Monday, March 19, 2012

(Building) Programming


Finally…..sorry for the delay.

So Programming.  Depending on your point of view that might mean anything from deciding how big a single space in a building should be to doing client interviews or researching clinical treatment to determine how to best take advantage of the latest and greatest current and future technology.

That being said “Programming” as a BIM use is a starter term to collect all of these ideas under one umbrella.  Internally we have started to understand that there are several examples like this, one BIM use that can have several types of implementations. 3D Coordination is another good example.



As of now we have a  soup of terms when we talk about Programming

We have;

  • Integrated Program Management – The glossy words term to talk about managing the program in an integrated way
  • Programming (Project Validation) – This is really our focus when we are talking about the most basic use of BIM and is part of our BIM Certified objectives.  Using the model to validate the program

Finally we have the other terms that we have began to think about that start to address and define the other kinds of programming.  I don’t “Program” for a living so right now these are mostly my take on the process and not necessarily what others think of what they are doing.

  • Building Program – New from Strategy
  • Building Program – New from Standards/IP and or  Experience
  • Site, Master Plan – Airport, Campus
  • Program Design – Layout to Program
  • Test fitting – “This is what we can get”
  • others…

One last thing I will talk about before getting into the tools is the connection between the broad set of tasks and BIM.  The simple answers is that some have stronger connections than others.  The point I’ll make on this is if a BIM is truly a virtual building then you just have to think a little more broadly to see how these other tasks could be informed by a model.



Why dRofus?

As I mentioned our current focus is on Programming (Program Validation).  If you think about basic services that Architects provide (In the US at least) this is simply an extension of a tradition process.  It’s really just using a tool to hold the program and compare that with the model.  At its most basic level it’s simply checking the net planned or programmed area against the net design area.

It took us a long time to decide on the best tool for us to use but at long last we chose to use a Norwegian tool called dRofus.

James Vandezande did a little write up about our resent trip to Norway during which time we visited them and attended a few other events here.

For the single task of checking a room’s program area/ design area dRofus could be seen as overkill.  But when you think about the big picture of collecting, tracking and reporting on requirements for complex projects we realized that we needed a tool that;

  • Is robust and can handle huge projects
  • Fosters collaboration between the client/design team and contractor via the internet
  • Has a strong Revit connection

I put together this graphic that began to show the capabilities and hint at whether the underlying technology was easy or difficult to develop. From the existing tools that were on the market in 2009/2010 and even still today clearly the Web and collaboration features are the hardest for any tool to develop.  As dRofus already had them it was the right way to go.


The underlying curve hence forth was called the “Schleusner Curve” by our CEO who has the MacLeamy curve to his name…I must say I’m most likely the only person that remembers that, as Schleusner is much to hard to say.


dRofus Features

dRofus is loaded with features, so many that we are still learning how to best take advantage of them. A few are still being translated to work with non-Norweigan building coding systems others are traditionally outside our scope, but that’s not to say we aren’t planning on getting value from them

This main list is as follows;

  • Condition survey (Norway)
  • Punch-lists system (Norway)
  • Admin system
  • Functional programming
  • Rooms and Room Data Sheets
  • FF&E planning and costs
  • Finishes
  • Procurement & delivery
  • Technical database (TIDA) (Norway/Scandinavia)
  • Revit Connection
  • IFC Connection
  • Direct Database Connection
  • Existing Equipment
  • Room Validation against FFE

From the list you can see there are a huge number of tools and features. I won’t go into them in detail in this post but the more and more we use it, the more we find and get the benefit from. 


I’m going to stop here for now.  I did an early presentation on dRofus and programming at the NYC RUG in August that was recorded and is hosted here.

In some ways this topic is not as sexy as other model based processes, but as I talk about it in future posts I hope you’ll begin to see the possibilities and benefits of the BIM use called Programming.