After introductions and settling into our new Northern Design Center lab space, we discovered each of the learners backgrounds and experiences with the construction industry and their use of BIM during their times at University. Among the Architectural Assistants were the traditional Sketchup models to 2D CAD detailing and Photoshop touch-up work flows. Our Interior Designers had AutoCAD Architecture backgrounds (a small step in the right direction from the past) with 3DS Max and Photoshop skill across the board, and our Architectural Technician had been introduced to Revit during her time at a work experience placement, but traditionally 2D CAD experience. And last but by no means least, our computer coder is a C# writer who's been working in games graphic development, so doesn't even have an AEC degree let alone work experience in the field, but is looking to bring his skills to the AEC industry. By all accounts a great spread of experiences, but we have had very little interest from structural or MEP students (we've been trying so hard), and have subsequently left us with no other disciplines? It's also worth noting that NONE of the students really knew what BIM was or how it was going to help them beyond the 3D coordination, which many perceived was the whole purpose of BIM.
After a brief presentation on the background of myself, and the work of spacegroup and it's different company profiles, we delved into BIM and what BIM is from a UK perspective. We introduced the UK Construction strategy targets, the Level 2 mandate, and the day to day benefits that BIM workflows bring to design teams, as well as showing a few glimpses of where we at BIM Campus think BIM is heading in the years to come.
From here, we got our heads down and started cracking into Autodesk Revit, introducing the concepts and features most commonly used, how some would have been of benefit during the University projects, and how some bring real improvements to professional practice and day to day working. Many picked this up incredibly quickly, and we were very impressed by the Interior Designers who flew through the exercies and took to Revit like ducks in water.
Towards the end of the week, we started our first project 'The House' - a sheet of plans/sections/elevations of a typical 3 bedroom detached house that needed converting into Revit - to get there heads round the interface and get comfortable with modeling in Revit. This introduced them to the a typical work flow in practice of receiving 2D information from external teams, and having to bring that into the Revit environments. I was amazed by how fast they flew through this exercise!
I had to bring more advanced presentation features to the foray, 3D Sections Views, Perspective cut aways, renders, concept sketch views, exploded axonometrics and more... This was brilliant! And we haven't got to presenting the data within the model yet. I didn't see a single Text Box used. All labels and keynotes. Those that know me know that this makes me very happy, and I'm pleased that the concept of pulling the data from the models instead of embellishing over the top was adopted from the get go.
I'm so excited about what this group has to offer, and I think there are going to be some fantastic projects at the end of this course. Our sponsors have landed on their feet with this group and I can't wait for the interview evening at the end of the course. We are still looking for a couple more sponsors, to get that 1:1 ratio of sponsor to learner, but I think our current sponsors may snap a couple if they get a chance once they meet them.