how to avoid getting pushed into a BIM?Cad coordinator role


Everyplace I work, when the team size gets past 4 people, the newbies try and push BIM/Cad Coordinator work on me - I'm trying to be an architect, not a DDC

Feb 20, 18 2:23 pm

don't be so good at it/ simply don't do it.

Feb 20, 18 2:45 pm

Act like an architect not like a BIM monkey.

Feb 20, 18 2:53 pm

I'm just not doing it - and I'm looking for another job - there lots of jobs here in the Bay Area - Once they see you doing Sheet list and assorted BIM stuff, then they think that's all you are good for

Feb 20, 18 2:58 pm

That's kind of an odd dynamic.  Mostly I see the newbies wanting to be the BIM coordinators.  I'd actually be happy to have newbies who don't see BIM management as their ultimate aspiration. 

Feb 20, 18 3:05 pm

Define "newbies."  If they're younger/less experienced/down the ladder from you, a polite "no, that's your job for now" should suffice.

The point being that unless it's the boss/manager/lead assigning you those tasks, stand firm against the weasels.

Feb 20, 18 3:06 pm

The person with the least experience can do sheet stuff. Don't do it unless you are that person. If you are that person, do it.

Feb 20, 18 3:06 pm

all the 0 -1 exp level people should do this - they need to pay their dues like I did

Feb 20, 18 3:17 pm

they don't pay their dues, they become project designers just because they are a wiz at sketchup, then after 2 years become my boss - "Oh Xenakis, can you fix this Family, or can you do this sheet set up and oh can you get it done right away"?

Feb 20, 18 3:28 pm

Xenakis - what do you have to show for your design work? Win a design competition and make your firm aware of your win... 

Feb 20, 18 3:38 pm

My PM. says I still have to do Cad/BIM Coordinator work -

after 9 years? Oh, well - I guess I'm not appreciated here - I'm just their flunky - Byyy

Feb 20, 18 3:40 pm

Hi Xenakis, Are you not in SF Bay Area? There are plenty of job opportunities now.. I was on the complete opposite side... This particular firm in SF pigeonholed me for doing conceptual studies, diagrams, early SD drawings for 4 years... I left that firm to learn technical skills in one firm, jumped again to learn PM skills, then jumped again to be a PM for larger scale projects. My point is that the companies would totally take advantage of your skill sets that are most profitable to them. So, you'd have decide to follow what you want to do. Right now, job market in SF is great that you should be able to find what you like. I can also recommend some firms that believe in nurturing everyone as a PM, letting them run a project from beginning to end.


9 years? Are you licensed? And you're right, there are seemingly no end to the job posting in the bay area so jumping ship should be quick and easy. 

What are you other talents outside the digital world?

Feb 20, 18 3:48 pm

I' ve asked Xenakis this questions before. why are you not licensed yet?


I have a sneaking suspicion that even if you became a front end designer you'd find lots of things to dislike about the process. Designing buildings has only become messier since the advent of software, especially since there's no possibility of two architects agreeing on anything (and it's not like it's ever been a neat and tidy process.) You like Sketchup? If you find yourself doing BIM tasks that need to get done, that's to be commended, but it would likely drive you up a wall to be part of an SD team where they all used Sketchup, and good luck convincing the folks in charge they need to put on the brakes so the team can all go get basic training on a piece of software that's not stellar at SD tasks...

Feb 20, 18 6:46 pm

I avoided learning and doing BIM by focusing in learning building and zoning codes then switching to construction management once I finished my IDP hours. Try saying “what the hell is BIM? Is that something like microstation?“ 

Feb 20, 18 6:51 pm

This. Exactly this. I don't even know how to open Revit. Which has never really been an issue because I never let myself become a drawing expert. Instead I focused on costing, building codes, city zoning, etc, which are all more valuable than knowing the latest drawing technology.


remember, bb, in other offices where there are no technologists so architects have to draw themselves.


I guess you never showed them what kind of architect you could be, perhaps you don't even know yourself, pigeonholing is a two-way street.

Feb 21, 18 7:59 am

A fundamental problem in the profession (even before computerization):  90% of architects want to design, but only 10% of architecture is pure design.  A formula for a lot of frustration.

Feb 21, 18 8:19 am
Non Sequitur

10%? you're being generous.


Define design.


