The ubiquity of internet-based correspondence has enabled dispersed teams to communicate no matter where they are located, but for architects, designers, and engineers, this is just the first step. Global teams and joint-venture projects are increasingly common, and many projects require virtual co-location if the partnering teams aren’t able to be in the same physical location.
Companies have sprouted based on the need for BYOD-compatible file sharing, and these solutions work for Microsoft Office documents, slides, and videos, but CAD drawings and BIM models still required specialized software to view and interact with when downloaded.
Architects and engineers (structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) have always faced a difficult task in coordinating their many different disciplines during the design of a building project.”
—”BIM In The Cloud: Architects & EngineersCan Work Together.” LineShapeSpace. 2013.
Web-based collaboration for architecture, engineering, construction, product design, and manufacturing was born out of the need for distributed project teams to share, view, review, and interact with 2D and 3D models. A civic building joint-venture project required exactly this kind of co-location:
“Being a BIM project, it was necessary to have joint access to our BIM model. We didn’t have the infrastructure set up to accommodate this kind of joint-venture prior to this project,” explained Claudia Cozzitorto, BIM Director at Moriyama & Teshima Architects, “We needed to address and determine how we were going to handle communication being split between two offices.”
Two design studios, Moriyama and Teshima Architects and Architecttura, used collaborative cloud software BIM 360 Team (formerly A360 Team) to bridge gaps inherent in working with multiple teams in various locations. The investment in technology that can accomplish both communication and collaboration has paid off for Moriyama and Teshima Architects, “A360 allowed both Moriyama & Teshima and Architecttura to work in real-time as one design team.”
In traditional architectural design settings, design team members sit together to hear a presentation, discuss design issues, and sometimes, sketch a preliminary design that can then be carried out in detail by one or more team members after the meeting.
Traditionally these meetings take place around a conference table, but recently, technologies…and computer mediated meeting spaces have made it possible to hold meetings for synchronous collaboration among design team members who are geographically dispersed.”
—Gross, Mark D., Ellen Yi-Luen Do, Raymond J. Mccall, Wayne V. Citrin, Paul Hamill, Adrienne Warmack, and Kyle S. Kuczun. “Collaboration and Coordination in Architectural Design: Approaches to Computer Mediated Team Work.” Automation in Construction 7.6 (1998): 465-73.
BIM 360 Team enables teams who, previously, would face technological hurdles to collaboration across geographies, to virtually co-locate.