“In days of old, when knights were bold, and toilets weren’t invented, they dug a hole and did a roll and went away contented”BIM Weasel, May 2020
Specifying BIM workstations is, for want of a better term, a movable feast. Constantly changing software offerings from vendors, myriad file formats, inevitable interoperability issues, a plethora of hardware choices; all this before you even enter into the human operator realm, being all squishy and organic and capable of errors and glitches completely lacking in consistency. And we haven’t even mentioned budget yet…
Given all these potential complications, the sensible choice would be to do some basic research to establish the most common hardware configurations from leading workstation suppliers, keep abreast of computer infrastructure industry developments, and trace a line back from the “bleeding edge” to a more affordable place on the graph. Essentially, you want your best “bang for buck” coupled with an element of future proofing. Anything too fresh is untested and likely to cost you an arm and a leg, whilst anything too old is likely to run into compatibility and support issues before long. You want your new machines to survive at least one project before upgrading, right? Well, you’d think so.
Apparently there is another train of thought out there that I have chosen to call “Ye Olde BIM” in that it has more of a medieval approach to technology adoption. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, yeah? Yeah. Sure thing my liege.
The example above is taken from a project tender specification for a development in 2020. The year 2020. Weapon of choice; Autodesk Revit 2011. So for a project that may take a couple of years to complete, it makes absolutely perfect sense to specify software and hardware requirements that were looking long in the tooth at least 5 or 6 years ago. But surely by now all those bugs would have been fixed, right? Well, yes but actually no. That just isn’t how the industry operates.
It is only the latest iterations that get the latest productivity enhancements incorporated into them, along with introducing all the new and exciting bugs, as the product moves forward. Older versions are left behind and eventually no longer supported. Cast adrift, as it were. The development of complex software, like Autodesk Revit, needs to be carried along like a boat on a river of license fees. Actually more of an ocean of license fees. Software development is expensive! To extend the analogy to the example above, specifying 2011 software for a project starting in 2020 is the equivalent of clinging on to a fancy wardrobe that fell overboard during a storm en route and assuming that you’ll still get to your intended destination in a timely manner. Sure, you can do that, I suppose, and you’ll probably reach the shore eventually, but don’t expect to have quite the same experience as the paying passengers in comfortable cabins, being served fine wine by Autodesk waiters, leaving you behind in their wake…
Coming up in the next thrilling instalment of BIM Bollocks; how to generate complex geometry with the use of just an abacus. I jest of course… Or do I?