This is the last bit! Have a look at my Impressions of the conference here and at my class recommendations here.

By now you should all be very excited about AU and planning your own 2019 adventure, so here are some tips from me!

  1. DO your homework!

As soon as the list of classes is out, research them. Figure out what is important to you and strategize about your research. I personally do not think there is any point in reading the synopsis of each class – you are a busy person, you can’t dedicate that much of your time to this! Another thing you can’t afford to spend your time on is the wrong class while you are at the conference, so come up with a balanced plan.

There are two main things you want to look at – the what and the who. The “what” is a given – you want to go learn about things you care about – things that are relevant to you. Pick two topics to focus on – say Standards and Dynamo and try to stick to them – be realistic – if you go to see 16 classes that cover 16 different intense highly specialised topics, chances are by the end of the week your brain won’t have been able to absorb anything and you will be exhausted. Try to focus your studies, and maybe if you have a free slot, allow yourself a cheeky class on Healthcare design. Once you have picked your areas of interest, see how many classes there are that cover them, and read those blurbs.

The second thing – the “who”, I think is very important, not because they are a ground-breaking rock band from the 60s, what I mean is who is the BIM rock star that you are going to give your precious time to. Everyone learns differently and everyone teaches differently. Some of the presenters you may know, you may have listened to and you may know that their style of teaching perfectly suits you – prioritise this. A lot of the speakers would have given classes at previous AUs, you can look them up and watch a recording of their classes – maybe this can help you make up your mind. But also think about what their background is and what filter it will apply to the information they are giving to you. To me, who I am listening to is vital – the source of the knowledge is sometimes just as important as the facts. I have always found it extremely important to build a diverse range of opinions and experiences – If I have heard several talks on standards by white male BIM managers of large companies, I want to hear my next one from a woman of colour working in a midsized business.

  1. Queue

After all the work you have done to pick your classes, it is almost inevitable that some of them will be fully booked. Here is a secret – you may still be able to get in! Make a note of your desired classes you couldn’t get into and just go hang around the door before them and it is very likely that people would have booked them and not gone to them, or the staff would be willing to let standing audience in.

  1. Find your gang

The BIM community is huge and tiny at the same time. A conference of this size is an excellent opportunity to meet people you feel so connected to by your work, but you may find they have the audacity to live on the other end of the world.

It is, however, a huge event and if you want to meet anyone, you need to organize yourself very well. Plan what, who and where and make sure you all think the “main entrance” to be the actual same place.

Along with finding your gang – let yourself find new connections too – share the experiences with the people around yourself – you will definitely have things in common.

  1. Get a lip balm

Think practical stuff –

  • Get a lip balm for your pocket, one for your bag, one for your other pocket.
  • Get a bottle to refill – there are stations everywhere and it would have been so great if people did not use the single-use cups provided but had bottles – hydrate either way.
  • Take comfy shoes. Yes, you will be staying in the same building the entire week, but trust me there is much more walking than you think! So also –
  • Get plasters for your inevitable blisters
  • Prepare for conference food – if you have special requirements, there may be some accommodation, but if you want to be 100% sharp for your classes you may have to sort yourself out. I myself am vegan and can’t have gluten, and while at most main meals there was at least one thing I could eat, sometimes there wasn’t anything at all, and getting outside to search for food is something you simply can’t afford time-wise.


  1. Have some “personal time”

After all of my advice on preparing and planning, my last bit is sort of the opposite. There are classes all the time, and you can have your schedule full and still not see all you want to see. Despite that, open a slot or two for what in your AU Schedule is conveniently called “personal time”. Before I got to AU, I was so pumped for classes, I almost forgot there is an entire Expo to explore, and some of it was truly spectacular, and really not a 15-minute quick look sort of thing.

In mid-November, I had the pleasure of representing Archilizer at Autodesk University in Las Vegas. The scale of the conference was more than overwhelming at first – just putting together my schedule of classes was intimidating, but once I dove into it, I found there was a sophisticated system of support.

Autodesk University 2018 in Las Vegas had about 11 000 attendees, that could benefit from a full programme of classes for the 4 main days of the conference, and additional Computational Monday classes, and various networking events every evening. Keeping all this in mind this is my – one single human – review of what went down in Vegas – it was too good folks, can’t let it stay there!

My AU2018 review comes to you in three parts. In this part one, I want to share my personal experiences and impressions. Part two will give you my three class recommendations to go and look into recordings and/or materials from. And finally, because you will be itching to go next year by the time you have gotten there, part three will give you my tips for AU2019.

