“Thou Shalt Collaborate…”: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Strategies in the Age of BIM

In this Viewpoint article, Viktor Varkonyi, who recently took over as CEO of Graphisoft, discusses the different strategies software vendors pursue to provide design collaboration solutions for their customers and debates about how the level of collaboration between the architecture and engineering disciplines should advance.

URL: http://www.aecbytes.com/viewpoint/2009/issue_43.html

6 thoughts on ““Thou Shalt Collaborate…”: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Strategies in the Age of BIM

  1. Thank you very much for this great article.

    I think interpreting Building Information Modeling as an information management strategy might provide bigger benefits to the industry than only viewing Building Information Models as enablers of interoperability. Currently, the information exchange standard IFC focuses on enabling data level interoperability, while application and service level interoperability is not very common between AEC software. If we can focus on the big picture of AEC interoperability and work towards enabling interoperability in all 3 (data-application-service) levels, the industry might have bigger gains.

    On the other hand, I totally agree with Viktor that the real value of Building Information Modeling can only be discovered when the data exchanges are supported with workflows and well-defined processes and object libraries such as IFD. In parallel, the developments on Model View Definitions also need to be supported in order to prevent information redundancy/increase coordination while exchanging information between various AEC applications.

  2. I know that Archicad IFC models will not convert correctly and will crash Autodesk software such as AutoCad MEP 2008-9, AutoCad Architecture 2008-9.

  3. ‘ArchiCAD IFC models will not convert correctly and will crash Autodesk software..’

    Mel, don’t you think that is just a little bit of an exaggeration? ALL ArchiCAD IFC models? Maybe the compatibility problem is the Autodesk translation of IFC – Autodesk has not exactly been at the forefront of interoperability efforts such as IFC.

    There are people using IFC every day to exchange data between ArchiCAD and various software packages without such a problem.

  4. Thank you very much, Viktor, for your elaboration. I think you article may be a bit biased in some issues (maybe not intentionally, being the CEO of Graphisoft) but overall the argument is quite clear. I concur very much with Umit’s observation/suggestions and Owen’s response. BUT Mel observation’s should also be noted and NOT taken as mockery of some sort.

    Regarding “First, in the flat CAD era, collaboration of the different disciplines was limited to the lowest common denominator: 2D information exchanged through DWG files” — I think we should appreciate the effort taken by DWG files to where we are today. Its drawbacks are what has made us be where we are now! This is a dynamic world … we have to appreciate every step that is made.

    To all other AEC CEO/CTOs, what are your views? Tell us something which will help all of us in AEC. Let’s hear your point of view. Try not to be biased, just give your true views for us to consume. Users will be the judges.

  5. A few points I would like to comment on in this article.

    First, no single vendor can provide or create best in class software applications for all the design consultant specialties. Some companies purchase these type of applications but they still have the interoperability issues as before, especially if they previously did not support a standards based interchange format. So a standards based interchange format will be a prerequisite for interoperability to work well.

    Second, sending just the structure to a structural software application defeats the purpose of collaboration. It prevents the structural consultant from coordinating his design with the architectural walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, etc. We would even include specialty trim work in this category, as a conflict with any design object effects the design.

    If all the application providers were to just look at the standards based internet to see how that has exploded in use, they then just might get the importance of a standards based interchange format. The issue they are faced with is how to make money in the scenario where switching between applications is easy, and the application which is most preferred becomes dominant.

    Presently, none of the BIM players get this ease of use for the architectural design profession. They are heavily dialog and palette driven without the direct editing or editing in place tools. Everyone wants to learn BIM but what is being left behind is learning how to design well.

    We have a long road ahead of us before this interchange format works.

  6. What to expect from BIM?

    I think the industry should seek for better coordinated design. It should focus on how to utilize other party’s work as an input and as a way to manage workflow.

    IFC can support this as shown on those images in Viktor Várkonyi’s recent Viewpoint article in AECbytes. A user, e.g. engineer, can access all information and turn off the information that is not relevant for him, and even more, see how that relevant information has been changed.

    These two aspects, see and follow all relevant information, are keys aspects for better coordinated design and processes.

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