I recently attended the inaugural ArchiCON – ArchiCAD User Conference in Brisbane organised by Nathan Hildebrandt of Fulton Trotter Architects (and his own company Skewed) with sponsorship including Union Square, Dulux, Arco and Britex.
In Nathan’s own words ”…there has been a need for an event like this in Australia for a number of years”. The success of the one day conference was testament to Nathan and his tenacity and obvious tireless determination to not only attract a diverse and interested audience but, more importantly, enthusiastic, respected and knowledgeable speakers on the subject of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and the advanced use of ArchiCAD. POWE Architects has been an active member of the local ArchiCAD community through the efforts of Matthew Johnson, Associate Director, a leading exponent of BIM, an active participant in many local user groups and a speaker at the conference.
As the owner of an architectural and interior design practice for 16 years and with over 35 years experience as an architect, I appreciate and advocate the benefits of properly coordinated design outcomes through a co-operative model based environment in our practice. The use of BIM as the medium for that interaction allows file sharing with other design and procurement consultants to deliver construction documentation that has been through a rigorous process of clash detection and correction before it is handed to a builder. The key to leveraging BIM (also referenced at the conference as Better Information Management) is having confidence in the process and allowing the process to assist with providing the best outcome. This not only has benefits for the construction time by reducing delays on site caused by poor co-ordination but also reducing variations through better documentation. This provides obvious benefits for the client and the construction costs and for the entire building delivery team who can confidently embrace and trust the documentation to complete the project. All too often we hear of tenderers who inflate their price knowing that the architect and the consultant team have a reputation for poor documentation irrespective of their design credentials.
Our practice has adopted a qualification system for our preferred consultants which highly rates those who have genuinely adopted BIM as there documentation standard. Surrounding ourselves and working with these consultants means that we can confidently exchange digital models and information in a collaborative environment based on trust and respect. However, too often we are burdened with a secondary consultant team that has been chosen by our clients, or through a project manager, based on their low fees and they have no BIM protocols or think that “Revit is BIM” and everything will be fine. In an effort to overcome this problem, we take every opportunity we can to try and educate our clients, other consultants and other stakeholders in the property industry on the advantages of BIM and the flow on benefits for facility management. A common client misconception is that it costs more or it is an additional service to create a BIM model. Put simply, this is not true and we firmly believe that this argument is perpetuated by those consultants who don’t understand BIM, are stuck in the past and don’t intend to invest in the future or have no intention of training their team to improve their skills. This is a terrible business attitude that provides poor service, delivers a poor quality product and is a false economy for the clients.
There is no question that Brisbane ArchiCAD architects and users are at the forefront of the use of BIM. The overseas presenters and attendees at ArchiCON support this assertion. One of the reasons that possibly makes the Brisbane ArchiCAD community different and industry leading is the encouraging willingness to share information, methods, techniques and knowledge with other like minded professionals for mutual benefit. Nathan Hildebrandt is an architect who has proven that he is a champion of BIM. We need to support the efforts of people like Nathan and get behind initiatives like ArchiCON for the sake of the professions future. Tomorrow’s architects need champions.
Insight by Len Powe – Director POWE Architects
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Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of POWE Architects.