Posts Tagged ‘Architects’

Poll for Construction Estimators

January 16, 2012

Our friends over at Software Advice are conducting a poll about current practices in construction estimation.

You can take the 5-minute poll here.

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Top 10 Reasons Sharepoint Sucks for Photos

January 2, 2012

I talk to a lot of GC’s and Architects that use Sharepoint(tm) to store their photos. When I ask them why, their answers usually include something about security (a questionable claim in my mind; Are your needles secure, just because you know which haystack they’re in?) and company policy. Then the grumbling begins.

Here’s a breakdown of Sharepoint’s shortcoming’s as a photo management solution:

#10 Too much typing & clicking required – To file photos in way that provides any meaningful information later on (you know, when your really need them), Sharepoint requires you to spend time creating unique folders or typing LOTS of unique filenames. (e.g. ProgressLevel4DeckPrepour11032011.jpg, oh my)

#9 One-dimensional searching – If I need to verify the window flashing installation on ten different levels, it would be nice if I didn’t need to scroll through hundreds (thousands? millions?) of photos of rebar and framing on each and every one of those same ten levels.

#8 Picture Library doesn’t support sorting – Wouldn’t it be nice to have Excel-style sorting capabilities, while being able to simultaneously view the photos too?

#7 Can’t define a range of search values – How much quicker would it be if you could define a range of search values? E.g. Verifying the curtain wall anchors on the northeast corner of the top four floors.

#6 No comment – In the age of social media, is it too much to expect to be able to add comments to construction  photos?

#5 No sharing – Isn’t a tad bit ironic that there’s no built-in photo sharing in a solution that has “Share” in it’s name?

#4 Upside down? – Does your neck hurt from viewing upside down photos with no way to fix them without opening them in another application and then re-saving them?

#3 No rules – Usually, a 7-person team will adopt 7 different photo naming and filing conventions.

#2 Patient searching required  – “No Files Found” , is a painful phrase. How many times have you gotten this result repeatedly after struggling to come up with the right search criteria? An interactive search panel that allows for “tweaking” searches would be a real time saver.

#1 Starting from scratch – A new project means a blank slate and recreating your file names, folders and organization all – over – again.

Is there a better way? Most definitely the answer is yes.

Geedra vs Sharepoint

January 2, 2012
Photos on Geedra™ Photos on SharePoint™

Automated photo filing on Upload

Yes. Photos filed according to user profile, project profile, time, date and other data assigned by camera. No. User manually files photos by file and folder names.
Menu-driven, point-and-click photo tags Yes. No.
Construction-specific tags Yes. Tag types include: gridline, level, room number, camera orientation, multi-building designations, CSI division codes + text-based tags No – text based tags only.
Searching by single tag values Yes. No.[1]
Searching by multiple tag values Yes. No.[1]
Searching by a range of tag values Yes. No.
“Excel-style” photo sorting by tag value. Yes. No.[2]
Instant Search Experience (Search results appear as search criteria are entered) Yes. No.
Integrated Photo Sharing Yes. No. Share by email.
Integrated Report Builder Yes. No.
Photo-detail view Yes. Yes.
Individual photo comments journal. Yes. No.
Pre-defined comments menu Yes. No.
Hiding redundant photos Yes. No.
Automatic filtering of duplicate photos Yes. Even works when filename is changed. No.
Built-in photo rotation Yes. No.
Remote web access. Yes. Yes.
Cloud-based storage Yes. Office 365 only.
Seamless user experience from any Browser or Operating System Yes. No.[3]
iPad compatible Yes. Yes. (Separate app required)

[1] Requires extensive additional configuration and customization by administrator.

[2] SharePoint Picture Library views do not support column-based sorting.

[3] Certain features require Microsoft Windows and Office.

Turning BIM Models Into Buildings

December 13, 2010

I have written in the past about the various aspects of as-built construction and the construction process that can’t (and shouldn’t) be represented in a BIM model. While there are countless articles, blog posts and Tweets covering the wonders of BIM in the weeks and months leading up to construction, you never hear any stories about the experiences of the construction managers, consultants and project managers who interact with the model once construction begins.

I am curious to hear about the experiences of others who have ground-level knowledge from BIM projects.

  • How has BIM affected the number of RFI’s that you would normally expect for this type of project if it had been designed using traditional methodology?
  • Are there certain types of RFI’s that prevail despite the use of BIM?
  • What types of issues do you experience when updates to the BIM model become necessary?
  • Where do you see gaps when comparing the BIM model to As-Built conditions on your project?
  • What has surprised you (good and bad) about building to the BIM model?
  • Has BIM had an impact on your coordination or sequencing efforts?
  • How have you utilized the BIM model for regulatory compliance?
  • What will you differently on your next BIM project?

My First Architect: Mike Brady

May 14, 2008

I first learned about architecture from Mike Brady. When Mike wasn’t hard at work in his study (before it became Greg’s bedroom with beads for a door) he was working in his trailer at a job site. Mike was on site often and had a handle on every project, serving as the eyes and ears of his clients.

Then Mike got a computer and everything began to change. Fast forward to today’s architects, who spend about as much time on a job site as this other well-known television “architect.”

Wanted: Closers

May 3, 2008

Many consultants do great work. They are technically competent, thorough in their examinations and clear in their explanations. When they find deviations from project specifications, they (correctly) document the issue and then issue a report calling for corrective action. Then another. And another. After all, what better way to show the results of your scrutiny than in black and white?

Can Your Consultant Close Like JJ?

However, once a report has been issued it’s the contractor who assumes the responsibility for corrective action. Most of the time, these items get closed. How often? Nobody knows for sure. One of the dirty little secrets of construction is that nobody’s keeping score. Which means there could be dozens of unverified corrective action items by the time a project closes.

Maybe consultants should get paid on their close rate.

Knocking Down the Silos

November 2, 2007

A recent article by Eric Anderson and Mark Wagner discusses the success that can be achieved when the silos of Architects, Engineers and Contractors are removed through the use of the integrated practice process.

As someone who comes from manufacturing and has seen firsthand the benefits of the Design for Manufacture I say here, here! When I joined the workforce in the mid eighties as a newly trained engineer, pumped up with information on the latest cutting edge practices and technologies, DFM was a new concept that I embraced and promoted. I was working as a manufacturing engineer for a company that produced military electronics at the time. This company had been in business since the 50’s and still manufactured products from that era, while also manufacturing products that were designed more recently using DFM.

When comparing the paper trail for old design products vs. DFM products there was a marked difference in the number of change orders issued during the first year of production. The change orders for the older designs had a much higher frequency of changes that were necessary in order to improve (or even allow) manufacturability. The DFM products, however, had much fewer changes during the first year and the changes that were made were dictated by technology or performance improvements, not to improve process.

So I anticipate that as the Westlake Steps* project progresses, the construction team will experience fewer change orders that originate from a problem at the jobsite. This should contribute to better budget and schedule performance. I would also suspect that reduced strain on the schedule should lead an overall improvement in quallity and eventually a reduction in disputes after the completion of the project.

*As far as I can tell, there has been no formal announcement of this project. But it appears to be destined for the Casey Family Building and adjoining parcels that were purchased recently by CarrAmerica. I suspect the A&E article, unknowingly spilled the beans.