BIMbuddies – I would be nothing without them!

There are many words for them, for us we tend to pre-fix the word BIM in front – because deep down we are geeks – we are commenting for/of/about them and they have a position of influence in our minds.

BIM People – BIMman, BIMguru, BIMexecptional, BIMmystic, BIMbro, BIMbub, BIMstar, BIMgrumpy, BIMjaded & BIMbuddies…. Heck I can BIM any description 🙂 in the last 12 hours I have decided I am a BIMmuse. Cute hey? I also deserve BIMcuddles, kidding LOL

I have many different ‘titles’ in my mind when I think of the people that have changed my life, all inspire me in various ways to further my career. Be it along the same path or a change in my thinking or changing careers completely (BIMgrumpy – Paul, you BIMinspire me more than you know and also make me want to be someone that stacks shelves at Coles rather than doing what I do!)

Is there a point to this post? Maybe but probably not – my blog, my rules ..

I had the best conversation with my closest BIMbuddies on Facebook tonight: project whinge, staff whinge, general BIM (company politics) whinge and honestly it is a way for people from 3000-7000kms  away (WA to NSW to NZ) to grumble! No other industry I know can message at the same time and still have the same outcome – shared frustration across the time zones!

Everyone I know needs a place to express their annoyance! Feel free to comment below, I will reply 🙂

Serious BIMbub/bo:

I admit that my BIMknowledge is limited

What I know, only grows because of the people that I know

What I learn, I learn off others and by researching

What I can create is limited by my skill

BIMmuse (

In finishing, the greatest BIMfluencers are Jason “theBIMman”, – solves any issue I have, Jasper “MysticalBIM”, always up for a discussion that makes my mind tick over at 100 miles an hour, Paul “GrumpyBIM” for everyday ‘support’ and others that listen 🙂

P.S My previous Blog post is going to be turned into an article for the B1M news…. BEL WILL BE B1M FAMOUS!


And they will be riding a unicorn….

Odd title perhaps but fitting as it was used to describe the type of technical employee that I want, who seem to be missing from the industry these days.

Revit Tech, Revit Modeller … When did those terms come become the industry norm?

I want a draftee, a good old fashioned draftee who can also use Revit.

To pull from my own CV these are the qualities that I require:
– Client/Architect/Team Communication
– Consultant coordination via direct communication/meetings
– Quality control of drawings produced and adherence to client/company protocol
– Current knowledge and understanding of the BCA, Australian Standards and the R-codes
– Ability to adapt to different working methods and protocols
– Ability to produce contract documentation (DA, BL, QS, BOQ, Tender and Con Docs)
– Construction detail resolution
– Meeting target issue dates (typically exceeding client expectations)

When did all of this go out the window for “killer Revit driver” & “knows Revit inside and out”?

Software platforms come and go, the core skills that, in this instance, an architecturally trained draftee has/had are what I am looking for.
I don’t want someone who can model the heck out of a building, I want someone who is thinking and resolving the construction every step of the way, who is ‘arguing’ with the Architect because what they want does not work etc
We are building a virtual building, not just modelling because it looks good and is fun.

It seems to me that the focus has been in up skilling on the software but the most important part has been left behind in the BIM race.
I can teach you any software package in a matter of months, whilst on the project in fact. I can’t teach you how a building goes together in the same time nor can I teach you to use your brain and your voice to convey concerns about the design!
The passion for the software is great but the underlying principle of construction knowledge, what works well and what doesn’t work at all, is the key.

I could actually go on and on but I won’t……

I have to say that I am shocked to find the gap in knowledge that I have come across recently.

*My awesome draftee skills are all related to the experience and mentoring that I had at my first job. Their focus has progressed to BIM but the fundamental knowledge will always be the same… So I will give them a plug 🙂

If you don’t know how it goes together, how can you model it?

For the Love of BIM

How many BIM Managers do their role simply out of love for BIM?

For many, project AKA billable hours, take precedent – time allowed to do a great job as a BIM Manager seems to be limited to a percentage.
What should that percentage be? – 15%? 20% or the unlikely 100%
What is the actual percentage most firms allow? (I am encouraging comment!)
Are you also required to be Project BIM Managers, Project Model Managers and Architects or Draftee’s on top of being the over arching BIMguru? (Getting down and dirty with the software is a good thing).
A BIM Manager encompasses it all in my experience.

I love what I do, I thrive on being challenged! if there was no BIM I would be terribly bored.