The most nerve-racking thing, of course, was giving my talk – I had the enormous pleasure to speak at the Computational Forum at AU, where we had six speaker slots, 4 of which were entirely taken by women, one was a collection of speakers that also featured a woman, and only one slot was entirely dedicated to a male speaker. This was a first for me, and I was very excited to be a part of this. The entire conference did not feel exactly like this, however, and we are not at all “at the please where we don’t need “Women in …” groups”, however it was great to see that an effort was definitely made to show diversity on the promotional materials and presentations.

Fortunately, the Computational Forum was on the Monday afternoon, and I really got to appreciate that during the full day of classes prior to the Computational Forum where I spoke. I was very happy not to be that distracted for the rest of the conference. The day started with a General Computational Session, opened by Racel Williams, whose energy is always beautifully contagious, and closed off by Michael Krischner, who gave us some valuable general programming theory. Following this, I was in a developer workshop lead by Radu Gidei, whose name may make you feel like you were greeted by an Australian, but is, in fact, someone I know well from the UK Dynamo User Group. Even though I was quite nervous most of the day, he managed to present a class that even my distracted mind could comfortably understand. Radu has been working in using Dynamo to interface with platforms outside of Revit for a while now, and his insight and guidance in the world of actual real-life programming was priceless (because you know “if it’s a bunch of text on a black background it must be programming”).

The day of computation finished with a line of speakers, by whom I feel endlessly privileged to be standing. You can see the full recording, including my input on Everyday use of Dynamo (starts at 08:00) Here.

Lilly Smith hosted the forum, opening with an intro for where Dynamo is at the moment – with 1.3m downloads from the Dynamo package Manager – we can say – a good place. She also closed the evening off talking about the current projects of the AEC generative design group at Autodesk. I took it over from her and spoke about my experience getting into automation, and how easy it is to start saving time with simple data graphs. Then Shwanee Finlayson spoke about the future of automation and generative design and the importance of quality data – it was really interesting to hear about the issues she came across on the route to preparing for machine learning with Dynamo. Efrie Escott then told us about the research she has had the opportunity to do within her office gathering data and learning how to evaluate the quality of the data – something I find so important to consider – how do you make quality data off of a self-assessment comfort survey – is this even possible – well she makes it possible!  We also heard from all of the instructors from the day of computational classes headed by Racell Williams – each class was more exciting than the previous one! The last story came from Luke Church who spoke to us about the issues with machine learning, which was very interesting to hear, he suggested that a way to progress beyond the current hurdles is to implement doubt in machine learning, which I have to say I love as an idea. He also spoke to us about his work implementing machine learning in the facilitation of social dialogue with Africa’s Voices Foundation – a really brilliant spin outside the AEC industry and a truly inspirational talk.

A resounding message from the computational forum that was echoed throughout the entire conference was that the problem with data in the AEC industry is the lack of clean data. The AEC industry is predominantly visual and even though that sounds natural, it is not helpful to BIM or any other smart workflows. Something I consider one of my main priorities is to entice architectural professionals to start considering and really working with non-graphic information more.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, I hear you say. Yes, that is entirely true, however, a picture is worth a thousand, messy, inconsistent, tangled words in all of the languages imaginable. It takes some serious muscle to turn those thousand words in a thousand lines of valuable data. Because a thousand lines of valuable data – well that is worth actual something, from personal experience – refer to the end of my talk – I can tell you that 3,500 lines of valuable data, can be worth 9 working days, and because I love maths, I’ve done the numbers for you –

efficiency for words per day is 3500/9,

then 3500/9=1000/x,

so x=1000*9/3500,

x=2.571 days for 1 untangled picture

I can’t say I have any data to prove a thousand jumbled up words are worth something – if anything, they cost a lot of time to unjumble.

The opening keynote on Tuesday delivered by Andrew Anagnost was a very colourful performance. Indeed the hall and the whole set up made me feel more like at a rave, rather than technology conference, and I must admit, I did not mind that one little bit. Xxx told a narrative that may be expected, promotional and very positive towards Autodesk products and initiatives, and I can be as cynical about it as anyone, but I’d like to jump over the “well, of course, the Autodesk CEO will say that” and the “it’s all a promo for their products” kind of statements and actually take in what was given with a positive spin. “The Opportunity of Better” in letters taller than me graced us from several aggressively sized screens multiple times. And I do believe what those stand for. I have been very alarmed to hear here in the UK about the “fear” and “danger” of technology, and as someone who has the first-hand experience my job becoming better and more exciting because of technology, I don’t feel great about sewing the seeds of that kind of attitude around. Technology being compared to Brexit with its negative impact on our industry, has been something that has been making me very concerned for a while, and while the blind fearmongering is just as bad as the blind positivism, I did need some fuel for my own crusade to prove that automation and technological advancement can be positive, and this is exactly what Andrew was selling – technology making jobs BETTER. As anything non-human, technology really can’t be “Good” or “Bad” – it just is, and the way that we use it – ie the human input colours the result positive or negative. The way that we use it is very much governed by the attitude with which each and every one of us approaches it, so we need to create a positive productive attitude, rather than quoting large theoretical numbers of lost jobs due to automation.

