BIM Delivers, Just Ask EwingCole

EwingCole used Building Information Modeling (BIM) in new ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communications through the design process with United Therapeutics.

They released a case study describing their process in detail, but we wanted to know more. So we asked Howard Skoke to tell us about the tools they use and the impacts they’re having for EwingCole and its clients.

Q. How did BIM influence your process in designing United Therapeutics?

We set up the Revit model for the building and translated it into a gaming engine using Unity 3D software. This enabled the client and team immediate 3D access to the project.

Because of the aggressive project schedule — and the fact that the some members of the client leadership team were not always available in person — we made the commitment to update the Revit model on a weekly basis. This ensured that design development was kept up-to-date to not adversely affect project momentum or decision-making.

For example, there wasn’t a separate “value engineering phase” of the design process. We updated the cost model monthly as a control check. This was easier to achieve because it tied into a real-time design model that our estimators could access.

Q. How does BIM integrate with EwingCole’s processes overall?

We regularly participate in the AIA Large-Firm Roundtable and the AECIS Roundtable meetings, where technology leaders from the largest A/E firms across the nation are invited to share and compare information related to business industry trends. As a member of the Technology Committee of the AIA roundtable, we’ve been at the forefront of integrating BIM technology into project delivery.

Today, our suite of technologies includes:

  • Autodesk Revit Architecture Suite 2012
  • Autodesk Revit Structural Suite 2012
  • Autodesk Revit MEP Suite 2012
  • Navisworks 2012
  • MicroStation XM 2008
  • Navisworks
  • RAM Structural
  • SketchUp 8
  • Trelligence Affinity
  • 3DS Max Design 2013
  • Unity 3D
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Quick Time VR
  • Adobe Suite
  • V-Ray/Mental Ray
  • 3D Studio Max

All of these platforms are IFC version 2x-3 compliant. And we are committed to using Autodesk’s Revit family of software to accommodate requests for BIM deliverables. This allows us to provide services that result in pre-coordinated drawings, enhanced collaboration, and a model that can be used in the construction process as well as for facilities management.

Our Digital Media Group also provides a full range of electronic media services and solutions including 3D animation, photo composite imaging, panoramic virtual reality, lighting simulations, site planning studies, interactive multimedia, product and equipment modeling, audio/visual production, and motion graphics as well as project-specific web hosting.

Our in-house Digital Media Group has been using Unity 3D as their primary interactive development tool for several years.

Q. How have Sharepoint portals been working as a communications tool for sharing assets and collaborating with project teams and clients?

Working very well, but ultimately this depends upon the interest of the client and the larger team of consultants. Some of our projects in the government sector rely on Sharepoint as a central means for document control and communication.

Q. How have your communications, speed, final designs, and/or efficiency improved?

As more of our architects, engineers, and interior designers become adept as using Revit and associated software programs, the translation to real-time visualization has improved and continues to improve. From the perspective of the design team, the decision-making process is absolutely enhanced through 3D modeling.

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