Greg Suther describes the process of creating USG Boral’s BIMWIZARD®, a new online tool that’s already saving architects and designers significant time and effort. 

Countries like the US, UK and Singapore are increasingly requiring use of BIM in their projects – with the Commonwealth Government, Engineers Australia and the newly created National BIM Advisory Board looking to do the same here.

Our customers had been asking about BIM for some time. It became clear we needed to find a way to incorporate quality BIM content into our suite of provided services – and I was put in charge of figuring out what our solution would be.

We had many talks early on regarding what our BIM content would look like and the form it could take. We ultimately decided that a powerful yet easy-to-use plugin for Revit® would deliver the very best experience for our customers.

Doing the groundwork

Before any design work began, we spent months collecting data: market analytics, experts’ advice, government regulations, industry opinions, hearsay… Anything we thought we should take into account while designing this tool. I visited countless builders and architectural firms to examine their typical workflows, and they all said: “If only we had a tool that could do XYZ, our lives would be so much easier”. Meanwhile, I took lots of notes!

We’re also very lucky to have a tremendous knowledge base here at USG Boral, so we got input from all our departments: from architectural and engineering to sales and distribution – so we crammed as much of our combined talent and insights into the concept of the tool as possible. 

Laying the foundations

BIMWIZARD® was an incredibly ambitious project; we weren’t just setting out to make a plugin, we wanted to make it the very best in the global industry. To do that, we needed a top-quality Revit® developer we could trust with our design. 

We were very fortunate to find a brilliant Revit® expert with an impressive portfolio. They did an outstanding job for us, offering sound advice on how to improve our initial designs – as well as insights into numerous possibilities we’d not even considered.

Building starts…

The heart of BIMWIZARD® is the massive engine that drives the searching and model generation processes. Building this was a gruelling process of assimilating existing data, organising it into a cohesive structure and developing the complex formulas that make the filtering system so useful for the architectural design industry.

What surprised me most was just how much work goes into making a powerful, sophisticated tool seem simple and intuitive. However, I believe we baked just the right blend of ‘special herbs and spices’ into the plugin’s clockwork – to make it both non-confronting to first-time users and hyper-efficient for seasoned pros.

… and it’s ongoing!

During development of the plug-in, we were constantly having ‘Eureka!’ moments: generating ideas for future upgrades that we had to keep putting on the backburner until we’d nailed down Version 1. So many, that it soon became a running joke that our backburner was actually a full commercial kitchen!

Now that the BIMWIZARD® Revit® plug-in is launched, we’re back into development and figuring out how to bring those ideas to fruition. It’s very exciting… For all of you who’ve been enjoying the ease and efficiency that BIMWIZARD® brings to your workflows, you’ll be blown away by what’s coming next!

Greg Suther is a US-born and qualified Civil Engineer specialising in CAD, BIM and 3D visualisation/modelling. As Engineering Support Officer at USG Boral in Melbourne, he was responsible for the creation of BIMWIZARD® and now leads its ongoing development.

Discover more and register to use BIMWIZARD® at no cost here.