We are on our way to creating information exchanges in our wall and ceiling industry and it is very exciting. The message to all the specialty trades is that, if you don't get onboard now, you're missing an historic opportunity to be involved with a foundational piece of development.
On September 30th at the spec writers national convention in St. Louis we are presenting WALLie--the Wall Information Exchange standard recognized by Building Smart International. Along with the steel industry's standard, it is the only other one that's sufficiently built out and ready for use with an ISO 16739 based data structure available.
You can see the presentation for yourself.
This effort is based on a partnership joining the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the Construction Engineering Research Lab (CERL), part of the Engineering Research Defense Council (EDRC), within the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). By adding a large trade such as carpentry and related industries, one day we can all call a certain type of 2 hour fire rated assembly a "Type A wall" every time and forever.
We're creating and building the base data we all need to map to in our businesses. That data will eliminate the need and time it takes to figure out every aspect of the initial drawings. With this data it will be easier to know where the proprietary drawings built on top begin, thus identifying risks and rewards in design intent and subsequent installation.
The industry needs your expertise on the Information Delivery Manual (IDM) in your trade and how our businesses will use the information and in which workflows.
This is vital to the information exchange project since the programming is one aspect but the key is how to use the data, i.e. in purchasing materials, in value engineering, etc., so we can speak at a more advanced level instead of figuring the same things out over and over.
The other message is that modeling is not only 3D modeling but, more importantly, data modeling. All these programs are databases with front ends called 3D. You don't make your "best" money on extra work tickets, plain and simple. It slows the contract work down and it takes six-to-nine months to get paid for it once the labor and materials have been put out there.
We need to begin the process of creating "contracted for information exchanges," as retired project participant Bill East remarked at CERL a while back.
As carpenters who push the job, we can also push the industry as the catalyst for necessary change that helps all subcontractors get out from under the held-money crunch. When that happens, it will free up our businesses to innovate and grow.