March 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm #153146
I don’t want to get drawn into an argument on the subject, but I feel pretty strongly that “BIM” as it is thrown around doesn’t fit very well at all for Landscape Architecture. Consider particularly:
– a database of Manufacturers and Model numbers, with warranty information, fire code validation, etc. — this does not apply to landscape at all, are we seriously to use BIM software to log the Nursery and Stock Number of each plant?
– A full BIM implementation has a promise of streamlining and easing building codes, permits, fire codes, you name it. Meanwhile, a property owner does not apply for a permit to change out plant material, and this will (hopefully) never be the case.
There are of course overlaps. But the long and short of it is that landscape and irrigation are, in terms of comparison to BIM, the equivalent of the light bulbs in the building — there is no need to log the make and model, no need to log when they are changed, etc. With hardscape there is of course more direct correlation, but I still don’t see a BIM guideline for the mix of backfill.
It certainly would be “nice” if there was some super intelligent 3D live interface that all the various disciplines could use during the design process, cross-checking plant rootballs against building footings and irrigation lines. Is that a necessity? No. Is it practical, to have every plant rootball and irrigation line drawn exactly as they will be installed? No. Can we move towards this goal? Heck yes. What is the best software for that? I think the answer to this is clearly SketchUp, but there’s certainly plenty of varying opinions on it.
But I think the most relevant point, in regards to this thread, is that the UK BIM Task Force, does not really relate to site and landscape. So it is particularly cases like that that tend to soil the term “BIM”, hence why I particularly don’t like it, and would prefer a better term that does actually apply to Landscape Architecture.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm #153145
Because I have issues with software that was not initially designed for our profession. With addons, one attempts to better the situation, but the unescapable fact is that one simply builds on a broken model in order to make it up to par. Now, to make ends meet, every landscape architect I know of use a patchwork of different software, often by applying addons such as this (Focus Software’s CAT for Civil 3D is popular in Norway). In most cases, it will do the job (naturally, at a higher cost than having a “clean” software, with more user accounts, costs, patches, updates, things that can go wrong), but are we satisfied with that? Why can’t we have “our own” software, as architects and civil engineers do?
Regarding the BIM-term, I agree – you probably prefer SIM or LIM, but one can argue that more terms for the same way of operating ultimately leads to more confusion around what we’re actually talking about…
Now, considering you have eight years of experience with BIM for landscape, I’m curious of your use of standardised objects. Have you created your own catalogue of objects which you then use in collaboration with your architect/engineer teams, or have the process of creating object definitions from national standards gotten further where you are from?March 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm #153144
We stick with standard AutoCAD objects, so the resultant dwg file can be opened by anybody, does not require additional libraries to view, modify, print, etc.
This is called Event-driven development, in contrast to Object-driven. So only when using our tools do the “objects” in the drawing have intelligence. Our object types are Plants (Tree, Shrub, Ground Cover, Shrub Area), Irrigation (Head, Valve, Auxiliary, Pipe), Site (Notation, Object, Length, Area, Volume), and some other miscellaneous ones.
We began as a father and son team working out of a garage over a decade ago. We now serve over 1,000 Landscape Architecture firms in over 30 countries (and we’ve long since moved out of the garage). It’s always been by landscape architects, for landscape architects. So a buzzword invented by Autodesk has never had much traction with us. We work with practicalities, making software that works for our industry.
As for “our own” software — by adding onto AutoCAD and SketchUp, we are able to capitalize off of these industry standard platforms, and just focus on the features for our industry. I feel it ends up being a win-win, rather than having to engineer a CAD program and 3D visualization software.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm #153143
I am always up for a good discussion. But I think you’ve missed the mark on the entirety of scope for landscape architecture. Yes, plant material is a large portion of it, but there is also so much more that could be provided by manufacturers: furniture, lighting, signs, storm structures, etc.
While an owner does not usually need a permit for plant material, they do for stormwater and earth moving. In fact, it would be quite helpful for some owners to have their plant data cataloged (as I know plenty that do this by hand after the fact).
There are already BIM tools that are utilized by most other disciplines (Revit, to name one). And, yes, it is useful, though checking rootball clashes would be a bit silly. But we often work with walls, stairs, handrails, ramps, and other hardscape elements that have much more function when modeled in 3D.
