BIM 360 DESIGN CASE STUDY
The ability to update BIM models in real time across multiple offices helps UK architecture firm boost productivity by 25%
Award-winning architecture firm Corstorphine + Wright has been creating innovative, high-quality architectural design solutions for more than 40 years. Founded in 1978, the firm has grown to more than 140 employees based in eight offices across the UK including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Warwick, Stourbridge, Glasgow, Canterbury and Leeds. Corstorphine + Wright is known for integrating the latest technological advances, including 3D-based BIM (Building Information Modelling) into its design processes to deliver innovative building solutions. However, with a growing team, the firm was keen to investigate how to further foster collaboration and promote effective working across the different offices.
With an increasing network of offices, Corstorphine + Wright wanted to ensure it could continue to work efficiently and effectively and co-ordinate internal teams throughout the UK. An expanding project portfolio and a increase in the size and scale of jobs led to larger design file sizes, placing greater pressure on the virtual private network (VPN) and lengthening upload and download times.
Without the ability to make updates to models in real time, architects would have to take notes on the design at design-team meetings and then return to the office to make edits. That was not an efficient approach as clients typically want to be able to interrogate a live model to test certain designs before making decisions. Instead, they had to wait for a follow-up meeting or call to discuss the latest revisions.
Corstorphine + Wright used BIM 360 Design to co-ordinate structural and architectural works on a complex cinema project. Image courtesy of Corstorphine + Wright
Corstorphine + Wright required a solution that could let the design team make digital mark-ups anywhere at any time and on any device so they can make live updates to models.
The volume of design models meant that a lot of local storage was also required to store each project. That was proving to be costly and came with data-protection issues such as access control and disaster recovery. The firm needed a secure cloud solution that would enable colleagues and clients to collaborate anywhere in the country in real time. BIM 360 construction-management software is designed with privacy in mind. All files uploaded to BIM 360 are stored in the cloud on encrypted storage.
“Using Autodesk BIM 360 Design to collaborate with teams anywhere, we're seeing productivity increases of up to 25% on cloud-based BIM projects.”
—Anthony Woodsford, Associate/BIM Manager, Corstorphine + Wright
During 2017, Corstorphine + Wright started investigating cloud-based solutions that could support better collaboration between its design teams. After trying a few different solutions, the firm found that the costs were either too high or the system was not fully compatible with the company's IT infrastructure. However, after working with a client who requested a design process in BIM 360, Corstorphine + Wright started using BIM 360 Design to coauthor and share its designs, which were primarily made with Revit.
Using BIM 360 Design, Corstorphine + Wright was able to coauthor shared Revit models and curate, co-ordinate and manage deliverables throughout the project lifecycle. Working on cloud-connected Revit models let not only the architects but also the wider project team and client review design development in real time from a browser, tablet, or mobile device at any time.
By using the on-line tool or mobile app, Corstorphine + Wright is able to quickly review and comment on models and documents digitally. Image courtesy of Corstorphine + Wright
Design information can now be published to shared folders, letting both design leads and clients track project activity, file version history and issue management in real time. There are no longer delays when making design updates and design leads can control work sharing and deliverables with the assurance that the right information is in the right hands throughout the project.
“BIM 360 Design has allowed me to improve collaboration with colleagues regardless of where they're based in the country, without the need for time-consuming file transfers,” says Aaron Gill, architectural technician. “Project leads can view and comment on drawings on the move, enabling us to work remotely with each other seamlessly. Being able to present 3D geometry in meetings using web browsers has proven invaluable in design team meetings.”
“As a project director, BIM 360 Design saves me a considerable amount of time. I can now use the viewer and mark-up facility that enables me to track progress on projects across multiple offices and comment on details. I am keen to use this functionality on all Revit-based projects going forward.”
—Mike Turner, Director, Corstorphine + Wright
Centralising project information to one on-line workspace in BIM 360 Design has helped teams—regardless of their location—to always stay connected and has boosted productivity by 25%. The time savings for model syncing are even more impressive: Models can now be uploaded and synced in under a minute, dramatically reducing dead time.
“Using BIM 360 Design has increased our Revit and associated BIM productivity immensely,” says Associate/BIM Manager Anthony Woodsford. “We're seeing productivity increases of up to 25% on cloud-based projects due to load and syncing times alone. Our employees are based all over the country, but using BIM 360 Design gives us the certainty that our teams and clients are always aware of the latest versions and project developments. BIM 360 Design also gives us the flexibility to recruit the best talent regardless of location.”
Anthony Woodsford, Associate/BIM Manager, Corstophine + Wright. Image courtesy of Corstorphine + Wright
Corstorphine + Wright has also been able to save money by drastically reducing its local storage requirements. BIM 360 Design lets the firm store unlimited 3D Revit models, 2D CAD sheets and other designs in a common project repository in the cloud, reducing the risk of loss and improving data protection.
“Using BIM 360 Design, we have reduced the need for physical on-site storage in each of our offices, which in turn means more manageable data backup across the practice and improved data protection by reducing the risk of loss through fire, theft, or hardware failure,” says Matt Burnell, associate director at Corstorphine + Wright. “The cloud setup also enables our teams to collaborate even more effectively, improving our workflows.”
Corstorphine + Wright intends to expand its use of BIM 360 products. “As a project director, BIM 360 Design saves me a considerable amount of time,” says Mike Turner, director at Corstorphine + Wright. “Rather than having multiple calls and lots of back-and-forth via email, I can now use the viewer and mark-up facility, which enables me to track progress on projects across multiple offices and comment on details. I am keen to use this functionality on all Revit-based projects going forward.”
The practice has already benefited considerably from its innovative technological investment and has now started to look into how it can integrate virtual reality into its design process. Looking to the future, Corstorphine + Wright is also investigating technologies such as 3D printing and augmented reality to view digital models anywhere in any environment.