I think more importantly, why are most offices segmented like this? A bunch of ding dong artists doing front end “magic” which is then handed to the (software) monkey/project architect to actually figure out. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a team with various strengths carry a project through from start to finish? Budget and construct-ability reviews not halfway through CD’s anyone?

Feb 21, 18 9:27 am

I'm with you. I do not work in an office like this, but have worked with firms that are organized this way. It's extremely confusing to me because 1) things almost always get lost in the shuffle - like a detail will get misinterpreted by the draftsperson and cost money for change orders down the line, and 2) it's harder to remember during CA what actually got into the drawings and what was cut out. I guess this doesn't matter if CA is done by a separate team of people who weren't involved during design.


If I was organizing an office, I would require all designers to do CD work whether they wanted to or not, and require all CDers to do some design work whether they wanted to or not. You cannot understand all aspects of the building unless you've been involved in all phases of the building.  I realize this would only work for a firm doing small to medium sized projects.


Exactly. If I were adding any business partner (or employees) to my business (whether a licensed architect or another designer), I would expect all people to be in virtually all aspects. Sure, the younger or less experiences individuals (well.... non-licensed inexperienced individuals) will have to be supervised and directed in a responsible fashion but we can't completely hide them from the full picture of architect. Partners will almost always be experienced and decisions of adding partners is obviously going to be about what and how they will be contributing to the business including bringing in projects. Partners will almost be expected to lead, supervise the employees, and be a part of all aspects of projects they are involved in. It isn't a do BIM or CAD work all day. There isn't any pigeon holing. It's a small business so that is to be expected.

In large scale projects, I see the potential need for assigning individuals to specific roles on individual project but overall a person will not be just the CAD "monkey" or the BIMpanzee. Ability to shift between roles and functions between projects would be a necessary skill. It's not like there is 1,000 employees.


Yes RickB! This is basically how my office works and it's pretty great. Instead of breaking people into departments like "designers", "BIM guys", and "CA", we break into "studios" that are essentially teams that work the whole project from beginning to end.  I do work in a smaller firm so maybe that's why this is possible.  Not sure.  Seeing how the contractor understands/interprets the CDs helps you learn so much about how to communicate what you want with just what's on the paper. I think we all strive to create a perfect package of CDs that ideally you could give a contractor, walk away, come back in a year, and the whole project would be exactly how you envisioned. Experience in all phases helps me get closer to that ideal.


ding dong artist?!? what is that? Hey its an art to turn someone's crappy hand sketch into beautiful cd's! WAHLA!

Grumpy Grizzly

I was THE design build BIM Coordinator on Fab 42 in Chandler, AZ Fab 24 in Dublin, Ireland, and one of a few on Global Foundries in New York State for CH2MHill.  Google Fab 42 and you should see 7 large structures there.  One is a clean room that is 200,000sq ft in size.  I DO NOT have a degree in Architecture or any Bachelors degree for that matter.

The role of the BIM Coordinator is to take all the 3D drawings from your designers (I had 250 designers and engineers on Fab 42) and make a 3D Model using NavisWorks.  Then you're responsible for making Selection Sets, Clash Rules, and running clash reports.  Then you attend all the collaboration meetings and sit right next to the project manager and handle the model for him.

You'll also be responsible for teaching all the minions how we use NavisWorks on a project and not how they used it when the local Autodesk Techie came and gave you a 3 day class in it.  My classes lasted one hour and that included questions.  I taught over 1,000 people from my own team, the GC's team, contractors, and Intel reps that one hour class and never had any problems with what they were doing.

Along with that responsibility, you'll need to be dead sharp on the software (Autocad MEP, Revit, Navisworks all three versions, and anything else they come up with) so you can troubleshoot and teach new team members how to use it.

That role in NO WAY needs to be done with a bachelors degree in anything.  I've been applying for BIM Coordinator jobs as well as VDC jobs (Fancy new title for BIM Coordinator) and most of the firms want bachelors degrees in Architecture.  

I've got a few decent leads and have had a few interviews but, nothing is solid yet.  I've used Autocad since Release 10 and have been writing my own lisp routines since then as well.  I've taught Revit Architecture at University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and as mentioned, I've taught NavisWorks.  I've also been an Autodesk Certified Application Engineer on all but the NavisWorks.

What's keeping me from getting hired?? More than likely, they don't want a 57 y/o guy coming in there and doing this job or they don't want to pay me more than they can a button pusher right out of community college.

35 years experience in todays market just means.. you're old..

Mar 7, 18 1:01 am

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