BIM GIANTS: Robotic reality capture, gaming systems, virtual reality—AEC Giants continue tech frenzy

Given their size, giant firms possess the resources and scale to research and test the bevy of software and hardware solutions on the market. 

August 06, 2015 |
GIANTS 300 REPORT: Robotic reality capture, gaming systems, virtual reality—AEC Giants continue tech frenzy

Designers in Little’s Charlotte, N.C., office test drive a project design using two virtual reality methods: the Unity gaming engine combined with the Oculus Rift headset, and stereo panoramic renderings viewed on a smartphone using Google Cardboard. Photo: Little

The AEC industry is in an all-out tech frenzy, and the giant firms are at the leading edge. Given their size, these firms possess the resources and scale to research and test the bevy of software and hardware solutions on the market. Some have created internal innovation labs and fabrication shops to tinker with emerging technologies and create custom software tools. Others have formed R&D teams to test tech tools on the job site.

Here’s a roundup of BIM/tech-related innovations reported by AEC giants as part of the Giants 300 survey:

TOP BIM ARCHITECTURE FIRMS

2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1. Gensler $833,024,000
2. HOK $395,000,000
3. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill $338,257,865
4. Perkins+Will $322,194,600
5. HDR $314,877,500

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

TOP BIM ENGINEERING FIRMS

2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1. Jacobs $2,761,837,228
2. Burns & McDonnell $144,794,135
3. Thornton Tomasetti $124,815,343
4. SSOE Group $121,870,541
5. Leidos $85,658,000

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

TOP BIM CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1. Turner Construction $6,960,000,000
2. Whiting-Turner $3,767,284,852
3. Skanska USA $3,391,297,339
4. PCL Construction $3,013,868,713
5. Balfour Beatty US $2,793,025,783

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

 

BIM GIANTS SPONSORED BY:

 

 

Little’s digital media team is exploring the use virtual and augmented reality tools for design visualization and coordination meetings with clients. For advanced applications, the firm is utilizing the Unity video gaming platform to produce highly interactive, immersive building models for clients. The resulting models can function on a website, as an app, through a Wii/PlayStation, or through a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift.

For more basic VR sessions, the firm is testing Google Cardboard, an inexpensive (as low as $2.50) cardboard template that turns almost any smartphone into a VR headset. When combined with special lenses, Google Cardboard allows users to view stereo panoramic renderings that immerse them in a given space, allowing them to look left and right, up and down.

Skanska, Suffolk Construction, Gensler, and Turner Construction are among the growing number of AEC giants that are embracing the hacker/maker culture, and are encouraging their employees to develop and test advanced tech tools. Through its Innovation Grant Program (launched in 2010), Skanska provides employees with financial support and resources to help turn their ideas into repeatable solutions, in partnership with local universities. The program has led to the development of a number of proprietary tools and apps used by Skanska employees across the country.

The Innovation Grant Program’s most recent successes include a pair of mobile applications: Safety Coach, a pre-task planning tool, and Project Corners, a job site communication app. Both software tools launched in early 2015 and already have more than 1,000 users across 20 project sites.

Gilbane’s VDC Group, headed by John Tocci, Jr. (a BD+C 40 Under 40 honoree, Class of 2011), continues to explore advanced applications for 3D laser scanners. The technology has been especially useful as a QA/QC tool, says Tocci.

“The technology around laser scanning has become so user-friendly that we have project teams—supers, project engineers, and assistant project managers—using these $50,000-plus scanners as part of their normal day,” he says. The contractor owns multiple laser scanners and is planning to purchase three more units during the next three months to support various project needs.

Gilbane’s next steps for laser scanning include mounting scanning units on tracked robots to speed and automate the reality capture process. Applications include the scanning of no-access spaces, such as abandoned structures and structurally unsound areas. “Once we get that use case squared away, we’re hoping future SLAM [simultaneous localization and mapping] robotics developments will allow us to scan job sites and open floors with automatic routines that find ways around blocked off areas, debris, construction materials, and  parked scissor lifts,” says Tocci.

