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Simply Complex Podcast, Episode 06

I’ve had the pleasure and honour of being hosted by no less than Marcello Sgambelluri himself in episode 06 of his Simply Complex podcast series, this week! If you have never heard it, I strongly suggest you check it out. His chat with Adam Sopko is particularly interesting: you can find it here.

I really hope you’ll enjoy it: I certainly enjoyed recording it.

 

If you’re curious to get references of the things we talked about, here’s some.

  • While we were talking, Marcello was surfing the website of the architectural studio I currently work for. It is this one. Specifically, the Moscow project he referred to is this one and the Military Memorial project I referred to is this one.
  • Other two military monuments whose intervention was bid for, requiring BIM, are showcased below.

.Asiago Redipuglia.

  • The Autodesk University Class about hotels can be found here: it talks about automation for interior design, using Dynamo and a couple of tricks. It’s me and my BIM manager talking. We had fun.

.BIM for Hotels (1) BIM for Hotels (2) BIM for Hotels (3) BIM for Hotels (4) BIM for Hotels (5) BIM for Hotels (6) BIM for Hotels (7) BIM for Hotels (8) BIM for Hotels (9) BIM for Hotels (10) BIM for Hotels (11) BIM for Hotels (12).

 

  • BILT Asia is going to be in Singapore between March 30th and April 1st. The website of the event is here. As I said on the podcast, me and my BIM manager will be giving three classes there:
    • How To Bake Your Model: A Collaborative BIM Cooking Class, on Friday 31st, session 2.3 (13:45 – 14:30);
    • Information modelling for Interior Design – The Forgotten Discipline, also on Friday 31st, session 2.5 (17:00 – 17:45).
      Friday 31st is going to be quite intense indeed.
    • Also, we will play an encore of That Day Revit Came Into Our Life: Implementation Best Practices for Small Offices (Thursday 30th, session 1.5, 17:00 – 17:45). Some of you already saw some part of it in Vegas at AU but it’s going to be slightly expanded, since we have a little more time and we don’t like to repeat ourselves.

BILTASIA2017_BCA_g

 

  • Flux.io is this little guy, shouldn’t you know it already, and we are both crazy about it. The above mentioned class about hotels involves Flux and I wrote about it herehere and here. If you’re interested in the topic and you happen to come to BILT Singapore, you might want to check out the class “25 Flux/Dynamo Scripts for Everyday Use” by Dominic Martens (session 1.4): it looks promising.
    Also, the Site Extractor we talked about is a collateral project, you can find it in the Lab section of their website, it’s amazing and from what I hear it’s about to get even better. Check it out.

Flux Site Extractor - Animated GIF

 

 

  • Enscape is this other little guy and is just as amazing. I wrote about it here some time ago and meanwhile it got even better. It provides you with a seamless workflow between your Revit model and a real time rendering engine empowering you with one of the best design review tools currently on the market. It’s effortless. We promise.

Enscape (1)

 

 

  • Stingray is this Autodesk tool and Marcello wrote about it here. You also can see his AT-ST moving here. We are now eagerly waiting for that AT-AT to start moving around, although not in our backyards please. Meanwhile, if you want to download one of your own, there’s a very nice Revit model of an AT-AT to be found here.

AT-AT(1)

 

 

 

  • The educational project I was referring to is this one. I am especially proud of my first class and I’ll be writing about them soon: they were an amazing group and their work was amazing.

MasterKeen

  • Another educational project I was involved in, and I failed to mention, was this one. They are currently carrying out the second edition, but the first class was protagonist of a very nice video made by Autodesk.

..

 

  • The Italian underground BIM movement already met a bunch of times and Marcello dug up a picture of people drinking beer so that was probably us.

panoramiche

 

 

  • Last but not least, the new Mass Effect is called Andromeda and will come out March 21st. I’ll probably be busy preparing BILT. Damn.

..

PoliMI – 28.01.2017

After a freezing morning in Politecnico, here’s the couple of references we recommended. We post them here so that everybody can have a look at them: when something new comes up, we’ll refill the list.


 

– Employer Information Requirements and Educational Facilities –

  • prejudicial to check out the work done by prof. Di Giuda and Valentina Villa on the Competitive Bids for Liscate’s School: we find it to be the first Italian EIR with such a high quality standard and you find it here;
  • you may also find interesting the contribution “Clients and Users’ Involvement in a Digitized Design Process” by Silvia Mastrolembo Ventura and Davide Ghelfi in the booklet Digitizing the analogical thoughts in architecture: a menace or a promise? edited by Barbara Angi, Massimiliano Battisti, Silvia Mastrolembo Ventura. It’s a free eBook, you can find it here.

There’s a lot to be found on this topic: the British Government ran a pilot project about schools, to field test the effectiveness of BIM, and Mark Bew himself (as in the Bew-Richards triangle) talks about the benefit of BIM in terms of how many schools they could build for free with the savings from the previous schools, thanks to BIM.

The class we were chatting about, in which we simulate the interaction between a digital EIR and a designer, is here.


