Integrating masonry into modeling, optimizing efficiencies. Introducing Industry Leaders

Fred Kinateder

Introduces integration of masonry into modeling optimizing efficiencies

Symposium attendees meet leaders and learn about the developments of the BIM for Masonry (BIM-M) Initiative, held at the St Louis Masonry Center, hosted by the Masonry Institute of St Louis and Mason Contractors Association of St Louis

Symposium attendees meet leaders and learn about the developments of the BIM for Masonry (BIM-M) Initiative, held at the St Louis Masonry Center, hosted by the Masonry Institute of St Louis and Mason Contractors Association of St Louis.

David Biggs

David Biggs, program coordinator for BIM-M, introduced the sponsors and speakers as leaders of the BIM-M initiative making it happen.

The first BIM-M (BIM for Masonry) Symposium held at the Masonry Institute of St Louis attracted a broad spectrum of the industry. In attendance were designers and engineers, general contractors, mason contractors, association executives and material producers. Diverse programming brought various facets of BIM-M together for all to see how they will integrate.

All-star group of speakers included project managers from the BIM-M Roadmap led by Russell Gentry, associate professor, Digital Building Laboratory of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Gentry is the lead consultant to the BIM-M executive committee regarding development of the BIM-M Roadmap. He is also project manager for the BIM-M Benchmark project. The Roadmap was developed in 2012 as a guide for moving the masonry industry into the BIM world in four phases: Roadmap, Development, Specification and Implementation.

This project has brought the many facets of the masonry industry together, evidenced by the composition of the Executive Board consisting of representatives from Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), International Union of Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), International Masonry Institute (IMI), National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), The Masonry Society (TMS), Brick Industry Association (BIA) and Western States Clay Products (WSCP).

At the symposium, BIM-M released its updated Roadmap which can be downloaded at

Progress of Roadmap Projects 1-4 Project managers of the four projects reported on work through Phase Two and coming in Phase Three. Projects one and three are of particular interest to the design community.

Project One: Masonry Unit Definition Project Manager Jeff Elder, general sales manager, Interstate Brick, West Jordan UT, talked about the development of the Masonry Material Database. Shani Sharif, PhD student in design computation at Georgia Tech, and Mark Unak, CTO of Codifyd, Chicago, showed examples of how a central data-base could be used by architects and engineers in the design phase.

Project Two: BIM-M Benchmark report delivered by Gentry went into detail about the team’s work with case studies to help define Best Practices using BIM for the mason contractor. How that relates to the project as a whole. How do we incorporate BIM-M into the complete Work Flow?

Project Three: Masonry Wall Definition is again very relevant to the design community. Project manager Jamie Davis, PE, LEED AP, principal and president, Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying, Skaneateles Falls NY, and BIM-M chair for TMS, and Andres Cavieres, PhD former research assistant at Georgia Tech, now assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, are defining what goes into the model and when it goes there. They are determining the Level of Detail (LOD) required at various points of the modeling process. They are developing Red Flags for Masonry, to alert the designer of a clash. An example might be the non-compliant placement or size of an opening within the modular dimensions of whatever masonry unit is used. A bit like spell check for masonry. This tool will simplify the use of masonry materials and allow an architect’s design to be built as modeled and visualized. It will help structural engineers with the placement of reinforcing and other structural elements, thus lessening onsite adjustment (field cutting units).

Project Four: Contractor Input is the fuel for many of the other projects.Darrell McMillian, PE, technical director for the Masonry Institute of St Louis, and I are project managers. We provide information to other projects about what contractors want and need from BIM-M to make it functional from their perspective. A series of surveys touching on an array of BIM-related topics obtained information from mason contractors about their knowledge of BIM to date. What was their exposure to BIM? Had they worked in the BIM environment? What they thought the future of BIM was in the industry? Did they see a place for BIM in the masonry industry? We took all of this information and synthesized to what we are calling a Contractor Wish List.

This wish list will provide information for tasks that we want to accomplish in Phase Three. We are prioritizing the list to develop BIM-M software specifications. These will be used to solicit software providers to develop products useful to mason contractors in the modeling process. We will be using information from continued contact in Phase Three to developScenarios of Use and Best Practices for BIM.

