BIM for Architects & Designers (post 3 of 4)

General Note: Over the past decade, I’ve been hired by almost every type of actor in the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) environment to help introduce advanced-technology workflows into their projects. This is the third in a series of four posts that summarizes those BIM, VDC, & parametric contributions at a high level.

One of the most creatively rewarding collaborations I encounter is to consult at architectural offices — usually to assess and expand the firm’s use of BIM and VDC technologies.

Each office has a different approach to design. Thank goodness! Naturally, a variety of design approaches necessitates a whole spectrum of ways to help those firms grow their technology portfolio. Widening their that portfolio of tools thus expands the potential buildings they can deliver.

Below is the first place where all those consulting service topics have been compiled for the first time. Its a little overwhelming to see the variety of uses for my advisement about technology — and for the ways designers have pushed platforms to their ends:


  1. Management-specific Interviews for Stated Design & Delivery Goals.
    1. Scoping and Documenting the way internal Building Information Model (BIM) data can be appropriately organized and used in the Design Phases of active projects.
    2. Roadmapping agreements among other necessary parties to better organize project files and project data as needed.
  2. Firm-Wide Stakeholder Interviews for Technology Adoption Goals.
    1. Identifying acceptable Industry Standards to serve as the basis for current model evaluations.
    2. Identifying LOD requirements for Design Team decisions at each project stage.
  3. Firm-Wide Strategic Development Advisement & Reporting
  4. Assessment & Advancement of Project Technology Adoption Scheduling.
  5. Assessment of Existing Building Information Models.
  6. Authoring project’s BIM Execution Plans to manage contributions of those directly contracted to the project team, and indirectly associated.
  7. Concept-to-Construction BIM Support Roadmap.


  1. Planning Large Dataset Structures
    1. Prescribing & Documenting initial (legible) data structures, that all collaborators can understand and conform to.
    2.  Establishing easy ways that project teams will add project data types to widen project potential.
  2. Design Training Regiments to Accommodate Project Data Structures
    1. Communication with Project Management about how proper training for each member of the team is essential to improve and protect project databases.
    2. Confirm each team member’s stage-appropriate training smooth progress with new workflows.
    3. Staging training with project schedule to allow a whole team to begin actively working on the project with BIM software, even before the training is complete.
  3. Deliver Training
    1. Project-based Training
      1. General Model Team Training is intended for all staff who would interact with project models. These scheduled topics aid in common drawing production skills and create habits that protect project models from unintended changes.
      2. Detailing Team Training is intended to give those with General Model Team Training more instruction in creating technical building details in a BIM platform. These topics include 2D, 2.5D, and 3D project detailing, detail components, and the interaction of annotation (Labels, Keynotes, etc.) with project specifications.
      3. Advanced Model Management Team Training is largely optional on projects. It is intended to give select team members instruction in the special modeling skills to gracefully address complex formal issues — tasks that are not necessarily required in normal project delivery and not critical for every team member.
    2. Topic-based Training
      1. Family Modeling & Management Training is intended for BIM Managers that will be trusted with the exclusive role of modeling (interchangeable) project families. These families are the root of data flow in the model and directly effect schedules, take-offs, and other harvested project data.
      2. BIM Manager Training introduces the topics necessary to graduate project staff into project team BIM Managers. Topics enclose family management, template updates, project file creation, worksharing management, etc.
      3. Advanced Dataflow Training is intended to give those with General Model Team Training more instruction in creating technical building details in a BIM platform. These topics include 2D, 2.5D, and 3D project detailing, detail components, and the interaction of annotation (Labels, Keynotes, etc.) with project specifications.
    3. Continuing Education
      1. Project Manager Training is a high-level list of skill that enable project managers to converse effectively with engineers and other consultants in a 4D workflow. It is intended to empower team members that are responsible for coordination and design to direct model updates and deign evaluation without having to author a large variety of elements.
      2. Interior Designer Training is technically necessary when projects rely on BIM models for detailed quantity take-offs and cost estimates. It is intended to give interior designers the minimum tools necessary to join a detailed conversations about FFE, and other late-project delivery requirements.
      3. Firm Principal’s Orientation to BIM Workflows is one of the most enjoyable training engagements. The professionals steering contemporary architectural firms at the highest levels need a broad overview of the technology without an in-the-weeds technological step-by-step demonstration. These topics result in conversations that explore a firm’s previous delivery constraints and clear ideas of how new technologies can free projects from those constraints.
  4. Training Assessment
    1. Working with team management to assess the training schedule’s efficacy – and to adjust it as necessary to react to changing project requirements or deadlines.
    2. Evaluation of the variety of skill sets in training populations (usually 2-5 professionals) and confirming the uptake of BIM documentation process skills.
  5. Model Authoring & Assistance
    1. Creating custom model elements when team training  or deadlines become constraining.
    2. Creating standard family libraries and project templates when project timelines require immediate start.
    3. Introducing teams to advanced BIM users for contract, part-time, or full-time hire.
  6. Deskside Support
    1. Ensure that staff training has been effective and implemented fully by reviewing modeling skills as applied to project files.
    2. Clarify topics as they are applied to non-standard areas in model data.
    3. Protect team moral as each member takes risks in a new environment.
    4. Scope, document, and streamline the way future BIM data will be organized and used in the Design Phases of team projects.


  1. Coordinated Construction Documentation
    1. Cartooning Preliminary Architectural Sets
    2. Management of Sheet lists and Consultant Sets
    3. Establishment of Volume Libraries
  2. Firm-wide Content Library Management
  3. BIM Execution Plan check-ups and management.
  4. Continuing LOD Reports: Model Element Table (MET) for current projects.
  5. On-going Project Organization Support using SSTS concepts (Synthesis).
  6. Regular Deskside Support of Advanced Staff Skills on Live Project Models (Synthesis).
  7. “Second Project” Design Team interviews. Identify Design Activities, VDC Activities, and Contractor Activities that DSG seeks to standardize based on lessons learned.
  8. Assist Template Creation for project’s Existing Conditions Model. (Project Staff led.)
  9. Assist Template Creation for project’s Clashing Model & Report. (Project Staff led.)
  10. Assist Template Creation for project’s Quantity Take-Off (QTO) Calculations. (Project Staff led.)


  1. COBie – Construction Operations Building information exchange
  2. Downstream Project Contracts
    1. BIM-Assisted RFI Contract Language
    2. BIM-Assisted Submittals Contract Language
  3. Project-to-Reality Integration — Laser-Scan to BIM
    1. Creating BIM anchors from point cloud data (laser scanning products).
    2. LoD assessment from On-site Project Data.
    3. Production of As-built CAD drawings from the project Models.
  4. Timelining / 4D – Construction Sequencing
    1. Model Phasing, Time-lining, Tabular Reports and Visualized output.
    2. Tracking & Documenting “Planned” vs. “Actual” On-site Progress.
  5. Spatial Project Data Visualization
    1. Virtual Reality Visualizations, with Enscape, Unity, Kubity or similar platforms.
    2. iOS App creation for VR distribution.
  6. Firm-wide Research and Development Support
  7. BIM Specialist Support