An integral part of the conference and arguably as important as the classes was the networking aspect. I was so excited and inspired by the people I spoke to and met there. The BIM community as a whole in the UK has never disappointed with its openness and welcoming spirit, and I was a delight to witness the same on an international level. Autodesk had gone to admirable lengths to facilitate dialogue between themselves and the attendees of the conference – there were high-level management staff available for chats, idea boards and a video booth to record messages if you feel a bit shy. But all the attendees and speakers were also truly approachable. I did have several moments of “OMG, I want to be friends and work with you please” and felt no barrier to expressing those feelings – I’m looking at you *insert 20 names here*. One very meaningful interaction for me was our little BIM Manager Bootcamp gathering with the legend that is Michael Kilkelly and some of my fellow campers. (Look out for my review of Archsmarter’s BIM Manager Bootcamp in January) Getting a chance to meet my international coursemates was really great – online learning has always been very helpful to me as an audio-learner, however, there is an amplification of confidence and motivation that can only be achieved when spending time with people live. Another BIM celebrity sighting – the brilliant John Pierson was so generous to give me some advice on small BIM business development (“keep at it, not all the work is going to be super exciting, but the good things will come in-between setting up project templates for small businesses”)

As a BIM professional, AU is definitely an experience one wants to have at least once in their lifetime. The quality of the classes, the entire set up and services available were all of brilliant quality, but instead of going in detail about any of this I would like to leave you with this thought – there were DOGS – there were therapy dogs available in the AU2018 hub. If you had had too much of technology and learning, you were able to go to a white picket fence enclosure and cuddle a puppy. Because there is nothing healthier than seeing someone who has kept their cool in front of a huge international professional audience for an hour talking about super complicated things, collapse on their knees and go “ah, who’s a good gal, yes you’re a good gal, you are the GOODEST gal”. In today’s polarised and tensed-up world, this is what we need – balance. Good job Autodesk.


In the last couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure to visit and participate in the London Build Expo and Digital Construction Week.

Those events can be quite overwhelming with a large number of exhibitors and talks going on. I must admit that I don’t feel that I have seen the entirety of what was on show and I am yet to figure out how to take the most advantage of events like this, but here is my angle on the whole shebang.

One of the most positive things for both events to me was the fact that the digital construction community is active, growing and very welcoming. I have only been really involved since the start of April this year and I am already meeting familiar faces and have a sense of being in the “right room”. As one of the least diverse industries, construction may have built itself a truly accessible door with the development of digital construction. I could only take really part of the Women in BIM breakfast at Digital Design Week and some of the events around the BIM and Digital construction Summit at London Build, it was easy to see that even though a significant proportion of the BIM specialists around have a fairly privileged background, there are a lot of professionals soaring up the ranks truly based on merit and not supported at all by gender, skin or an expensive degree – it is a real joy to see this happening.

DCW was busy colourful and social. There were many interesting platforms and tools ready to fuel the industry with more intelligent processes. At first glance it felt a little exhausting that  there seem to be so many different directions in the effort for digitalisation, but as soon as I managed to strip my bias growing from the fact that I am particularly skilled in one type of workflow, I really think that when we manage to swallow the market growing pains, we will find ourselves with actual functioning choice of tools that can deliver BIM. The most important thing that we all must not forget is to try and keep to a similar language with all those tools, input and output need to be standardised.

Which brings me to the topic of a panel I was part of at London Build and the talk I gave there too – “Fantastic BIM Standards and Where to Find Them”. (I did indulge in some punny graphics there…)

Image – @WomeninBIM

With some inspiration from Jared Banks, I spoke about the importance of standardization for the effectiveness of the BIM process. I see a couple of clear reasons that have been tripping the spectacular promises of up to 50% savings of time and money on construction projects. The first one is the fact that we come from a culture of bespoke products – I remember specifically lectures in University teaching me how each building I will ever be involved in building will be unique, even if it is seemingly the same, the fact that it is not on the exact same position on the planet will make it a different building. So how can we expect professionals to simply embrace the standardization in the processes, it feels entirely contra-intuitive to what they have been told their skills are? As always things like that don’t fit into 140 characters – a well thought through the standardized process will not make any profession obsolete – it will only create more resources to do a better job, or – dare we imagine – prevent hundreds of hours unpaid overtime at work. And the second obstacle is the fact that standardization requires an initial investment and in an industry notorious for late payments, talking about upfront investments is practically laughable.