Guest Speakers Include Industry’s Brightest

Will Ikerd II, Ikerd Associates, Dallas, and BIM Forum Board of Directors, has worked extensively with the BIM Forum and was instrumental in the development of the current LOD standards and their uses. Ikerd has extensive experience in the use of BIM in all construction disciplines. He went into detail regarding LOD and its proper implementation. Since he has been involved with modeling various materials, he gave us great insight into what best practices might be as well as how to interact with the rest of the industry.

Shani Sharif showed how the Masonry Unit Database could store characteristics of masonry units. Mark Unak gave a demonstration outlining how a proposed Masonry Unit Database would operate through the internet. Even though these examples were not the finished product, we were able to see the potential impact of a central database and benefits to the design community. We could see tangible results. It highlighted a huge step in the progress of BIM-M.

Software Best Practices presentation by Mike Adams, BIM manager, Clint Bailey, AIA, Morgan Wiese, EIT, Integrus A/E, Seattle, was entitled Moving Toward a Three- Dimensional Drawing Set. Their work will be incorporated in the upcoming Modeling Masonry Buildings in Autodesk Revit.

They gave examples on how they are moving from a 2D environment to 3D and how they are able to work with masonry materials that are not included in preloaded families.

It was enlightening to see examples of how they created their own wall embedded family to allow them to incorporate brick arches in the model. They showed how they made use of sweeps to model stone elements in 3D. We also saw examples of rebar modeled in 3D and heard about the advantages and disadvantages at this point in time.

They discussed the future of models being cloud-based increasing access. As designers, they are looking forward to when the material manufacturers’ technical information and properties are embedded into the model and when models can be used for renderings, and energy modeling. Even though, at this time, it takes a little extra effort to include masonry in modeling, designers at Integrus feel it is worthwhile.

BIM-M consultant Shawn Zirbes, technical evangelist, Cad Technology Center (CTC), Bloomington MN, gave an enthusiastic presentation beginning with good examples of various LOD and how they look in the masonry model. He had an example of a building that CTC modeled and how they broke it down into two models, exterior shell and interior.

The exterior is shown in architectural and structural models with varying LOD from 300 to 350. He had examples of both CMU and steel stud backup in the structural model. Everything outside of those walls was showing elements of the architectural model. Each format included various LOD of the model. He showed a number of 2D details or sections alongside the 3D sections. Differences really jumped out when the 2D detail is compared to a 3D LOD 350. The 3D is more detail showing specific conditions in the wall and how they could be addressed. In reality, they were virtual mockups.

Zirbes did a good job of showing the advantages a 3D model and 3D details offer versus traditional 2D drawings. The 3D drawings and mockups will allow contractors to be more proficient and productive in the field. RFI can be introduced through the model and quickly addressed and incorporated into the model for everyone’s use. Conflicts, clashes and details can be reviewed using the 3D virtual mock ups. Zirbes shows how BIM can streamline the construction process and gives realistic examples of how it relates to masonry.

Modeling by both BIM-M consultants will be available as part of the Modeling Masonry Buildings in Autodesk Revit.

Bill Pacetti Jr wears the hats of sales, support and software development for Tradesmen’s Software, Verona WI, developed specifically for mason contractors as an estimating tool in 2002. BIM-M developers believe it has features that designers find useful as well. For about five years, Tradesmen has been helping contractors integrate their 3D take-offs into GC/CM BIM models via IFC. Expansion of the use and demand for BIM has led Pacetti to advance development of Tradesmen’s Software to more efficiently interface with BIM software that GC/CM or designers might use.

Pacetti gave the designers and GC/CM attendees a flavor of where the masonry industry is at this point regarding 3D models for masonry. More than 60% of the mason contractors interviewed for Project #4 stated that they already rely on this software which creates a 3D model during the estimating phase of the project. It accomplishes much from the BIM-M Wish List.

Russell Gentry

Russell Gentry, lead consultant to the BIM-M executive committee, and project manager for the BIM-M Benchmark project, announces the release of the Updated BIM for Masonry Roadmap to carry the initiative through 2016.

Pacetti and the BIM-M team have been talking to see how to make this current interface more effective. This is an example of BIM-M inviting all the stakeholders to the table in order to work out solutions to streamline the process of getting masonry to be compatible in the BIM environment.

Build it Before You Build It Mark Swanson, International Masonry Institute (IMI) Minnesota director, presented Operating in a BIM Environment giving contractors a broad brush approach of how BIM is used in all trades. He began to delve into specifically how some contractors that perform masonry were using BIM. One of Swanson’s tag lines was Build It Before You Build It. His examples showed just that – how mason contractors are using tools such as SketchUp and Excel available to create models.

