Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moving the Sustainability Frontier: The Macleamy Cruve

Many architectural firms have reached some level of Revit use. Now we need to start looking at gaps in the process that result in redundant modeling and wasted time/money. The main gap architecturally is inside of early design but sometime this fractured workflow bleeds all the way through DD. Making your CD milestones extremely difficult to reach. We have all seen it, the Macleamy curve, more work up front and a nice easy taper into the end of CDs.

I was one of those people that knocked down the Macleamy curve saying that it doesn't really apply to the realities on completing projects. Basically that workload always crescendos at the end because of the necessary reliance on 2D views and documentation embellishment as well as inevitable last minute changes. If the models we created were infused with all of the detail information and annotation then yes, I could see that. But I have not seen a Revit model that even nearly qualifies. To me that is an unrealistic expectation. So instead of looking at the Macleamy curve in hours or workload I look at it now as decisions. That is when the curve becomes clearer to me. More decisions up front so that the model calms down and construction documents can be mostly about documentation instead of active modeling. This would also greatly benefit the other disciplines that are using the architectural model to complete their own model and subsequent documents.

So what is going on during the ebb that we see in the curve during the SD and DD phase? Information input and decision making reliant on analysis of that information. In other words, modeling. Model early, model schematically, don't redundantly keep up multiple models. Streamline so as not to fork your curve.

Ask yourself: What is the first 2D form your project takes? What is the first 3D form your project takes? What kinds of questions can I ask to make better design decisions? What kinds of input do I need to answer those questions?

I am not suggesting that designers exclusively design inside of Revit. Designers should design where they are comfortable. I am suggesting that designers need to be aware of how far they are modeling the project and for what purposes.

This might seem a far cry from the Sustainability Frontier subject but I assure you it is not. In later posts I will delve further into using these early design models to drive better decisions and workflow considerations during this transition.

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