Half time, day two, report from BiLT
Conference attendance & travel sponsored by Autodesk User Group International
Text from AUGI Article
The BiLT ANZ 2018 opening plenary began with sponsor sessions - from Autodesk & Newforma - then Omar Awny introduced the remarkable Ashraf Habibullah whose keynote lit up the room with his personality, presentation and (literally) with his illuminated foil jacket.
He's a Structural Engineer, President and CEO of Computers and Structures, Inc (products including ETABS) but didn't talk about that other than to illustrate his point. The theme was how to make a difference as a person and a professional by bringing delight to your life, those around you, and your work. In addition to charming the audience, aided by gifting several iPads, Ashraf will be hosting (even bringing his band from the US) what is promised to be a spectacular closing evening event on Saturday.
With the plenary over the sessions which form the bulk of the event kicked off. There are multiple 75-minute streamed sessions ranging from presentations, panels, forums and hands on labs. I can only give an impression of this as there is simply no way for one person to see them all!
The range of content on offer represents the incredible growth of the RTC Events portfolio. What started fourteen years ago as a series of Revit Technology Roadshows, one of which initiated the Auckland Revit User Group I'm involved with, has become a distributed virtually connected international workforce staging nine events per annum around the world.
My day one sessions included Paul Wintour looking at the world of computational design and the various approaches to modelling geometry and analysing objects/spatial relationships. It was high level but offered a good conceptual guide to the benefits and limitations of different approaches and algorithms.
From the world of computational theory, it was into the very real world of interiors. I was attracted to Ceilidh Higgins session on interior design for Revit as it relates to the workflows we face in my day job, retail design. I picked up some useful tips and approaches to 'adapting' Revit to do a job it isn't really optimised for and techniques for interior projects where you may not get a building model. As retail tenant you often just get what you’re given with little control on the model deliverable. Tips include only modelling what you need, using CAD links for detail where the model isn't available, and simple families in groups as an alternative to complex 'try to do it all super families'.
This, as with all sessions, offers a point of view and stimulates some interesting conversation in the room about alternative approaches. It's the incidental conversations, random meetings and follow-up discussions (which overflow into the hallways and exhibit space) which are the difference between attending an event and seeing the same presentation online.
Industry standards are the subject of much debate and I attended a session by the Australasian BIM Advisory Board on their work to create industry wide standards. The concern I have is the world seems to have a lot of organisations setting standards, but the software has crude tools for managing data where client requirements and standards can vary.
The evening welcome event was held in the exhibit hall giving a chance to meet sponsors, exhibitors and fellow attendees. For those who desired this carried on at the nearby Baedeker Bar after-party. It is in an old brick mill building with a neat speakeasy atmosphere, cobbled floor and secret spinning bookcase door!
The Friday morning Plenary recognised the support of HP/Nvidia hardware, Central Innovation (whose offer includes hardware, ArchiCAD and Solibri platforms) and Autodesk. Ian Molloy, of Autodesk, also talked about connected BIM and the ESRI/Autodesk partnership announced at Autodesk University 2017. I was surprised HP/Nvidia didn't have more of a presence in the exhibit hall given the brilliant range of AR/VR hardware they offer but it was covered by reseller partners.
My first session of the day looked at the reality of BIM from the Quantity Surveyors point of view. Keeley Pomeroy had a practical overview of the benefits, pitfalls and costs of BIM at different deliverable stages and some achievable approaches to maximise the benefits, minimise the pain.
The next session was lifecycle data management from the owner’s point of view. Looking after an iconic UN World Heritage Site with a 250-300+ year potential lifespan is as lifecycle as it gets, and the Sydney Opera House was designed long before BIM. Chris Linning & Steve Lianos session covered the journey migrating decades of legacy into a digital model-based facilities management solution. It was a revealing look at the complexity of managing a unique public building from both an operational and refurbishment viewpoint.
Next it was Kevin Thickett’s very realistic view of the maze of potential for misunderstanding that Level of Development, Detail, Completion, Complexity has become. He offered a view that cut through the complexity with "Kev's Gospel of the Good LOD". By the way, the D represents development and forget about the rest.
David Spehar and Robert Manna had a session on using data to fix what BIM broke. They began with a short (one slide) history of BIM and posed the question;
“Are we at the point in the BIM party where everyone is suffering from a hangover? "
They offered a solution which took a proactive approach to analysing and reporting BIM progress, and potential problem tracking, to avoid the catastrophic broken BIM which can result from ignoring issues.
I later saw another session which took the opposite approach, ignoring issues which don't impact the outcome, but that is the benefit of seeing different views in the community. Nobody has all the answers; other’s solutions may not fit your needs but can spark the idea or process which does.
The day finished with an evening function at a nearby golf course. We had the run of the event space, terrace bar, awesome BBQ dinner, a driving range and mini-putt course for the BIM geeks to display their golf skills. It was a nice end to the second day. Tomorrow, is a full schedule of sessions and the much-anticipated evening extravaganza in conclusion.
I’ll be following up with a summary post, but you can also follow BiLT ANZ activity on social media; look for the #BILTANZ tag and follow @BiLTevent on Twitter.