Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Leverage BIM in Your Business Strategy

Finith Jernigan, the author of BIG BIM little bim is always on the look out for insightful articles, and he sent me a link such an article this morning. The article, titled, "Leverage BIM in Your Business Strategy" is authored by James O. Jonassen of NBBJ, an architectural firm that has been a real leader in the IPD movement on the West Coast. I've excerpted a paragraph that focuses on integration, but you really need to read it all.

BIM in Integrated Project Delivery

Integrated project delivery is an approach to integrate all stakeholders in a design and construction project: owner/client, builders, and designers. It can achieve all the potential advantages of BIM in design and construction in a win/win environment for all parties. It engages the owner in determining what the project should achieve and in early decision-making to integrate those decisions in both design and construction. It aligns project-centered goals among owner, builder, and designer. It provides a continuity of information flow in the models from start to finish, eliminating most opportunities for communication error. It allows models to be managed for optimization of all needs start to finish and, as mentioned above, can incorporate sustainable strategies more effectively. It requires a great deal of trust among all parties.

Leverage BIM

Phone: 859-802-1118
Skype: JameswithCCR

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BIMStorms Brewing on the Energy Front

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

Kimon Onuma and the innovators with whom he collaborates continue to run circles around the stodgy establishment. Below is a press release indicating Kimon is about to unleash a series of BIMStorms on the energy industry. It couldn't come at a better time!

Further down is a link to an excellent on line article by Reason's Lynne Kiesling a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Lynne is a member of the GridWise Architecture Council and she blogs at Lynne argues regulatory reform in the utility sector is a pre-requisite to an effective smart grid. For the record, I couldn't agree more.

BIM Connects to Energy Industry

Kimon Onuma, FAIA will be introducing his award winning BIMStorm® to the energy industry at ConnectivityWeek, a conference of energy executives at the Santa Clara Convention Center June 9 – 11.

Conducting a BIMStorm® during his 90-minute “Connected Cities” presentation will allow Mr. Onuma to introduce his proven web-based, cloud computing collaboration processes to the energy industry in a significant manner. In addition to the dedicated 90-minutes showcasing dramatic improvements in energy planning and analysis, Mr. Onuma is scheduled as part of the opening and closing plenary sessions and will participate in five (5) other panel discussions.

Energy Models will be created from Excel in real time; “flown” to Santa Clara; “landed” on Google Earth; and, customized on site in seconds to create energy planning reports based on audience input.

A BIMStorm® - or online “brainstorm” - can involve a few people, hundreds or thousands. These advanced processes help dramatically improve Energy planning and design that contributes to green construction and operation.

For more evidence that these ideas are permeating the mainstream check out the article linked below.

"Imagine a future in which your home has a system that connects all its appliances, entertainment systems, heating and cooling, laundry, and lighting into one communication network. The network would be accessible through a computer screen or a Web-based portal. Through this interface, your electricity company would communicate real-time information about how much electricity you’re consuming, the price you’re paying at different times of the day, and whether the juice is coming from renewable or conventional sources."

Read the whole thing

Phone: 859-912-7747
Skype: JameswithCCR

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Analysis of Cap and Trade by Jim McConnell

Jim read the draft of the Cap and Trade Bill in detail so you don't have to. His excellent summary is set forth below.

American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009 - HR 2454

I have spent the last week of my spare time parsing all 932 pages of this draft of the Obama administration's cap and trade carbon emissions limitation legislation, to see if there is anything in the bill of concern to the construction industry. Here's what I have found:

Section 610(a)(13)(A) and (B): The bill includes hydroelectric power as part of the definition of renewable energy, so long as is comes from 1) increased efficiency or capacity created after January 1, 1992; or 2) power generation capacity added after January 1, 1992 to a dam which did not have generators before that date.

Section 610(a)(14) The bill includes as renewable energy power produced from burning solid municipal waste and construction, demolition and disaster debris, before or after gasification.

Section 610(a)(15) allows credit for energy savings created by reduced electricity consumption resulting from recaptured waste electrical, mechanical or thermal energy from commercial or industrial systems.

Section 610(a)(16) defines renewable biomass as including plant material from construction debris and landscape trimmings, removed from within 300 feet of a road, power line, utility tower or water supply line - meaning the heat from burning such materials counts as renewable energy.

Sections 610(a)(17) and (18) define renewable energy resources as including fuel cells, wind power, solar power, geothermal energy, biomass, biogas, biofuels and qualified hydroelectric power, and energy generated by sea tide and current movements of water in the oceans.

Section 1610(d)(2) requires retail electricity suppliers to derive a target percentage of their current power sales from renewable sources as follows: 6% in 2012 and 2013; 9.5% in 2014 and 2015; 13% in 2016 and 2017; 16.5% in 2018 and 2019; and 20% in 2020 through 2039, or [Section 1610(g)(1)] pay the government $25 per megawatt hour of the shortfall.

Section 1610(l) sunsets the requirements in 2040.

The bill permits but does not require industry to create a Carbon Storage Resource Corporation to perform research into carbon capture technologies. If firmed, the corporation's activities will be funded between $1 billion and $1.1 billion per year out of taxes on power from carbon combustion rated at $0.00043 per kwh for coal, $0.00022 for natural gas and $0.00032 for oil.

