Cundall creates inventive building designs with BIM

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Global engineering consultancy solves complex problems with integrated workflows

Cundall has been pioneering the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) for almost a decade, empowering its engineers to produce innovative building designs that give the company a competitive advantage. BIM Manager Kirsty Hogg helps her team develop elegant solutions for their clients, using industry-leading tools such as Revit, Navisworks, and AutoCAD in a connected workflow that delivers award-winning results.

Cundall’s London office was the first building in Europe to achieve certification through the WELL Building standard, designed to improve health and well-being.

Building on a history of innovation

Cundall is a multidisciplinary engineering company with 21 offices worldwide, offering services in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, and civil engineering that cover the entire lifecycle of a building project. Founded in the UK 40 years ago, the firm has been ahead of its time for its commitment to environmentally responsible practices, winning multiple awards for its sustainable buildings.

Cundall was also an early adopter of BIM, embracing the tools and technologies more than 7 years ago. During the 2010 recession, “what we did was invest in BIM training and software throughout that lean period,” says Graeme Padgham, Global Head of IT and BIM at Cundall. “When we came through that time, we were in a stronger position to deliver projects.” And when the UK mandated the use of fully collaborative 3D BIM for all government-funded projects by 2016, Cundall was ahead of the curve.

Today, all the firm’s projects are developed using BIM. Kirsty Hogg, who joined Cundall in 2007 as a Junior CAD Technician, is now BIM manager of Cundall’s London office.  She manages a wide range of projects, coordinating a team of BIM technicians in London and remote offices worldwide.

BIM workflows across the project lifecycle improve collaboration and efficiency

As part of Cundall’s BIM process, Kirsty’s team develops accurate representations of the company’s building projects using a range of Autodesk software, accessed through the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection.

“We’re doing a few projects at the moment where everyone uses Revit as the main piece of modeling software,” Kirsty says. “Everyone has access to BIM 360 where we federate the models. During pre-construction, we use Navisworks to interrogate the Revit model on a weekly basis and produce reports for coordination meetings. And then, rather than throwing that federated model away, we hand the collection of historical data straight to the contractor, who continues with it.”

Kirsty’s team is more efficient in producing documentation using integrated software that carries data all the way through a project in a connected BIM workflow. Designers, contractors, clients, and other stakeholders can follow the way a model changes over time.

“We’re able to head problems off before they go to fabrication—that’s saved everyone time, money and grief.”

Kirsty Hogg, BIM Manager, Cundall

Day and night views of the award-winning Telehouse North Two data center in London. © Cundall.

Advanced tools help coordinate complex engineering solutions

The advanced workflows made possible by the tools in the AEC Collection help Cundall produce inventive designs that address its clients’ complex engineering needs. Kirsty and her team have worked on such technically demanding projects as the 2012 London Olympics Media Centre, a 24-hour media facility for international broadcasters that now serves as a high-tech creative hub called Here East. The reuse-building project required creative solutions such as refurbishing foundations for greater loads and daylighting spaces that were difficult for sunlight to reach.

Kirsty’s team also worked on a central London facility for Telehouse, the global data center provider, completed in 2016. Any data center will have rigorous technology requirements for the building’s systems, especially for cooling. For the 11-story structure of Telehouse North Two, Cundall’s engineers developed a vertical air cooling system that’s been acclaimed as the first of its kind. The result is one of Europe’s most advanced data centers, recognized by the industry for its energy efficiency.

A project team in Cundall’s London office reviews a model created with Autodesk software.

Getting more from Autodesk tools

Cundall subscribes to the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection to get a wide range of software solutions that cover the company’s many disciplines and locations in one package. “It’s just made us more flexible,” Kirsty says. “The processes the London team has been doing for two or three years are now getting rolled out to other UK offices and worldwide, which definitely makes transferring knowledge easier.”

“Managing the AEC Collection is infinitely easier than managing multiple products across multiple locations,” Graeme Padgham adds. “Now that we know the fixed cost, we can flex up and down—that side of it makes our life a lot easier.” The AEC Collection license also enables the company to roll out new capabilities to handle changing workflow needs and gives Cundall’s staff the freedom to experiment with new techniques and workflows. For Graeme, this means being able to foster innovation in his team. “Before, I had to say no to people who wanted to use new software to deliver our projects,” he explains. “Now the answer is yes.”

A future of continuous innovation

Cundall is looking forward to deepening its employees’ knowledge and making the most of tools such as AutoCAD Civil 3D, Robot Structural Analysis Professional, and 3ds Max to further enhance its workflows. The AEC Collection will empower the company to roll out its more advanced tools and processes across its global offices to extend the benefits.

As an early adopter of both BIM and the Autodesk AEC Collection, Cundall has ensured its business is ready to face the future with the freedom to embrace innovative new design ideas and explore processes that push the boundaries of technology.