I avoided giving prescriptive methods of creating office standards for BIM, in my talk, because I wanted to emphasize on two steps that I think are vital following the creation of a BIM Office Procedures Manual and a robust New Project Template. First, in order for those two to be consciously adopted the staff needs to understand why this is happening, so the contractual documents that require and describe the process MUST be available to everyone. And when I say everyone, I do mean it, every draughts person needs to not only be aware of, but they refer to the EIRs and the BEP on, practically daily basis at the start of a project. And secondly, intentionally and purposefully introduce the new standards, with excitement for the process and the technologically advanced tools but also with respect for the talent and experience of your staff. You can’t make this happen via email, you need to bring real-life human energy to the process, and allow time for the information to saturate with that informed and helpful presence around.

Speaking of standards, Stephen Hamil, Director of Research and Innovation – NBS moderated the aforementioned panel about standardization, where we had an excellent opportunity to discuss various different points of view to standardization. We look at it from the point of view of the designers in the face of Patrick King, Associate Director/Head of BIM Technologies – ECD Architects, the manufacturers – Paul Surin, Chair of BIM4M2 and Chair of Digitalization TG of Construction Products Europe, the large-scale BIM Manager – Joel Martineau, Associate – Buildings Digital Practice – Stantec and the smaller scale BIM consultant – myself. We all seemed to agree that some significant reading needs to be done, before embarking on the BIM journey and that it is hard to rely on external content.


Image: @Johnad25

Despite about a quarter of LondonBuild dedicated to the BIM and Digital Construction Summit, I was quite disappointed chatting to a couple of facilities management companies and even an on-site health and safety specialists. They did not seem to envision incorporating their own work with the BIM process even in the forseeable future. This only comes to show the huge rift that we have in the industry. There are leaders in the industry that are doing admirable work in their use of technology and information, however, the Construction industry as a whole remains one of the least digitalized industries, only beating Agriculture and Hunting.

I had the pleasure of taking part in a diversity panel chaired by Rebecca Di Cicco, geared toward BIM. Obviously, I have a lot of thoughts about this and some of them you may read here. On the image below from left to right – Emma Rees, BIM Manager – Wates Construction, myself, Vicki Holmes, Learning Partner & Women in BIM core team member – Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd, Rebecca De Cicco, Director – Digital Node, Kirsti Wells, Business Development – Cadcoe, Eva Quevedo Caballero, BIM Manager – Skanska.

Image – @WomeninBIM

But LondonBuild did not disappoint with their approach to diversity, this wasn’t just one “token” diversity event – they seemed committed to the cause. There were several other diversity driven initiatives and I had the pleasure of seeing one of the panels around the Women in Construction breakfast. This panel was made of three women of colour, an immigrant and was chaired by a trans woman – on the photo below from left to right – Aga Hall (Design Manager), Anjali Pindoria (Surveyor), Neesha Gopal (Architect), Srimathi (Priya) Aiyer (Architect) and Christina Riley (Planner). As a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I was moved by this – sometimes when you have been deprived of something for so long, you almost forget about it, and when you are reminded of it, it can become overwhelming. I am enormously grateful to know I can be working in a time and space where people that reflect my own community and the people I love, are visible, proud and confident to be themselves. Very poignantly members of the audience noted that the panel did not include a disabled person or anyone from Afro-Caribbean descent, and while this is more than a valid point, I really wished that kind of comments were more often made towards panels made entirely of middle-aged white men. Nevertheless, for what felt like the first time, most of my identities we represented in the profession that I have been a part of for a while and that allowed me to discover a new way to feel at home on the job.

The wait is over and Warchart is available for download from Autodesk App Store – go right ahead and get your fresh copy of our new product and start cleaning those pesky Warnings, enjoying yourself every step of the way!

Ok, you might be thinking – wait, whatchart? Warwho? Alright, let’s take it one step at a time.

History of Revit Warnings

Warnings have always been a part of Revit’s grunt. Their existence is important in two ways.

First and probably most important, Revit is doing you a great service in telling you that something is wrong with your model. Understanding Revit Warnings, in Autodesk’s own words, is important and you would want to prioritize those areas in your project where you might be punished later down the road – for example, having “Duplicate Instances in the Same Place” might result in a misleading schedule – not ideal.