 

– About BIM for energetically self-sufficient dwellings –

  • Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate: «a free, online self paced educational program, for students, educators and professionals, that will help improve your knowledge of building science fundamentals and Autodesk building performance analysis tools».
    ..
  • In order to understand the importance of prepping a model with the analysis tool already in mind, check out M.M. EL Sheikk, “Comparing the Performance of Eight Building Energy Performance Simulation Models on the Design of a Single Family Residence”. 2010, Cairo: Ain Shams University Press.
    CCRCVA_08
  • you might also want to check out Lamberto Tronchin and Kristian Fabbri, “Energy performance building evaluation in Mediterranean countries: Comparison between software simulations and operating rating simulation”. 2007. University of Bologna. (you find it here).

Keep us posted on your progresses and see you soon.

16.01.2017

..

Codice Appalti: il (gravissimo) parere del Consiglio di Stato

Il 10 gennaio, la Commissione Speciale del Consiglio di Stato ha espresso un parere circa il Decreto Legislativo 50/2016 comunemente noto come “Codice Appalti” e in particolare circa l’articolo 23 (comma 3), ovvero la Definizione dei Contenuti della Progettazione in materia di Lavori Pubblici nei tre livelli progettuali. Il parere è scaricabile qui. Confesso di non avere ancora avuto tempo di leggerlo. Fino a oggi.

Cos’è un parere?
Questo è quello a cui serve il Consiglio di Stato, almeno parzialmente: nella sua funzione consultiva, il Consiglio fornisce pareri circa «la regolarità e la legittimità, il merito e la convenienza degli atti amministrativi dei singoli ministeri, del Governo come organo collegiale o delle Regioni» (grazie, Wikipedia). Questo particolare parere, definito “interlocutorio” dai giornali, è il nr 22 del 2017 e fondamentalmente richiede una proroga dell’istruttoria: si dichiara incapace di esprimere un parere definitivo e rimanda il proprio giudizio previa acquisizione dei pareri della Conferenza Unificata e di ITACA, l’Istituto per l’Innovazione e Trasparenza degli Appalti e la Compatibilità Ambientale. A questi due enti, in particolare a quest’ultimo, vanno le mie più sincere speranze perché… beh, perché il parere del Consiglio di Stato è, per quanto mi riguarda, ben oltre ciò che si possa definire “deludente”.

L’argomento del parere
Argomento non è l’intero parere, ma una specifica porzione ovvero quell’articolo 23 e relativi riferimenti a cascata, in cui vengono definiti i tre nuovi livelli di progettazione, ovvero:
progetto di fattibilità tecnica ed economica;
progetto definitivo;
progetto esecutivo.
Tra questi, ritengo che l’operazione più interessante venisse svolta, nel Codice, sulla prima fase ovvero il progetto di fattibilità. Particolare accento veniva posto sulla necessità di presentare diverse opzioni di progetto, e sull’importanza della preventiva esecuzione di una serie di indagini.
Ora, se avete familiarità con il nostro drinking game, munitevi di tutto il necessario perché sarò costretta a rispolverare dei grandi classici, i principi base (ma veramente base) di quello che stiamo facendo e del perché lo stiamo facendo.

A cominciare da questo.

macleamy-curve-2011

Ecco che ci risiamo…

Perché vi faccio rivedere lei?
Beh, perché bisogna pensare a lei quando si legge la porzione di parere riguardo al progetto di fattibilità che, nelle stesse parole del Consiglio di Stato, assume «un ruolo chiave nell’ambito del processo di progettazione». Si tratta del «livello in cui deve essere effettuata la scelta della soluzione progettuale valutata come la migliore tra tutte le possibili soluzioni progettuali alternative, che dovrà essere sviluppata nei due livelli successivi del progetto definitivo ed esecutivo in modo da non subire variazioni sostanziali». Un riassunto meraviglioso, come molti riassunti di questo parere.
Tuttavia, sempre nelle parole del Consiglio di Stato:

[il progetto di fattibilità tecnica ed economica] ha come conseguenza un notevole impegno di risorse economiche a questo livello iniziale del processo di progettazione.

Beh… sì. Certo. È uno dei principi fondanti del BIM, nella sua teorizzazione di workflow, e in generale su questo principio si basa una progettazione più efficiente, più accurata, più responsabile. L’anticipazione del lavoro alla prima fase. Proprio questo.

006_macleamy curve for architects

La solita cattiva notizia

Negare l’anticipazione del lavoro alla prima fase per un beneficio delle basi successive significa negare ogni principio di efficienza sul quale la progettazione (digitale) degli ultimi vent’anni ha poggiato le sue basi.
Ma c’è di più.

C’è  di peggio.
Non è solo il naturale aumento del carico nella prima fase ciò contro cui viene mossa obiezione, in questo miope parere.
È il concetto di analisi preliminare. Probabilmente il secondo principio base di una progettazione matura e responsabile. Il problema sarebbe che «il progetto di fattibilità tecnica ed economica deve essere redatto sulla base dell’avvenuto svolgimento – per tutte le possibili soluzioni progettuali alternative – di tutte le indagini e gli studi necessari per l’individuazione delle caratteristiche dimensionali, volumetriche, tipologiche, funzionali e tecnologiche dei lavori da realizzare e le relative stime economiche». Ora, non posso credere che sia davvero necessario dirlo, ma… non vengono fatte analisi e studi per ogni soluzione progettuale: sono le soluzioni progettuali che vengono fatte sulla base di indagini e studi.

