Managing Change in 5D



About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! One of the biggest risks on a design or construction project is the issue of change management and how the smallest change can critically impact cost and time spent on a project. This week Graphisoft announced their new Change Manager, which, according to the press release, is “a workflow application targeted for the needs of construction companies, subcontractors, and engineers in order to help them improve their understanding of project changes while minimizing risk of errors and saving time.” Read about Change Manager in this week's Industry news.

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Industry News


Managing Change in 5D

by Susan Smith


Both fundamental and hard-to-spot drawing changes are highlighted by Graphisoft Change Manager – in this case using the vertical slider function
[ Click to Enlarge ]
One of the biggest risks on a design or construction project is the issue of change management and how the smallest change can critically impact cost and time spent on a project. This week Graphisoft announced their new Change Manager, which, according to the press release is “a workflow application targeted for the needs of construction companies, subcontractors, and engineers in order to help them improve their understanding of project changes while minimizing risk of errors and saving time.”

Graphisoft CEO Dominic Gallelo said that the product is born out of the Graphisoft Virtual Construction services team who saw Graphisoft in the role of the customer. “We've grown rapidly into the largest virtual construction company in the world,” declared Gallelo. As Graphisoft builds so many 5D models for large projects, “our services organization was living the life of the construction company, architects, consultants and construction design offices.” It seemed natural for the customer/software design company to come up with the idea of automating the process of automating document changes during the whole cycle of very large construction projects.

“On large building projects,” continued Gallelo, “we build 5D models for our customers who are contractors, at all different stages. It can be from the 'winning the business' stage, to schematic design to the detailed design stages - let's say 50% document complete. Sometimes our team would have three weeks to update the 5D model (at 85%) but it would have over 1,000 drawings and other related documents that they would have to check. It would take us one to two weeks to feel confident that we'd actually identified all the changes between different drawing sets, the 50% complete revision and the 85% complete. We decided to build Change Manager to solve the problem of identifying and responding to change.”

The product is designed to be simple to learn, according to Clay Freeman, VP of Graphisoft Construction Solutions. The help stream has twelve one minute movies that take you through the entire product, with only six steps involved:
  1. Define versions of drawings. This is nothing more than giving it a name: just point to where files are
  2. Define a specification for how you want to compare the files. It automatically matches files to compare and can compare the old directory to the new directory.
  3. Can tell it to ignore certain changes, such as between text as in a title block or to ignore a version number
  4. Run comparison results. It opens every individual file and compares each arch, line and circle to see if there are any changes.
  5. Some color coded changes, i.e. unchanged entities - black means deleted objects - red are new objects, etc. There are a lot of new drawings in the sample. A changed hatch pattern, for example, could mean the difference between a non-load bearing wall that wasn't supporting the structure to a load bearing wall that was supporting the structure. It's very hard to detect that normally. The system here catches them every time.
  6. With the color coding it's easy to see areas that have been updated vs. areas that have not, but if you have a lot of overlap, deleted and new objects, it's a little hard to see what the design intent is. For this issue there is a mode called the slider. Both fundamental and hard-to-spot drawing changes are highlighted using the vertical slider function and pushing it back and forth to see the differences between files.
“We deal with projects in our virtual search and services where we get a drawing change and sometimes there are over a thousand drawings,” noted Gallelo. “Just having a nice utility to compare one drawing file to another is very valuable.”

When a change is detected, it is “clouded” and then can be assigned to other users on the team. This is important when you need to see whether the work has been done or not, and especially in cases involving lawsuits where you likely will need an historical record.

Director of Business Development, Darrell Griffith, Control Air North, Inc., an HVAC Contractor in California, had this to say about the Change Manager: “The lack of time to identify change is a real problem for us, and yet overlooking a single change can be extremely costly! After running Change Manager on one project, we found that only 30% of the changes were clouded by the architects and engineers. Without Change Manager, this would have resulted in a dramatic cost escalation and of course, a lot of wasted management hours.”

Graphisoft's Change Manager is $895 for a single user license. Volume discount schedules are available. The full software will be available on the web for download trial which you can use for five times free .

Graphisoft Change Manager features include:
  • Easily define document sets & analyze changes.
  • Assign changed documents to project team members.
  • Review changes on a document-by-document basis:
    • Adjustable contrast with color-coded identification of new, deleted, and changed entities.
    • Slider: overlay of new and old documents with a slider control to shift the display.
    • Shift: mouse control that shifts the position of the new document relative to the old to make it easy to understand the changes.
    • Cloud annotation with logging.
    • Project Log: Stores the list of changed documents, action assignments, change descriptions, and action completions for each document set.
  • Ignore Change - Stylistic changes such as fonts and repetitive changes such as revision numbers on title blocks can be identified once and then ignored in all future documents.
  • AutoCAD(R) Release 14 DWG format and above.



Announcements


The National Institute of Building Standards (NIBS) through its Facility Information Council (FIC) has formed a committee to create the National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS). The Standard is considered to be a critical element in reforming business practices in the capital facilities industry and recapturing at least $15B annually lost due to inefficiencies. The NBIMS team is actively soliciting participation from public and private organizations and individuals and, to date, 26 organizations representing most aspects of the facility lifecycle and many types of associated businesses have signed the Committee charter and over 80 individuals, overseen by an executive committee, are actively participating on NBIM working groups.

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