CodeBook attacked by drone at RTC Aus!

Phew! RTC 2012 at Woollongong Beach last week (post) was really busy for CodeBook. There were lots of CodeBook users there, we had a constant flow of interest through the CodeBook stand, and every break was peppered with 10 to 30 minute demonstrations. Most evenings also saw me doing demonstrations under the heat lamps.

last demo at RTC 2012There was a real sense of community among CodeBook users too. Our stand became the natural ‘meeting place’ where existing clients would freely talk to other Revit user delegates about CodeBook if I was tied up with a group. I also found that delegates were being escorted to the booth by existing users and encouraged to ask questions and take information away with them.

CodeBook was mentioned in numerous presentations. Chris Razzell (Hassell) and David Foley (Norman Disney Young) did an outstanding case study presentation on a current project – where they have used linked models and CodeBook to capture the service-related equipment and validate it alongside the architectural FF&E. It was a very positive outcome and the audience were impressed.

Talking BIM (and CodeBook)Danielle Currie and Andrew Harp (both Silver Thomas Hanley) did a presentation about how the responsibilities have changed and improved with the move from CAD to BIM and the implementation of CodeBook on their projects. The discussion produced another flock of delegates to the booth wanting to see a demonstration, ask questions or set up future appointments after the event.

CodeBook attacked by drone!

Lastly…. Wesley Benn (chairman, from BD Group / RTC Events Management) nearly erased Danielle and I during a test flight of a Parrot AR.Drone 2 in the exhibition hall. This is a four heli-bladed device (like this) with a wireless live camera feed, controlled from an iPad. The out-of-control Parrot hit the CodeBook stand rear wall where Danielle and I were taking down the posters – it was travelling around 80kph when it crashed. Dani employed the drop-and-roll technique while I opted for the matrix lean. Wes copped a great deal of flack for further endangering a rare RTC species: women. On the flipside – our fabulous booth got even MORE attention….

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CodeBook Mobile: Taking to the tablets at RTC US 2012

RTC US 2012We will be showing off a prototype of our new CodeBook Mobile application for building information modeling (BIM) data management on stand 14 at the 2012 Revit Technology Conference (RTC US 2012) at Stone Mountain, Georgia next month (June 28-30). And CodeBook Solutions’ Cyril Verley will also be presenting at the conference – on Friday 29 June.

I am really looking to RTC. It is a great event for users to get an independent overview of the whole Revit and BIM ecosystem. Its focus on ‘by users, for users’ reflects our own CodeBook philosophy as hands-on developers of software for design professionals.

We are also excited about our support for new hardware. As iPads and other tablet devices have become more widely used in the AEC workplace, we have looked to provide mobile access to CodeBook in line with our 2012 roadmap to support more distributed team-working. Using browser-based tools for real-time remote access to CodeBook-managed BIM data, architects, engineers and contractors will be able to get faster and more detailed reports and to share new data with fellow designers, constructors, suppliers and building owners and operators.

CodeBook v10 and the new mobile application will be on stand 14, and we look forward to meeting both existing and prospective new users of the CodeBook information-sharing and data management system.

On the Friday, Cyril will show how BIM and computer-aided design data can be combined with geospatial information system (GIS) data to create a rich data resource for facilities managers and other owner/operator professionals involved in managing large or complex buildings.

CodeBook used on shortlisted HOK London BIM project

AECbytesPlease forgive yet another AU2011-related blog post – and another plug for Lachmi Khemlani’s AECbytes newsletter – but CodeBook is mentioned in her description of the project finalists in HOK’s second Annual BIM Awards. This is an internal competition to evaluate and award projects within global architectural firm HOK that have exhibited exemplary use of BIM technology in four main categories: design, delivery, collaboration and visualisation, and Lachmi was one of the judges prior to a special awards ceremony at Autodesk University.

As a UK-based company, we were especially pleased to see HOK shortlist a London project, a biomedical research facility for the Francis Crick Institute, in the collaboration category. On this project, the design team, HOK, was co-located with the client, project manager and contractor, and all parties had access to a large number of BIM tools – including CodeBook – and adopted a shared BIM strategy. Lachmi highlights the role of CodeBook:

“The use of a Codebook database was also important, as it allowed the connection of room and furniture data with the main models. The vision was to allow this data to be used for procurement as well as downstream for asset management later.”

The project did not win the overall award, but it was a close-run thing; Lachmi noted “the overall quality of the projects was so high [that] the choice of winner in each of the four categories was far from unanimous among the jury members.” Well done to the Francis Crick Institute team for getting to the final shortlist (and thanks for using CodeBook as part of your collaborative effort).

AECbytes AU2011 review features CodeBook

We were delighted to welcome Dr Lachmi Khemlani of AECbytes to the CodeBook International booth at Autodesk University last month, and version 10 of CodeBook gets a whole paragraph in the latest edition of AECbytes Newsletter: AEC Exhibitor Highlights from Autodesk University 2011.

CodeBook International showed the new version 10 of its CodeBook platform, which now supports SQL Server database tools and adds CAD and BIM support for Revit Architecture 2011 and 2012 and Revit MEP 2011 and 2012, in addition to ArchiCAD 15, AutoCAD Architecture 2011 and 2012, Bentley Architecture V8i, and MicroGDS 2011. CodeBook was displayed for the first time at Autodesk University 2004, where it was exhibited as a project manager’s tool that organized the entire project program in an Access database, linked it directly with the project CAD drawings, and then compared and validated the textual, programmatic database with the CAD files. Now it works with BIM and links to models, shares data, and gives detailed reports and validations throughout the design and construction phases of a project, thus managing information from project inception through to facilities management after project completion.