Processo Virtuoso e non Virtuoso

 

Mi sembra superfluo far notare che è sostenibile solo un processo virtuoso, che progetta a partire dai dati e non si limita a verificare posticciamente un’idea più o meno discutibile. Mi sembra superfluo farlo notare, ma evidentemente è necessario.

Sgravare la fase preliminare, quindi, è la parola del Consiglio. Un parere contrario a tutti i principi verso cui si sta muovendo la progettazione di domani (che, in molti casi, avviene già oggi).

Ma non è tutto.
I principi base verso cui ci muoviamo prevedono che il committente abbia un ruolo centrale, un ruolo consapevole, un ruolo attivo e partecipe del processo progettuale. Per questo, nel Codice, l’amministrazione aggiudicatrice (sempre nelle parole del Consiglio) aveva un ruolo centrale «nell’individuazione delle specifiche esigenze/fabbisogni da soddisfare», in particolare attraverso due documenti: il Quadro Esigenziale e il Documento di indirizzo alla Progettazione (se questa dualità di concetti vi è familiare, potreste averli letti l’ultima volta che vi ho parlato delle PAS inglesi).

ideal

Nelle PAS i due documenti hanno questo aspetto

Orbene, nel suo parere il Consiglio di Stato ritiene che questi due documenti non vengano definiti a sufficienza, il che ci porta al terzo e ultimo problema cruciale.
«Al fine di semplificare e quindi facilitare la redazione di tali elaborati, è stata prevista l’adozione di apposite Linee Guida, che il Consiglio Superiore dei lavori pubblici redige, approva ed aggiorna periodicamente». Tutto ciò è malvagio. Molto malvagio. Talmente malvagio che, nel parere, si merita un paragone con le deposizioni di ammiragli nazisti al processo di Norimberga (pagina 15 del parere, se pensate che io stia scherzando).

 

E quindi?
Giusto questa settimana si discuteva sulla possibilità di normare un processo fluido e in rapida evoluzione come quello della progettazione digitale. Giusto la settimana scorsa scrivevo circa il valore delle PAS: «a sponsored fast-track set of standards». Bene. Con questo parere del Consiglio di Stato, possiamo dire addio al concetto di PAS. La Legge deve essere scolpita nella pietra, lenta ad essere elaborata, lentissima ad essere approvata e, soprattutto, ancora più lenta a venire approvata. L’ideale, naturalmente, per un processo che si fa digitale e che deve stare, necessariamente, al passo di tecnologie e processi in rapidissima evoluzione.
Vedendo negati tre dei principi base per la progettazione digitale, il parere che il Consiglio di Stato “si pregia di trasmettere”, ci scaraventa indietro di parecchi mesi. Siamo alla casella 58 di questo Gioco dell’Oca. Paghiamo la posta. E torniamo alla casella 1. Oppure speriamo che ITACA e la Conferenza Unificata accorrano in nostro soccorso.

Altrimenti?
Si vedrà.

 

Pas 1192-2 is under revision

You might have heard the news and if you haven’t… well, I’m telling you now. The British guidelines for all things BIM (or, at least, for collaborative working) went under public revision right before Christmas and you have until January 25th to review it and, if you want, to submit your comments.

– Disclaimer –

In this article you find few screenshots, both from the original PAS1192-2 and from the version currently under public revision. They are used with fair intentions and a pure heart, in order to explain better the proposed change. They were taken between December 2016 and January 2017, therefore if you’re reading this after the PAS 1192-2 publication they might be superseded.

1. Public Revision: How to

Before I start telling you what are the major changes proposed in the new PAS 1192-2, let me tell you once again how you can read it for yourself and, if willing, submit your comments.
I am a member of the BSI (British Standard Institution) but you don’t need to be in order to read and comment. That’s why it’s called a public revision. This is not dissimilar to what has been recently done in Italy for the UNI norm 11337.

All you need to do is go to the Draft section of the BSI website: http://drafts.bsigroup.com/
From there, you have to log-in.
In case you are a member, this is not your BSI member account: it’s an entirely different one. In case you are not a member, no worries: you can sign up for free.

Login

Yeah, graphics is a little ‘retro’ but I promise not everything is like this.

Once you’ve done this, the easiest way to find your PAS is searching for it.
You’ll see that you have Chapter 2 and 3 under revision.
Just a quick reminder: Chapter 2 is Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling, while Chapter 3 is Specification for information management for the operational life-cycle of assets using building information modelling.

Once you’ve choosen your favourite PAS to comment, anyway, you can either read it online or download it as a pdf. Actually downloading it is encouraged since certain sections are a little hard to follow on the portal.

Draft Scope

See if I’m lying.

