Hey Reddit! We're the research team at BIMobject.com. Our platform is helping to digitize one of the least digitized industries, making it faster, more efficient, and more sustainable than ever before. Join us for an AMA to discover how we're revolutionizing the building industry, and ask us anything about what's next for BIMobject!

A quick intro: Sophie - Hey everyone! I'm the research lead at bimobject. I've been here for 3 years and spend most of my time trying to make the platform better and easier to use for our users.

Joakim - the Swiss Army Knife of BIMobject.com! Joakim's done it all - from design and strategy to user interviews. With a background in design, he's the mastermind behind our stunning revamp a few years back.

Ben - the man who started it all - the Co- founder of BIMobject.com! With a background in architecture (and still practicing on the side), he has worn many hats over the years. Recently, he's been on a mission to get up close and personal with our AEC users, understanding their challenges and how BIMobject can make their work lives easier.

Thanks for taking the time to join our AMA!

Edit: We have to sign off for this afternoon (European working hours) but we will check back in first thing tomorrow for any more questions you might have! Thank you to everyone who participated :)

Proof: Here's my proof!

Comments: 60 • Responses: 4  • Date: 

notablack5 karma

I work in areas where this (BIM) has been talked about for 20 years, it doesn't seem to ever go anywhere though.

So I guess my question is, it seems like a nice idea, but why the poor adoption?

SophieBIMobject6 karma

Hey! Good question, I think this is due to a combination of factors. The industry is generally very resistant to change (it is after all the second least digitized industry, only agriculture beats it), and with fewer people willing to adopt it there is a general lack of awareness of how it can be used. It also requires a bit of training.

We are hoping for faster adoption in the future as more and more countries bring out policies requiring the use of BIM in new construction. I think given the resistance to change we may only see widespread adoption when companies have no option but to use it in their projects.

ivanosauros2 karma

I've been out of the industry a while, but I distinctly recall how much of a pain it was for my drafting team to put together a decent library when we first started using Revit.

I have a three areas I'm curious to hear your opinion on.

First: you refer to yourselves as a marketplace. Am I to understand that your business model is the creation / collation of BIM objects at a number of LoDs with some kind of library or individual model access fee, in the same vogue as Standards Australia with building codes? If so, how do you plan to ensure equity in access for small to medium enterprises, which make up the majority of the industry and are often cash-flow sensitive?

Second: most manufacturers for key equipment (particularly in mechanical services) offer their own BIM objects on-demand, typically at no cost, though with varying degrees of difficulty (mostly time-related) to retrieve. How do you interface with the Daikins, Siemens, and Carriers of the world to promote BIM uptake and ease of use? Are there issues with different regional standards for modelling and varieties of equipment?

Third: rather open-ended one here. We all know the industry is generally slow to change, as skills acquisition for both management and modelling staff is time consuming and expensive, culture notwithstanding. BIM is the future, and I always felt like we were miles behind where we should have been; the collaborative digital lego approach to engineering was just... frustratingly delayed and inaccessible. What changes do you think need to be prioritised in the BIM status quo (libraries, software development, standards, management approaches, tiered UIs, whatever) to accelerate uptake?

As an additional aside: to what extent do you guys work with autodesk and other software providers to integrate your offerings with their platforms? Are you pursuing embedded plugins and such?

SophieBIMobject2 karma

Hey! Great questions. I'll answer them in order:

  1. Yes we refer to ourselves as a marketplace, but it's completely free for AEC users to download our content. It's a marketplace in the sense that we have brought together many different manufacturers into one place, so you can easily find what you're looking for.

  2. We currently have an ongoing initiative where we are restructuring our product information database which means that we will later enable much more granular filtering for architects and engineers to help them meet the specific requirements for their projects. This is something we believe will save time and make it easier to adapt to whatever regional standards a user is working with.

  3. We've seen more adoption in the last few years, particularly moving from 2D to 3D designs, which often leads to BIM adoption. This of course doesn't encompass everything that BIM is about but is a start. I think there is still a lack of knowledge of the full capabilities of BIM and how it can be used. It could be that stakeholders need to be nudged more and feel that there are greater benefits to using BIM early on. For example being able to do preliminary climate declarations to meet requirements and avoid later delays in the construction phase. One way to nudge them and help the industry is to encourage shared ownership of a project. We have heard that it's becoming more and more common to design a building using IPD (Integrated Project Delivery). A collaborative approach where all stakeholders take shared ownership of the project. Of course there are many other things that need to change but this is one of the main areas we would like to see progress further.

As for your last aside, we are about to start developing a Revit add-in in June :)

squaddlebee2 karma

I'm a total noob and I am interested in working in this industry in the future so forgive me if this is a dumb question but... Could you explain how your business leads to more sustainable buildings? Like wouldn't that be up to architects, engineers, and designers to design it that way?

fightingthefuckits3 karma

I'm not OP but a huge benefit of BIM in general is being able to model a building in 3d way ahead of actual construction then use the model to coordinate key systems to ensure they work together. An example would be having the HVAC subcontractor model their ductwork, equipment etc in Revit, same with electrical, plumbing, structure, sprinkler etc. When you bring all the models together in the same space you can run a clash detection that looks for where these systems are in conflict, an example would be say a piece of ductwork running through a steel beam. Doing this way out ahead means you can be more accurate in ordering and fabricating material, less time lost due to finding these clashes in the field and having to rip out existing work to come up with a fix, not staying this no longer happens but hopefully it's less common. The sustainability benefit in my opinion is really in the form of reduced waste through better up front planning.

squaddlebee2 karma

I see. That makes total sense why BIM would result in less waste. Thanks for answering.

SophieBIMobject2 karma

fightingthefuckits gave a great answer and I don't think we could explain it any better. One thing we are putting more time into in recent years is adding environmental information and providing the ability to calculate a building's footprint before the construction process begins. It is of course still up to architects and engineers to make sustainable choices in their designs but we facilitate that by providing the information and an easy way to find and calculate environmental impact and climate declarations.

But the biggest polluter in the industry is currently waste, as the earlier commenter wrote, and solving this issue first would have a huge payoff in terms of sustainability

Spankh0us31 karma

Given that Frank Gehry - from an architectural perspective - and A. Zahner - from a fabrication & installation perspective - really started the whole process back about 25 years ago, what do to think you bring to the table that is different or unique from their approach using the parametric software they pioneered?

SophieBIMobject2 karma

Hey! I would say bimobject is building upon or complementing all previous work with building information modelling. We see ourselves as facilitating the use of BIM objects and promoting their use further. We are one of the largest platforms aggregating BIM objects, meaning we make it much easier to access products and communicate with manufacturers. In that sense we do not see ourselves as unique from Gehry and Zahner but rather building on a movement they helped start.