As we mentioned last week, we were delighted with the interest shown in CodeBook by the many visitors to our stand – some of them shown in our picture gallery….

CodeBook and geoparametricinfotegrity

Forget the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” We’ve come back from Autodesk University 2011 (post) with lots of business cards and requests for further information about CodeBook.

An AU session by Elizabeth Chodosh (senior associate and BIM specialist at Cannon Design‘s Phoenix, Arizona office) prompted a massive increase in traffic to the CodeBook stand. I don’t think I have ever completed so many back-to-back demonstrations in my life! In fact we didn’t leave the hall until way past 10pm that evening! (Cannon Design is deploying CodeBook on a major Canadian hospital project too.)

We asked Elizabeth what she had said about CodeBook and she summed it up as follows:

I was presenting on a topic that is near and dear to me: “geoparametricinfotegrity.” Of course, this is a nonsense word that I use to get people thinking beyond the acronyms of BIM or CAD. It’s meant to suggest that in order to have good information, you need good geometry; you have to consider geography (not only in terms of the Earth, but also in terms of relationships between objects, macro and micro concepts).

Data is parametric and also has associated parameters, but the only way to do that is to have a sense of integrity of purpose in your work in Revit. This means employing Revit, rather than using it. This is where CodeBook comes into play: it augments Revit and enhances our planning and programming and tracking capabilities as designers.

I mentioned CodeBook in my presentation in relation to how we are leveraging evidenced-based design knowledge in Revit. We are creating what we call “Tools and Libraries,” and by adding CodeBook to our toolkit, we have taken our abilities to track compliance and standardize planning and programming information to a whole new level.

The class was not a class on CodeBook, and therefore I was fair and balanced about the application itself as a resource that does something useful. It provides a strong database that can be connected to geometries that hold more information than we can get out of manufacturer-provided equipment; it allows us to adapt to client requirements fluidly with our own flexible placeholders and quickly reach a level of compliance to their requirements.

CodeBook is the first product we’ve seen that’s allowed us to leverage this much information across a very large project. By employing Revit’s Type Catalogs to drive simple shapes that represent objects in space and their required installation area (“no fly zones”) and tie those to parameters, we can count, quantify and track them in CodeBook as they are placed in Rooms. We can then organize coordinated visual representations of room layouts with room data sheets where the same information is reported visually and in text.

When attendees asked about CodeBook, we described it as “a handshake” between Revit and the accumulated information about any given building, allowing users to connect objects in a smart manner.

The key question I got that probably took CodeBook beyond general discussion was in relationship to embedding Families and using Groups. An attendee asked about embedding Families to achieve more smart objects that are reusable. I said: yes, indeed, that is a successful method, but our research and experience suggested effectiveness was limited as there are only so many levels of embedding you can employ before you can no longer track the embedded object as an individual instance. The ‘Union’ command through CodeBook excels at allowing us to “prefab” groupings of elements that have standard relationships to each other.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for extolling the virtues of Codebook in her class.

AECOM applies CodeBook to major US Army hospital project

We were delighted to read an AECOM news release regarding its application of Building Information Modelling (BIM) – and CodeBook in particular – to a major US Army hospital project, the Martin Army Community Hospital project for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah district, in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Fort BenningUnder the design-build contract with Turner Construction, AECOM — in a joint venture partnership with RLF — is using a BIM approach, along with Autodesk’s Revit Architecture, to design a 744,000-square-foot, 72-inpatient-room hospital and clinic that will replace the existing facility.

Using Codebook, which links with Revit, AECOM was able to extract data and generate reports from components throughout the hospital and clinic BIM models. The reports generated by the process tell the client the appropriate equipment that needs to be ordered for each hospital room.

“This is the first healthcare project in which we are using Codebook to provide a methodical solution and deliverable,” said Luis Posada, senior medical planner for AECOM’s Design Planning practice, North America. “Revit Architecture, in tandem with this software platform, has also allowed us to use information from BIM to weed out any discrepancies between the model and what is required in each room.”

The team was also able to see the differences between programming requirements and what has actually been modelled.

In November 2010, we announced that our US distributor, CDV Systems, was working with AECOM to integrate BIM Lifecycle Management solutions into AECOM’s overall BIM initiative/strategy, providing firm-wide Revit and codeBook implementation and training.

Think healthcare, think complexity….

Hospital, LondonWhen I first started designing healthcare facilities back in the 1980s, they were fiendishly complicated buildings. While the basic structures posed few challenges, the nature of the activities they housed and the diverse range of equipment and services needed to support those activities meant we were constantly managing incredibly detailed information. And because hospitals typically contain numerous spaces with identical or near-identical layouts and equipment requirements, there was a lot of repetition of this information.

I quickly realised that computers would help ensure greater consistency of output and reduce the time we spent on drawing repetitive room designs. For example, I created libraries of furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) for a major hospital project. However, the drawing of room elevations still required an army of students. And no matter how good they were, there was no automatic validation of drawings other than by eye.

The arrival of personal computers, spreadsheets, databases, and the compound increase in computer power and capacity changed the game. Now textual elements could be linked to graphics – and designs could be automatically checked against project requirements.

Today CodeBook helps designers and fellow professionals create and manage a model for a building containing all its information, from the originating brief to the day-to-day operational management of the completed, occupied structure.

I think CodeBook’s foundation as an application for complex healthcare buildings has made it the success it is (HOK London won an award in 2007 for its use on the Royal London Hospital for example). CodeBook can be used to manage the owner/operator requirements of just about any large building requiring sophisticated management of FF&E, particularly where those requirements are often repeated tens, 100s or even 1000s of times. No wonder, therefore, that we are seeing designers use the application for airports, hotels, railway stations and prisons – among other things.

Peter Mann