The process of leaving feedback is actually very efficient. You can drop them while you read, as if you were commenting on a forum, and review them later. You comment directly on the section, so I believe everything is made a lot easier even for the people receiving feedback. It’s a system I would love to see applied also on the UNI portal, honestly.

Comment

Comment Suggestion

View Comment

 

2. PAS: what are they?

The acronym PAS, yet another acronym in our BIM world (and there goes another one), stands for Publicly Available Specification and, in the Standard Institute’s own words, «is a sponsored fast-track standard». What does that mean? Well, that’s simple. Writing norms is long, considered to be boring, mostly unprofitable and, above all, freaking expensive. This is why you have to pay for norms. If you’re looking for a more articulated answer to that question, you might want to check this article out: Why Charge for Standards? by the American National Standard Institute.
Anyway, whether you agree or not with the concept that you have to pay for Standards, PAS are not Standards, strictly speaking. They are Specifications, meaning they resemble a Norm in the way they are written but they are drafted on a speed track, often responding to an urgent market need and equally often in areas of rapidly evolving technology. This is how the PAS about BIM come into the picture. The official standard they refer to is the British Standard carrying the same number, BS 1192, equally available for free on the BSI shop. It’s a document carrying a 2007 date and it’s a Code of Practice about Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information. As I already wrote many times, it’s not about Building Information Modelling, the term BIM doesn’t appear even one time. It’s about collaborative working and exchanging information within the fields of architecture, engineering and construction.
As you know, BIM is all about collaboration. Or at least true BIM is.
Therefore, when the British Government committed to BIM in May 2011, the principle of BS 1192 was good but an update was badly needed. The Construction Industry Council sponsored his development and a so-called steering committee was formed. Then BS came around: in 2015 an annex was developed and was aligning BS with the PAS, which should have been aligned with the BS in the first place.
Yeah.
I know.
Another annex came out in 2016, so the correct reference should you ever want to mention them would be BS 1192:2007 + A2:2016.

Technicalities aside, the points that I find interesting about the whole PAS mambo jambo are these:
– they came out fast, when the professionals needed them;
– they came out free, when the professionals needed them.
Now, some of you think they were just propaganda. Part of a Governative heist to talk professionals into doing BIM. And you know what? You are probably right. But I’ve got a bad news for you. The British Government created a very elaborate and very efficient marketing system in order to create the culture needed in order to put a collaborative machine into motion and you can’t do BIM unless you have a spread knowledge of the basic collaborative systems. There have been lots of criticism towards the PAS and I do not approve of it. Before you take up arms against them, just stop for a moment and think whether they did or did not fulfill they purpose and whether you could have done better.

3. PAS 1192-2 R2: what’s new?

While the first PAS was sponsored by the Construction Industry Council, as I said, this new draft is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Among the agencies working with this department, on their website you can find the Land Registry and the UK Space Agency.

Ep00_CoE_torchwood_team

UK Space Agency. It’s highly possible it’s them.

Use of this document
It has been assumed in the preparation of this PAS that the execution of its provisions will be entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people, for whose use it has been produced.

Well, that’s something I would love to be able to put into… well, anything, actually. We are rapidly reaching a point where you can’t put up anymore with people unable to understand what you’re talking about so let’s cut the crap down: if you face a project without appropriately qualified and experienced people you are the one to blame.

Therefore I’m not going to take your hand and walk you through every single minor change that has been made to these documents. You download them and run them through a document compare, if you want that kind of service.
What I’m going to do, is point out some key changes, give some opinions and provide you with my perspective on how changes are looking from my angle.

3.1 The Strategic Phase

 

PAS R1 - FIG3

The original figure 3

The Contract Phase in itself seems to be the main focus of this revision: the Model Production and Delivery Table is officially within the contract documents (of course it is) and a full set of Annexes and Appendices is fully formalized. And let me tell you they are a lot. You have:
Employer’s Requirement (ER) and Employers Information Requirements (EIR) and they are not the same thing: ER is the traditional brief, traditionally used in traditional contracts and talks about the project itself (“I want to build a Hotel”) while EIRs is traditionally the “BIM part” of those Requirements (the only viable guideline about EIRs is still this one);
– the Digital Plan of Work (the fastest way to draft one is the NBS BIM toolkit);
– the BIM Execution Plan (pre contract);
– the Master Information Delivery Plan that states who is going to deliver what and in which stages and is in close contact with the Responsibility Matrix, the Model Production and Delivery Plan and, consequently, the Model Production and Delivery Table;
– the matrix for Project Roles and Responsibilities (see above);
– the Contractors Proposal, which is a response to the Employer’s Requirements and is still tied to traditional schemes.

