Monday, December 12, 2011

Protect the fluffy kittens

Have you ever been frustrated when people say "ATM machine" or "department of redundancy department?" I feel your pain. Since the building industry has adopted the acronym BIM, it has generated a new phenomenon...the "BIM model." If you're reading this and thinking to yourself, 'hey, what's wrong with that?' then perhaps you mean to say 'building information model model?' Some of my friends and colleagues have suggested that saying 'BIM model' implies the verb interpretation of BIM so you get 'building information modeling model,' but I think that's a thin argument.

In an attempt to relieve some of our pain and mental anguish, some of us have taken to social media channels to clarify this sampling of techno-speak. John Tocci, Jr (@tocci2) tweeted: "Every time someone says 'BIM model' a fluffy kitten dies.' Being a big fan of dramatic statements as a vehicle to get a point across, I shared this theory during my presentation at the Washington, DC BIMForum and it seems to have gone viral. Check out the hashtag #fluffy_kittens.


The 'fluffy kitten' theory has even expanded beyond the borders of 'BIM model' into the realm of Levels of Development or LOD. Jim Bedrick now evokes the kitten theory when someone refers to an 'LOD### model.' This will be a full topic I'll discuss in a future post, but let's just say Jim gets equally upset with this as he does with 'BIM model!' Other folks such as Dan Russell from Sundt Construction prefer to apply a more positive spin to the kitten theory. Instead of 'killing kittens,' Dan says that every time someone says 'BIM model,' a coyote gets lunch!

Now, before you go out to the next BIM conference and start heckling the speaker by meowing every time he or she says...that phrase...let me explain a better solution to the problem. As an involved member of the National BIM Standard-US project committee, I have been a staunch supporter of the definition of standard terminology for industry BIM uses. Although BIM uses, workflows and information exchanges have been under specific development by buildingSMART international for quite some time, definitions were published in Penn State University's BIM Execution Planning Guidelines ( Without describing this effort in too much detail in this post, I encourage you to become familiar with these definitions.

Instead of abusing the redundant term 'BIM model,' perhaps we could start using some of the following terms:

  • Design Authoring model
  • Energy Analysis model
  • Existing Conditions model
  • 3D Coordination model:
    • Discipline Design Model
    • Aggregated Design Model
    • Trade Fabrication Model
    • Aggregated Fabrication Model

Of course, the industry is gradually starting to look at model servers to support collaboration and information exchange, so these ‘model’ terms may be short-lived. In the meantime, do the world a favor and help protect our fuzzy, little feline friends...don't say 'BIM model.'

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Performance-Based Design at NYCRUG

The next meeting of the New York City Revit Users Group will feature Matt Jezyk and Zach Kron from Autodesk. They will be speaking about advanced form finding techniques in Revit and Vasari that are connected to performance analysis work flows. If you’ve seen Zach’s blog at or his class at Autodesk University with William Lopez Campo, you’ll know you’re in for a treat!

When: Weds December 14 at 6:00 pm

Complete details can be found at, or you can register for the free webcast!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

BIM Content for Revit

This post contains a listing of known websites hosting content for Revit. We’ll try to keep this post updated as sites change or new ones are created. This information was partially compiled from Mario Guttman’s AU 2011 class “Revit Family Counseling” (visit Mario’s own site for custom Revit tools).

Manufacturer’s Content

Autodesk Seek – content aggregated by Autodesk; contains default Revit families as well as manufacturer-specific content, low to moderate quality control; content in a variety of formats, search can filter for specific formats; free, no registration required.

ARCAT – generic and manufacturer-specific content; modeled by ARCAT, high quality control; free, no registration required.

bimstore – manufacturer-specific content; modeled by bimstore, high quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.

SmartBIM – manufacturer-specific content; modeled by SmartBIM, high quality control; free, no registration required.

Sweets – manufacturer-specific content, modeled by manufacturers, quality control unknown; various formats, can’t filter by format type; free, registration required for download; much of the 3D content is in SketchUp format.

RevitComponents – manufacturer-specific and general content, mostly modeled by site author; quality control unknown; free, registration not required.

ArcXL – Revit and CAD details (2D); drafted by ArcXL, quality control unknown; free, registration required for download.

