Best BIM Bad BIM: Parley Burnett

Best BIM Bad BIM - Parley Burnett

Answered from either a personal or industry-viewpoint perspective, Best BIM Bad BIM sees a member of the #GlobalBIMCrew divulge their best and worst BIM experiences and what they have learned from both. Today’s interviewee is Parley Burnett, Director of Technical Solutions at INVIEW labs. Parley’s role is all about educating INVIEW clients about the positive benefits of BIM adoption, and he will bring some of that knowledge to the table during this Q&A.

What does Parley believe the industry is doing Best at the moment?

There is a lot currently happening that I think is exciting for building technology in general. Here are a couple of my recent observations.

Manufacturers: Manufacturers are increasingly aware of the needs of their customers. Let’s start with the fact that there is far more available manufacturer provided BIM content today than there used to be years ago. Does it always work for those using it? Big “NO”. Are all products modelled yet? Again, big “NO”. However, the situation has improved. Here’s some evidence of improvement: the Building Content Summit, an event intended to bring manufacturers together with designers, was held for the first time a few weeks back in Washington DC. This was a first of its kind meeting between these groups and resulted in some fantastic discussions. As a co-chair of the event, I found the response between these groups to be highly encouraging and refreshing. This event is destined to have a global appeal and is sure to challenge ‘business as usual’ by exposing issues to the actual groups that can effect change. As manufacturers and designers continue to mesh, we’ll see far more exciting advancements than would ever be possible if they tackle these problems themselves.

Data: We have become accustomed to a sort of boredom when it comes to BIM data. That is because until now data has been hard to access, share and is relatively useless due to its raw, unstructured nature. But that is changing very quickly with the rise in popularity of Desktop tools such as Dynamo and cloud technology such as Unifi. Dynamo’s capabilities in managing relationships and data within Revit projects through its visual programing interface is just beginning to be realized by some firms. Unifi is a desktop palette that provides designers with company component files stored in the Unifi cloud. It’s a simple tool that saves time for end users. However, the real value in Unifi is in the analytical data provided to company administrators. Through Unifi’s online portal, administrators can see useful and actionable data about the use of content throughout their company. Tools such as these are popular because they allow the industry to connect data in interesting ways. This is good for the advancement of BIM because new value is exposed that wasn’t considered before.

What are Parley’s worst BIM experiences? What does he believe are Bad trends in BIM?

Throughout several recent years I directed the creation of manufacturer based content. During this time, our genuine intention was (and still is) to provide quality models for designer use. In fact, we often tell manufacturers that we aren’t making the models for THEM but rather for their customers. Despite our efforts, we continue to hear many BIM managers make statements of unequivocal dislike of all manufacturer provided content, as if it is all created equal. They would rather make everything themselves. This has been discouraging, yet, at the same time I can’t blame them. Herein lies a trend that is bad for BIM.

On one hand, you have a content creator that makes a “one size fits all” model for everybody, yet, few use it. On the other hand, a designer is undertaking a giant task that really should be shared. Sound crazy?! The BIM industry is not very good at looking at things objectively – or beyond the four walls of a firm. We need to be better at recognizing the scale of tasks at hand and not try to tackle them single-handedly.

The proliferation of standards is a great example of this. I last counted over 75 different published standards, many of which began as an effort to be a global standard. This makes life painful for everybody involved in BIM and results in a ‘Fly Solo’ mentality. We need more products and services that allow for on-the-fly customization of content or data. We need more crowd sourced solutions.

What lessons has Parley learned from experiencing both Best and Bad practice?

I have learned to identify problems or statements from individuals that express a certain pain point. Because therein lies a golden nugget of possibility. That’s the fun part of all this isn’t it?! As a product designer of Unifi, I find it absolutely gratifying to hear positive feedback on the product. This feedback is almost always a result of our efforts to create features that are open, collaborative and customizable in nature. We are challenging the paradigm each day and having a blast doing so!

You can learn more about Parley and his limitless expertise by visiting his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. For more in INVIEW labs, follow the team on Twitter or visit their website.

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