Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Decision Makers! Please do your homework about BIM!

The image above represents the Vico Engagement Plan in the USA.

In USA, it would take a contractor  9 weeks start with 4D and 5D BIM training or pilot project. I believe this is a very reasonable period if the decision makers do their homework.

What about in the Middle East? We usually spend 9 to 12 months introducing the software and 4D&5D process.

As you see the difference is huge! In USA it is 9 weeks and in the Middle East it is 48 weeks!


Unfortunately the decision makers don't do their homework in the Middle East! They mostly wait for spoon feeding!


Are they too busy? I don't think so! It's recession time. No company is overloaded with projects these days. (Except us :)))

Dear Decision Makers,

First watch our 5D BIM for Contractors Video please!

Please do your homework! Make sure that your team evaluates the software and process properly during the "Evaluation / Trial" period!

Evaluation period is the time when one of our implementation specialists is dedicated to anwser all your questions. Feel free to keep them busy;)

I will also appreciate if you do not call us asking directly for  a "BIM Quotation" :))

BIM is a process, not a tool! :)

Enjoy your weekend!
I hope we will not have any sandstorms! Cross your fingers:)

Diyane Koseoglu

Are you bored at work? Play tic-tac-toe with ArchiCAD!

Are you bored at work?
Image from Ambro

No worries! ArchiCAD has a solution for that. Let me describe the steps:

STEP 1: Launch your ArchiCAD 15
STEP 2: Activate object tool
STEP 3: Place the default object (Armchair 01 15)
 STEP 4: Start stretching it with the help of hotspots
 STEP 5: Once dimensions exceeds 2 meters, your chair will turn into a tic-tac-toe board

 STEP 6: Start with Placing your X. When you click on the pink hotspots object will automatically place X.
 STEP 7: Now it's O's turn! Use teamwork so you can play with your colleagues:)
 STEP 8: X wins this round!
As you see, ArchiCAD has solution for all your problems:))


Diyane Koseoglu

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How ArchiCAD makes Hospital Projects more successful?

Hospital Projects!

Last year majority of our BIM service works were hospital projects! Especially in the GCC in all the new hospital projects, BIM is mandated by the owner due to the complexity of the projects.
Image from photostock

Most common belief is the MEP modeling and clash detection is the toughest part of the job!

True! It is quite difficult and important but not the most challenging part.

Almost every BIM service provider or company using BIM has good skills and experience with MEP Modeling. I mean it is not a big deal, it is manageable!

The most challenging part for us was the medical equipment! In many meetings with the clients, the first thing they asked us was if we can manage medical equipment! That was the differentiator!


First of all, most of the BIM software does not have library for Medical Equipment! Except ArchiCAD of course;)) These things looks unimportant for engineers who are new to BIM but actually those are the main criterias that differentiates a mature BIM tool then others.

Here comes some of the medical equipment from ArchiCAD.

Bedside Cabinets from ArchiCAD 15 Library

Dental Chair from ArchiCAD 15 Library

Examination Bed from ArchiCAD 15 Library

Hospital Bed from ArchiCAD 15 Library
Infusion Stand from ArchiCAD Library 15

Would these be enough for your project? Of course not!

Are you going to model your own equipment?

In order to say yes, you should be crazy or extremely hard working. (probably crazy! :))
Some of these medical equipments look like "aliens" with all kinds of strange geometries:)) For example this one.
If I recall correctly, it was an equipment called "finisher" located in the laundry. As you see, it is a nightmare to model this strange thing.

What to do now?

We contacted the manufacturer and asked for the 3D Model. They normally have 3D models for their production and they are willing to provide it to you since it means "Sales" for them.

They send it in 3D DWG file format!

We directly converted it to GDL and guess what happened?

The files size of the object was close to the files size of the total hospital model:)))

After a short period of depression, we decided to open it in 3DMAX and reduce the polygon numbers, convert to 3DS file format and then take into ArchiCAD.

That was pretty successful and we found many major clashes!

As a result, we were happy, our client was happy and their client was also happy:)))


Diyane Koseoglu

Monday, February 27, 2012

Get there faster with ArchiCAD

Get There Faster with ArchiCAD!

This is the latest whitepaper prepared by Graphisoft US team! I truly enjoy reading their blog and I find US market quite similar to Middle East in terms of the size of companies as well as the amount of multidisciplinary firms.

If you are planning to implement BIM and you are not certain about how to do it, this whitepaper is a great source for you.