Hint: clear Warnings which lead to program implications first.

The second way in which accumulating Revit Warnings should be of interest to you is because it directly affects Model Performance. Yup, every character is a byte of information and it just adds up, slowing your model in the process. There is no hard limit as to how many Warnings is a definite no-no – I bet my BIM hat that everyone has their own opinion, my

Hint: let’s say Warning Number = N and File Size in MB = S. Then:

  • Wow: N = 0
  • Good: N < S
  • Alright: N < 2 x S
  • Poor: N < 4 x S

For example, if you have a model of 350mb, you can tap yourself on the shoulder at 350 Warnings, go ‘meh’ at 700 and feel bad about yourself at 1400. Each project is different and those values will vary.

Let’s see what Autodesk has to say:

“Ideally, all warnings should be addressed and the total number of unresolved warnings should be zero. But in reality, this is a tall order in most projects. So the pragmatic approach is to resolve as many of the warnings that you reasonably can.”

User Interface (UI)

Revit provides you with a simple but thorough UI to let you go through the different Warnings in your Model. While it has everything that’s needed to get the job done, I feel that the main problem the community has had with the default Warning Dialogue was the difficulty with which you navigate and isolate the affected elements.


After Autodesk Development Team released the Document.GetWarnings() method a number of community created alternatives came to live each attempting to give a better way of dealing with Warnings. In all fairness, the process started even before Revit 2018, but the extra step of having to export and parse an .html file made those solutions a bit .. uglier I guess is the word. GetWarnings() created a really elegant way of interacting with what was already inside Revit.

Enter Warchart

Warchart stands for Warning (Pie) Chart. The great thing about Warchart is that it builds on the fluidity of this new feature. It’s absolutely adorably interactive. It gives you an immediate feedback. That’s a really powerful feature and we can talk about gamification, dopamine release all we want but the fact of the matter is that it’s just super cool watching you eating through those Warnings like the proverbial Pacman (see what I did there?). A part of this, of course, is the Modeless WPF which allows you to keep Warchart open while you go about your business.

The other really potent feature is the ability to zero on those warnings which matter the most – because the interface is actually one big colorful pie-chart, you know the distribution of Warnings in your project immediately.

To give you a taste of what Warchart looks and feels like, here are a couple of screenshots from it.




Download Now!

With Warchart you can have your Pie and eat it too! Actually, I’m not entirely sure how applicable to Warchart this saying is, but we do have a tasty-looking image of a Pie so I couldn’t resist.

If you are burning with excitement like we do, head to the App Store and download Warchart! You’ll see how much more enjoyable your model management becomes with this intuitive and easy to use gem of a Plugin.

I hope you like our new release. If you have any questions about it or ideas on how to improve it, drop us a line – we’d love your feedback and we’d appreciate your time!


Being a wizard in Revit and Dynamo and composing Macros and Plugins like BIMozart on steroids is all well and good, but one has got to get paid for that eventually. And to be paid “eventually” one needs to have agreed on that payment beforehand. And let’s be honest, as inspiring and amazing our leaders are – directors aren’t famous for keeping on top of technology, and the documents are getting more and more technical. That is all ok though, because here is great opportunity for an even more collaborative process.

This need for technical involvement in contracts combined with the BIM Standards renewal gave us the inspiration to create a series of blogs starting to tackle the monstrous glossary that comes with contracts and standards for BIM Projects.

For more information on the new standards, please see here.

Very excitingly the PASS 1192 suite of documents created in the UK is being translated in a new international standard – BS EN ISO 19650, the first two parts of which are coming out at the end of this year –

  • BS EN ISO 19650–1 Organization of information about construction works – Information management using building information modelling – Part 1: Concepts and principles
  • BS EN ISO 19650-2 Organization of information about construction works – Information management using building information modelling – Part 2: Delivery phase of assets

So back to the new vocab – if you search you can get really good BIM Dictionaries online. I will let you pick a favourite one yourself. But you can’t just pick up a dictionary and memorise it – it just doesn’t work like this. I am also sure there are many amongst you that will always campaign for the use of plain language. Because of that, what I will be trying to do in this article is defend the need of, let’s call it train language, you know because it’s not plain, and because it can hit you like a train at the beginning. Then we will move on to digestible and accessible chunks of BIM vocabulary every few weeks.

