Digital tools accelerated the design and renovation of one contractor’s new office building

One shortcut: sending shop drawings created from laser scans directly to a wood panel fabricator.

March 28, 2017 |

Photo courtesy of Heywood Chan Photography

Portland, Ore.-based Hoffman Construction is a national contractor that prides itself on using digital tools to complete its projects.

So, in mid 2015, when it was planning to renovate a 10,000-sf office space in Seattle, Hoffman challenged its interior designer, Gensler, to take a similar approach that would highlight Hoffman’s digital integration and technical delivery techniques.

With the help of a host of digital products—including SketchUp, Revit, Faro, Navisworks, Cyclone, AutoCAD and CNC—the Building Team designed the space in just four weeks and helped the client build it in seven.

“Hoffman is always looking to do the impossible in a possible amount of time. Gensler saw us as innovators showcasing our talents with this project,” says Kevin Ryan, operations manager and GM for Hoffman Construction in Seattle.

The focal point was the Think Tank, a 2,000-sf space that would serve as the office’s central hub. That space, according to Jeroen Teeuw, Senior Associate at Gensler who was Lead Designer on this design-build project, is clad in over 100 unique panels that were fabricated from shop drawings produced by digital scans. Fuller Cabinets in Eugene, Ore., supplied the panels, which were fabricated by Straight-Up Carpentry in Oregon.


Photo courtesy of Heywood Chan Photography.


Teeuw says that, before this job, Gensler had only rarely employed digital scanning for interior projects. The scans, he says, were accurate to the point where no tweaks to the design were necessary. “Hoffman had a lot of trust in us,” he says.

Demolition started on Sept. 1, 2015, and included four weeks of asbestos mitigation. Building started the first week October. Hoffman wanted to occupy the building by Christmas, “so we had to identified what absolutely needed to be done in order to satisfy the fire marshals and inspectors,” recalls Ryan. The Building Team stripped the floors, knocked down walls, and installed new T-bar ceilings.

For the renovation, the Building Team broke up the shop drawings into several packages, which Ryan says all but eliminated material waste.

Hoffman achieved its goal, even though the office wasn’t fully completed until April 2016. The space includes conference rooms and private offices, a central teaming area, pantry/lounge/kitchen, open workspace, facilities space, and a reception area.

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