What is up with all the damn D’s?

In the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry any talk that pertains to BIM inevitably contains some iteration of 3D, 4D, 5D, and sometimes going even  as far as 7D. We even have an XD to explain things we can’t fit into the latter D’s. I am particularly fond of XD because, according to the Urban Dictionary, XD means the following:

“Another over-used internet expression for laughter, it is slowly being adopted by the mainstream of internet uses and now is likely to be used the point where it is as annoying as the commonplace insincere ‘lol’ used regardless of comedic value.”

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the D’s. The sad thing is people love buzzwords even if they are unsure of the meaning behind those buzzwords. I have seen projects ask for, competitors sell, and coworkers become enamored by the all-encompassing D. What people really should be looking for is what is actually being done.

I know that sounds simple, for example 5D means cost applied to a schedule in a model right, or does it mean model based take-off, or model based estimating? You see, there is a lot of confusion in the industry about the D’s.

“What can I do to change this?” you are probably asking yourself right now. First, the easiest thing to do is call what you are doing by a name that describes it. Second, you could just inform the next person who uses the term; that 5D is an album by the American rock band, The Byrds, released in 1966.

If you are looking for 5D’s how about:

  • Demand-Driven Direct Digital Dissemination?
  • Or even Demand-Driven Direct Digital

I know we are talking about the fifth dimension I get it but what exactly is it?

Abstract, five-dimensional space occurs frequently in mathematics, and is a legitimate construct. Whether or not the real universe in which we live is somehow five-dimensional is a topic that is debated and explored in several branches of physics, including astrophysics and particle physics.

Since in the AEC industry we deal exclusively with elements of this universe, I am scraping my use of any of the D’s after 4D.

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