Fortis Construction formed a six-member BIM team, in part to help develop the processes and tools for delivering total building life cycle BIM models to owners and facilities teams. The goal is to help clients streamline O&M activities through operation-ready models that integrate deep data and links to key documentation.

The firm’s most recent success: an enhanced O&M BIM package for Oregon State University’s $51 million Learning Innovation Center. The deliverable was found to be so useful that OSU is adopting the package for campuswide facilities management.

A host of firms reported developing custom tools. BDG Architects created a project tracking application to more accurately monitor projects in real time, with a focus on maximizing profitability. Sundt Construction’s software innovation marries customer cost databases with more than 20,000 parametric equations to enable the firm to perform digital design, scenario planning, and full estimating at the conceptual stage. HKS developed a computational method for space optimization. Using the tool, the firm was able to achieve efficiency gains in a recent Promedica hospital tower plan, where, for instance, the nurses’ walking distances were cut in half based on simulated paths.

 

TOP BIM ARCHITECTURE FIRMS




  Company 2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1 Gensler $833,024,000
2 HOK $395,000,000
3 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill $338,257,865
4 Perkins+Will $322,194,600
5 HDR $314,877,500
6 Stantec $296,939,992
7 HKS $252,277,490
8 CannonDesign $165,000,000
9 SmithGroupJJR $147,900,000
10 EYP $144,727,249
11 Callison RTKL $132,800,000
12 ZGF Architects $118,520,258
13 Corgan $99,858,000
14 Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture $79,000,000
15 HGA Architects and Engineers $78,157,000
16 Flad Architects $73,300,000
17 Perkins Eastman $73,160,000
18 DLR Group $71,500,000
19 Page $70,000,000
20 Gresham, Smith and Partners $67,847,000
21 Clark Nexsen $58,700,400
22 Cuningham Group Architecture $55,069,991
23 Ennead Architects $52,275,000
24 Harley Ellis Devereaux $51,218,000
25 Kirksey Architecture $49,310,320
26 Cooper Carry $46,927,920
27 Fentress Architects $45,751,367
28 Moseley Architects $42,211,162
29 Hord Coplan Macht $41,833,043
30 S/L/A/M Collaborative, The $41,310,000
31 LS3P $40,192,940
32 Payette $38,248,821
33 BSA LifeStructures $37,784,799
34 BWBR $35,161,000
35 Shepley Bulfinch $33,695,880
36 Westlake Reed Leskosky $32,600,000
37 HNTB $32,407,740
38 CTA Architects Engineers $31,071,355
39 Morris Architects $31,040,000
40 Ballinger $30,432,909
41 Heery International $30,236,504
42 tvsdesign $30,000,000
43 Ziegler Cooper $29,310,545
44 JLG Architects $29,214,880
45 FKP Architects $29,000,000
46 Solomon Cordwell Buenz $28,284,704
47 SRG Partnership $28,182,623
48 VOA Associates $28,049,364
49 NORR $27,674,000
50 CO Architects $27,121,500
51 EwingCole $26,978,000
52 FXFOWLE Architects $26,562,029
53 Huckabee $26,240,000
54 FreemanWhite $26,142,100
55 Array Architects $25,500,000
56 Moody Nolan $24,918,260
57 Francis Cauffman $24,899,061
58 Ware Malcomb $24,145,796
59 OZ Architecture $23,665,000
60 LPA $23,323,450
61 Wilson Architects $23,000,000
62 LMN Architects $22,638,600
63 Mithun $22,443,000
64 WDG Architecture $22,197,000
65 Cambridge Seven Associates $22,100,000
66 Symmes Maini & McKee Associates $21,864,035
67 Integrus Architecture $21,811,724
68 FGM Architects $21,351,443
69 Hnedak Bobo Group $18,680,428
70 STG Design $18,136,000
71 BRPH $16,600,850
72 Wight & Company $16,435,386
73 Lord Aeck Sargent $16,356,435
74 Legat Architects $15,571,000
75 KSQ Architects $15,562,620
76 NAC|Architecture $15,055,520
77 Bergmann Associates $15,000,000
78 RS&H $14,070,000
79 GWWO $14,060,715
80 Quattrocchi Kwok Architects $13,860,000
81 Dattner Architects $13,441,992
82 Davis Brody Bond $12,817,186
83 HMFH Architects $12,721,846
84 Goettsch Partners $12,629,000
85 Architects Hawaii Ltd. $12,467,000
86 Carrier Johnson + Culture $12,230,000
87 MG2 $12,131,000
88 Albert Kahn Associates $12,000,000
89 Luckett & Farley $11,832,325
90 GBBN Architects $11,735,300
91 Fanning/Howey Associates $11,142,614
92 RBB Architects $10,820,000
93 DesignGroup $10,783,076
94 Hastings+Chivetta Architects $10,664,072
95 Becker Morgan Group $10,356,845
96 Beyer Blinder Belle $9,852,220
97 MBH Architects $9,522,000
98 Schenkel & Shultz $9,077,000
99 Margulies Perruzzi Architects $8,900,000
100 GSB $7,800,000
101 Baskervill $7,653,249
102 Ashley McGraw Architects $7,304,749
103 Anderson Mikos Architects $7,136,256
104 Vocon $6,466,538
105 Good Fulton & Farrell $6,340,900
106 PBDW Architects $5,900,530
107 DLA Architects $5,683,620
108 FRCH Design Worldwide $5,427,000
109 Mancini•Duffy $5,225,000
110 WD Partners $5,200,000
111 SB Architects $5,145,809
112 FitzGerald Associates Architects $5,130,000
113 PBK $5,120,000
114 Schrader Group Architecture $4,639,175
115 TK Architects International $4,263,636
116 Rosser International $4,011,813
117 BBS Architects and Engineers $3,890,000
118 Sheehan Partners $3,600,000
119 Harvard Jolly $3,600,000
120 Massa Multimedia Architecture $3,335,444
121 Sherlock, Smith & Adams $3,177,000
122 GreenbergFarrow $3,170,000
123 Inventure Design Group $3,156,091
124 KZF Design $2,820,737
125 Zyscovich Architects $2,783,045
126 ai Design Group $2,650,255
127 Environetics $2,622,733
128 Nelson $2,500,000
129 LK Architecture $2,350,000
130  Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio $2,000,000

