BILT NA 2017 - week of reflection

For my last BILT NA 2017 blog, I give my top 5 reasons why I enjoy the conference (now that I’ve had a week to reflect) and why you might want to look into going next year.

  1. Traveling - The conference is an opportunity to get out and travel. Downtown Chicago is breathtaking, a modern city with historical context. Phoenix's heat is unreal! I was warned about the heat; it’s like sucking on a blow dryer on high with my head in the oven. Despite that, the plant life is beautiful and was well worth the walk. Toronto had a festival of some sort happening so buskers were all around downtown. I think my favorite was the singing puppets.
  1. Networking - I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people; all of them are enthusiastic about what they do and the knowledge they can share with others. I was even able to recruit people for presentations to our local BIM discussion group.
  1. Learning - The sessions covered a wide range of topics such as BIM managers, using Revit for landscape, Revit plug-ins, and much more. Attending sessions outside my direct interest was where I learned the most, giving me a better understanding of what my consultants need from me.
  1. Eating - You can try new foods. People from the United States learnt about poutine (gravy, French fries and cheese) and Tim Horton’s coffee shops (yes, they really are everywhere, like Starbucks in the USA).
  1. Problem solving - I serve on the standards committee at work. We struggle, like many firms, on how to track and implement changes to the standards. BILT NA was a great place to talk to other firms on how they tackle problems like this. For example, one participant told me about how they use Newforma to track changes and receive requests from co-workers.

Figuring out what to share and when to share is the hardest part of returning from any conference. One warning is, don't get stuck in the knowledge silo (learning and not sharing). The best way for me to share what I've learned is to break it down into categories:

  • What information would my co-workers/firm benefit from?
  • What is helpful for the standards committee?
  • Based on what I’ve learned, what are the practices, processes or procedures that I could implement at my firm?”.

If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me directly. I love sharing what I’ve learned.


BILT NA 2017 - Last day

I enjoyed the keynote speaker for this year, David Rendall. It's great to be encouraged to be yourself, to recognize the strengths in your weaknesses. Every weakness has its strengths and every strength has its weaknesses. Recognize yours and find others who are strong where you’re weak; working together will give balance and the best results.

At one point durring BILT, I was asked  what my interests were, what were the sessions I'm taking. When I smiled and said standards, I received a sigh of dread and boredom (I guess that's where I fill in for someone else's weaknesses). For me, standards are an ever changing puzzle, a real mind twister. For others, it's a poke in the eye with a needle. I tend to be a little passionate about it.

In light of this and my first Augi blog "BILT NA 2017 - 3 days and counting", it should be no surprise for you when I say my favorite sessions so far were about training and maintaining standards. I picked up tips on training staff and maintaining standards/good practices. A large part of maintaining standards are sharing them in ways that will be best remembered and easily accessible when forgotten.

I've also gone to Common Language BIM level 2, Lessons Learned Over the Past Eight Years in the UK. It was interesting to hear from firsthand experience. I can almost hear you sigh and say, "good, more standards..." For BIM Level 2, there are a lot of standards across many groups of people but the key seems to be having common understanding.  I find the amount of acronyms in these professions amazing. Anyone want to guess what LOD means? I'm sure everyone can think of two field related options right away. "Level of Development" and "Level of Detail". Having common language helps to remove those basic confusions.

Did I mention that BILT is a great place for networking? Shortly after finding a few guest speakers for our local BIM group and listening about coding with Dynamo (which was over my head) I meet someone who said he'd help me understand a few basic of Dynamos. That's part of his passions, he's taught sessions on Dynamo before. I'm super excited about that and I hope there is time. I'm such a nerd.

I've got a run now, lunch has started and I'm hungry.


AUGIWorld August 2017 --- Collaboration in Action

AUGIWorld August 2017
Collaboration is often talked about and occasionally put into practice, sometimes successfully so. When thinking about collaboration, we tend to focus on the human aspect. That is, it takes individuals to do the hard work of planning process and procedure, and for everyone else to buy in, to ensure that collaboration moves from theory to reality.

But there’s a technology element that should be considered as well—what can software tools do to facilitate collaboration? The August 2017 issue of AUGIWorld focuses on these concepts and more.

Collaboration in 2017 and Beyond — Joshua Geimecke explores the human side and technological side of collaboration and presents practical advice for moving forward. Then he discusses how newer technology may be used to enhance collaboration in the future.

