LeanVDC: 5 software services for your workflow stack to improve efficiency

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Countless reports have made one thing clear: the AEC industry is lagging in productivity. It's time to start thinking LEAN by using specifically designed smaller software parts that can perform tasks to speed up processes and get better results. But with such a complicated and large process, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Here is a look at 5 bites:

1) Design Phase: Scheme planning with Residential Engine

Pulling levers for iterations. That's as simple as Cliffton Harness breaks it down in a recent LI post regarding his Residential Engine. A process of pro forma driven layout options for a potential site is something that an architect/builder is asked to do by a developer at the start of most projects. The conclusion of this manual time consuming process is vital for a project to get green lit. Developers want to know all the options they have. Time is money and what if you can't crunch fast enough to unlock that key layout to make that pro-forma work? Let's let good software programming speed up this process to not only uncover options quickly but probably discover options that you might not have had enough time to find.

2) Design Documentation Phase: Revit + Dynamo + the Dynamo Player 'easy button'

A tool that needs more attention and the likes of this short paragraph which won't do it justice. Let's hone Revit's built-in free visual programming API hacker tool Dynamo to focus its power on automation on some of simple things that start every project. Creation of standard floor plan views, rcps, elevations, and schedules complete with template filters applied after basic design concept creation. These items can then be scripted to automatically populate onto created sheets which are generated from an sheet index excel file. A little tricky for beginners but it is all there. Combining these scripts with the Dynamo Player allows for an automatic starting set buildout+ by just clicking the 'play' button. Spend more time in Revit doing the important stuff and not the redundant tasks needed at the start of every project. Let's get a Dynamo script library and more specific packages focusing on this.

3) Coordination: Clash avoidance with ClashMEP

That's right 'avoidance' and not detection. Let's get this in the correct order and make this a parallel and not serial process. What do i mean by this? How about a real-time clashes identifying themselves as you are modeling. Let's stop banging models together after allot of work has been done and do it while we are working on those models in real time. There is a Revit add-in doing just that - BuildingSP's ClashMEP. Connect with Brett Young as he has allot to say on this topic and would love to tell you more.

4) Review: Redline processing w Bluebeam Studio Sessions

The days of printing out a set, redlining, photocopying those markups, and then distributing to the team for pickups and coordination? Gone. This non-fluid and static workflow process leaves allot for improvement in time usage and efficiency. Using Bluebeam Studio Sessions, you can have multiple teams in multiple offices all working inside the same digital set in real-time. Start redlines and invite the team for pickups 20 minutes after and watch the progress of them working their way through the set. Markup history shows you who has done what and insight with metrics. Change your submittal review process to 'Approved as Noted' instead of 'Revise and Resubmit' thanks to some inline conversations that can happen in these cloud hosted reviews. Lots of power here when using Bluebeam's Studio sessions.

5) Construction Admin: Specifications to Submittal log creation with Pype's Autospec

Anybody tasked with the job of creating a submittal log from a specifications book can tell you it's a long, tedious, boring, and time-consuming process. Enter Pype's Autospec which can do the job in minutes. That 1,000+ page plus spec book pdf can be uploaded and digested by an algorithm for extraction, validation, and categorization in minutes. Shake out the important parts (mockups, testing requirements, etc) that can slip through the cracks. The result is a simple digestible interactive web interface. Want to know more? Sunil is the man and is working on more process improvements.

Bonus - Hardware helper

Using a mouse and keyboard tracker I've been able to get some metrics on my PC interaction usage. It has given me awareness to my input device usage. Every mouse path and keystroke combo adds time that might be able to be eliminated with some smart hardware programming for those repetitive tasks with a programmable mouse. Thanks to a conversation with Mark Decker at the Bluebeam Extreme Conference for this one where he has time-saving button schemes for Onenote, Revit, and Navisworks.

Bigger Picture

Autodesk products alone can't save us. Valuable time and money are being left on the table when looking through the process & efficiency lens at the VDC & BIM realm. It's time to start looking at all of the available options coming into play in this emerging golden age of AEC software technology. With 1% swings in profit margins a big deal, we all need to be in the mindset of the Continuous Improvement Cycle and getting LEAN. There are more 'bites' out there, let's start putting them together.

The original article can be found here.

Myles M Martin AIA LEED AP

Follow me on Twitter @BIM_A_Team
Meetup with me monthly at the 'New Orleans area BIM User Group' http://www.meetup.com/nolaBIM/

Myles M. Martin


As a LEED-certified Architect, Myles has been a member of the Rozas Ward team for seven years. He attended LSU University for architecture school and worked for several architecture firms after college. He even worked as a contractor to learn the materials and details first-hand. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Myles returned, putting his skills to work to help rebuild the city.

Committed to keeping Rozas Ward at the forefront of technology, Myles launched the local NOLA Revit user group focusing on BIM software used at the firm. He’s a versatile, hands-on professional who enjoys engaging others and applying his skills and technology to any project, of any size, in any industry.

Myles knew he wanted to be an architect from the time he was creating structures out of Legos as a child. He sees every project as a new challenge and doesn’t ever anticipate getting bored.

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Myles M. Martin