MEP Model for construction using ARCHICAD?.. Yes Please!

Working with different clients in the AEC industry, we tend to explore the capabilities of BIM in general and ARCHICAD in specific in each and every project. We try to approach the project with a fresh eye, use our skills to find solutions to the challenges, We don't believe that there is only one BIM approach that suits all, each project has its own complications,requirements, stakeholders knowledge and BIM involvement level.

Mechanical floor in a residential tower, Modeled by BIMES

Mechanical floor in a residential tower, Modeled by BIMES

One of the misconceptions we faced in the market that ARCHICAD is not proper for MEP modelling in construction, Well we beg to differ ! We are using GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler , on quite large projects driving the information from MEP subcontractors submittals (I will talk about this in a separate post), for spatial coordination and FM/ AM. And so far with the power that ARCHICAD gives us, we are able to work on quite large projects, that includes Architectural / Structural and MEP, in a file that is shared between our 3 offices over the internet, with minimum to none worries about file size or file management (Sorry.. what is splitting the project into illogical smaller files because of tool limitation?).

Mechanical floor in a residential tower, Modeled b  y BIMES

Mechanical floor in a residential tower, Modeled by BIMES

So can we use ARCHICAD to handle MEP modeling  in construction ? I think yes and actually in a superior way compared to the limitations of other BIM authoring tools (file size, file management,  file sharing over the internet). 

BIM Training for Dubai Municipality Engineers

In collaboration with the Canadian University Dubai, we have conducted 5 days of training for Dubai Municipality engineers (6th-10th September). The training took place in DM training centre. With participation of 22 attendees from engineers of different backgrounds within DM. Florian Techel from CUD and Mohannad Altabbal from BIMES have covered several topics: 

- Basics of BIM - 4D,5D, 6D BIM - BIM contracts - BIM Implementation tips,- legal impacts of BIM-BIM standards-OpenBIM and case studies. And the last day was held at CUD computer lab, where a workshop was held showing collaboration between different BIM platforms and uses of IFC.

We hope that DM Engineers enjoyed the workshop as much as we did :) 


You and your silly one click BIM thingy !


We get calls from different sections of the industry, some of them have some exposure to BIM, some are curious, and honestly speaking I personally enjoy interacting with the sections that I am not very familiar with, as it requires some thinking of how can we make BIM beneficial for them. 

One day we got a call from a PM company where they want to advise their client on using BIM, so can I give them rate of BIM (without knowing anything about the project)? Briefly explained that there is no way that I can help without understanding their requirements, and the project. So we met.

Everything was a red flag, but yet silly me I didn't notice it.. So we sat with the team for about 3 hours, explaining what BIM is capable of, and what we suggest that we should do on this project. It was Tuesday and we agreed that they will send us the drawings and we will provide them with a proposal on Thursday, that is basically design drawings modeling, reporting design issues, clashes etc.., BOQs. and this is considered phase one, if they are happy with BIM, we can go into next stage which is support on site. Deal? yes.

Fast forward 30 minutes later : I am back in the office and got an email from them thanking me for my time and informing me that after I left (note:30 minutes ago) they had another thought (about a thing they didn't know what was it, or why would they need it 3 hours ago) and they think that BIM model and clash detection, reporting, BOQ and a coordinated model is easy and not what they want to provide the client with, therefore they decided that we should propose a full "Design checking and review, Value engineering proposals, and design alternatives" Architectural, Structural and MEP, and that should be submitted by Tomorrow, and oh.. regarding the drawings? we can't release it .. you can only get it once we sign the offer.

I genuinely thought there is something wrong, Called the guy :

The guy with a happy - in power voice tone : That was surprising huh ?

Me : Umm.. Not sure what is it about to be honest? I mean what you asked includes our engineers as a design consultant so not very BIM-ish.

Him: Well .. come on .. you know better you tried to sell us the easy part.. We don't want your engineers to check the design manually .. why would we hire you to do this? we know that BIM can do design check, value engineering and design alternatives  WITH ONE CLICK. 

Me: Oh wow.. you did actually know that, didn't you huh? 

Him *joyfully* : For sure what did you think ? oh and regarding the deadline relax we don't want you to submit the design check, value engineering and design alternatives by tomorrow, just the proposal.

Me: ..... 

Him: Hello?

Me: With all due respect I've been in this field for more than 12 years, never heard of this technology, so obviously we can't do it, but can you please put up the good word and allow us to attend the magic when you implement it ?

The Story ends here, however the scary part is this hype created around BIM as a black magic, google BIM and you will only read about how easy, fast, powerful, game changer, "reduced my time by half", "got 50 times the work I used to handle", and all that with a single keyboard click. 

This is a work of sales teams, however as people that have to use that technology and help our clients with,and basically make it work ! We had to suffer of this dream that is being sold to the industry.

Yes BIM is super powerful, and it is the best solution to many of the issues we used to deal with for decades, however the moment it is " a click of a button" is the day that we don't need Architects and Engineers, which might happen.. but it is not here yet. and no point of selling people that idea. 

Dubai Municipality Circular 207

So recently Dubai Municipality issued a new circular 207 related to BIM (details at the end of this post) , requiring consultants to use BIM on some categories, now this is where fun begins ! here are my notes on this period :

1- Basically we as BIM witches start receiving those panicking emails and inquires asking for "BIM". The same happened in 2013 when circular 196 was out. And oh boy do I enjoy those calls!

2- What keeps me amused is the fact that quite few of the consultants still think that BIM is an IT related task, so we still get calls from IT departments. And some (that I met as early as 2006) and made a decision to move to other BIM platforms, calling today again for help, because this "BIM thing" didn't work out well . 

3- Now the interesting part that we are enjoying the most, when client that got plenty of Revit licenses in their offices, but really didn't manage to do much with it, when they insist on the fact that they have already "chosen" Revit as their BIM platform and they have even hired an expert, and yet we manage to meet them and show them what a little laptop with ARCHICAD can do.. Watching the "expert" is fun usually !

On a positive note regardless of what people are hearing in many cases that : "Oh the municipality is mandating Revit". We met the Municipality team and they were extremely clear that not at this point and never later they will ask for a specific software, BIM is what they are looking for and BIM is what they will require. 

Main points of Circular 207 :

BIM is required for the following

1- Architectural / Mechanical for:

  • Buildings of +20 stories 
  • Buildings of +200k SQFT,
  • Special buildings (Hospitals, universities..etc) 
  • Governmental projects
  • Projects by foreign offices. 

2- Structural for : 

  • Buildings of +40 floors
  • Buildings of +300K SQFT
  • Special buildings (Hospitals, universities..etc) d-
  •  Projects by foreign offices.