 

 

TOP BIM ENGINEERING FIRMS




  Company 2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1 Jacobs $2,761,837,228
2 Burns & McDonnell $144,794,135
3 Thornton Tomasetti $124,815,343
4 SSOE Group $121,870,541
5 Leidos $85,658,000
6 Vanderweil Engineers $83,723,900
7 KPFF Consulting Engineers $82,000,000
8 Dewberry $79,106,299
9 WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff $60,000,000
10 KJWW Engineering Consultants $57,430,000
11 BR+A Consulting Engineers $46,000,000
12 Henderson Engineers $45,129,475
13 ME Engineers $45,000,000
14 Magnusson Klemencic Associates $43,651,196
15 Walter P Moore $42,030,337
16 TTG $40,573,200
17 Smith Seckman Reid $36,538,845
18 TLC Engineering for Architecture $34,360,981
19 Jensen Hughes $28,500,000
20 Epstein $23,991,400
21 Cardno Haynes Whaley $23,207,485
22 Heapy Engineering $23,132,853
23 Degenkolb Engineers $22,769,783
24 Affiliated Engineers $22,332,000
25 Hixson Architecture, Engineering, Interiors $20,000,000
26 Syska Hennessy Group $19,443,297
27 STV $18,782,000
28 I. C. Thomasson Associates $17,600,000
29 H.F. Lenz Company $14,000,000
30 DeSimone Consulting Engineers $12,030,795
31 Environmental Systems Design $11,790,000
32 Walker Parking Consultants $11,740,000
33 Simpson Gumpertz & Heger $10,500,000
34 GRAEF $10,000,000
35 RDK Engineers $9,915,000
36 Ross & Baruzzini $9,000,000
37 Dunham Associates $9,000,000
38 CJL Engineering $8,500,000
39 Bala Consulting Engineers $7,800,000
40 Wallace Engineering $7,500,000
41 Zak Companies $7,288,507
42 M/E Engineering $7,136,813
43 Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers $6,930,604
44 Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon $6,150,000
45 Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering $5,000,000
46 Apogee Consulting Group $4,724,172
47 Highland Associates $4,200,000
48 RMF Engineering $3,500,000
49 Primera Engineers $3,500,000
50 LaBella Associates $3,211,745
51 P2S Engineering $3,210,000
52 CRB $2,943,018
53 Newcomb & Boyd $2,941,243
54 KLH Engineers $2,834,052
55 SIGMA7 Design Group $2,569,499
56 KCI Technologies $2,000,000
57 GRW $1,594,885
58 Wendel $1,527,734
59 Wick Fisher White $1,423,000
60 William Tao & Associates $1,403,835
61 Allegheny Design Services $1,403,286
62 Core States Group $1,276,329
63 ThermalTech Engineering $1,000,000
63 Aon Fire Protection Engineering $1,000,000
65 Carlson Design Construct $400,000
66  G&W Engineering $360,000

