ClarkDietrich’s technical product and marketing manager provides timely intel on digital tools, BIM and beyond.
Q. HOW IS THE GROWING USE OF TECHNOLOGY SHAPING HOW THE CONSTRUCTION TEAM INTERACTS? AND, HOW IS CLARKDIETRICH MEETING THESE NEEDS?
A. We're finding that trying to keep up with printed technical material is becoming more and more challenging, and printing catalogs is just not eco-friendly. Once we print a large technical catalog, it's out of-date the next day due to new code changes, addition of new products, and new fastener connections or applications. Also, to reduce the size of printed material, yet maintain legibility, we are only able to show a quarter of the actual technical data and product line. So, to meet today’s requests, we're moving to electronic tools that simplify the overload of technical content and allow the user to quickly look up only the information they are requiring. For example, if a user is looking for information on an interior wall design, they typically would need to look up multiple resources to find the limiting heights, UL (fire rating) and STC (sound rating) of the wall system. In our iTools,™ the same information can be found by using filters to find the exact system that meets the user’s requirements. Other systems in iTools that are helping the construction team include: cost-savings calculators, CAD connection details, SubmittalPro® and other design tools.
Q. BIM HAS BEEN A HOT TOPIC IN THE INDUSTRY FOR YEARS. HAVE WE REACHED A TIPPING POINT IN THE USE OF BIM TECHNOLOGY?
A. We're finding that even though Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been out for over 10 years, our industry is only scratching the surface. With the ability of full 3D scanning, slab elevation height scanning, and robotic total stations to place field points, the industry is finding it's becoming harder and harder to find experienced technical field workers to run these systems and designs. We are fortunate to have a very strong engineering & BIM team within ClarkDietrich, but even our team gets overloaded with large projects that can require up to a year of modeling and coordination with all of the project’s trades. While our BIM team has done over 100 BIM projects, and has elaborate modeling systems, we are willing to help contractors start-up their own BIM team— allowing us to work together with the same systems and identify field issues by collaborating with the model in real-time.
Q. STEEL FRAMING INCLUDES WORKING WITH/AROUND OTHER TRADES? HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP WITH COORDINATION OF THESE MOVING PIECES?
A. Our BIM team is finding that modeling BIM projects is only half the challenge. Collaboration with all trades and the general contractor is the number one key to making BIM successful. Having project managers make weekly calls with the GC and trades is a main requirement for BIM projects. These calls—and laying out the full BIM model with all the trades’ systems—enable each trade to identify clashes and modify the design before workers hit the project site.
Q. WHAT’S NEXT ON THE HORIZON AS IT RELATES TO TECHNOLOGY AND THE USE OF COLD-FORMED STEEL FRAMING?
A. For electronic tools, we're looking to enhance our cold-formed design tools and then place them into our online system (ClarkDietrich iTools) to help support our structural product line and clips. Phasing out printed material will be a challenge, but we're constantly reaching out to contractors and architects to see how we can make this more of a possibility with the use of interactive online tools. For BIM, we're fully engaging our services, support and BIM tools with the industry at trade shows like BIMForum, INTEX, Autodesk® University, and AWCI's BIM: Doing It Right™ webinars—allowing contractors to start implementing BIM into their design and construction process. We're also always updating our BIM content to share with architects and contractors in order to simplify BIM integration at clarkdietrich.com/BIM.