Staying on top of new software, keeping current with industry trends, ensuring you know what is available so that you can pass on knowledge you have learnt, understanding costs and implications, justifying costs and implications.. Simply being able to play around with software and techniques – it is what brought us to where we are today in the first place. I feel that an important part is research and development to further our own skills. We need to be able to learn to be able pass on knowledge, leading to a good return of investment overall and for this we need time.

BIM is not going away, it isn’t a trend that will go out of fashion.

Firms are (or claim to be) embracing BIM, many claiming to be at the forefront of what BIM can offer clients. Nice! Many firms can say that honestly BUT it is only because of people working solely for the love of BIM in my limited experience.

Only when the value of being ‘THE’ BIM Manager is appreciated will firms fully benefit from what can be achieved.

YES, allowing a true time reflection of R&D is necessary.
YES, spending money on training will save $$ over time – it is an investment, like shares or property…
YES, purchasing hardware and software that is going to exceed (current) needs will save $$ in the long run
YES, we do what we do for the love of BIM but it needs to not be taken for granted 🙂

In the theme of loving BIM, I am also on the committee of a BIM event,
Tickets are on sale, it will be a festival of BIM to remember!

The BIM Day Out – 2014

Last year a new BIM conference sprang up in Perth, Western Australia, it had a great theme, promoting it as a festival of BIM – a take off of the BIG Day out music festival.

WOW, it lived up to it’s name!

I attended and found it was great value for money (once again I was self funded as I was for RTC) being a quarter of the price of some other big name conferences.
The ‘line up’ was fantastic and covered all aspects of the BIM realm.

This year I am part of the committee and because of all the hard work and dedication the team put in for the first event last year, we are sure that this year we will top last year’s in quality of speakers, sponsors and networking opportunities.

Event: The BIM Day Out
30 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, Western Australia
Dates: October 1st and 2nd 2014

To follow the festival and get the latest BIM rock star news check out:

LinkedIn group:


And of course the website…

Website –

I would love to see you all there!

Using NATSPEC classifications

Follow up to the questions that Neil asked about how we are using NATSPEC. The protocol that the BIM Management Team lead by our Group BIM Manager Jason Howden, implemented at Woodhead was using the NATSPEC coding/classification system. It made sense to use a local (Australian) system which followed how our specifications were written. Jason wrote the NATSPEC keynote file which is available on the NATSPEC website here:
The BIM protocol was broad, we have many different skills sets within the office and didn’t like to tie people down to how they model or document but we wanted uniformity. In saying that I am sure that we will take it further.
We were in agreement that our worksets would follow the overall NATSPEC coding:

  • 00_Massing –  All massing Model Elements
  • 01_General – All general Model Elements not specifically described
  • 02_Site –  All site Model Elements
  • 03_Structure – All structure Model Elements, may be expanded as required
  • 04_Enclosure – All enclosure Model Elements, may be expanded as required
  • 05_Interior – All interior Model Elements, may be expanded as required
  • 057_Furniture and Fixtures – All furniture and fixtures Model Elements
  • 07_Mechanical – All mechanical Model Elements, may be expanded as required
  • 074_Ductwork and Components – All ductwork and components Model Elements
  • 075_Piping –  All piping Model Elements
  • 08_Hydraulic – All hydraulic Model Elements, may be expanded as required
  • 083_Fire Systems – All fire systems Model Elements
  • 09_Electrical – All electrical Model Elements
  • 095_Lighting systems – All lighting systems Model Elements
  • Link_DWG_(description of linked file) All linked DWG files
  • Link_Other_(description of linked file) All other linked files
  • Link_Revit_(description of linked file) All linked Revit files
  • Z_Shared Levels and Grids – All for all Grids and Levels
Screen Clip of Revit Worksets

Screen Clip of Revit Worksets


We also wanted our FFE, Finishes and Building Fabric Schedules to follow suit of course. If the modelled elements have a NATSPEC code then the elements in the external schedules also do. This allowed us to simply send a copy of the drawings, schedules and a copy of the keynote file to the people that write our specification.