BIM is a new method that has not been previously used and it needs its new language. Experienced professionals often seek the comfort of plain language, because it is intimidating to have to face something like that after you had just spent 10-15 years getting comfortable and confident, and stop trying to call apples… I don’t know – dragon fruit. We should be used to this by now, our industry goes through those shifts quite often – just like everyone wants to call Revit components and functions with AutoCad terms – a personal pet peeve of mine – and before that people wanted to call AutoCad things … I don’t know what was before AutoCad – cave drawings? Sure some things always stick around, that is why we still use a floppy disk as a symbol for “Save”, even though probably most people that have hit “save” across the globe since you started reading this article, have never seen a floppy disk or know what it is. But the fact is there are new concepts around and it is inaccurate to call on them with old words, and what I am doing here is trying to call on some vanity to make you think it is really cool to know all the new lingo.

After this longer than anticipated intro, let’s just ease into it with 3 key and super basic abbreviations:

BIM – Building Information Modelling – we have got to start with this, but if you don’t know what it is, “OMG show me the rock you have been living under” is actually not what I would say to you, because it seems that even though it is on the lips of literally everyone connected in anyway to the industry, often the concept escapes people. BIM is a set of technologies, processes and policies enabling multiple stakeholders to collaboratively design, construct and operate a facility in virtual space. It is a PROCESS. It is the whole shebang – 3D modelling is NOT BIM, specific software that is used in the process in NOT BIM. Yes indeed the full and federated models at the end of the construction process are the heart of a BIM project, but BIM pre and supersedes them. It is Building Information ModelING not ModeL – it is not just the what we make as designers, but how we make it, how we collaborate in the process (or really the fact that we MUST collaborate live) and then how our digital products are used to run a building. In slightly harsher words – if a practice has finally stumbled into purchasing two Revit licences, this does NOT mean they “do BIM”.

EIR – Employer’s Information Requirements. This is fundamental – the definition goes – A document clarifying the employer’s requirements during services’ procurement. Employer’s Information Requirements may include levels of modelling detail, training/competence requirements, ordinance systems, exchange formats or other employer-mandated processes, standards or protocols. Employer’s requirements or specifications for what, when and for whom the data and models are to be produced. What may happen here is, if an employer – client – does not have great understanding of the BIM process they may cover this in sweeping statements and you may end up having to produce large amounts of information, that the employer did not intend you to and doesn’t really need. Worse things may also happen, the contract may require BIM, but you may not even get EIRs at all, or get them half way into stage 3. At this place of BIM adoption in the industry, you may have to chase and beg for those, and even write them yourself. Every Technologist starting work on a BIM project should ask for those and be able to read and understand them.

BEP – BIM Execution Plan – that’s a Russian doll of an abbreviation isn’t it! The BIM Execution Plan is developed by suppliers – typically pre-contract to address the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) – and defines how the information modelling aspects of a project will be carried out. A BIM Execution Plan clarifies roles and their responsibilities, standards to be applied and procedures to be followed. A BEP collates/references a number of other documents including the Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) and the Project Implementation Plan (PIP) – details on those in BIM Dictionary Part 2. Currently there is a “Pre Contract BEP” which sets out the response to the EIRs, i.e. it is akin to Contractor’s Proposals. There is then a “Post Contract BEP” which sets out the agreed, contracted details of this delivery of the BIM aspects of the project. There is some discussion on some aspects of the BEP, however I would say it is the Technologist’s Holy Grail – it is HOW we do things. Since the BEP is a document that is revised it seems impossible for it to be a contractual document, however there are those in the industry who are working towards making it one.

We ain’t many. I am not planning to shower you in statistics – if you want them, there are resources avalable a google search away, but if you think that the construction and technology industries are gender diverse, this blog may not be your cup of tea.

Feeling alone on a table with an average of 12 angry old white men has been part of my job description for a while. I must admit the technology/IT tables have been a little less white, which is a great thing, but just as or even more deprived of non-male people. The reasons for that seem very simple to me – feminine qualities are not generally celebrated in business. I have a wild theory about BIM however. BIM is a collaborative process that seems to be calling for something that is not exactly the typical values of masculinity – independence, competition, aggressiveness, assertiveness – focus on one goal. No. This process will finally thrive when there is willingness to collaborate, genuine cooperation and openness across construction disciplines and agreement and integration of the whole encompassing process that design and construction of a building is.

Now, what is relevant here is not how gender diversity and feminism as such, concern themselves with physical bodies and whatever genitalia may be attached to however may be identifying person so much, but the traits and values we celebrate. Because the issues of the patriarchy are not penises and vaginas, but, and in the corporate world especially – the ways in which we all consider things “feminine” less than, and even shameful. Because an openly queer soft spoken man, that does not insists on having the last word at a meeting even though he has nothing new to add, and may be even has his make up on fleek, is much more of a gender diversity success story than a successful woman that acts “like a man” and is “one of the boys”.