Content for Sale

Broutek – buy and download content; purchase content credit packs which range from $32 to $60 per credit; content custom made by request/payment.

PinnacleCAD – custom content creation for fee; samples available.

Yellowbryk – premade Revit content and custom content services.

RevitBay – premade Revit content.

FormFonts – subscription site with a variety of content and formats, can’t filter for specific formats

TurboSquid – variety of general content; high quality. (Hyperlink will direct to Revit content)

ArchVision RPC – wide variety of rendered entourage; high quality.

Community Content

RevitCity – downloadable user content, no quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.

RevitForum – downloadable user content, no quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.

Friday, October 14, 2011

BIM+IPD Ensure Success at HOK New York

The latest monthly meeting of the NYC Revit Users Group was a joint event with the NYC Metro BIM Group and featured a panel discussion about the use of BIM and Integrated Project Delivery for the relocation of HOK’s New York City office. We had a fantastic turnout and many fantastic questions to feed the dialogue. We chose a few key representatives of the project team as follows:

Here’s the recorded session (note that the formal presentation starts around 10 minutes into the recording):

We were also delighted to have attendees view the live webcast from the following locations: Boston, California, St. Louis, Chicago, Alaska, Egypt, Vancouver, New Jersey, Alabama, and Washington, DC! Watch for our upcoming meetings at

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Interoperability is Cool

Who says it’s not hip to be “OPEN?” Have a listen to this diddy and be sure to check out the new database of software with IFC import/export capabilities.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Program Management Integrated with BIM

The August 2011 meeting of the New York City Revit Users Group featured a presentation by Greg Schleusner of the firm-wide BIM leadership team at HOK. Greg demonstrates how the use of BIM-based program management tools such as dRofus can support and improve the project delivery process. The discussion focuses on the benefits of adequately documenting program requirements and then comparing those to an evolving design model.

NOTE: The featured presentation starts at about 12:00 into the recording.

Complete meeting recording from NYC RUG

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Best Building Simulations?

I just received a link to this video from Arch|Tech friend, David Light. All I can say is – wow.

The Leadenhall Building Animation

Friday, July 08, 2011

Generative Design and Parametric Structures

The July 2011 meeting of the New York City Revit Users Group featured a presentation by Robert Otani, PE, LEED AP and Jonatan Schumacher from Thornton Tomasetti.

By creating a collaborative dialog with the designer at the conceptual phase, the architectural, engineering & fabrication models can be developed simultaneously from the same geometric reference model, allowing a holistic design process.  Robert and Jonatan elaborate on this concept with case studies of actual project work with a variety of architectural firms.

Thornton Tomasetti (TT) is an internationally recognized engineering company whose computational geometry and automation team works at the forefront of advanced practices.  TT utilizes a wide range of commercially available as well as customized digital tools and automation procedures to model, simulate, and optimize engineering projects of various scales worldwide.

Note: The TT presenters begin about 7 minutes into the recording.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Helping Shape the National BIM Standard

One of my 'little' side projects has been getting involved in some efforts at the buildingSMART alliance. Last year I began by participating in a group project to standardize cost estimating through the use of BIM. As you can imagine, that's an extremely difficult problem to solve and our efforts continue. More recently, I was asked to become involved with the National BIM Standard project committee for the United States. Given my prior experience with corporate standards at SOM, I agreed to join.

Since joining, I have been named the Chair of the Design Work Group for NBIMS-US version 2. case you didn't already know, version 1 was completed a few years ago and can be downloaded for free from the buildingSMART alliance website. While the first version consisted of almost 200 pages dedicated to introducing the work of the NBIMS committee and the scope of BIM, it did start to address some key concepts towards the standardization of this oft misunderstood paradigm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where’s Waldo?

I realize that my All Things BIM blog has not been updated in quite some time…but let me assure you it is for good reason. If you haven’t already adjusted your feeds, my latest efforts have been flowing through different channels:

  • – blips of inspiration
  • Life@HOK – here you can catch up on more social activities of HOK staff
  • Arch | Tech ( – wake the kids, phone the neighbors…this is the place to be! Most of my posts related to my books, architecture, and technology go there.
  • HOK BIM Solutions – being a firm-wide BIM leader at the company, it is my duty to contribute technical solutions there.