Screen Clip of Schedule


We have taken it a little further in the City Link Bus Station project by having a NATSPEC code for every material including applied finishes (eg: Paint)

Screen Clip of the Revit Materials

Screen Clip of the Revit Materials



With the leadership of Jason whilst at Woodhead, we went from 0-BIM in a very short time. Natspec was just one of the many processes that he championed.
Yes it has it’s complications and causes a lot of grumbles at the start, people don’t know the NATSPEC codes off the top of their heads, it has to be learnt. The more projects we do this way the easier it has become for everyone.
We still put the occassional incorrect code to something….. but we are learning and learning fast.
I am a firm believer that using keynotes (any system, I just prefer NATSPEC) saves massive amounts of time on projects, limits re-work as there is little to no ‘dumb’ text and produces clean crisp documentation.

Revit addins that save companies $$

Disclaimer: I am not employed by any of the people that make these apps….


Best apps for Revit under $100 has come out, some are no brainer apps that will definitely save time on projects.

Addins that I use often are:

DP stuff workset explorer – cleaning up the model weekly is made easy with this app (There are similar apps out there!)

One of my projects has about 12 worksets (including a different workset for each linked model). We were trying out a NATSpec system of coding for everything, which has worked extremely well, but is does mean that there are a few worksets to ‘clean up’ prior to issuing the model.


RTV Drawing Manager – so many functions but we don’t perhaps use it to its full potential, simply using it as a renaming, renumbering, revision updating, transmittal and revision tool.

Our client likes to have sheets numbered consecutively. Not great in the architecture game as we tend to be adding sheets as we need.

Problem solved with DM as it allows us to insert a sheet and re numbers everything accordingly. It creates it’s own transmittals. Places view on sheets (in the same location every time!)  and you can set up sheet sets to print directly from this app.

Revisions from this are pretty special as you can have ‘0’ and even a number and letter if so desired, 1A etc. AND you can bulk revision!


RTV Xporter:

PDF and exporting of drawings.. Set it up and it will do both, it also allows you to set parameters to rename the PDFs and exports (.dwg, dwf, dwfx, PDF & IFC) to the clients protocols. (Similar apps available but I haven’t tested them)


RTC Xporter Pro

(Xporter on steriods and crossed with Drawing Manager)

I had the pleasure of playing around with this as a beta version last year and I am excited as it combines the functionality of two addin’s that I love.

Create, save and execute Batch and Scheduled tasks for Exporting and Printing from Revit project files, tasks can be automatically run as a single Batch process or on a repeating Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Hourly Scheduled process.
Automatic creation of PDFs, DWG, DWF, DWFx, DXF, DGN, NWC and IFC files from Revit drawing sheets and views.
Built-in parametric file naming engine automatically saves exported files to match any company’s or project team’s file naming conventions.
Batch print large format and reduced hardcopies to two separate printers simultaneously

Yes that is taken from the RTV website but only because they explain it better than I ever could!

All you have to do it think about time saved per staff member who sets scheduled printing rather than spending ‘production/work time’ creating and printing PDFs for this to be a valuable addin.


Dulux paint app:

Fairly new but it has come into it’s own. I am finding it invaluable on one of my current projects where we are debating colour schemes. It is easy to use, anyone can play around with it and it has no great impact on my model – eg: I don’t have to clean up too much after them 🙂

it also can fit with the NATSpec conventions we have in place, making my world a much easier place to work in.


Other notable mentions go to the Coins Section Box, Case: Extrude rooms to 3d Mass and View Template Manager

There are many others that I find make my work day easier but I would have a 10 page blog if I went into them all.

First time attending a Revit Technology Conference


Rating from 0 – 5 (0 = low, 5 = fantastic)

Knowledge gained = 4

Realising how much I still have to learn = 4

Networking and making new BIMbuddies = 5


So I attended my first RTC this year. I was self funded so I wondered if the expense would be worth while. Travelling from Perth can be a costly exercise, add in accommodation and general expenses on top of admission for the 3 days and it all adds up.

Was it worth the $3,950 I spent? Short answer is yes. 

The main benefit I got was from the networking, meeting people that follow me on twitter or people I follow on twitter, LinkedIn contacts, people I had only had contact via email previously, plus catching up with my BIMmentor from Woodhead.

Thoughts on what I saw (disclaimer: I couldn’t and didn’t attend everything!)

Best session: “it’s about data! stupid” – LOD 50 modelling with kickarse information imbedded in it!

Brain power intense session: Applying Math and logic to facade design.

Best social event: RTV cocktails (exclusive 😉 drinks hosted by RTV Tools)

Notable mention: Wednesday night before the conference had even begun! 


Next year RTC 2015 is being held in QLD…. Will I attend? I hope so.

In the mean time, there is BIM day out in Perth later this year…. Would love to see familiar faces there!