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BSD Aims to Bring Specs to BIM—With New Leaders And Capital Injection

Visionary thought leaders join the company and secure capital to advance products to pioneer the convergence of specification and BIM technologies. But the cloud, and hence mobile, will need to play a future role in success.


Building Systems Design (BSD), a leading provider of specifications content for the architecture, engineering, construction and owner-operated (AECO) industry, announced this week that two well-respected and highly experienced industry experts, Arol Wolford and Iain Melville, have joined the company and closed an investment from Caltius Structured Capital.

New Investment Aimed At Driving New Innovations

BSD’s new leaders and infusion of capital funds is aimed at driving new innovations for the AEC in the area of accurate, collaborative, and BIM-centric specifications software products. The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) continues its minority equity investment as well.

01 – BSD’s speclink-cloud was introduced at AIA 2016 with the aim of getting the specification process more transparent and collaborative within the architectural workflow.

“We have brought together a leadership team with strong, forward-thinking expertise, and are well poised for continued success and growth,” said Chris Anderson, who continues as CEO of BSD. “Bringing Arol and Iain’s collective expertise, leadership and passion for AECO technology to BSD are an indication of substantial industry advancements on the horizon. We have a clear vision and road-map that will deliver game changing technology and bring digital and BIM-focused innovation to specifications. We’ll soon be sharing with our customers, and the industry at large, details about exciting new BSD tools and services that will help architects, specifiers, owners and product manufacturers thrive and grow.”

Same CEO—New Chairman and Innovation Officer

With Anderson continuing on as CEO of BSD, Wolford and Melville take on roles to help carry out progressive new visions for the company.

Melville is the company’s new Executive Chairman and will leverage his business leadership and reputation to benefit the company. Wolford is the new Chief Innovation Officer. As the founder of Construction Market Data (CMD), co-founder of SmartBIM and VIMaec, he is both a renowned AECO industry innovator and expert. A former board member of Revit before it was acquired by Autodesk, Wolford is also an honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and is the only non-architect selected to serve on the AIA 150 Committee. He will power the company’s next generation of technologies.

02 – BSD’s LinkMan-E connects their flagship spec-writing software to Revit but the company has expressed interest in taking this much further and to other tools.

Going forward, members of CSI will remain integral to the strategy and success of BSD. CSI and BSD are committed to continuing strategic collaboration and will engage in a high profile and long-term marketing relationship.

“Arol and Iain bring unrivaled experience in our sector that will be invaluable in driving the industry forward,” said Mark Dorsey, CEO of CSI. “We’re proud to support BSD in developing cutting edge technology and making the work of creating specifications more visually appealing, easier and efficient.”

New BIM-Spec Integration Technology at CONSTRUCT 2017

BSD is exhibiting at CONSTRUCT 2017September 13-15, in Providence, Rhode Island and is demonstrating a new, BIM-integration solution designed to empower specifiers with enhanced visibility and data and improve coordination throughout the specification-writing process.

Architosh Analysis & Commentary

This is a particularly overdue development in the AEC industry. As a practicing architect myself I can attest the “world of specs” and the “world of CAD and BIM” live far too apart, which is remarkable at this stage of the BIM adoption cycle. And even worse, specifications and their value to the industry are nearly invisible to the younger generation of emerging architects. Good specifications make the job of the architect and engineer much easier at the documentation stage with either CAD or BIM workflows.

03 – Cost estimating is the architecture industry’s Achilles heel and one of the ripest opportunities for the creation of a premium go-to solution with the additive popularity of SketchUp. But such a solution needs cloud and mobility; it needs iOS app level interface design and it needs to run on smartphones and tablets like iPad Pro.

The digital-knowledge divide in this BIM transition equates to young architects with knowledge of Revit but little knowledge of how actual buildings go together, working alongside older architects who have that knowledge but have no knowledge or skills in working BIM software. Spec writers are often even further cut-off from the modern-day architecture firm pipeline. And the same with cost-estimating.

In 2016 we awarded our AIA BEST of SHOW award in the BIM category to Dodge Sweets App for Revit and AutoCAD. Why? As Architosh’s senior associate editor, Pete Evans, AIA, noted, “they are bringing the product information knowledge down to the point where young BIM users in architecture practices are making early decisions about elements in buildings but not yet fully understanding how, for instance, a wall is made up.”

This pain-point in the current industry also exist with respect to specifications. Knowledgeable professionals in AE firms know about how one system triggers requirements in other systems. Democratizing this knowledge through modern, cloud-based, data-driven applications that can interlink with third-party BIM solutions is hopefully where BSD charts its course. They already have their link to Revit, but Revit can’t be their stopping point if they wish to truly solve the pain-points described above. You can learn more about BSD here. 

The Key Takeaways

  • BSD has two new leaders with stellar records of entrepreneurship in the AEC tech industry. Their new funding round was not reported in dollars but we imagine the infusion of funds is substantial enough for a complete product development and release cycle, hopefully on new platform technology. 
  • BSD’s LinkMan-E has the ability to show the architect in Revit what objects in the BIM model haven’t been specified in the specifications and vice versa. The program reads all the objects in the Revit file. The company wants to and needs to take this type of connection further with other BIM and design solutions. 
  • In BSD also has big opportunities around cost estimation, an area of project control architects have conceded to other industry professionals at their own peril. Competition winners recently have lost out because ultimately the winning schemes were too expensive to build with allotted funds. Cost-control is an Achilles heel for architects and BSD plans to do more with its Costlink-AE software. Putting it into the cloud with mobile would be the smartest thing they could do, as well as linking it to design tools. 







Reader Comments

  1. Posted by:
    September 15, 2017 05:28 pm EDT

    As BIM-Manager in a mid-sized architecture firm in Germany I am still wondering why nobody addresses the fact, that there are no national or even global standards for building-element properties and propertyvalues. Without these there is no smart way the exchange informations or calculate costs. Product Properties are not useful in planing, as you are dealing with general requirements instead of defined products. In Europe it is even forbidden to name certain products. BIM is like the Jeopardy game show, but I don’t know what the answer (propertyvalue) is or should be, I can’t create the suitable question (quantity take off). That’s the challenge, not what software or file format (AutoDesk marketing) to use.

  2. m68k – thanks for these valuable comments. I agree with you that in the schematic and planning phases individual products are rarely known entities and hence property values associated with actual products are of limited use. However, once products are clearly defined and/or known, the link between BIM and specification becomes clearly important.

Comments are closed.


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