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Great Solutions: BIM/Information Technology

Great Solutions: BIM/Information Technology

By By Robert Cassidy, Editor-in-Chief; Jay W. Schneider, Senior Editor; Dave Barista, Managing Editor; and Jeff Yoders, Senior Associate Editor | August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 200908 issue of BD+C.

HKS used its ARCHengine virtual environment to allow season ticket holders to see different views and angles of the $1 billion Cowboys stadium project.

4. Architectural Visualization through Gaming Technology

Before 3D walkthroughs for client presentations were popular, HKS manager of Advanced Technologies Pat Carmichael and his team were working to marry gaming engines with 3D building models. "What's being tasked to us more and more is not just to show design, but to show function," Carmichael said. HKS's in-house-developed ARCHengine allows realistic architectural visualization in an interactive virtual environment. It includes the ability to show real-time shadows and light, moving figures, operational mechanical equipment, and animations that run at 30 frames per second. Utilizing the polygonal structure of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3, ARCHengine delivers textured details and immersive graphic environments that can show how a building will work to clients and potential buyers. For the new $1 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium,

ARCHengine was able to show different views


different seats and allow potential season ticket holders to walk, or fly, through the stadium. Now, other visualization programs are following Carmichael's lead and using gaming engines to show architectural design.

5. Free Online Design Tool for Energy Estimating and Evaluation

To help its 1,500-plus architects design energy-efficient buildings toward meeting AIA's 2030 Challenge, Perkins+Will in April launched an online energy estimating and evaluation tool for new construction and retrofit projects. The firm made the tool available to the public for free at http://2030e2.perkinswill.com.

The 2030 e2 Energy Estimating Tool allows users to set targets in four key areas—energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy, grid-supplied renewable energy, and green power offsets—and assess a building's design against the goals of the 2030 Challenge, which calls for an immediate 50% reduction in carbon emissions of buildings and carbon neutrality by 2030.

Plug in the project name, location, and start date, as well as key energy-related information such as regional fuel mix and baseline energy use for the area, and the tool automatically tracks progress toward 2030.

"The 2030 e2 Energy Estimating Tool allows designers to explore different percentages of these elements to achieve the 2030 goals," says Doug Pierce, AIA, LEED, senior associate in Perkins+Will's Minneapolis office and developer of the tool. "Additionally, the tool can be used over and over to confirm 2030 compliance throughout the life of the projec


This model, seen on the Web in the ICEvision viewer, allows full examination of the architect’s Revit model. The client used the viewer to “fly” up to his office window to see what his sightline would be like during a game.

6. Easy AutoCAD and Revit File Sharing

ICEvision from Salt Lake City-based Ice Edge enables users to explore Revit or AutoCAD 3D models in a dynamically rendered 3D viewer on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. The ICEvision viewer is a full exploratory environment of a 3D model that lets you walk through and visualize an entire project in detail rendered directly from AutoCAD or Revit. Publishers can also associate bookmarks and annotations of their models to give guided tours to end users. ICEvision is platform neutral. The ICEvision viewer for Web and e-mail sharing is available as a free download. ICEvision's iPhone plug-in helps you check models for accuracy directly from your jobsit


An example of how BIM virtual mockups work: The fi rst fi gure shows a point on a roof where a radius needed to intersect with a tangent. However, the meeting point left no room for construction workers to caulk or fl ash the joint.
The virtual mockup in the second figure shows how JE Dunn and its architect modeled a solution during the design stage that would permit worker access
to the point of contention, thus saving a costly change order during construction.

7. BIM Virtual Mockups Found to be Less Expensive than Physical Mockups

JE Dunn Construction uses building information modeling extensively on its projects, but the company (ranked #102 with 62 seats of BIM software on

BD+C's Giants BIM adoption list

) is also using 3D models for constructability analysis, including field conditions. All information (even 2D CAD) that JE Dunn receives from their architects on big projects is put into a 3D model. From there, virtual mockups are created to make sure construction conditions, such as room for a ladder and a worker to flash or caulk a joint, are checked out and confirmed to be buildable (see example below


With Double-Take data backup, Gould Evans’s main server is in constant contact with an SRO image server. Double-Take replicates and compresses the
backup data to take up less space.

8. Backup Software Saves Data, Money at Gould Evans

Gould Evans needed to trim the cost of its tape-only data storage and backup system. IT manager Chet LaBruyere wanted to improve the accessibility of the system to all 150 Gould Evans employees in the firm's five offices—Kansas City, Mo., Lawrence, Kan., Phoenix, Tampa, and San Francisco—and reduce the risk of data loss between them. After testing several systems, LaBruyere decided to go with Riverbed WAN technology and data replication software from Double-Take. This solution enabled Gould Evans to store all of its backed-up data on one SRO image server accessible to all offices. Double-Take's replication software is hardware agnostic, so it can back up work from Mac, LINUX, or Windows computers. The new system reduces backup labor from 36 human-hours a week to one or two human-hours a week and saves $55,250 a year, plus another $8,400 in annual savings in tape media. Double-Take's system has reduced the total amount of data on Gould Evans's servers by 52% while more than doubling their WAN's bandwidth capacity.

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