Here comes a short summary:

"From the company that brought you – Construction Computing Magazine’s 2011 BIM Product of the Year ArchiCAD 15 – the “Get There Faster with ArchiCAD” whitepaper examines five critical areas to explore before making your final BIM software selection. This paper was written with the sole purpose of providing accurate, reliable information about critical issues related to BIM and what ArchiCAD with advanced technology such as the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server(tm) provide as an answer to address these issues. We want to teach and educate in an effort to help architects make informed technology decisions.
The whitepaper shares expertise and experience from six design leaders as they describe how ArchiCAD:
  1. Improves profitability
  2. Enables agile and competitive workflow
  3. Provides fast, real-time collaboration
  4. Is easy-to-learn and simplifies the 3D workflow
  5. Makes great use of any computing power
  6. Keeps IT costs low
  7. Is a secure and proven BIM product
This document highlights what makes ArchiCAD BIM different than other BIM solutions. Find out why ArchiCAD, developed by architects for architects, is the most workable solution for today’s AEC professionals.
Download the white paper here. "

I hope you will enjoy it!

Diyane Koseoglu

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Can consultant's BIM Model be used for construction?

Can consultant's BIM Model be used for construction?

This is the popular question of last few months?

Let me give you some background information before going into the discussion. Especially in the UAE almost all the large consultants are already using BIM. Of course with different level of expertise and success. However compared to the contractors, consultants are BIM gurus:)

So, what happens in a project?

Image from Ambro

The consultant educates the client about BIM and recommends to mandate BIM usage in the tender. Client is happy because he thinks he already have the BIM Model so the contractor will only operate it.

The consultant hands over a LOD 300 model with no/limited liability.

The party starts here!

Contractor believes that he can use consultant's model for shop drawings, quantities, cost planning, scheduling etc.

I have experienced this myself. When we told the contractor that the model coming from consultant can not be used as it is, they do not want to believe and most of the time they do not believe.

Now, let's imagine a project in which the design consultant hands over a LOD 300 BIM Model. (If you are not familiar with LOD please check James Van's blog! It is pretty cool)

First of all, we should define what is LOD 300.

"LOD 300 - Model elements are suitable for the generation of traditional construction documents and shop drawings.  As such, analysis and simulation is authorized for detailed elements and systems."

When a contractor reads the above statement, he is quite sure that the model will work fine for him. Unfortunately what a consultant understands from "shop drawings" is slightly different than contractor's understanding.

A basic example. A consultant can use a multi-story column might work fine for the shop drawings of a consultant but it should be from slab top to slab bottom in contractors model.

The consultant does not care about the concrete grades but for contractor it is very important.

Even for design coordination! Many people believes that clash detection within a LOD 300 model is perfect. But not really! In a complex project, the slight difference on the radius of the bend might create a clash in LOD 400 model where LOD 300 is absolutely ok!

What do we usually recommend for contractors?
If the consultant does not accept "full" liability on the model, do not rely on it.

Freeze the consultant's design model as a reference model and create your own. You might create your own model by just modifying and developing the design model but we saw cases in which it is much easier to create the model from scratch. So evaluate both options.
Image from jscreationz

Have your own BIM team since you can not freeze the design model forever. There will be changes. Your BIM team should update your model continuously.

Yes, I know it does not seem very productive but it will still be much more productive than the traditional system. Plus it will be much more accurate.

Diyane Koseoglu

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Which one is the most popular ArchiCAD Add-on?

Today's post is about ArchiCAD add-ons but not all the ecosystem. I will talk about only the add-ons developed by Graphisoft.

Let's list them first according to their release dates:
  1. MEP Modeler
  2. EcoDesigner
  3. BIM Explorer
When it comes to listing them according to their popularities I think we need to define the word "popular"?

Is an add-on popular if it sells more?

Is an add-on popular if it gets more "Wow"s during the presentations?

Well! It is hard to decide so let's have 2 categories:)

According to our sales numbers in the Middle East, MEP Modeler is the front runner with a significant difference! I am sure  this is a shocking fact for most of you.

Let me explain.

MEP Modeler

In the Middle East, majority of the companies are multi-discipline which means they have their own architectural, structural and MEP teams. For them ArchiCAD without MEP modeler is like Browni without ice cream. (another great comparison from me  :)))

When I say majority of the companies, I am not trying to say majority of the big companies. Here, even a 5 men office would have 3 architects, 1 structural engineer and 1 MEP engineer.

What about the "Wow"s it get during the presentations?

No wow at all because people are expecting it as a default part of a BIM solution:))

BIM Explorer

Well this is the only add-on which has a balance of "wow"s and sales.
People love it when they see the presentation! Especially on iPad! Being able to navigate in the BIM Model without any training of these complicated BIM Software is a miracle for the managers as well as the project owners.

