Using Models on the Construction Site

I’ve been working on a construction site  for two weeks now, after 12 years developing BIMs (models) and construction drawings at several Architecture firms, and 8 years working at a software company that provides software that enables this.

Two weeks on the construction site is not enough time to form a complete picture of the nature of the use of 3D models during construction. But I’ll reflect here on some initial impressions.

What I came to believe true, eventually, after many years of building 3D models and construction document sets, on the design side, in architecture firms, seems certainly to be confirmed to be true, here in construction:

  • 3D models are (like drawings) rather overwhelmingly difficult to understand, except as a kind of overview of things (unlike drawings) from which you can form some cursory impressions at a glance, as you “walk around” in them.

This leaves understanding (really of anything significant) not thorough or detailed. In my experience this is demonstrable fact, both for the people who build these 3D models, and for those who view and try to make sense of them. The industry as a whole, though, tends to hide from this realization. The idea of it makes many people uncomfortable.

  • More thorough understanding of models comes from taking a closer look at them. Any time, and every time, that you are gaining some significant, and specific, meaningful, useful understanding of a model, this happens because you’ve taken a closer look at it; you’ve looked at it in some kind of intentionalized way, in a way that seeks to draw attention to some aspect of the model, some aspect that matters. You do this both for yourself and for others.

This act, of looking closer at a model, in a particular way, to see, to show, to understand something that matters, about the model, this act of drawing attention, and showing, has traditionally taken the form we all know as “drawing”.

If you’ve read to this point, you recognize here that this is what makes a lot of people uncomfortable. The reason, I think, is that for more than three decades now, since the mid 1980s, we’ve internalized the rhetoric of BIM software industry marketing. This marketing, at its heart, tells us all what sounds sensible on the surface: that models are all that an’ a bag o’chips and concomitantly, that drawings are old-school, obsolete, on their way to retirement.

Reconcile that rhetoric, though, with the two bullet points above. You can’t, and it can’t be done. The act of taking a closer look is simply fundamental to understanding anything. And the software industry, in AEC, very much underperforms in supporting and developing this essential and indispensible requirement. The software industry provides modeling tools for modeling, and drafting tools for producing drawings in their traditional form only.

The development of equipment, tools, methods, for articulating a closer look within models, in models where, in fact, this act of taking a closer look is simply natural, and needed, just doesn’t occur to people who develop software. And those using the software in design and construction firms, are, usually on deadline producing models and drawings (in their traditional form) and don’t imagine any alternative.  Their imagination in fact is stunted, by BIM marketing rhetoric that champions modeling at the expense of drawing, which means, actually, at the expense of the act of taking a closer look at models, and in particular, at the expense of the necessary evolution of this act beyond it’s traditional form.

Quite simply, drawing has a future. That future is in models. The future is fusion.

The fusion of drawings within models makes both drawing and model more understandable, like the fusion of sound into silent film, 100 years ago, made both sound and film more understandable. The first baby step in this direction is the infusion of drawings, as they are currently known, literally as-is, infused in-situ, automatically, within models. This is the first baby step, and I invented it.

I invented — note the patent author: http://1.usa.gov/1Hx33bZdrawing-model fusion, commercialized in May 2012 at Bentley. Some examples are shown here: Earlier Media Innovations (2012)

The execution of the idea was greatly improved upon by Graphisoft in 2013 http://www.graphisoft.com/bimx/ and continuously since then. Kudos to Graphisoft!

In 2018 I completed a specification that blows the doors off of the first baby step. My new innovation spec starts not with drawings literally as they are, but instead begins first by re-envisioning the form of drawing itself. The Spec envisions and describes, in detail, a new form of drawing that occurs innately within models, a new form that takes full advantage of today’s modeled environments, and all the capabilities of today’s digital graphics in 3D visual space.

When implemented, this new spec will surpass the first generation drawing-model fusion (now 6 years old). The new spec describes a new form of “drawing” more effective, more communicative, more flexible, more interactive, less rigid, more clear, far more expressive. In my opinion, the new method will be so engaging that no one will be able to stop using it. I mean that across the whole spectrum: from early design, through design development, through construction documentation, through the construction process beginning to end, and further into occupancy, operation and so on.

This change in media itself will transform communication in AEC, and beyond the (giant) AEC industry, spilling into many other industries as well.

Tangerine’s Media Innovation Spec 2018 specifies a next-generation evolution, of the expression of the essential function of “drawing”, through equipment, which we detail in the specfortaking a closer look, built-in within modeled environments of any kind. The Spec can be implemented within any 3D visual media platform, whether or not the earlier drawing-model fusion (first generation) is implemented already. If it is, then the spec will fit in very smoothly, adding to earlier implementations.

For other software/media platforms that have yet to implement the original drawing-model fusion concept, the new spec will bypass, exceed, and obviate that earlier work entirely. This next-gen drawing-model fusion makes the original implementations fundamentally obsolete, irrelevant, and unnecessary. Implement the new Tangerine Spec, and your software platform will leap frog far ahead.

Let’s stop hiding from the facts and the reality.

  • It’s not models OR drawings; it’s models AND the articulate act of taking a closer look within them.

Are you interested in bringing the Tangerine Spec into YOUR software development platform? The Spec is currently available to any software company that wants to implement it. Contact me if interested.

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Tangerine Media Innovation Spec 2018

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