Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every BIM Project Should Have a Model Manager

Projects based on BIM (building information modeling) are quite vulnerable to lawlessness and disorder.
Every project should have a model manager to serve as the police -- and the fire department.
If you think of a CAD or BIM project as a city or a close-knit community, you will appreciate the need for law and order. In a BIM project, the potential for vandalism, theft, fires and corruption is ever present.
  • Vandalism:  Family and view naming run amok. Poor modeling and drafting techniques. Even your most law-abiding citizens can cause trouble if they don’t know the standards.
  • Theft: Deleted objects, files and folders.
  • Fire: Unforeseen hardware and software issues. Problems related to user incompetence.
  • Corruption: Poorly made families and elements imported from unknown sources.

You can think of the BIM project as an entire city under one roof. Everything is connected and relational, so corruption in one part of the project can affect the whole population. This is why you need good standards and someone to maintain law and order.
Team Etiquette
What if someone snuck into your house while you were gone, rearranged the furniture and changed the locks on the doors? How would you feel? Or what if they brought in some tacky new appliances from an unauthorized source? Unauthorized families can be rude and disruptive; they can cause trouble if created incorrectly. Poorly designed families in a large model can bring the project model to a snail's pace.
This illustrates the need for some rules of etiquette. Here is a selection of work-sharing etiquette tips for a polite and civil project environment.
  • Communicate. Staying in touch with your teammates is essential. Maintain real-time communication: Sit next to them, pick up the phone often or use instant messaging.
  • Be neat. The mess you make is the mess you clean up! Clean up after yourself. Remove any unused stuff you placed off to the side.
  • Don't be a model hog. Do not have a bunch of worksets borrowed while you are out to lunch, away for a meeting or gone for the day! Borrow only the worksets you need, and relinquish all your borrowed elements when you close out.
  • Know the intended architecture of the project library, or don’t mess with it.
  • Never redefine any view property settings that is already set up on a sheet without consulting the model manager or the creator of that view.
  • Do not assume anything. Never delete, overwrite, move or edit any wall that you have not drawn or that's not your responsibility without asking the relevant team member -- even if you have to wait a day to do it.

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