Sales numbers are also good!


This is the strangest add-on in terms of the balance of "wow"s and sales.

Since Sustainability is  "the topic" in the Middle East, EcoDesigner is the start of the meetings. Everybody is extremely impressed with the fact it runs within the BIM Software and no export/import is required. You can get your energy analysis results any time.

But when it comes to sales results, we are not very happy.

As everything related to sustainability, EcoDesigner is an add-on nice to talk about but not apply in your projects.

Unfortunately in the Middle East there are only few companies who really wants to design sustainable buildings. Most of them do not pay any attention unless it is mandated in the project. Even it is mandated, then they just fill few Excel sheets in the late stages of the project where all the design decisions are already made. Yes, this is a sad story :(

Anyway, now let's make the list...

Most Popular ArchiCAD Add-on As per Sales Number in the Middle East
  1. MEP Modeler
  2. BIMx
  3. EcoDesigner

Most Popular ArchiCAD Add-on As per "Wow"s in the Middle East
  1. EcoDesigner
  2. BIMx
  3. MEP Modeler
Quite interesting, hey?

Enjoy your day!

Diyane Koseoglu

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who owns the BIM Model?

We had a pretty good BIM User Group Meeting last night!

I had the opportunity of listening the experiences of BIM Managers of large organizations in the Middle East.

I also shared our experiences as well!
Image from Ponsulak

As you know the main topic was "Who should own the BIM model?"

Image from Stuart Miles
My answer has always been "Whoever pays the bills should own the model" :) with my pragmatic approach:))

Of course this is the answer on the  "practical" scenarios.

For instance, if we are working for the contractor, we do provide the model to the contractor only. It is his property since he paid for our services.

Did we experience that the owner requested the model? Yes!

Did the contractor give? Sometimes yes, sometimes no!

In the current contracts in the Middle East, there is no clause regarding to the BIM Model ownership. Everything is based on 2D drawings.

So it depends on the relations between the owner and contractor.

Image from Jeroen van Oostrom

I saw cases the contractor simply said "No" to the owner when he asked for the model.

I saw cases the contractor said "Yes but only if you pay me a couple of million dollars more."

I saw cases the "Sure, here you go! (of course with no liability on the model)"

Of course this are the current cases which the parties are introduced to BIM recently. If they knew more about BIM from the very beginning of the project, things would be different.

I believe as the understanding of BIM matures in the region, the contracts will be shaped accordingly from the beginning.

Diyane Koseoglu

Monday, February 20, 2012

BIM User Group in Dubai

Hi Everyone!

Tonight we have BIM User Group Meeting in Dubai!

Before going into the details of tonight's programme, let me tell you more about BIM User Group Meetings in general.

First of all, everyone is welcomed tot he BIM User Group Meetings. No membership is required although it is organized by Building Smart Middle East, North Africa and India.

The discussions are usually more on the process side of BIM rather than the tiny little features of BIM software.

What about tonight? What are we going to discuss?

It's a quite interesting one! Model Authorship!

This is one of the subjects that almost everyone in the Middle East is confused about. The attendees will be from different project parties, such as consultants, contractors, BIM service providers and owners.

It would be nice to hear different people's opinion!

If you are interested, please come and join us!

Details of the event is as following:

Date: Monday 20th February, 2012
Time: 6-7:30pm,
Location: AUD, Architecture Faculty, Room A208 (first floor) - Dubai
Theme: Issues of model authorship
Following on from some excellent discussion at the previous user group meeting, this session will be an open forum to discuss issues of model authorship. We will explore questions of who should own, pay for and be liable for models in an integrated construction project, and how this can be managed .

If you have not already please RSVP to this event either by sending an email direct to or

Diyane Koseoglu

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Design-Bid-Build or Design-Build? Which one embraces BIM better?

Design-Bid-Build or Design-Build

These are the two main contract methods in the Middle East. Probably US is also similiar.

Owners loves the first one. Design-Bid-Build.

 Image from Ambro

Because they can get competitive prices for each phase of the project. First they let the consultants to fight for getting the design job, decrease their profit especially on these days of recession.

Then comes the second part. Now it's contractors turn to bid.

Seems like a smart method for the owner.

Is it?

Each party is responsible for a certain task in the project. For instance an architect is involved in the design part only. He will try to avoid any liability for the later stages of the project. He may not include enough details in the drawings to facilitate accurate bids in the tender.

What will happen then?
Image from Stuart Miles

Disputes, claims etc. The consultant and the contractor becomes enemies.

