In a previous life, as a reseller consultant, I had the opportunity and extreme pleasure of assisting Multiconsult with making the most out of one of their first and biggest BIM projects. Multiconsult is a Norwegian engineering company with a big Oslo-office, and they sure as hell did not fear project size when the engaged BIM for the first time.
This particular project was basically three huge buildings right next to the new Opera in Oslo downtown. The buildings now near completion and form a central part of the so-called Barcode strip, or OperaKvarteret in Bjørvika. They are designed by the three architectural companies MVRDV, Dark Architects and a-lab, and just recently won the City-award for 2013.
I also did some work for the architects on this project, but that was very little compared to the structural modeling. Check out this video to get a picture of what the architects had to deal with:
One interesting aspect of the structural job was that this was the first time any of us tried to export a real (as in not four walls and a slab) analytical model to Robot for structural analysis. This was way back in 2008 and 2009 when the analytical tools in Revit Structure was crap and we had to do A LOT of manual labor in both programs. Finally we did manage to get some not totally ridiculous results, and the illustrations made by the eminent Jozef Waligora at TDA are quite nice.
This is one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on, and I have both hopes and pretty decent indications that I will do similar stuff in the near future.
I have this friend who I’ve known since before I became an engineer and that I currently work with at Rambøll. His name is Anders, and since it’s mostly because of him that I started learning Revit in the first place I believe a modest mention is in place.
This guy is the only structural engineer I know who 3D detail all reinforcement in a project, use it for scheduling and 2D documentation, and export it to Max for some high end rendering. Of course he also just had to do a capture of his own bald head and reinforce that as well. (Some would say he should have done that a long time ago.)
As you can see in this site’s Gallery I have a thing for shaded Revit views exported as images (as contrary to rendered material). Anders has also done some cool stuff with shaded views, and this bridge is a good example.
Last up from my buddy is a short video he made using Particle Flow in Max on a structure project modeled in Revit 2013.
In my handout material for the already mentioned class at Autodesk University I wrote an introduction discussing my motivation for doing what I’m doing. This is only a part of my motivations, and written with concrete reinforcement in mind. However, I believe in all possible humbleness that the words are too good to reside in a pdf attachment. Perhaps someone else reading this can relate to it? Is that the case with you? Then I’d very much like to hear from you! And if you think this is crap? Well, let me know that as well 🙂
“When I first started working as a structural engineer back in 2003, I was introduced to the concepts of reinforcement drawings and bending schedules for the first time. This was of course something we never saw at the university, where static, dynamic and finite element analysis covered the curriculum. Little was I to know that these drawings and schedules were to be my main occupation the first years. And now, looking back, not always did I feel like Michelangelo drawing away.
Today, most of my fellow engineers and I are modeling almost all reinforcement in our projects in 3D. Some structures are harder to master, but most are quite easy. We are planning for our skills and knowledge to append a future where all fabrication detailing is done in a 3D database, and what better 3D database than Revit?
Our two biggest challenges in doing this are efficiently modeling reinforcement in non-rectangular, curved and double-curved concrete forms, and the shouting valley of a gap between new BIM and old CAD. The first problem is something I will discuss shortly.
The last problem is one we share with our software vendors. They are given an impossible task by us; “Please make the most sophisticated modeling software in the history of humankind, and make it how I want it in 5 years. At the same time, make it compatible with 50 year old symbolic drawing standards.” How do you solve a problem like that? As I said, and in particular this is true for reinforcement, we are faced with the same challenge when we need to model all reinforcement in a 3D building information model, and simultaneously represent and communicate it in the same way as we did 20 years ago. It is the ever present gap between future and past. In the end we are dealing with humans. And many humans love the past.
The future, however, is way more exciting. The future is a place where everything that is to be built is represented in an intuitive 3D model, just the way it is going to be built. The future is a place where the materials ordered and delivered on site, is done so from the same high-detail 3D model. The future is a world where engineers and contractors communicate design using the most intuitive way possible yet; the visual 3-dimensional representation of future.
Then, perhaps, we can feel more like Michelangelo.“