Tech + Expo Highlights

Spacesmith is pleased to have a guest blogger this week; our colleague Project Architect / BIM Manager / Associate, Angela Chi from Davis Brody Bond!

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Hello, everyone! Davis Brody Bond attended the Tech + Expo on June 13th! Here are the highlights:

Format: Speakers/Panels alternating free time where attendees can visit booths featuring plugins, tools, and services.

The morning talks were construction related, while the afternoon was more focused on design and visualization.

BIM is NOT an end state deliverable, it is the lifecycle of the execution process.

Source: The Boston Consulting Group

The big takeaway from the morning sessions was about client education. During the Optimizing Workflow & Collaboration panel, the group discussed how clients are the last group to get on board with the BIM process. Clients ask for a BIM project without understanding what they are asking for, or avoid BIM because they don’t want to pay more. We need to change the conversation to get the client to understand that BIM is not a deliverable, but a process. We are working in BIM because it’s faster and more precise, it isn’t a luxury add-on.

Get the client to understand that they are not paying more for BIM.

They are paying differently.

Panelists emphasized the need to have precise upfront discussions on what the client’s objectives are so the team can give them what they are actually asking for. One panelist, Ayse Polat, used the analogy, “It’s like going to the grocery store without checking the refrigerator first. You might end up missing things you need and having too much of something you don’t need.” Avoid wasted modeling, be more targeted about what is wanted out of the BIM process. Does the client want the Revit model at the end of the process? Why do they want it? What do they plan to do with it? Can the design team build the model in a way that can accommodate what Operations and Facilities Maintenance wants?

Here is a blog post I found discussing similar ideas:

Connect all the Pieces

One panelist recommended involving the client in the BIM Execution Plan, it is an opportunity to get all parties together to talk through the project in broad terms. During one of the breaks, we spoke with a few members of the Technology Group at BIG about contracts and working with consultants. At architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, they are increasingly encountering projects where the client holds each individual trades’ contracts, and it removes the accountability they owe to architects, when they hold the consultant contract. What if the client were to be made aware of the agreements in the BIM Execution Plan? What if part of the consultants’ contracts were written in a way that makes them responsible to meet the standards as determined by the BIM Execution Plan?

Interactive Rendered Environments


The afternoon panel focused around the evolution of client presentations. Choosing the right type of presentation for the right type of situation is important. For example, renderings are very static, but very easy to share with the team. VR is immersive, but no one wants to be that person putting on the goggles (and some people get motion sickness). Pre-recorded fly-throughs are preferred in presentations versus walking through a rendered environment like Enscape because of the nature of the movement. Clients love something they can play with – Daniel Cashen from architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill showed the interactive model their team made with Modello. Clients could easily download the model using a QR code, and play with the model on their own devices.

Augmented Reality and the Scale of Things

 The virtual world is not able to truly replicate the experience of scale. In order to give the team an understanding of how large or small an installation is, Christopher Morse showed us how at SHOP they make a full-scale mockup of a small portion, and use it in conjunction with augmented reality; one’s mind fills in the rest!

Vendor Run-Down

GeoSlam – Laser Scanning Equipment, ½” accuracy. Provides 3D mapping with the need for GPS. Equipment only.

Navvis – Laser Scanning Equipment or Services, 1” accuracy. This mobile laser scanner can capture environments within 1” accuracy. They told us 1 million SF of university building can be scanned at around $25K in four days.

Morpholio – Smart sketching app. Combines the speed of sketching with the intelligence of CAD – napkin sketches that give you areas! Redlines on pdf’s done with a stylus!

Nearmap – Nearmap has a database of drone-surveyed cities. You can get 3D swaths of the city at 3” accuracy in multiple formats.

Kubity – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality easy to use on your tablet/smartphone.

PlanGrid – App for on-site documentation needs. Have your plans available on your tablet, easily markup, add photos, make hyperlinks, export field reports and punch-list.

Angela Chi, Davis Brody Bond

Angela Chi, Davis Brody Bond