I understand that I may have lost a lot of you by now, and may have attracted some of you I may not want to attract, but let me reiterate once more – it’s not bad to be a man, it’s just ALSO super great to be feminine.

And back to BIM – the Women in BIM networking event, even with a modest number of participants, came for me with a sparkling silver lining. In this tired patriarchal system of architecture qualification and overall construction industry, BIM as a field seems to be the quenching watering hole, that can allow women to thrive and develop and climb up the ladder in a way we were not able to before.

The event was opened with a short intro by Karen Fugle giving us a bit of context on Women in BIM, talking about the international reach of the group. Then Vicki Holmes spoke about her unconventional career path and how this new field gave her a chance to grow. Her success was inspirational and she spoke with such palpable passion about her work. As someone who often gets excited about schedules and spreadsheets, I really felt she was speaking my language when she shared her love for reading standards. She also emphasised on the outreach of the group and the eagerness they had to get people out there to speak about the representation in our industry – that too excited me very much!
The last speaker was Cristina Savian, who shared her academic research and sparked an excited discussion. Understandably all present were in quite the agreement about the topic of it – the lack of gender diversity in the construction industry, but there were lots of people also wanting to express dismay with academics as a whole. Christina was very honest about her experience and let us on on feeling out of place and not good enough – classic imposter syndrome we all get at least once in a while, but she also shared a brilliant moment after speaking at an event when one of the very few women there approached her to say thank you and “I want to be like you” – a young woman, that seemed like, in Christina’s own words, only shared gender with her. Christina closed the evening on a lovely note: “That really showed me how important just me being there is”

You can find more about Women in BIM here.

It is a beautiful time when you dive in a project where all the consultants involved are fully BIM enabled and thirsty to make those schedules work beautifully not only for the QS, but also for your strategy drawing showing several models owned by entirely different parties!

If you spend long enough in an environment like this it is easy to forget there are still practices working hard to keep to deadlines with 2D data and endless drafting and coordination.

We spent a day at the RIBA Road Show recently and we got reminded that there are still companies needing convincing about BIM, so we thought we should ask ourselves that question again – Why BIM – it’s always good to question your fundamentals from time to time. Here are our unfiltered thoughts:

First let’s note BIM is NOT a software – Revit is not equivalent to BIM, neither is Archicad, or whatever you may want to use. BIM is a process that demands collaboration at an early stage between all the consultants at an early stage of the process. The idea is to digitally build the building before you physically do, because boy, is it cheaper to move a digital duct than it is to have to deal with that kind of thing in real physical life. I know that for many the word “cheaper” doesn’t really come in mind when you think of the software prescriptions of BIM or the amount of work that it seems to require. But trust us, the bottom line at the end of a project will show you that this is the case, you actually have spent much less time coordinating and you have saved so much on on-site issues. The work simply has moved forward in the process.

*diagram inspired by

Having said that, we do have to look at the software that comes with BIM. We are big fans of Revit around here. The Archilizer team has been committed to Revit since 2009 and both of us have not been able to shut up about how amazing it is purely for drafting. This is one of our favourite videos that illustrate this in clear numbers:

Why would you ever draft in 2d?

Coordinating everything consistently and in 3D environment and including that sweet sweet non-graphic information allows accurate building analysis early! All those standards that we want to meet and overspecify for – LEED, PassiveHouse, WELL ect, – this is what can help us target them with accuracy and efficensy. Ain’t no body likes a surprise at their Air Tightness test – what an embarrassment!

Treating the information about a building as an asset is priceless in the running of the building. The BIM-FM relationship is still young, but it promises to be a love story of a life time – no “The Notebook” shenanigans, actual Michelle and Barak of steadiness and prosperity.

Having revisited our fundamental question, we are very much still into BIM and can’t wait to share our enthusiasm, especially on the last point. We are looking forward to a BIM for FM event soon and will review that soon after.

Archilizer visited an exciting event in the end of April – the launch of a new group that unites legal professionals and technical BIM experts – BIM4Legal.

The group was born from an interesting peace of research – The Winfield Rock Report, commissioned by the BIM Alliance. We loved the spirit of the event. The message that seem to really hit the room was “Everybody thinks that everyone else knows BIM much better than them, but really we all have serious gaps in our expertise and we should ask more questions.”

The main perspective of the report is legal, however, Sarah Rock, one of the authors is also a qualified CAD engineer. Contractual documents can really impact the design process – after all we are all working for deliverable and that is where they are defined. More than anything the BIM process is about collaboration and that wide involvement of all consultants, and we have all experienced the difficulties when it turns out that Mr A and Ms B have entirely avoided to agree to that real time collaboration in their contracts.

