Updated: Jan 23, 2020
By this time most firms have implemented BIM at their firm, but most people are not leveraging data to drive the design of their projects. The economist has just reported that Data is now more valuable than oil. If data is more valuable than oil, what are we doing with that oil? Imagine for a moment you are walking your dog, and your dog runs off the beaten path and starts digging. You call your dog, he doesn't come. You go to see what he is scratching at, and lo and behold, there is a large nugget of gold!!! You think to yourself complacently "eh", and continue walking. This is the equivelant of what we do every day with our Building Data. But, what should we be doing with the data? What if we could optimize a programmatic information? Optimize the builidng based on daylighting information? or generatively design a building facade aperture to reflect the optimal opening and closing based on a solar study?
There is this Data-Driven chasm that I think we have to cross to start utilizing data-driven solutions. In the Autodesk space, the answer currently is Dynamo and Project Refinery. This is mostly sufficient, but can be harder to scale or to create modules for.
Project Refinery is serving the purpose, and there are opportunities NOW to start executing on data-driven projects. Below is an example of a structure that Ben Guler on our team helped execute for Hufft in Kansas City. Refinery helps us by optimizing the project utilizing parallel graph charts, scatter plot maps, and 3D visuals.
Hobbs Trail Project that EvolveLAB helped Hufft to optimize.
Sometimes off the shelf isn't good enough though. Some firm need generative design for more specific applications. Below is a data driven solution including this solar otpimization routine that we built for Mortenson Construction. This Generative Design tool allows Mortenson to optimize the project's AC Wattage, Acres Per MWAC, and DC Wattage.
Solar Optimization Dashboard that EvolveLAB helped Mortenson Construction build.
Isaac Bashevis Singer said “Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression". I think this describes where we are at in this current state of BIM. I don't believe BIM was only intended to help us create better door schedules. To learn more about the Data Driven Design Chasm, and to see some real world example of how others are crossing it, I encourage you to check out the talk we did at Autodesk University called "Where Do We Go From Here - Crossing The Data Driven Chasm".
About the Author:
Bill Allen is CEO, and President of EvolveLAB, Disrupt Repeat, and On Point Scans. These firms synergistically help Architects, Engineers, and Contractors optimize the built environment. He has over 15 years of experience managing technology for buildings in the AEC industry for cutting edge firms. Bill Allen has been a keynote speaker as well as featured speaker at multiple events, and has the most watched Autodesk University talk ever "The Future of BIM is NOT BIM, And It's Coming Faster Than You Think". Bill has also co-founded the non-profit - The Bare Roots Foundation, an organization that believes each human being deserves the rights to basic human needs including shelter,and drinking water.