 

 

TOP BIM CONSTRUCTION FIRMS




  Company 2014 BIM Revenue ($)
1 Turner Construction $6,960,000,000
2 Whiting-Turner Contracting, The $3,767,284,852
3 Skanska USA $3,391,297,339
4 PCL Construction $3,013,868,713
5 Balfour Beatty US $2,793,025,783
6 Gilbane Building Co. $2,562,000,000
7 Hensel Phelps $2,465,810,000
8 Lend Lease $2,268,281,000
9 McCarthy Holdings $2,253,640,597
10 JE Dunn Construction $2,012,573,205
11 Mortenson Construction $1,977,778,800
12 Clark Group $1,862,982,912
13 DPR Construction $1,793,000,000
14 Hoffman Construction $1,528,274,204
15 Suffolk Construction $1,505,933,298
16 Walsh Group, The $1,357,634,163
17 Structure Tone $1,283,092,300
18 Walbridge $1,264,845,000
19 Barton Malow $1,243,539,000
20 Clayco $1,140,000,000
21 Austin Industries $953,140,898
22 Power Construction $868,000,000
23 Brasfield & Gorrie $855,573,176
24 Weitz Company, The $765,632,000
25 Messer Construction $764,077,743
26 Beck Group, The $753,070,275
27 Consigli Building Group $714,742,356
28 Yates Companies, The $615,800,000
29 Manhattan Construction $594,366,000
30 HITT Contracting $553,000,000
31 Bernards $522,500,000
32 Sundt Construction $500,000,000
33 C.W. Driver $471,960,000
34 James G Davis Construction $469,954,794
35 Kraus-Anderson Construction $402,000,000
36 Gray Construction $399,111,914
37 Shawmut Design and Construction $365,000,000
38 Pepper Construction Group $352,283,000
39 Adolfson & Peterson Construction $347,735,906
40 Level 10 Construction $339,745,092
41 Robins & Morton $330,854,638
42 LPCiminelli $313,316,849
43 Flintco $285,000,000
44 McGough $284,000,000
45 Hoar Construction $280,234,000
46 Linbeck Group $254,000,000
47 Fortis Construction $231,300,000
48 Clune Construction $220,011,708
49 Paric $220,000,000
50 O'Neil Industries $216,097,677
51 James McHugh Construction $215,802,869
52 Haselden Construction $204,855,931
53 Alberici Constructors $199,848,150
54 W. M. Jordan $193,668,671
55 Rodgers Builders $145,957,320
56 Choate Construction $125,234,767
57 S. M. Wilson & Co. $113,008,058
58 Hill & Wilkinson $112,261,400
59 Coakley & Williams Construction $109,972,489
60 Leopardo Companies $99,574,200
61 Batson-Cook $97,078,298
62 Hill International $97,000,000
63 Wight & Company $69,418,222
64 LeChase Construction Services $68,500,000
65 KBE Building Corp. $53,798,015
66 Donohoe Construction $53,443,258
67 Doster Construction $38,600,437
68 BlueScope Construction $37,840,000
69 Weis Builders $17,831,345
70  Stalco Construction $6,100,000

 

RETURN TO THE GIANTS 300 LANDING PAGE 

Overlay Init