The other day in my post A Master Planned Community in Three (or One Hundred?) Acts, I mentioned we are working on a Master Planned community on my team.
We had blocked off a large area in early plans as “Hospital and Medical Campus.”
The other stakeholders asked, “What does that mean?” and I answered, “You know, like a hospital and stuff.” “What kind of stuff?” “Doctors offices, labs, etc.” “But what would that look like? All I see is a big colored in area. A really big colored in area. Does the hospital take up that whole area?"
As someone involved in design, this is where the voices inside of your head start screaming things. The voices say things like:
“I don’t know, what do I look like, an architect?”
“Haven’t you ever been to a doctor’s office?”
“<audible, exaggerated sigh>. Obviously buildings and parking lots and stuff. You know, enough parking to meet code, and stormwater management and curbs. Lots of curbs.”
Then as an engineer you throw something out there that looks like this:
You pat yourself on the back and say, “There ya go! That should answer your questions!”
But they still have a look on their faces that tells you they aren’t seeing it. In the old way of doing things, we’d have to build out a lot more detail in Civil 3D, probably do some hand sketching or even bring out the hand puppets to explain our vision. More time building a detailed model means more time redoing the detailed model if they don’t like what they see.
What has really helped our team is bringing information together in a visual way with Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler. The image below is a combination of the road linework from Civil 3D (with appropriate styles applied in AIM), a Revit model of the hospital from the architect, some conceptual additional campus buildings that Arnab mocked up in AIM.
This model is by no means complete. The hospital isn’t finalized. Detailed grading is still underway. Landscaping is conceptual. There is no parking shown just yet. But even as we move slowly through the planning stage, we bring things together to see them in context. To communicate. To help our stakeholders understand what we mean without any eyerolling or pantomime. Or hand puppets.
So now I can say- “THIS is what we mean by a medical campus.”
And then I can ask a question that we never want to ask. We avoid this question like the plague. We run and hide at the thought of this question.
We can ask our stakeholders, “What do you think? What would you like to see?”
And instead of just crying inside as they answer it, we still have plenty of time to make changes because we’re still in planning.