Collaboration (and More) in 5 Simple Steps — Matt Wunch dives into the Autodesk AEC Collection with a close look at how effectively InfraWorks, Civil 3D, Revit, Navisworks and Live work together.

The Right Tools for the Job — Walt Sparling encourages AutoCAD users to think outside the box, literally, and consider a few other software tools in the drawing arena.

A Design Tour of the HP Z2 Mini — This month’s Tech Insights looks under the hood at HP’s pint-sized powerhouse.

Remodeling Your Tech Environment — Mark Kiker shares lessons he learned during a recent kitchen remodel and how they apply to the CAD/BIM/Tech environment.

The Project Navigator: The Center for Drawing Management — Melinda Heavrin investigates the Project Navigator in AutoCAD Architecture 2018—step by step and tab by tab.

Also in this issue…

Collaboration Tools in 3ds Max — Brian Chapman proves why help with collaboration may be as close as certain features within your software. Xrefs and the File Link Manager are highlighted.

The Workflow of the Future… Now! — Ron Couillard provides a look at a multi-software workflow that will advance projects faster.

Inside Track — Brian Andresen presents three new offerings for AEC users. This month: QuickSelect, an easy way to select elements in Revit; Modelo Exporter for Revit, a 3D-enabled platform that facilitates presentation, collaboration, and more; and WebGL Exporter for 3ds Max, which exports solid bodies into HTML.

AUGIWorld August 2017 Issue Released!


T'was the night before...BILT NA 2017

I said goodbye to my pup this morning at 4am and headed off to the airport. If you have done this before, you’ll know how hard it is to get up that early in the morning, where it’s cozy and quiet and there’s a puppy on your lap.

I was a little nervous about today and tomorrow as the people I've asked about coming to this year's convention are, regrettably, unable to attend. I know this is a great opportunity to meet a whole group of interesting and inspiring people. Even shy people like me have little problem making new friends since everyone here has something in common and are happy to share the excitement. Sure enough as I ride up and down the elevators, my badge of honour (the conference name tag lanyard) sets up conversations. If you see me around the conference, come over and say hi!

As always, these events are held in fantastic accommodations. As I settle into my room, I've been reading over my old RTC event notes. I had forgotten how much the first two conferences have influenced my perspective. It’s not just about Revit, it’s the whole Building Information Modeling (BIM) Process but never forget the end goal, the building for the client.

Ashraf Habibullah, last year’s keynote speaker, was fantastic. He was entertaining with his light up party suitcoat and his talk was also inspiring. I'm sure every structural consultant loved when he stated that they save thousands of lives a year through good structural design, they are heroes. YouTube has his talk posted so when you have time, I encourage to you listen to it. Below, I included the links. I can’t wait to hear this year’s speaker tomorrow.

"Success is moving from one failure to another with more enthusiasm."

Ashraf’s speak (approx. 7min):


Ashraf’s speak (approx. 44min):



BILT NA 2017 - 3 days and counting

Thank you AUGI for this opportunity for blog for the BILT NA 2017.

Saskatoon River Bank

(Saskatoon's beautiful river bank)

It’s a few days before I fly out from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and head to big city Toronto. This is conference number three for me. The first one that I attended was in 2014, in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. The second one was 2016, in hot, hot Scottsdale, Arizona (now I understand why the Canadian “snow geese” fly back north for the summer).

I’m an architectural technologist here in Saskatoon. For those that don’t know what that job entails, I’d say it’s a cross between a draftsman and a junior architect. We draft, coordinate consultant teams, work on building code issues and more. I have a few projects I’m working on so I have to leave notes so my consultant team and my architects know where the projects are sitting while I’m gone.

If you have gone to BILT (previously RTC) before, you'll know about all the excellent sessions offered. Since I signed up a little later than usual, I missed out on the labs. However, there are still a number of great sounding -sessions to choose from. There are even sessions on landscape that, unfortunately, I didn’t have room to sign up for in my schedule.

There’s a session on in-house training I’ve signed up for since I always enjoy teaching/ helping my co-works with Revit. There’s a fun one that talks about 3D printing. Our office uses Newforma so I’ve signed up for the session on that. But the session that I’m most excited about is hearing the BIM lessons learned over the past eight years in the UK. I’m expecting I’ll take a lot of notes on that one as - from my perspective - it’s looking into the future.

Though I’ve gone to the conference twice now, I’ve never been to the Galas. This year, I get to! With its red and white dress theme, I’ll need to buy something new to wear…

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