399423

Things are getting more structure

Few of them are new names, as you can see, and lots of them are old concepts with a fancy name.
The main idea in the Contract Phase, here, is controversial. «It is the UK government’s express objective that BIM Level 2 has minimal impact on existing contracting methods», the PAS used to say. It still says that, even if I think that idea is long gone and we all agree on the fact that contracts need to change dramatically for Level 2 to work. Check out the work of David Mosey at the Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution in King’s College, London. For my Italian speaking friends, you might remember the summit we had in Milan about Legal BIM, a milestone in the process of defining where are we going with our Country regarding that issue.
With this perspective, PAS 1192 seems to be a patch up. Without getting into merit of actual contract forms, it provides a set of documents as a layer to put on top of what you have, as if BIM still doesn’t have the power to change the whole process but needs to settle for minor fixes, adjustments. Needless to say that I do not agree with this concept: it’s go BIM (and I mean full BIM) or go home. Even in contracts.
The main point in which I believe this is shown as critical is the relationship between Employer’s Information Requirements and pre-contract BIM Execution Plan.
Now, if you look at the relationship between Employer’s Requirements and Contractors Proposal, what you have are two documents talking to each other and the latter is drafted as a response to the first.
I do believe that with BIM you should have the same scheme: the pre-contract BIM Execution Plan (and we should really start calling it simply Project Execution Plan) should be drafted as a response to the Employer’s Information Requirements, meaning that it’s not drafted by the client but it’s a responsibility of that main contractor we call BIM leading consultant.
This scheme is partially proposed in section 5.1.8, when the BIM execution plan response gets its first mention.

ideal

Relationship between brief and operational plan: why shouldn’t it work like this for BIM as well? The pre-contract BIM Execution Plan is drafted as a response.

Underneath each phase, you still have lots of the documents you used to have: you have Assessments, Task Information Delivery Plans and all that jazz.

399424

If you still think the BIM coordinator should be a modeller for 80% of his time, let’s have a face-to-face chat.

As if this was not enough, a couple of additional documents have been added as appendixes to the Employer Information Requirements, with two main purposes:
– further specification in terms of the Built Asset and its Security, with due reference to the infamous PAS 1192-5 “Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management”;
– assessment tools.

EIR

In the Information Delivery Circle diagram, the strategic part has been updated with a couple of additional documents. A couple more.

The Assessment Phase has been split in several parts, again:
– OIRs and AIRs are concepts taken from PAS 1192:3;
– the Plain Language Questions are that part of the assessment more shaped like a quiz (you had to call them like that since people get all stiff when you say “Assessment”: you can look them up here).
Moreover, the Employer Information Requirements get a whole different structure: instead of having the original three sections (information management, commercial management and competence assessment), the proposed breakdown starts from a what-when-how concept. And I couldn’t approve more. The points an EIR should define are stated as:
information content (what);
timing of delivery (when);
delivery process and standards (how).
The previous sections aren’t completely erased, however. You should think at the above mentioned as “objectives”, while in the main sections you still have “technical management” and “commercial management”, alongside a more general “management” taking care of data segregation, clash avoidance, details of the collaboration process and the whole set of BIM management things.

3.2 Procurement

The link between Execution Planning Phase and the Need Assessment and Specification Phase is Procurement and its scheme seems to agree with the idea that I was illustrating above.

Two major updates proposed here:

Two major updates here: Employer Information Requirements and pre-contract BIM Execution Plan are linked together by a two-way street, Also we have now the Execution Planning phase, formerly known as the Execution Phase. Nice accent on the word “planning”.

This is not new as well, but the double arrow is particularly significant, meaning that procurement is actually able to give a feedback to the client and influence its requests upon receiving the market’s response to the requests that were made.

Just note that you still have to carry out three types of assessment:
– a “BIM” assessment form;
– an information and communication technology assessment form;
– the resource assessment form.
To make a silly example, if you have a consultant called Gigi and he designs bananas this means you have to ask questions about Gigi’s expertise as a banana designer, about his expertise as a banana designer in BIM, about his expertise with BIM in general (he might have been designing pineapples for ages before shifting to bananas), which kind of computer and connection Gigi will be given, which kind of computer and with which banana-designing software. All these aspects are important.

banana designer

Gigi has been a banana designer since 1975 and has done it in BIM since 1989. He is a BIM banana designer with a very high ranking.

The BIM assessment itself gets a new structure. What originally was gateway questions (“Are you prepared to share your model with us along with your mother and sisters?”) has now a specific focus about whether the company is aware of standards and how much it is willing to use them on the project. It makes sense, in a document of standard specifications.
Also, the former Information Technology Assessment Form is now mentioned as Information and Communication Technology Assessment Form (even if it still has the old name in some paragraphs and I fear this generates a little confusion) and has a whole new section about security. It’s a hot topic.

3.3 The Execution Planning Phase
Originally called just Execution Phase, it’s the second step of the project, after the EIRs, and it’s where you should draft your pre-contract BIM execution plan. It stands right after the Strategic phase of need and now the link between them is a two-way link, meaning that some things you find out – for instance – during the assessment phase can influence your EIR through a feedback during procurement. I couldn’t agree more.

A section about the post-contract BIM Execution Plan is badly needed. For now, we just have to say a prayer for the Project Implementation Plan. The document is no more: the Supplier Capability Assessment has taken completely over.

