Digging for Data

May 8, 2017


I had an interesting conversation with a customer this week.  “Everyone needs something different from the model,” he explained, “so, no model is perfect for everyone.”  Designers, Estimators, Schedulers, Coordinators, Facilities Management; every facet of construction requires a separate deliverable from a model.  When that deliverable or information isn’t readily available for their purpose, the model is immediately discredited and it’s back to the old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.”

I’ve spoken with fabrication shops that completely scrap the design model they are given, and remodel the entire project.  There are a surprising number of contractors that do the same thing for model based estimating and model coordination.  Not to mention, the many owner/operators that simply never touch the as-built model that is handed over at the end of construction.  How many hours are spent remodeling everything, just to make sure we have a model that houses the specific data set required in a single department or workflow?  Can we all work off a single graphical model, selecting, extracting and/or adding the information we need, without getting lost in everything else?

Remember hearing this?  “Revit, at its core, is a database.”

There is a common expectation that Revit will behave exactly as such.  A platform with the ability to group, sort, filter and analyze, along with the graphical representation, provides the ability to make sense of a model, and extract all necessary information.  If information is missing or incomplete, a database provides the ability to add any number of parameters to the existing data.

The challenge is that Revit is only a database “at its core,” on its surface it’s a complex, parametric modeling tool.   That’s why every BIM enabled construction firm (and most design firms for that matter) has a CAD/BIM/VDC manager running point on leveraging technology.  Everyone else is either left digging for data on their own, or relying on a small group of gurus.

Looking back on my customer’s point, of the groups he was talking about, only the designers had the ability to control their own BIM deliverables.  The rest were left to sort out the data for themselves.

Assemble is built to eliminate the ‘digging for data’ effort for all of the estimators, schedulers, coordinators, project managers, and project engineers that cannot afford the time and effort to remodel every project.  With the simplicity and power of an ‘Excel like’ interface, finding, filtering and extracting relevant information from any model becomes a task that the entire organization can perform, instead of just a select few.


brent-ramos-picBrent Ramos is an experienced Estimator, Project Manager and Licensed Contractor.  Over the past 5 years Brent worked with design manufacturing, infrastructure and building companies to successfully implement CAD and BIM technologies.  Currently, Brent is broadening the democratization of BIM data at Assemble Systems.  Brent and his wife Tamara live in Folsom, California with their four children.


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