New coal fired power plants will continue to be permitted for construction, so long as they achieve at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, if built before 2020, and a 65% reduction thereafter.

Electric utilities are required to plan for and provide a "smart grid" for charging electric powered vehicles, interoperable with vehicles of all manufacturers, and capable of recognizing the vehicle's owner no matter where the vehicle is connected for charging, billing the power used to the vehicle owner's account. There's going to be a lot of construction dollars spent on this one.

The bill encourages development of technologies for generating offshore electric power from tides, winds, wave energy and ocean currents.

Section 304(a) requires building codes to be revised to achieve design energy consumption savings of 30% when the act is passed, and 50% by 2014 for residential construction and by 2015 for commercial construction, with additional reductions of 5% every three years thereafter until 2030.

Greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced 3% by 2012, 20% by 2020, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050, measured from base levels in 2005.

What does all this mean for construction? Well, the ability to burn debris for carbon cap and trade credits should keep tipping fees under control for a few years, construction of the smart grid and other renewable energy production facilities will keep certain types of construction tradespeople employed, and the cap and trade costs and vehicle emissions controls will increase costs for construction contractors just as it will for all other businesses.

For the text of the bill, go here:

The bill is currently still in markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Republican members intent to offer up to 400 amendments before it goes to the floor, where they will most likely vote against it regardless of the fate of their numerous amendments.

While the cap and trade program details remain subject to revision as the legislative process moves forward, the provisions outlined above regarding the construction industry are not likely to be changed much. We will keep you posted.

James G. McConnell
Attorney At Law
32 Birchwood Drive
Palos Park, Illinois 60464
Phone: (708) 923-9934
Fax: (708) 923-9936
Worldwide Mobile: (312) 287-1343
Website: James G. McConnell - Home

Phone: 859-802-1118
Skype: JameswithCCR

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GSA and USACE will share the "Federal Project Experience" with the NYC BIM group June 2 - 8:00 a.m. start - and Deke Smith will be the Keynote Speaker

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

NYC Metro BIM is hosting a “Free Special Event” Tuesday, June 02, 2009 ; 8.00 a.m. thru 11.00 a.m.

The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and General Service Administration (GSA) will share the Federal Project Experience with the NYC BIM Group, with an emphasis on local NYC Projects.

Autodesk, Bentley, AIA NYC and McGraw Hill / NY Construction will sponsor the event.

The Keynote speaker will be Deke Smith, Executive Director of the building Smart alliance, the national organization with which NYC BIM and similar groups around the country are affiliated.

Below is a link to the flier:

The Federal Experience

Attendees can register / RSVP on the NYC BIM web site or contact Snigdha Mittal directly.

NYC BIM's Website is
Snigdha Mittal's email is

Phone: 859-802-1118
Skype: JameswithCCR

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revit to Bentley Group; Do we need "Multi-Lingual" Software users, Flexible Owners or Web-Based BIM Servers?

Ronan Collins asked an intriguing variation of that question in the discussion forum of the new Revit to Bentley user group. That question was the inspiration for this post.

Ultimately, I think we need Web-based BIM Servers that reach out and grab the data from the original source on an as-needed basis. Designers, modelers, constructors, subcontractors, and facilities managers should all be able to work in the native software environment that they are most comfortable with and which meets their needs and their employer's needs best. That utopia is not here yet, though the Onuma Planning System, Projectwise and Buzzsaw all contemplate such an place.

If we want to be able to deliver a BIM to an owner that can live up to even a fraction of the hype surrounding "BIM" I think we will need Web-based BIM Servers to fulfill all the promises of BIM. That said, we still have to deliver design, construction and legal services to our clients in the current environment.

The solution, from my perspective, to delivering the best BIM we can is to craft, draft, negotiate and execute a BIM Addendum / BIM Implementation Plan that addresses these thorny issues in a substantive way at the outset of the project. That cannot be done effectively in a Design-Bid-Build environment and it cannot be done very well in a Design-Build environment. It can be done - and should be done - in an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) environment.

But far too few leaders in the industry are willing to learn ANYTHING about how all the moving parts of the IPD puzzle fit together. I've been offering workshops regarding the legal ramifications of IPD, BIM and Lean for MONTHS now and I've only had a hand full of forward thinking firms contact me to schedule actual workshops. For an industry shaken by the credit crises, and staring down the barrel of fundamental changes - IPD, BIM, Lean, LEED, Green Financing, Sustainability, Energy Efficiency etc. etc. - it is absolutely AMAZING to me how many high level thought leaders are willing to IGNORE the fundamental need to revamp the legal instruments that dictate their business processes and business relationships.

The key is to take the steps necessary to craft, draft, negotiate and execute a truly INTEGRATED agreement that will arm collaborative teams with the tools needed to address the myriad of new challenges the AEC Industry faces. If anyone is interested in scheduling a workshop with your collaborative partners to drill down through these issues let me know.

Phone: 859-802-1118
Skype: JameswithCCR