Meanwhile, the pre-contract BIM execution plan is still described as a light document, containing:
– the Supply Chain Assessment Summary;
– project goals for collaboration and information modelling (including model uses);
– major project milestones consistent with the project schedule;
– Model Production and Delivery Plan, hereby described as Delivery Strategy. Yes, there is a discrepancy between this part and the previous part: it is still unclear whether the table is part of the pre-contract Execution Plan and only the Plan is part of the Contract, or the Plan itself is in the pre-contract Execution Plan and therefore attached to the contract itself.

Unfortunately the cascade scheme for the Design/Constructor Supplier Chain stayed the same. I was sincerely hoping to see some updates and improvements in terms of clarity.

Design Constructor Supplier Chain

Do you see those portions dismissed as nice green circular arrows? Those are where the real fun begins.

 

3.4 Delivery Phase
It’s the actual phase of the project, after the contract has been delivered through procurement and everyone is on the same page. It’s where people actually work: up until now we’ve been just talking.
The crucial document of this phase is, of course, the BIM Execution Plan. It’s a live document, a master document containing all procedures and agreements necessary in order to carry on with the project.
Between the first version and this revised proposal, the main sections in which the BIM execution plan is organized are still the same:
management;
planning and documentation;
– method and procedure.
No significant changes here, just a couple of things were added. Specifically:
– in the management section, they added a section about change control methods, meaning you have to set up some sort of system to track revisions;
– in the standard method and procedure, a couple of sections about security were added. A hot topic, as I said.

From the strategic point of view, there’s a shy but significant attempt to unify figures and erase the dichotomy between BIM management and actual management. We’ve got a long way ahead of us and we’re certainly not ready to go down that road, but you have to start somewhere.

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Hurray! The Technical Advisor/Resident Engineer on behalf of the client is no more a separate set from the Employer Representative. We had to start somewhere.

As  a consequence, the whole column A of Table 2 (“Information exchange activities”) is no more: Information Management activities are blended in and divided by role; the Leading Consultant is becoming more and more similar to what we call  a BIM leading consultant: the figure in charge of the whole process also from the Information Management point of view. Tables regarding activities and authorities are much longer, in this new draft, and developed in more detail. That’s good.

On a lighter note, Figure 11 about Volumes has been redone and now it’s understandable even without a couple of glasses of whiskey. Wonderful. I wonder how many people will realize that they always got it wrong.

Figure 11 beforeFigure 11 after.
Volumes before and after the cure

 

3.5 – Mobilization

You might think that this is delivery, all the preparation needed in order to actually give the client what you worked on (and hopefully get paid). It’s not. You still haven’t done anything, we still have just been talking. In the PAS 1192-2 own words:

«Mobilization is important because it provides the opportunity for the project supply team to make sure that the information management solution works before any design work is started. This includes making sure that the necessary documents have been prepared and agreed, the information management processes are in place, the team has the appropriate skills and competences, and that the technology supports and enables the management of information according to this PAS»

This is where your team reads your BIM Execution Plan and tells you if you’re crazy or just have been drinking.

Ideally it’s also a stage in which you provide the needed training, which details were originally provided in the Project Implementation Plan. It’s a moment where the project has already started but nobody is working yet. How many times have you seen that happening?

3.6 – Production Phase

Ok. Now you can start working.

Something crucial gets stated about deliveries, in this section. The original version (9.,1.4) said:

Data delivery shall include some all of the following data entities: native (product-proprietary) file formats, COBie-UK-2012 and read-only PDF; to enable a complete Level 2 project.

We always knew it was too shy and incomplete. Now (still 9.1.4) it reads:

Data delivery shall include some or all of the following data file types: native (product-proprietary) file formats, clash renditions, open source file formats (IFC-Industry Foundation Classes), COBie and read-only PDF; to enable a complete Level 2 project.

The focus on data file types, alongside with all those corrections from IT to ICT, reveal a steadier, more technical hand behind these PAS. IFC gets an explicit mention but make no mistakes: natire product-proprietary file formats still have to be submitted. Shall has a very specific meaning, in the PAS: it’s used to express  requirements. Sorry, guys.

From the practical point of view, the whole Level of Definition concept was cleared up a little in order to reflect latest trends: you still have an explicit split between geometrical detail and information definition, but we got rid of those awful terms, “level of model detail” and “level of information detail”. You also have a basic example of progression, from Conceptual to Construction (without Stage 4).

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Stage 2 (early concept), Stage 2 again (but not so early), Design (stage 3), Construction (Stage 5).

When you reach the relevant section, however, you have Level of Detail and Level of Model Information. The expression Levels of Model Definition is no more, at least in the title. You have it afterwards, with the progression table. This is only one of the sections in which you have inconsistency of terms and I’m a little confused.

Just bear in mind, on a lighter note, that BIM-enabling tools are now called “Data Production tools” (Table 1) and I think it’s just a shame. Moreover, I honestly think that a significantly small portion of the tools presently available on the market are able to actually “produce” Data. And if the production is driven by a human… well, AutoCAD actually produces data just as much as Revit. I reject the concept that any “Data Production Tool” is good to do BIM and my heartfelt suggestion is that we go back to the original term “Enabling tools”.