Here at Archilizer we have seen BEPs and BIM Protocols of all shapes and sizes and we see beauty in all of them, but we also have strong opinions on what can make them better. The discussion about weather the BEP should be a contractual document was alive and kicking that night.

We highly recommend you should check out the Winfield Rock Report.

When managing projects of non-small sizes, one of the tedious routines that you are required to go through is to somehow match information that is part of the project’s Sheet set and its View set. The idea of cross-referencing data between various elements is native for information management, yet Revit does not yet cover that aspect for us. Dynamo, however, does (so, in a sense, Revit does. Duh).

Traditionally, we could approach that task as follows:


  • load all sheets
  • load all views
  • for each sheet and view, see which view the sheet is sat on and finally
  • check if the corresponding parameters match and if not
  • do something (make them equal)


Now, there is one little bug that has been migrating with every update of Dynamo, and the brand new 1.0.0 (Congratulations!) version still apparently still got it – when retrieving elements by Category, the View Category will spit a message which states that Template Views are not Views. That’s fine. There is an even nicer node that simplifies the task for us:


What this node is supposed to do is to only select those Views that are place on the set of Sheets it is given. Now we can skip a step, retrieve only the Views that matter, and continue with our cross-referencing. .. but this node ,too, does not work.

That’s also fine. Here is the solution to the problem, written in python code.

.. and here is what the definition looks like:

What we did here is that we collected all the sheets in the project, using the Dynamo node of retrieving All Elements by Category, then we fed the resulting list together with a couple of shared parameters, which both the Sheet and the Views of the project use, and we executed the python code which, on one hand matched the information of those shared parameters, and on the other, gave us a handy list of ‘failed’ views. Those ‘failed’ views are simply the views that had View Templates assigned on, controlling and thus ‘locking’ the shared parameters.

While we are on the subject of python and getting instance parameters from elements, I want to point out the correct (at least for now) way of doing it.

The general syntax of this command in Python is:

element.Parameter[“Parameter Name”].AsString() – to get (can also be .AsInteger(), .AsDouble()) the parameter, or

element.Parameter[“Parameter Name”].Set – to set the parameter.

This is important to know as a lot of times Dynamo tasks revolve around Parameter manipulation and there is hardly any information out there that explains how this can be achieved in Dynamo with Python.

I hope that custom Dynamo definition can be of help to you in your BIM journeys my friends! Good night and best of luck.

I have been doing work for a Doha-based practice for the last couple of days. It was a short gig, an in-and-out operation to help the team push through a rough deadline and since I was the one setting up their Revit Model just a month prior, I was in a great shape to take off the pressure off their team. The workflow was a bit more complicated, as we were working off a cloud repository, which allowed us to use the same Central Files, but required a bit of planning ahead. Aside from that, what I found quite annoying was the constant error messages that I kept running into – many times their inexperienced team would forget to relinquish certain elements, which would freeze my progress for short but increasingly more frustrating periods of time. I reached my limit of Skype requests soon enough, so I did the only natural thing – I Relinquished All Theirs. Here, let me show you how this can be done – it’s really quite simple.

By default, the username that Revit assigns is taken from your Windows login account. Let’s assume that your account name is ‘janeroe’. Your handsome colleague ‘johndoe’ from the 3rd floor has been playing with the Central File the night before and is now late for work. You get an urgent memo from your boss ‘hereyougo’ saying that you need to change the grid of the curtain wall system. You dash to your Revit icon, open the local file (which now takes 2 minutes in which you start to silently panic), Reload the Latest changes, as you should. You open the view, head to the curtain wall and the moment you try to unpin the first grid line, this error message greets you from the screen:

What you do next is the following:

  1. Open a new Revit session.
  2. Go to big ‘R’, Options and under ‘Username’ change the name to ‘johndoe’ (or whatever the name of the user that has the rights of the element is in your particular case).
  3. Go to ‘Collaborate’ tab, Synchronize with Central -> Relinquish All Mine -> head back to your other Revit session -> Reload Latest there and see if you can now edit the element. You should be.
  4. Go back to the extra Revit that you have opened with the ‘johndoe’s credentials. Close the file, change the user back to your original username and close the program. You can now keep working in your local copy.

You shouldn’t do that all the time or recklessly, those limitations were set there for a reason. This is a last resort measure that can save you at times of trouble. Normally, if you have your colleague within earshot, the right thing to do would be to ask politely for a Relinquish.

I hope that you find this tip useful! Have a great day and be nice to your colleagues.