritize based on the goals of the owner, contractor and/or design team. Why have super detailed geometry when no renderings are required? Why load up the model with data that will never be accessed? Why have accuracy to 1/16" when accuracy to 1'-0" is all that is necessary? In short, do what is necessary & pay what is needed to get the desired results.

Now the document that the website spits out is not "set in stone". It may be altered over time and the website tracks changes. Who changed what and when. The LOD plan is a starting point in contract negotiations which may lead to changes in what is desired by when and at what price.

The requirements are divided into three chunks.

  1. Geometry - what elements are modeled (visual)
  2. Accuracy - what level is acceptable to move to the next designer's input (reliability)
  3. Information - what date needs to be embedded in the objects (quantification)
The Process
  1. Project definition and information - name, type, region default, classification, & team.
  2. Create the desired milestones for deliverables. 
  3. Add requirements for each milestone. 
    1. Why create the model? What is necessary? What are the concerns that are addressed?
    2. It is a drag & drop interface. Pull information into the timeline to create tasks. Bits of design are represented with a typical LOD illustration & industry standard definitions. 
  4. The software processes your input into a milestone plan, Gantt chart.
The project plan can be constructed in reverse order. I want this result, what inputs will give me the result? One builds the project in reverse. The software can track tasks, so when one bit of design is done or information is gathered it can email the next person in the process to notify that their required source is ready. Like going into a factory & the conveyor belt delivering a part for installation. 

What is missing?
A human being, a professional needs to check the deliverables to verify that they meet standard. 
The security part is still being worked out. Presently there are two layer of access (Admin, & Team member). One can fine tune the Team member login to grant additional rights to edit. 
Import & Export to MS Project or similar management tools are not available. 
Straight LOD numbers can be misunderstood. You may need LOD 500 data but only LOD 200 geometry. 
API - the API is private.
Integration into management systems like Trello.
Revit Data Link.

What is coming?
Machine Learning - the website tracks the choices made in creating the LOD Plan across all users. The company may then add stuff is that is often added to LOD Plans. 

My Opinion
It will save large chunks of time creating these LOD documents. The LOD document is available on a project basis for team members to see graphically what is required and therefore it will raise the industry's collective knowledge base of LOD & reign in the confusion of terms like LOD 100, 

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Yesterday marks the day that signature gathering may start for the petition to enact independence of California from the United States of America.
You may find more information here.

Recent Architectural Projects

  • 2013-2017 NASA Fuel Farm ~$4m
  • 2016-2017 Yuma Range Towers
  • 2015-2017 SBIAA Hangar 763 improvements ~ $3.5m
  • 2016-2017 Beale AFB Building B1210/B1214 2nd floor ~2.2m
  • 2015-2016 VBA Wilshire 2nd floor, GSA ~$4m