February 20, 2012

BIM vs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?

BIM, to most of us designers, has seemed to be a very slippery slope when dealing with the USACE.  Many of our clients have had the same conversation with us (repeatedly) when trying to respond to an RFP.  They are continually faced with the frustration of wanting to use Revit, but falling into the trap of still having to deliver the final product in "native Bentley format," as is written in many of those packages.  Yet sometimes, just sometimes, we find one or two where Autodesk Products are acceptable, or even mandatory.  But most of the time, the conversation always ends with, "Well, what do you think we should do?  Is there anyone to appeal to?"  No. . . And yes.  Let me explain.

The USACE is NOT against BIM; so this isn't an "us vs. them" or "them vs. BIM" situation at all.  The fact is that they completely understand the need for it; but need to be very clear as to where it is important, and what flavor of BIM, or CAD, is needed in certain situations.  They also have standards that must be adhered to so that FM functionality can be maintained throughout their vast portfolio of buildings. The standards are really based on two primary things: the project type and the 'client.' You see, the USACE handles two major clients for which they procure the buildings and provide FM services: The Air Force (USAF) and the Army.  There are also some sub-components that modify how flexible the client may be to the format of the final delivery - regardless of what the designers or the end user (tenant) may want.

There are two major rules of thumb (and a couple of sub-rules) to follow based on the above.
  1. If it is an Army project, you can be 90% sure it will be done in Bentley.
    • If it is one of the Centers of Standardization (COS) building types, shown in the image below, you can be almost 100% certain it will be delivered in Bentley.
    • If it is not one of the COS building types there will be room for Revit or other applications. These include projects such at VA Buildings and various others.
    • Regardless of whether the local base managers in California (or wherever) REALLY want Revit on a project, they still must answer to the lead district that controls the COS.
  2. If it is a USAF project, you can be 90% sure, or greater, that it will be done with an Autodesk product because that is what they have as their standard.
There is also a third rule:

     3.  The RFP is final.  The USACE know what they want and know where they are willing to        compromise.  If there is "wiggle room" for Revit, it will be in the RFP.  PERIOD.

There are 41 COS products divided between 8 USACE Regions.  Each Region is the controller of that particular COS and each "Tenant" must answer to the Region that controls it.

That's it.  Pretty straightforward and easy to understand, if you ask me. In the end, it is up to you if you want to try to use Revit and then convert the files to Bentley, or if you even want to respond to the RFP.
The USACE has always supplied a vast amount of work for the AEC world, and will continue to do so.  Hopefully these rules of engagement will allow you to make better decisions in pursuing USACE work and, in the end, how to work better with them.

Pete Zyskowski

1 comment:

  1. This is really nice information to know and thanks for contribution to all the members in this blog.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.