Thursday, March 27, 2008

Standards and Procedures

standards - n. something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model... a rule or principle that is used as a basis for average or normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc...

With the recent growth of our BIM implementations throughout the firm, a call has been made to produce our Revit "Standards." Giving this some thought, it doesn't make too much sense to dive in and create a new "Standards Manual" without reviewing what 'standards' we currently have and what their purpose is. With our first Revit projects back in 2003-2004, we started with something familiar - the company CAD Standards. After a convenient Save As... we quickly realized that just about everything was going to be deleted as it had little or no relevance to using Revit on a project. It was realized that the 'standards' must be divided up - or compartmentalized - into logical areas as follows:

  • Graphic Standards - How the documents should look
  • Drawing Standards - Methods of organizing the data
  • Procedural Guidelines - Using a specific tool to implement the Graphic and Drawing Standards
  • Data Exchange Guidelines - Sharing the above data with others

Graphic & Drawing Standards

Most architects and engineers are concerned primarily with the quality of their product - construction documents. In many cases, a blanket "CAD Standards Manual," such as the National CAD Standard, will cover everything from layer colors to standard symbols to titleblocks.

A further refinement of graphic standards embeds a methodology of any particular discipline into the application of such standards and becomes "drawing standards." These methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Common drawing information
  • Dimensioning methods
  • Cross-referencing views

Procedural Guidelines

Procedural information will vary for each software platform utilized to implement the graphic standards. Some examples include:

  • AutoCAD - layer standards, xrefs, file names, plotting standards, line types
  • Revit - worksets, line styles, object subcategories, shared parameters, view templates
  • Microstation - level standards, file names, cell libraries...

Data Exchange Guidelines

Efforts being undertaken by agencies such as FIATECH, NIBS and the IAI are labeled as "standards" but they differ in their use of the definition. They are mainly concerned about translating data between software platforms based on the requirements of downstream users. At SOM, they are referred to as "Data Exchange Guidelines." Currently they consist of a light version of our CAD Standards to facilitate understanding of our data shared with our consultants, contractors and clients. They also outline how, when and what will be shared throughout the course of a design project. In the near future, these guidelines will start to blend with the aforementioned standards including the National BIM Standard and IFC.

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