Technology Debt in IT Operations

This week’s interview is with Gautam Shenoy, BIM Director with Steinberg Architects. Steinberg has 125 staff in four locations, including Shanghai.

1. How did you become a BIM Manager (career path, years in Revit, etc)?
In all honesty, it started off as a pursuit and study in 3D visualization. Back in 2003, there were a limited number of resources in terms of renderers, modelers, and platforms that provided quick turnaround for visualization. Revit at the time utilized basic raytracing with the ability to use bump maps and artificial lighting. But then there was this WHOLE other parametric side which intrigued me. I was fortunate enough to be trained by an architect who had the foresight to see that this was the future. From that point on, it has only been learning more and more – different project types, market sector ranging from multi-family homes to NFL Stadiums and airports.

2. What is your evaluation of the current state of BIM in the industry?
The current state of BIM in the industry gives me tremendous hope. As much as everyone would like to admit that BIM has become an industry standard, I think information modeling does not satisfy the needs of blue-blood designers. The workflow between conceptual design, iterative modifications, options, and a fully developed set of documents is still wrought with inconsistencies and loopholes. BIM is yet to fill that gap. Notwithstanding, it has come a long way because early adoption (an all fronts, A, E, C, and Ops) is now a common practice and more and more Project Managers are accommodating the process as a part and parcel of their design delivery path.

3. What methods do you use to convey value from your non-billable hours?

Staying billable is perhaps the proverbial tightrope walk that every BIM Coordinator, Manager needs to leverage in an intelligent and progressive manner. I feel that having a thorough work plan that educates Project Principals and Managers about the perks, benefits, processes, and shortcomings such that they ‘accommodate’ BIM into their costs is the preventive countermeasure. Notwithstanding, the best thing to do when utilizing overhead is to educate the staff, host classes, update white papers, create videos, use every means possible to create resources so that the firm has the necessary expertise to educate their own and the clients. There is no such thing as enough resources. I highly recommend every BIM Manager to constantly work on updating their bag of tricks, stay current with industry developments and NEVER for a moment forget that what they do is fundamental to the growth of the staff and the firm’s expertise in general.

4. What are you excited about?

Where the industry is going! If I roll back ten years, we were still struggling with computing and staying connected. Not anymore! Aside from cloud-based technology, the advent of VR, 3D printing is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. More and more teams have come to realize that the quasi-traditional adversarial designer-engineer-contractor workflow is counterintuitive. I am a HUGE advocate of working together as a single team that strives to deliver a high-quality environment that will provide an endearing experience to every person that inhabits said space.

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