 

 

In the Common Data Environment chapter, the Archive has been clarified to be a section where you place superseded files, without any validation needed, and the overall schema is much more neat than the previous one.

Regarding the Approval Gate, there’s something a little alarming and I also pointed it out in the comments. It’s written that the task team manager «defines the purpose for which the information may be used», and it seems that he defines model uses in this stage. Of course he doesn’t. Model uses are defined way before, in the contract phase. During Approval Gate, the task team manager simply verifies if data is suitable for the intended model use.
In what we can call verification phase, PAS 1192-2 takes a couple of concepts from ISO 9000:2015. You now have both validation and verification. Both are “confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence” but the concept here seems to be that validation is confirmation “that the requirements for a specific intended use or application have been fulfilled”, and verification simply confirms that “specified requirements have been fulfilled”. A further note explains this: verification simply should confirm that the information has been received, without getting into merit whether it was conform or viable for the specific model use intended. That should be the role of validation.
I kind of agree with this distinction, with some due notes.
1. both validation and verification should be carried out through demonstrable and certifying protocols, otherwise they are simply a manual qualitative check and have no place in this kind of workflow;
2. while verification seems to be good enough as a light protocol, verification is a full-on certification: it’s the stamp you used to put for approved drawings and as a protocol should be treated with lots of care.

Keeping these terms in mind,  the task team manager verifies data and validates them with reference to the purpose for which the information model was intended. Or at least this is what I would like to read in that section.

Another crucial update is about the document status in the Common Data Environment. Even if they did not change codes, they clearly state that documents of status S (shared) and D (getting from WIP to Published) are «non contractual and to be used at risk». Which conflicts a little with descriptions of D stages:
– D1 is Suitable for Costing;
– D2 is Suitable for Tender;
– D3 is Suitable for Contractor Design;
– D4 is Suitable for Manufacture/Procurement.
Unless it’s not, is it? It’s not reliable enough, if it’s “to be used at own risk”. I’m confused. I hope someone can clear the fog for me.

File Naming stayed the same (you’ll be happy to hear that), but they added something about the Number itself and I am really grateful.

“00001” is the unique number when concatenated with other fields. The number of digits might have to be extended if the first three characters are used for some classification purpose.

What I am less grateful is that it’s unclear which “other fields” you are to concatenate it with. You can actually choose? Seriously? I hope not. I really hope not.

Chapter 10, BIM stages for the dPOW, is something I have been awaiting for and I’m happy to see it in the PAS. We now have an official document stating that the project phases are:
a) strategy and need (0)
b) brief (1)
c) concept (2)
d) definition (3)
e) design (4)
f) build and commission (5)
g) handback and close-out (6)
h) operation and end of life (7)

It’s odd not to see anything about reusability of the asset, honestly, but here you have them.

The Evaluation Phase is a novelty as well. As we set the stage for Level 4 (and we might want to skip Level 3, if you take my advise), the Handover stage goes into a Post Occupancy Evaluation that should provided significant data for the following phases and when the circle comes back to Strategy.

On the other hand, these PAS take a step back when it comes to Classification. You can kiss Table 4 goodbye: they are not going to take responsibility and advise you on which is the more suitable classification system for each phase.

Classification

You can kiss Table 4 goodbye

Guys, guys, we really really need guidelines on this. It’s a crucial and potentially disruptive subject.

 

4. Conclusions

I think it’s clear that the main focuses in this revision are two:
– security;
– contracts.

On a general principle I agree with lots of updates: the ecosystem of documents revolving around contracts is richer and I approve of that, but I do believe we are lacking a strong position on how much contracts and working relationships in general need to change for BIM to actually work.
From an editorial point of view, I think this draft is still to be worked upon. There are inconsistencies in terms, even in crucial terms, and this sometimes creates confusion.
I encourage you to participate in the public revision and add your voice to the debate.
We’ll come back to this after January 25th, when these documents will be updated in their final form.

Drink up

Tonight I drink to people. Because in challenging times, like this year, you find out what paople are really made of.  This year I had a handful of people around, and they really were made of beautiful things.

O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast, struck?

carrie-fisher

Who needs luck? – A Star Wars Story

I feel a little bit old, I must say. I feel a little bit old because I can’t help but thinking that I preferred when Star Wars was something mythical, something you couldn’t get everyday, a whole infinite universe inside George Lucas’ mind, a tangle of stories made up of vague references and allusions. This is what makes a universe so special: the abundance of work behind it makes it plausible and charming, but things stay this way only until you break the toy, until you open the box to reveal what’s in it. Because the marvels you can imagine will always be better than the ones you can see. And I do feel a little bit old in saying that this Star Wars Story scares the hell out of me. Are we going to tell everything? I had never bothered to imagine how things went, when rebels stole the Death Star plans in the first place, but what will happen when they will tell a story I actually bothered to imagine? I already know how that feels: I had imagined the fall of Anakin Skywalker, and trust me when I say it looked a lot more epic in my mind.
In short, I guess I’m scared.
Scared they will spoil the universe and they will fill it with Disney princesses and good feelings.

Having said that, let me also add that I don’t think this Star Wars Story entitles me to be scared.

