19 January, 2016

Baby Steps in BIM

Some months ago when a representative from Graphisoft was visiting Bombay, he told me they were planning on releasing the ARCHICAD STAR(T) Edition in India. I thought it was a great idea and told him so. A couple of days ago, I got news that the first licences had already been sold.

Image credit: WikiMedia

If you ask me to use STAR(T) today, I'll laugh heartily in your face. Why, then, do I think of it as a product worth pushing? It's simply this: after having used the full version, it is almost impossible to go backward but — and here's the thing — if you had asked me this question ten years ago when I was still working in 2D flatland, the answer might well have been very different.

To begin with, STAR(T) is a lot more affordable, so it is a much smaller risk for someone contemplating — but still unsure of — moving up from flatland. Further, although the feature set is (relatively) limited, it is still a very capable software. The simplicity may actually be an advantage to new users who are still taking their first baby steps in BIM. To put it another way, you might want to try your hand at Karting before you venture into Formula One.

Recently, I've been receiving brochures in my mailbox telling me that STAR(T) is available in India. The mails concentrate on listing, not its features, but all its limitations in comparison to ARCHICAD 19. It is refreshing to see the candour here but I do wish there had been more emphasis on its many strengths instead. Maybe the distributors prefer that architects purchase the full version but they have to realise how important STAR(T) is as an entry point — not just for numerous small and solo practices but for themselves as well.

After using STAR(T) Edition for a year (or three) architects are more than likely to outgrow its limitations and will naturally look to upgrade to the current full version of ARCHICAD. By then, they will be aware of its value, confident about the workflow, and ready to invest time and money in further exploring BIM. The good thing is, when they do make this transition, they'll be able to open all their existing STAR(T) project files natively in the full version.

The latest version of STAR(T) is about to be released here, so I'll write a separate post on its features (and ways to deal with a couple of its limitations). Meanwhile, I'm delighted to see that quite a lot of the great new stuff from ARCHICAD 19 has already found its way into STAR(T) 2016.
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