Last night saw the first Revit User Group meeting in Leeds, UK. The group was established by Glenn Jowett and myself to address the gap in the Revit community for the midlands and the North of England. Initially after sending out the invites for firms in the region to join the group, we were hoping for a modest 10 – 15 attendees, but were completely shocked when we received 50 confirmed attendees. There were a few empty seats on the night so I’m assuming around 45 attended but what a great turn out. There was a nice mix of disciplines in the room with a balance of Structures and Architecture along with a few die-hard MEP users. A big thank you to Buro Happold for sponsoring the first event by hosting the venue and providing refreshments making the night an even more pleasurable experience.
The session was opened with a brief introduction from Glenn and I, followed by a 30 minute open floor discussion about what the attendees wanted from the group: Suggestions ranged from best practice workflows to fee scales and the wider picture of who actually benefits from BIM? Some great suggestions for topics of discussion for future events have been noted, and will be useful to plan out the forthcoming events on a bi-monthly basis.
Following on from this, Simon Dickinson from MicroCAD provided the group with a sneak peek at what’s new in Revit 2012, with some interesting new additions to the software. I’m not going to post the features here as it looks like they have been blogged to death by everyone else over the past few days. To find out more on this subject, you can check out David Light’s blog for a great honest summary of what’s going on with Revit 2012.
Finally the group sat down after a short break to listen to James Austin and Adam Ward from _Space Group: They provided a very impressive presentation and live demonstration of what they are calling the 'BIG BIM' approach to designing, manufacturing and constructing the _spacehus modular eco home. You can find out more about it at www.bigbim.co.uk. To summarise, they’ve been thinking outside the box and have broken the mould on what I would call traditional CAD and even traditional BIM processes (even though BIM hasn't really been around long enough to warrant the term traditional). They've pushed the boundaries of BIM and demonstrated how to squeeze every last drop of data out of a 100% parametric BIM model, driving everything from energy consumption to the cost and quantity of nuts and bolts.
They even radicalised the way in which the information is issued to the team who would assemble the building on site via animated assembly instructions an mobile devices. James likened the idea to an 'Ikea' style instruction kit for assembling a building (which I thought was a great analogy). He also demonstrated how product assembly and product technology has progressed massively compared to the way in which we produce building assembly data.
After the presentation, Adam jumped into Revit and provided a live demonstration of some of the parametric formulas driving the interdependent families within the model. He broke it down in to simple stages of assembly with only 19 families existing in the model in total! I had my doubts about the speed at which the parametric relationships would update based on one change such as building length or wall length. I was surprised to see that the relationships updated very quickly considering the complex arrays built into the sub-assemblies of the Revit families. Adam did point out that this level of development in a model is not the norm but in this case it was an exercise to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the software and BIM. I’m looking forward to seeing this project progress and will be interested to see the outcome.
Last but not least, we headed to the Adelphi pub at the end of the street for a few drinks and a chat. (In hindsight I think we should have warned that landlord of the 40 or so extra punters descending on his bar at 9pm). Crowded would be an understatement.
I’m looking forward to planning out the next few meetings with Glenn and will be posting the details on the user group site over the next month or so.