Success Story Jim Schrader, BIM manager for construction manager Power Construction, presented a case study of BIM related to masonry construction for a university laboratory in the Chicago area from the perspective of the CM.

We were fortunate to have Pete Sindic, project manager for Chicago mason contractor Richards & Weyer, present on the same project but from the mason contractor’s perspective. They gave the audience a perfect example of BIM’s benefits as seen through the eyes of both CM and mason contractor.

Collaboration during modeling and preconstruction led to a better job more efficiently run. This allowed a tight schedule without delays, changes or RFI. It was a good example of how BIM can work when implemented for masonry with a good plan and it can be a benefit to all parties involved.

Efficient and Productive Masonry Adrian Siverson, project manager/ estimator, R & D Masonry in Marysville, WA, gave a presentation that had a number of case studies and great detail about how the firm uses BIM. He shared how they use BIM to be more efficient and more productive even if the project does not mandate BIM.

He illustrated what it takes using various software types to create a model. For the mason contractors, his examples shed light on the benefits that are out there to be had and the untapped potential of BIM. A key point was to only model what is useful. Just because you could model many aspects doesn’t mean you necessarily should.

Tom Cuneio, owner of CAD Blox, Lake St Louis MO, prepares the 3D take off and quantity survey as a third party consultant. Their services provide a model including masonry with a detailed quantity survey for clients. This could be of value to someone just getting started in BIM or who has an occasional need for projects to be modeled.

Art Theusch, president, Collaborative Consulting, Lansing MI, gave a rundown on mobile apps and devices. He shared what is out there for project management, equipment management and safety.

Action-Packed Two Days

The BIM-M team did a great job of assembling a broad range of knowledgeable speakers and getting a good cross section of the industry to attend the first BIM-M symposium. This made it evident that BIM-M is making strides toward making sure that masonry continues to be vital to the construction industry.

Those interested can join the BIM-M effort by visiting and requesting to be placed on one of the committees.

The next BIM-M Symposium will include progress on projects. I hope to see you all there. Until then, visit the website and download any of the many videos, presentations and reports including those from this BIM-M 2015 Symposium.

Fred A Kinateder

Fred A Kinateder, president of Kinateder Consulting and project manager for BIM-M project #4 Contractor Outreach. A bricklayer by trade, he owned Kinateder Masonry from 1990 until 2011. Prior to that, he was an estimator/project manager for Bundy Commercial Masonry. He has served as president of Milwaukee Area Mason Contractors Association, regional vice-president of MCAA, president of Allied Construction Employers Association, trustee of the board of International Masonry Institute (IMI), management co-chair of IMI and president of International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. 414.491-1425


Thanks for establishing BIM-M

  • Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • International Union of Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC)
  • International Masonry Institute (IMI)
  • National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
  • The Masonry Society (TMS)
  • Brick Industry Association (BIA)
  • Western States Clay Products Association (WSCPA)
  • SMART | dynamicsof masonry Where industry leaders gather and speak


Mike Adams, BIM Manager, Clint Bailey, AIA | Morgan Wiese, EIT, Integrus A/E.

Andres Cavieres, PhD, former research assistant at Georgia Tech, now assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Tom Cuneio, owner, CAD Blox.

Jamie Davis, PE, LEED AP, principal and president, Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying,

Jeff Elder, general sales manager, Interstate Brick.

Russell Gentry, associate professor of Architecture and associate director for research, Digital Fabrication Lab at Georgia Tech | lead consultant to BIM-M executive committee | project manager for BIM-M Benchmark

Will Ikerd III, principal, Ikerd Consulting | BIM Forum member of board of directors.

Fred Kinateder, president, Kinateder Consulting.

Darrell McMillian, PE, technical director, Masonry Institute of St

Bill Pacetti Jr, sales, support and software development, Tradesmen’s Software.

Jim Schrader, BIM manager, Power Construction.

Shani Sharif, PhD, student in Design Computation at Georgia

Pete Sindic, project manager, Richards & Weyer. 708-442-1919

Adrian Siverson, project manager/ estimator, R&D Masonry.

Mark Swanson, Minnesota director, International Masonry Institute (IMI)

Art Theusch, president, Collaborative Consulting Group.

Mark Unak, CTO, Codifyd.

Shawn Zirbes, technical evangelist, Cad Technology

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