This is the worst thing that an owner would want in a project. A project can only succeed if all the parties work as a team.

I can hear you saying but the owner can get Project Managers to protect his rights. True! But it comes with an extra cost.

So far the problems were not even related to BIM.

Now, let me tell you about my experience so far.

Consultant builds the BIM Model for design phase. It looks pretty. You can generate basic documentation out of it.

Is it useful for the contractor? NO!

If you do not take the required construction information into consideration in early stages of the modeling, adding it in a later stage will take much more time than remodeling.

I have not seen a model coming from a consultant which can be used by the contractor so far.

In most of the cases, the contractor has to build his own BIM Model.

At the end of the day, the owner pays for this additional cost indirectly.

Is there a solution for this?

 Image from Andy Newson
Yes and No!

VICO developed a Model Progression Specification (MPS) system which allows the consultant to prepare the model in a way that the contractor can use it as well.

But even this requires, early involvement of the contractor in the project and also very good relations between the project parties.

What about Design-Build?

This is my favorite!

In the Middle East contractors get involved with both types of contracts. When a contractor decides to implement BIM into their organization and ask our advise for the pilot project, we always recommend to start with a Design-Build project.


 Image from Stuart Miles
The earliest you start with BIM, the more benefits you get from BIM.

If the project is Design-Build, you have the power to start BIM from the very beginning of the project.

Not only this, but also you can start BIM the way you want. Your BIM team will take your construction needs into consideration at an early stage and implement MPS properly.

Ohh! I can hear you saying what about IPD? Well, the industry is still experimenting with it. Unfortunately in Middle East I have not seen any examples of projects delivered with IPD yet.

I believe once the BIM expertise of the construction industry in the Middle East matures, IPD will be the preferred contract type as well.

 Image from Idea go

Wow! This became a very long and serious post. I hope you have not get bored while reading.

If you did, let me share something very interesting with you.

I was looking at the Stats page of the blog this morning and found very interesting "Search Keywords":)

Some people searched for the below keywords and ended up in our blog:)))
  • pest control 4 construction
  • united arab emirates crazy pictures
 Well, I do not want to comment further:)))

Enjoy your week!

Diyane Koseoglu

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 1

# 1 - Shell Tool

Bridge between creative design minds and the construction.

First of all it is FLEXIBLE and gives the designer full FREEDOM!

However it is not feature which makes Shell Tool unique!

There are several tools in the market which allows you to model your "crazy" ideas.

But how many of them can actually link it to the real life construction? How many of them can actually generate proper documentation with including all the components of a structure?

Not many!

Amongst these few, Shell Tool has the most versatile documentation features. The ability of using composite fills is an awesome features which sets Shell Tool apart from the competition.

In my opinion, this is what construction industry needs these days!

So Shell Tool deserves to get the Gold Medal in my list!

Enjoy Your Weekend!

Diyane Koseoglu
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 2

# 2 - BIM Server

I hesitated  a lot about placing BIM Server to Number 2 or 1.

It ended up getting the Silver Medal:)

Why BIM Server made it's place to TOP 2?

 1- During the development of BIM Server, I had the opportunity to see the development team, the amount of work put into it's development, the cautiousness for the safety of data. I think it had the longest beta testing period ever. Users were dying to get the BIM Server as soon as possible but Graphisoft refused to release it until they are 100% sure that it works perfectly.  


3- IT IS PROBLEM FREE! Believe me or not, we are providing more technical support on the Network Dongle sharing then BIM Server:))

4- IT IS USER FRIENDLY!  This is very important. You spend 6-8 hours of your time on this software and you would hate your life it wasn't user friendly. 

5- Internal Messaging System! Off this is one of my favorites. In one of our early implementations we were using it even for deciding what to eat:))
In 2009, when Graphisoft released it, I was expecting  the competition to come up with a similiar solution which utilizes Delta Server technology within 2-3 years.

It's 2012 and still no one is even close to Graphisoft's BIM Server!

Enjoy using the cutting edge technologies of Graphisoft:))

Diyane Koseoglu

Monday, February 13, 2012

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 3

# 3 - Multi Processor and 64 bit Support

270.000 m2
  42.000 m2
  82.000 m2
  85.000 m2

These are the built up areas of some of the projects that BIMES have provided BIM services within last year.

In the rest of the world, these size of projects are quite rare. Only few "big boys" get the opportunity of getting involved in them.

However in the Middle East, these are regular numbers. As an architect / engineer, you deal with these kind of projects everyday.

The fact that ArchiCAD supports both Multi Processors and 64 bit is an extremely important factor here. The video below explains how these technologies improve your productivity.

