An occasional sampling of reader electron-mail, or "keep those waves and particles pouring in, folks!"
Responding to our recent series of LaiserinLive seminars on Knowledge Management—generously sponsored by OpenText Corporation and Cimmetry Systems—Rod Stevens, architect and facility information manager with Pioneer Hi-Bred International in Des Moines, Iowa, writes:
> "I've been giving a presentation for the past several years called 'What the Owner Wants: A Facility Manager's View of Design Services,' which addresses issues like this. We architects spend a lot of time complaining about how under paid, under appreciated, and misunderstood we are, but still want to conduct business the same way we did 20 to 30 years ago. We should be leading the technology charge, not have to be dragged kicking and screaming into it.
"One of my passions is to try to get our profession to understand that instead of continuing to do things the same old way, if they would take on the role of information broker they become a more valuable member of the building team, form a long term partnership with the owner, and make money in the process (potentially, lots of money). It never ceases to amaze me that a profession which prides itself on creativity, to the extent we give awards to each other to honor it, can be so often incredibly backwards and conservative from a business sense. Keep trying to get the word out—some of them are listening!"
> Thanks, Rod, for those words of encouragement. We'll be taking a more extensive and intensive look into facility management (FM) in the weeks and months ahead—from the twin perspectives of FM as a self-contained discipline and as an additional service for architects and engineers. We, too, are amazed at how intensely most engineers and architects engage in the process of designing the next, as-yet-unbuilt project, while displaying little or no interest in the fate of projects they've already built.
Mario Gutman, CAD Director with HOK in San Francisco, writes:
> "I've been enjoying your newsletter. There's been a lot of interest in the BIM thread. Any chance you could pull that together into a single summary doc?"
> Thanks, Mario! A single document would be a problem, but we can pull together on one page a set of links to all the elements of the debate, in chronological order—along with some organizing commentary that we hope will make the topic easier to follow. Link to it here or from the new "Building Information Modeling" button accessible throughout the site.
Paul Seletsky, Director Technology with New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond, who contributed a think piece on "AEC Business Continuity Services" a few issues back, adds the following wry observations to the great BIM debate:
> "OK. Here goes. All intellectual posturing aside, ultimately any useful acronym has to sound good in conversation and office communication. For example, 'Here’s the CAD drawing I’ve been working on,' or, 'Have you seen the level of her CAD capabilities?' Now, I’m sorry to say but I can’t imagine anyone positing, 'Here's the BIM information you requested,' or 'Have you seen the level of her BIM capabilities?' (Sorry, I mean no intentional or unintentional sexist inferences here but you get the point). So, with that in mind, I’ll simply suggest PAD, for Parametrically-Advanced-Design. While it may not be perfect, it’s a start, and in rhyme suggests a successor to CAD. Finally, given Microsoft’s push to establish the TabletPC and SmartPad (hmmm), and maybe with an eventual Autodesk effort to integrate its Architectural Studio (conceptual design) product into its Revit (design development) product—thereby unifying several design phases (ahem—now there’s an unusual idea)—maybe the PAD acronym could actually be in sync with its real-life usage. In the meantime, you can reach me at my office for further suggestions. I’ll be busy working on a new set of PAD proposals."
> Very droll, indeed, Paul!—and a devastating parody of the "sounds good" school of market obfuscation we've been desperately trying to replace with meaningful dialog about real features and benefits.