Rogue One is a good movie, actually a better movie than what was shown in the trailers. Or maybe I found it to be a good movie because I expected it to be really really bad and I can never admit when something Star Wars sucks. Even if it sucks bad. Spoilers ahead, so don’t you dare whine if you keep on reading.

rogueone_logo-0-0

Rogue One has a good story, and basically speaks about this guy. You’ve been wondering about him a lot, especially if you’re in my line of work: who, in his right state of mind, puts an exhaust channel leading straight to the main reactor? Well, Rogue One offers an explanation: the guy wasn’t an incompetent jerk, the equivalent of a Stormtrooper when it comes to engineering. It’s a start. It’s a good start, actually. On one hand, it shows the will of building these new stories on plausible foundations. On the other hand, it shows a will of fixing certain ingenuities of the original Trilogy, and I think this arrogance might eventually lead to the Dark Side.

Anyway, what happens here is that we have a good setting and decent foundations for a story.
Also, we have good new additions like the desertic moon of Jedha, integrated with old references like kyber crystals. Settings are rich and varied, almost overabundant: in apparent response to some critiques moved to The Force Awakens, during the first ten minutes of the movie we jump planet at least five times. Then again you don’t seem to be able to have a desertic planet that doesn’t loke like Tatooine and you just can’t have a fortress on a volcanic planet that doesn’t look like Mordor, but these are different stories.
Characters also are varied and cleverly harvest from topoi of other genres, the blind monk being the most obvious of them. You need to have heroes that don’t overshadow the original ones and yet remain interesting and compelling. Heroic. Then again, you have major flaws in writing and their evolution is shallow. One minute people could care less about the revolution and the other minute you just have to fight. One minute everybody is so wound up about rebels being killers and ten minutes later nobody gives a shit about it. I would have appreciated a little less change, more justified, instead of going to lengths you are unable to justify in two hours of movie.

Also, I would have preferred to suspend my disbelief about Moff Tarkin just as we did about Mon Mothma. Genevieve O’Reilly resembles Caroline Blakiston enough to make us understand what character is that. That’s enough. The CGI version of Peter Cushing, modelled around Guy Henry, was just too damn difficult and the result is just depressing. Too much of him. Too many imperfections to recreate.

So, in short, what do I save of this movie?

1. I don’t need luck: I have you.

Probably the best quote, and bound to become one of my favourites of the whole franchise. Who needs luck, when you can have an angry friend with a huge blaster?

2. Everybody dies.
I said it. I just loved the fact that this movie doesn’t fall short of drama: rebels win in the end, of course, but everybody dies as you would expect and the dark side of being a rebel is shown in full. The movie starts with a rebel murdering an informer. It takes guts to write something like that. It takes even more guts when you work for nowadays Disney. You have to give them credit for that.

3. Darth Vader.
Ok, I know, the first time you see him he’s taking a shower and I just wanted to punch the screen fpr all that stretched unnecessary dialogue. But afterwards he doesn’t talk and in all his majesty he sends shivers down the spine.

All the rest is decent and enjoyable. The reprogrammed droid is interesting enough, there’s no Poe Dameron and these rebels will probably soon be forgotten. But not their effort. As it was in the original story.

And, just as princess Leia, I feel that these rebels brought me a new hope.

Merry Christmas

If you got it, and if you’re still trying to figure it out.

The weather outside is frightful

I’ve always loved Christmas. And not because I’m religious: I’m not and I haven’t been… well, since the age of reason, I guess.
Regardless of that, I don’t claim to get the holidays for myself. You won’t hear me speaking about season’s greetings and other stuff. I don’t expect it to be a civil holiday. Hell, the very word “holiday”, implicates religion. Denying that is ridiculous. And hypocrite.
So I guess that what I’m doing, what I’ve always done, is actually taking advantage of Christmas. Of the occasions Christmas creates.

The party, and everything that comes with it. Food choosen, detailed planned, things prepared. Showing you actually care. And if you can’t manage to care, even one fucking time in the year… well, you’ve got a problem.

The time off, and this idea that you just have to spend it with the people you love. Making it different from any other time off you might get at any other time of the year. And if you can’t manage to see your loved ones even now… well, you’ve got a problem.

The gifts, and this idea that you just have to stop for one minute and think about what your loved and beloved ones might actually like. It’s not about buying anything. It’s about figuring people out. Checking if you actually understand them, if you got your time to know them, if you can manage to give a damn about their tastes and desires. And if you can’t… well, you’ve got a problem.

So yes, I’ve always loved Christmas.

This year, though, it’s going to be a difficult Christmas. I will be facing, all together, the ghosts of Christmas past, the ghosts of Christmas present and the ghosts of Christmas yet to come.
So I’m going to cling to all the things I like about this time of year, ok? I’m going to draw a circle around me, and if you know me enough to wonder whether you’re in or out, you’re probably in. We’re going to have gifts and sweets and wine and a New Years’ Eve party to remember. You’re going to get the best gifts I will think of. And, eventually, everything is going to be fine.

But I’m going to need some help.