Breaking Down Walls: The New Age of Communication

NewsAugust 31, 2020

August 31, 2020. Travis Althouse, Implementation Service Manager - MEP

It’s time to stop pretending trade knowledge isn’t crucial to everything we build.

All too often, construction projects get completely derailed by a broken, hard, selective system of communication. Experience-lacking designers make costly constructability mistakes that could have been avoided. Shortcuts are taken on-site without regard to the LOD 500 as-builts contractually required. Speaking of LOD-500, with the rapid growth of the BIM industry, how many old school estimators winning jobs even know what that truly entails? These scenarios all could have been avoided with a constant, automatic communication system in place. You don’t know what you don’t know! 

In my time in the MEP industry, I’ve been the engineer who puts out a perfectly engineered (flat) model, with no regard for install or REAL parts (sorry fellow Revit evangelists, step one of this process is admitting that default Revit parts are not REAL), and I’ve also seen the contractors who receive an uncoordinated model and have to make the most of it. What made that design so poor to the contractor? Why are they so mad? 

I have proudly made engineering drawings, so I know the engineer doesn’t feel it’s poor, but yet the contractor had to do a full redesign and lost a ton of hours. I’ve actually designed a building system at one company, and then went to the installing company and had someone shame the system design (I didn’t show them my initials next to “Designed By”). If a LOD 500 is the deliverable, why are we not working together at the very beginning to achieve that deliverable as efficiently as possible? I didn’t know what that guy needed for his company to make money, but once he showed me, I realized how easily I could’ve incorporated that into my design years earlier.  We do ultimately represent the same person paying for all of this and preparing to occupy our little work of art for the foreseeable future, right?

Breaking Down Walls: The New Age of Communication It’s time to stop pretending trade knowledge isn’t crucial to everything we build, especially for MEP. Travis Althouse, Implementation Service Manager 2020-08-31
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