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Tag: Project Collaboration Software
The first instalment: A model is just a model…
When I was younger, I used to spend my pocket money and allowance on plastic model kits. Cars, planes, military vehicles, you know what I mean. When I finally finished one of these projects, I used to proudly show it off to anyone who would give me a minute. The detail on some of these kits was really incredible. Doors would open and you could see inside. Wheels and propellers would turn and with a nifty paint job, it was a true scale model of the real thing.
But the real story is not about the model itself but rather how the model was assembled. You see, these kits as many of you know, come with a fantastic set of graphical instructions. These instructions tell you a story of the assembly process from where to find the parts, what order the parts should be assembled in and in some cases even give you a target time in which to build the assemblies. You were the Project Manager and the instructions became your project plan.
If you were lucky, as part of the kit you also got some historical facts, performance details, optional configurations and maybe some tips on how to keep that work of art maintained well after the final part had been glued together. All great reference information when it came time to show it off to your friends.
Now that I am a bit older I like to build my models a slightly different way… or do I?
I still use a set of instructions that give me insight as to where to locate appropriate resources. I have all the historical information of the project, a timeline, a process if configuration changes are necessary and a support contract to maintain the model after delivery. So what has changed?
We now call this madness BIM, or Building Information Modelling. We can do this BIM modelling using a computer or bunch of computers with some pretty sophisticated software. The software allows us to build the building information model virtually and let it be viewed and scrutinised by others with varied interest in the project. These scrutinisers are called stakeholders (usually the ones who sign cheques) and the tool they use is called Project Collaboration Software, or PCS.
PCS allows you to view and analyse large projects made up of models, usually all in 3D. It’s the entire model kit wrapped up into a computer!
That leads me (albeit with a nice anecdote) onto the purpose of this article. The Project Collaboration Software I am interested in is called Navisworks. Although it has been around for quite some time, Navisworks now has a set of much improved Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow the user to interrogate the model with much more complexity than the software itself would do.
This series of posts is all about the learning and understanding of Navisworks. Not just from Project Collaboration Software but also from a platform to build plug-ins that feed databases that are queried on a web site.
Building Information Modelling and Navisworks really aren’t far off those plastic model kits, they just have a different way of displaying the data. Stay tuned…….
The next post: What can Navisworks do, that it doesn’t tell you on the box?
Grant Dott, C A Design Services.