13/05/17 — Group Exploration

Continuing on from my previous post, I explained the new approach, and the type of information and data we require from each group. Here I will discuss what collaborative techniques accessible to us NOW and compare them to IDEAL workflows.

The list of groups in the Pavilion Project
Areas each group is mostly involved in (presumed). Note: BIM interconnects ALL areas.


We are currently using these tools as a group to effectively collaborate and to explore the different levels of BIM.

3D BIM Collaborative Model Workflow: (Status: Implemented)

  • Dropbox — Cloud storage for all project files among groups.
  • Collaboration for Revit — We have set up a work share file via Collaboration for Revit’s Free Trial. Mainly for storing the Revit Central File and other documentation within the BIM group. Could be an alternative to Dropbox, however, Dropbox is more accessible for the time being and the situation.
Collaboration for Revit file share

4D BIM Sheduling Workflow: (Status: Implemented)

Option 1 via Flux cloud: 
GH>Flux>Dynamo>Revit Connecting Revit>Flux>Excel Sheets
  • Benefits: Accessed via cloud, live updating
  • Challenges: Lost in translation — data transfer not performing. In this case, I transferred curves from GH to Dynamo via Flux and it worked fine. I continued to apply the logic behind the original Grasshopper script, until the curves would not loft for an unknown reason.
Option 2 via Rhynamo: 
GH>Rhino>Rhynamo>Dynamo>Revit>Flux>Excel Sheets
  • Benefits: Solved the problem, lofting worked perfectly fine.
  • Challenges: More of a manual process

5D BIM Cost Estimation Workflow: (Status: Implemented)

Following the same workflow to get to 4D BIM, estimating the cost is completed within Revit scheduling. The cost of the material/node/beam, all come down to sourcing materials.

  • Benefits: Able to export data to Excel
  • Challenges: Researching of products, accuracy
  • Recommendation: To improve this workflow, a cloud data base of ALL available materials in your area with material properties, pricing, delivery time estimation etc. If this type of data base (one that is accurate) was accessible within the cloud, it will speed up the process of identifying materials, and researching suppliers. There are existing databases such as Architonic and Material Conexion.

6D BIM Building Life-cycle Workflow: (Status: In progress)

The idea to monitor and work with data gathered AFTER construction. In the pavilion project, this will be where we gather data collected from the G4: Hololens AR group

7D BIM Facility Management Workflow: (Status: Unknown)

This would be something interesting for larger projects or a long term pavilion. Somehow being able to track and manage all components of a project in order to speed up replacements and maintenance etc.

In terms of our project, not sure if 7D BIM would be appropriate for the scale and time frame. Although it would be interesting to explore the hypothetical idea of sensors on every panel which monitor and manage everything from air circulation, people movement, sound, touch, human reaction (expressions/facial recognition) of some sort, to improve functionality of the pavilion.

What else is out there?

Terf — 3D Immersive Collaboration

Following that same idea of Terf 3D Immersive Collaboration. Where you are controlling an avatar within the virtual environment. You are able to explore, comment and react to others around you, simply bringing you into the digital world.
Explore the space, communicate through videos or chat, present in meetings as you would in real life.
  • Benefits: You are brought into the space through a customisable avatar, can walk and explore the space, write on whiteboards, view documents on walls, hold meetings, you can video chat inside the virtual environment. Overall a very effective solution to improve collaboration, especially between those individuals who are working with people in different countries.
  • Challenges: Based on personal experience, internet speed can greatly impact your experience while using this tool, it can also be quite buggy and slow at times.

Virtual reality and BIM…

Similarly, virtual reality being used as a tool to visually communicate design concepts to clientele. Allowing clients to explore the model in the virtual world can give the client a sense of scale and proportion. By immersing the user in first person, they automatically feel one with the space, almost as if they were actually there.

Image by Ali of the Pavilion with Montanna’s fabric exploration

Already, the G3: Virtual Reality group is following this idea of using the virtual world to understand scale. But also the idea of extending the environment in the virtual world, adding to the users experience. Also using VR as a tool in viewing iterations to compare in terms of scale, ceiling heights, appearance and even experience /flow of the spaces — how they make you feel within the space.

Project Quantum based workflow (IDEAL)

Addressed earlier, Project Quantum would be an ultimate solution to many all interoperability barriers of collaboration. Where EVERYTHING, files, models, data, is stored within a cloud.
  • Removes problems of transferring between software e.g. Rhino>Revit without loss of data or flexibility
  • Everything being web/cloud based, data will always be available no matter your location
  • Anyone can access these files — regardless of industry
  • Can use web based applications — an application for each area identified in the strategy workflow: Design + Concept, Engineering + Structure, Physical + Digital Experience, Construction, Fabrication and 6D BIM. Thus, allowing different industries / individuals (engineers / architects / builders / clients) to interconnect. But in our case, all of the groups.