4D BIM Scheduling, String Theory and Einstein

Most of the world is still dealing with 2 dimensional drawings/blueprints. Plan view, section details, quantity takeoffs... then simple construction schedules to plan out the work. If that's you, you're in the right place.

Well, simple schedules can get very complicated very quickly. While doing a search online for construction schedule examples, I stumbled across this image that stopped me dead in my tracks:

Wha !?

Welcome to the world of BIM (Business Information Modeling) and 4D BIM Scheduling.

If you haven't come across it yet, here's what you're missing...

BIM essentially allows companies (with very expensive software) to "build the building" digitally before it's built on site. The 2D drawings that have been the mainstay of construction for decades are turned into 3D models... great for impressing clients, spinning the building around on a computer screen, and seeing how the building will fit into its environment. 

Now, add the schedule to these 3D BIM geometric shapes, and well, you have 4D BIM scheduling, and the schedule may look something the picture above.

When I saw this, I had to take a second look. People actually create these, understand them, and can build off them.

Reminds me of an except from Brian Regan on when he came across a Nova documentary on String Theory. It's worth a few minutes of your time, trust me. He tops it up with a beautiful reference to Einstein.

Fortunately BuildIT schedules are simple to create, and simple to read (as shown below).

And you don't have to be an Einstein to figure it out.

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Task Notification System

So you've made a change to your schedule. People affected by that change need to know what's going on, as soon as possible.

With BuildIT, your people can be notified... automatically... by email.

There are 2 general types of notifications:

  1. Immediate, based on changes to tasks
  2. Overnight, based on upcoming tasks

You get to set the rules - who gets notified, when, and under what circumstances.

Immediate Notifications

When you open a task in BuildIT, make one or more changes, then click [save and close], you can configure the system to send out an email notification. There are several options here (as shown in this partial screen shot), and we can help you make the proper adjustments so the right people are getting notified about the right things.

For example, based on the configuration above, if you add extra days to a task, and that task is shared with an outside vendor or sub-contractor, that person will get an email notification that may look something like this:

Easy to see who it's for, what job, the task name, and what changed. The contact can even click a link below and go directly to their shared schedule web link (Contact Schedule) - a feature that sets BuildIT apart from the rest – where they can see ALL tasks for ALL jobs you have assigned to them, as well as ALL related job files you wish to share with them.

Overnight Notifications

Your contacts (vendors, employees, sub-contractors, clients, etc.) can now be given a "heads up" email notification several days in advance of a task you've assigned them to. Now, if there are any scheduling issues, they can be dealt with in advance, not the morning of!!

For more information on BuildIT's task notification system, and how to get it working for your team, give us a shout.

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Oh Brother!

Technical challenges… will they ever end !?

So, I got myself the latest, greatest colour printer (won’t say what brand, but I’ve hinted at it). Followed the instructions to set it up on the home network, printed a test page, success. The next day… try to print something, and the printer message says it is offline. But it’s not. And so I rack it up to just another frustration of getting technology in my house to play well together.

Fast forward to something that should be equally easy and reliable. Apple TV. Works fine, we really enjoy it. But trying to get my iTunes music on my computer to connect to and play through our home theatre via the Apple TV box… quite another thing. It works for an hour or so… then says I need to turn “Home Sharing” on… but it is on, and the only way to get it to work is to turn it off, then turn it on again and sign in. Such a hassle! Makes sticking a physical CD in a CD player and pressing a physical button seem way easier, and less frustrating.

These are multi gazillion (my spell checker didn’t underline that, so I guess it’s a word) dollar companies behind these products. You’d think it would be as easy and reliable as flipping a light switch and expecting the lights to go on. But it’s never that easy. And with these large companies, who do you suppose you can get a hold of for help?

It’s in times like these that I’m thankful I’m not a full time tech support guy. I’m also thankful that BuildIT comes to the rescue even for simple things like trying to manage files. I know that instead of playing network support specialist, I can go to any computer connected to the Internet, log into my BuildIT account, find the file/document/photo, and deal with it on that workstation/device.

Fortunately there are workarounds to every situation. This holds true for BuildIT customers that may be experiencing some issue with our software. When something doesn’t quite work the way you want it to (likely due to a web browser setting), you can usually stick handle around it.

An example would be trying to upload files to your BuildIT account. If you are using the multi file uploader, you may need to install Java from a gazillion dollar company called Oracle. I deal with Java issues weekly, either on my end, or with my customers. From Java not being installed, to Java not being updated to the most recent version, or Java not being enabled in the web browser… the list goes on. An easy workaround… click your “preferences” link for your “files” tab, and turn off the multi file uploader. You can still use BuildIT’s single file uploader (something we wrote that doesn’t require Java, and works every time).

Problem solved.

I wish I could say the same about my printer, and my music !! 

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1