The Graphisoft division of Nemetschek has put together a package to entice users from CAD to BIM (building information modeling). It seems like a good idea, so I thought I'd check it out at trialregistration.graphisoft.com.
The Experience includes the following items:
- A fully working version of ArchiCAD. Free. Sort of: for 30 days, and it saves files in an indeterminate "trial" format that I am guessing is incompatible with the paid version, because the site warns, "Saves TRIAL files that automatically upgrade to FULL files upon purchase of a commercial license." I wonder if the time limit is 30 days of use, or 30 days whether you use it or not.
- Two hours and 10 lessons of BIM training. The lessons use Frank Lloyd Wright's Massaro House, though I suspect Mr Wright probably didn't have access to BIM on that particular design project. Maybe if he had, his buildings wouldn't leak so badly.
- A 15-minute online multiple-choice test that checks your understanding of BIM. It's 15 minutes, because you are limited to 1.5 minutes per question. I found the 1-min 30-sec countdown clock made the questions even more intimidating to answer.
Trying Out the Quiz
I'm not Joe BIM Wiz, so I thought I'd try out the BIM Quiz just to see how dumb I am. I got 70%, but Graphisoft didn't tell me which questions I got wrong or how I compared with anyone else. (Only the very best marks are listed publicly.) You might be able to do better, depending on whether you are able to answer questions like #8:
Q: How does a BIM application support "green design" ideas?
A1: Thermal calculations can be made of the designed structures. It is possible to check if the values can be classified as "green" or not.
A2: The developers of various BIM applications organize competitions for prizes to support "green design" ideas.
A3: You can set the software so that it will warn you if the design you have made is not an environment-friendly "green" design.
A4: Since there are several "green" engineering applications that understand and are able to use data coming from BIM applications, it is very easy and fast to check the rightness of the design from this point of View.
It seems to me that all four answers are correct. If not, then BIM isn't all that fantastically great as marketing departments make it out to be.