I have no idea how people are investing in BIM software which does not support Multi Processing fully. It is like buying a Lada and racing against Ferrari. (I hope this is a good example. I do not understand much about cars :)

If your BIM Software does not take advantage of the latest technology of the available hardware, how can you commit to Billion Dollar projects?

I saw many companies, doing a basic model just for design coordination and than switching to 2D CAD for shop drawings. Is this real BIM?


Thanks to the great development team behind ArchiCAD, we do not make such "Mickey Mouse" business!

Diyane Koseoglu

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 4

#4 - Complex Profiles

ArchiCAD 10 one was one of the best versions of ArchiCAD in history. I believe it was the first page of a new chapter in ArchiCAD development.

It was the first version which ArchiCAD started to force the limits of design with the introduction of Complex Profiles.

When I first saw the demo, I thought "This is a great tool for free form shapes!"

But I was wrong!

This is not only a great tool for free form shapes but also an amazing tools for construction details.

Look at the parapet above.

Thanks to the ability of generating high quality documentation from complex profiles, the amount of drafting done on the above sheet is at minimum.

I can hear you saying "But modeling takes time!"

Not really! Compared to the drafting work, It is nothing! Plus it is more fun:)

The ability of  managing any kind of cross section with the correct materials both in 2D and 3D is another great advantage.

I am sure there are many more situations where Complex Profiles can be a life saver.

If you have please feel free to share...

Ohh! Before saying goodbye, I wanted to share one more thing. Shoegnome  has great tutorials on complex profiles. Here comes the link for them.

I created a screen capture from the model however it might be an older version since I received the PDF some time later than the model.


Diyane Koseoglu

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 5

# 5 - Import Surveyors Data

Converting Splines to Mesh levels with the help of Magic Wand was one of the "must to have" exercises of ArchiCAD trainings back in Turkey since it is a very mountainous country.

However that was not the case in the UAE. Most of the Emirates are extremely flat. Great for cycling and builders:)) Mesh tools was no longer "must to have" part of our trainings.

Then the 2009 recession came!

Most of the offices located in the Emirates started to look for projects in Libya, Iraq, Saudi, Qatar etc. For instance Iraq's geography is quite different than UAE. Full of mountains!

The site and slope becomes a very important design criteria!

A client of us recently got a job in Iraq! They received the surveyor's data and immediately called us.

- Hi guys! I know you showed us this how to import surveyor's data into ArchiCAD in one of the new features trainings but we never used it so far. Do you mind reminding it to us?"

- Well, you are lucky! It is not a complicated command. Design > Place Mesh from Surveyors Data and select the text file. ArchiCAD will do the rest:)

Of course, life is not that easy!

5 minutes later, Jothi received another call saying it did not work. We requested text file to check and noticed that the problem is very very simple but hard to see.
The number of digits decreased after a certain point and ArchiCAD did not read the remaining part. So to fix it, we added "0" to the beginning of each new number.

Later we noticed that this numbering system also depends on the equipment that the surveyor uses. We received the text file of the same site from a different surveyor company and that did not have the same digit problem at all.

Anyway, although it was a small one it still took us 2 hours to find the problem.

After solving this issue, the team finished their proposal for the master planning within 2 days! Yes, within 2 days!

A couple of days later, I came across with their CEO and he said "Diyane, now I truly believe in BIM. Our BIM team finished their proposal for Iraq project in 2 days. It would take 2 weeks if I gave that job to the other teams working traditionally!"

So yes! We love Import Surveyors Data feature very much:)))

Diyane Koseoglu

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Diyane's Top 10 ArchiCAD Features - # 6

#6 - BIMx

September 22nd, 2011!

Jumeriah Zabeel Saray, The Palm Island, Dubai. BIM Seminar organized by BIMES!

The announcement of BIMx for iPad & iPhone took place during this event! We have introduced BIMx just for 15 Minutes before the break and provided the password of the Wifi!

Every single person in the conference who had iPhone, downloaded BIMx right there! They were playing with it like kids. Trying with the 3D glasses, asking us questions...

After the conference, all the "thank you" emails we received were talking about BIMx as well.

Especially in the Middle East, BIM is treated as some sort of "rocket science". Most people are scared of it's complexity.

I believe BIMx is the tool which made people more confident. They were able to "explore" the alien "BIM" within their palms.

I am also happy that there are other solutions in the market that are trying to bring BIM to the hands of non-experts. It's very good of them to try but of course our thanks goes to Graphisoft for actually achieving it:)

Have a great weekend,

Diyane Koseoglu