I recently attended my seventh BIMForum event held at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, Texas. The theme for this event was “VDC (virtual design & construction) Deliverables.” I’ll comment more on the theme later. First, allow me to describe this conference. The BIMForum is a group that is organized by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and whose mission is to “facilitate and accelerate the adoption of building information modeling in the AEC industry”…to “lead by example and synchronize with counterparts in all sectors of the industry to jointly develop best practice for virtual design and construction.” Recently, the AIA (American Institute of Architects) signed on to be an integral contributor to the BIMForum as well (talk about reaching across the aisle!!). You can learn all about the group and sign-up at bimforum.org. As a paid member, you can access recordings of past events.
Over the past few years, the AGC originally hosted 4 BIMForum events per year, but they reduced that to 3 in 2011 and now are hosting 2 annual conferences. Each event consists of a day and a half of presentations around a common theme. Presenters must be experienced in using and/or delivering BIM-based services and the longest presentations are 1 hour. Attendance has been quite solid at around 400 which makes for a lively audience, but not overwhelming for good networking. There are no concurrent sessions, which makes every BIMForum conference one of the more easy-to-attend events in my experience.
Each conference is established around a specific theme that seems to always be timely and relevant. The Fall 2011 event theme was “Return on Innovation Investment (ROI2)” which prompted the presenters to focus on the costs and benefits of using BIM-based processes. There were quite a few extremely valuable sessions describing compelling cost to benefit ratios, including a presentation from Dan Russell of Sundt Construction who illustrated that the cost to ‘do BIM’ was equivalent to the cost required to keep a building site broom-swept during construction!
Who should attend a BIMForum event? These events are more inspirational and informational in nature than events such as Autodesk University or Revit Technology Conference. If you are already knee deep in BIM implementation and consider yourself an expert user, these events may not be for you. If you are a decision-maker for your firm and you want to keep up with the competition or get started with realistic BIM implementation, the BIMForum offers the perfect event to showcase real people and real projects getting real results.
The Spring 2012 BIMForum theme was “VDC Deliverables” in which the presentations were to focus on “VDC deliverables that are specific results of digital processes that improved results…ways that the deliverables were used to solve specific problems.” I admit that I may have slightly misinterpreted the theme as one that would focus on using VDC processes to improve deliverables; instead of the deliverables of the VDC process. As such, I was somewhat disappointed that more presentations didn’t specifically address the transition of design modeling to construction modeling. That said, it was still an inspiring event and I look forward to attending more BIMForums in the future.
Look for me at two upcoming industry events. At the AIA National Convention in Washington, DC, I will be presenting as part of an expert panel on the topic of “Information and Energy Modeling for Code Compliance: A Guide to Methods and Means.” That presentation starts at 4:00 pm on Friday. I am also presenting a topic I called “Building Smarter Models” at the Revit Technology Conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia. That class is also a Friday-at-4 fire-the-crowd-up-before-cocktails time slot.
Hope to see you at these and future events! I will vow to protect as many fluffy kittens as possible. Thanks to Amy for the cute stationery pictured above. Speaking of which…those in attendance might have noticed my fluffy kitten meme shirt (“Revenge of the Fluffy Kitten: The Sequel”). If you’re interested in buying fluffy kitten merchandise, let me know and I’ll consider setting up an online shop! Thanks Liz for the gift shop find (below)!