Ecobuild wraps up with more BIM information

Sahely Mukerji
December 12, 2008
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : GREEN, MEETINGS AND EVENTS

Ecobuild & AEC-ST Fall conference wrapped up today at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C., with 2,000 attendees. About 2,300 attended last year;  the economy took its toll on attendance this year, said Laura Edwards, director of marketing, Ecobuild America, Schwenksville, Pa. The conference started Dec. 8; the exhibit opened yesterday and ran through today.

"This is our first year [at Ecobuild] and we were told that there'd be a lot of government folks, but nobody stopped by," said D. Rex Tracht, regional sales and marketing manager, Pilkington, Greensboro, N.C.

"The show has been very slow, worse than last year," said Mario Tarquinio, business development specialist, Mid-Atlantic Territory, Traco, Bethesda. "We only got one lead for a small church job."

Lou Podbelski, vice president, sales and marketing, Sage Electrochromics Inc., Faribault, Minn., echoed Tarquinio: "The show is slower than last year, maybe it's the economy, maybe because it's too close to the holiday season," he said. "It's expensive to host a booth, fly people over and pay for hotel rooms. We made a few contacts, but not like last year."

Seminars

The seminars, in spite of a lack of a full house, provided valuable information, especially on BIM.

"BIM is lean thinking, eco-centric and project-centric," said Dianne Davis, president, AEC Infosystems Inc., Baltimore, in her presentation Collaboration, Communication and Sustainability in Design BIM and Other Enablers of Process Change. "The BIM planning model provides the functional and business drivers digitally to the architect and contractors. Knowledge about the outcome of the project is there at the front end. The schematic information to build that outcome follows. Hours of labor looking for those information at the back end is saved by the BIM process."

Kimon G. Onuma, president, Onuma Inc., Los Angeles, compared BIM to Expedia in his presentation BIM for Life-Cycle Planning and Design. "When you buy an air ticket on Expedia, you're asked to fill in a few answers that are relevant to you, such as where you'd like to fly, when and how much would you like to pay. You're not asked how much fuel you'd like to put in the plane," he said. "In the same way, in a BIM project, the open standard format allows users to open the model with simple Web-based interfaces at their level of expertise with different tools to input information." The data sets are independent and verifiable by various sources; the collaborators own their own data in an unbiased manner, he said. "The employees in an organization have their own niche, and BIM is an enabler to them to own their own data."

In his keynote speech, Ambassador Richard N. Swett, vice president and managing principal, Leo A. Daly, Washington, D.C., said: "BIM is shaped less by architects but by people around them. Building and information model involves people, listening to people. If BIM is to model a building, the architect must think about the people who will use it, the human environment that gives it meaning."