The UK BIM Task Force has quite a bit of relevance to landscape architecture. The Landscape Institute has their own BIM task force that is trying to tackle BIM as it relates to landscape architecture (not an easy task). I do agree that the term BIM isn’t perfect, but as Daniel pointed out, creating more terms for the same idea leads to more confusion.March 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm #153142
Again, from the UK BIM Task Force directly:
“little of direct relevance to landscape yet”.
And actually, rootball clashes is the number one request from our users in terms of clash detection.
I get that you like BIM, that’s great. Let’s just agree to disagree on how well it works for LA. Right now I have to get back to work.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm #153141
Set aside the semantics of whether there is or is not BIM for landscape architecture I believe that the real answer you are looking for is what design package works well for our profession and integrates with Revit. The answer to that is Vectorworks Landmark.
I consult for a firm in Washington DC and we moved to VW Landmark over two years ago and are no importing IFC files from our Architect clients and exporting the same to them for use in their Revit Models. With VW Landmark you have all the items necessary for landscape design through digital terrain modeling to planting design and hardscape design. My clients have been very happy with the results and we are leveraging all of the great tools that come with this design package.
After using AutoCAD for the previous 14 years, including Civil 3d and Map I have found Landmark to be far superior in designing and detailing. If you would like I can arrange a demonstration. Heck if you fly me over there I would gladly help you transition ;-).
Cheers!March 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm #153140
So it’s not BIM, because operating with information modeling implies building with objects that are able to interact. As we know, AutoCAD does not operate with intelligent objects, it operates with geometry that can be given descriptions. And of course, the whole point with information modeling is to use an open format to allow collaborative models being shared between disciplines, which then can interact to reveal collisions and provide accurate reports according to material properties and dimensional standards.
DWG is not progressive, it’s a closed format, does not support intelligent objects, and cannot be opened by everybody, unless they work with software developed by Autodesk or their software supports it. Of course, most software attempting to compete with Autodesk does indeed support the de facto standard that is DWG, as it would be ridiculous not to with the firm hold they have over the industry. But I digress.
As for the other points above, Lauren sums them up elegantly. There are of course examples of projects where a BIM workflow is unnecessary, no question, but that’s not to say information modeling could be part of the workflow from scratch while not feeling like an additional process (as tools like Revit and Vectorworks aim to accomplish).March 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm #153139
The BIM portion you are referring to is done in SketchUp, and can be exported to open file formats (IFC, Cobie, etc.).
I am well aware of the capabilities of the software you keep referring to, yet you are apparently ignorant of the capabilities of our software. So I don’t see where this discussion can lead.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 8:12 pm #153138
Apologies for my ignorance regarding your SketchUp addons. I interpreted your reply as adding BIM functionality to AutoCAD, so I must have misunderstood.
I’m not trying to make your software look bad – heck, I applaud any effort to make tools more suitable for our profession. My issue is with the need to patch up existing software in order to make it work better for us. That is to me the core of the problem, not that people do and make a living out of it.March 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm #153137
It just all depends on how you want to define “BIM”.
In the world I deal in, our clients need results. They do not care if it satisfies some made-up term, or uses Proxy Objects or Cloud Services, or any other particular buzzword of the day. They need to get plans done, have the quantities correct, have the plan accurate, and interface with other disciplines.
It sounds like you have a philosophical objection to utilizing an add-on, which is tilting your perspective.
It’s all just software. Anything Revit can do, AutoCAD could be made to do. Lines of code can cause any desired result.
Anyway, we’ll be at the Landscape London show in September, hopefully you can stop by our booth and see what we offer.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm #153136
In the upper echelons of BIM people mistrust the word inherently. That’s because BIM means a lot of things, it is a model, a process, a software ability etc etc. Often people say BIM when they mean parametric, or they say BIM when they mean file sharing, or clash detection, or facilities management, or a database linking design and specification information. If you’re worth your salt, don’t use the word unless you are talking about the whole movement, otherwise use some of the words in the link below. What I’m saying is, be specific, as mentioned earlier there is no one BIM solution, but that’s in part because BIM is bigger than software.
I’m honestly not a massive pedant, but I am very conscious of software houses, almost without exception applying ‘BIM Wash’ to their products and you shouldn’t let them get away with it.March 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm #153135
Well said.March 12, 2014 at 9:02 pm #153134
Well said x2.
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