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July 17, 2006
Architects and Contractors Team up on Award-Winning BIM Project
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to AECWeekly! Architectural awards are bestowed on firms that exhibit particular qualities in their designs. In recent years, other categories have been added such as that of building information modeling, which involves more of the lifecycle process in the design of the building, allowing architects and contractors to work in teams. In June, the 2006 Building Information Model (BIM) Award for “Inspirational Pilot Project” was awarded by the Architect’s Technology in Architectural Practice (AIA TAP) Knowledge Community to Houston based Kirksey for their design and model of Satterfield & Pontikes Westway Office Building in Houston. Read about this
interesting award winner in this week’s Industry News.

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Industry News

Architects and Contractors Team up on Award-Winning BIM Project
by Susan Smith

Architectural awards are bestowed on firms that exhibit particular qualities in their designs. In recent years, other categories have been added such as that of building information modeling, which involves more of the lifecycle process in the design of the building, allowing architects and contractors to work in teams. In June, the 2006 Building Information Model (BIM) Award for “Inspirational Pilot Project” was awarded by the Architect’s Technology in Architectural Practice (AIA TAP) Knowledge Community to Houston based Kirksey for their design and model of Satterfield & Pontikes Westway Office Building in Houston.

This building, set for completion in late 2006, was designed and modeled in BIM using Graphisoft’s Archicad, Estimator and Constructor. The building is a Class A office building, to be a three-story, 65,000 square foot, cast-in-place concrete structure. It has the added distinction of being certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) and complies with the U.S. Green Building Commission (USGBC) specifications.
Sun Study


David Larrew, AIA, GDLA Director of Architectural Technology for Kirksey, spoke with AECWeekly about this prestigious honor and how it came about.

“George Pontikes contacted us because of our knowledge of Archicad and doing BIM projects. He really wanted to make this project a true BIM project. it was mainly his initiative that got the team together,” said Larrew. “He got the subs on board, and structural up front for the design phase so we could do all the modeling and design as a team rather than the traditional way where the architect is hired on, does a design and sends it off to the consultants.”

Pontikes was already using Graphisoft Constructor and Estimator prior to this project. They derived great benefit from taking the 2D architectural drawings and modeling the project themselves so they could do the estimating and scheduling in Constructor and Estimator. It saved them time and was more accurate than doing it traditionally. “Once we were brought in on the team, and they knew we were using Archicad, they thought we could streamline the whole building of the model. So we worked hand in hand with them building the model for their use as an Estimator/Constructor model.”

The BIM process was also valuable in doing the energy calculations for the LEED certification. A DOE 2 compatible software for energy calculations is connected to the 3D model, which is necessary for doing those types of calculations. Sun studies are done directly in Archicad, and that and other information from the model is taken into the DOE 2 compatible software, then the software runs the estimation and calculation of the energy analysis.

Kirksey has an in-house LEED certification team, which they try to use on as many projects as they can. “We would like to do all our buildings LEED-certified,” said Larrew. “Not all owners want to spend the money up front. In the long run, if you’re going to own the building, you might as well get it LEED-certified because you will get a lot of credits and also just the cost of maintenance and the lifecycle of the building give you a great payback.”

Some of the green features Kirksey implemented included an exterior sunshade system to increase thermal efficiency and provide glare-free views for occupants. Reduction in the heat-island effect was achieved by putting a garden roof on a section of the building. Landscaping and benches in a central park area added additional atmosphere.

Kirksey has been an Archicad user since 1998. “Ever since then, all the projects we do in this office are 3D and the whole BIM thing is now becoming popular,” said Larrew. “We never called it BIM, it was to us an object oriented 3D documentation automation. It helped us produce documents faster and demanded a lot less coordination in house, because as you build a model, you don’t have to draw elevations or draw sections, they are actually built for you. This cuts down a lot of errors and omissions that we used to experience with 2D drafting.”

According to Larrew, Pontikes was the first firm to ask for the BIM model in order to do their estimates. Since then, Larrew has talked to three different contractors who are asking about the Archicad BIM model, and trying to understand how they can utilize the 3D model in their estimating and scheduling work.

“I think the contractors are getting more excited about BIM than the architects are because of the fact that it will save them time during estimation,” said Larrew.

What features of this project were unique or led to the winning of the AIA award? “The judges said that of all the entries in our section they thought ours was using the BIM process the most,” Larrew commented, adding, “Taking the whole team on, all the way from the owner to the subs, being all part of this format. It’s not a huge project, only 65,000 square feet, a couple of glass rectangles sitting on a site, a nice clean design but not spectacular.”

The project still wasn’t 100 percent BIM, but it was close to complete, said Larrew. The extent of the BIM was the master plan, spec office building, with core and exterior shell. Any additions to the design would be easy to implement using the master plan.

“What we find will be the hardest hurdle for contractors and architects is getting over the way we do things now, which is, the design team puts the project out for bid, contractors bid for it and it gets awarded. So it’s a design-bid-build and then sue structure. We’re trying to go with a more integrated practice and have a design built team all assembled at the start where everybody’s on board and doing the model. It’s going to be a hard road but that’s the way it’s going to have to be to do a BIM process for everyday projects.”
BIM Team


The way the team worked, they would sit down in weekly meetings and at a certain point in the process, the model was put into NavisWorks so people could see all of the different disciplines together in one model. “They would walk through the model, then Pontikes hired a Graphisoft consultant to help them with estimation. He was the conduit between us and the construction team, so we would meet and then we would discuss facts like spending too much money on concrete, we’re over budget here, etc.”

“George Pontikes believes this is going to be so successful that we’re going to be able to do a lot more of these projects,” Larrew summarized. “It was a big step for two completely different companies to collaborate the way we did. There’s a lot of trust between our team and their team. I think it was a win-win situation. The last I talked to them, the construction team there is still on schedule and still on budget.”


Mid-West CAD Inc., an Autodesk Premier Solutions Provider serving Missouri and Kansas, announced it is teaming up with two significant forces in architecture and technology, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Kansas City and Autodesk, Inc., to host an informative lecture on Building Information Modeling and future practice. The event will be held Wednesday, July 26th from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. CDT over a complimentary breakfast at the AIA Kansas City office (104 West 9th Street, Suite 101, Kansas City, MO). Phillip Bernstein FAIA, a practicing architect for 20+ years and vice president at Autodesk's Building Solutions Division, will deliver the lecture. Guests should RSVP as
soon as possible by calling 800-279-3221 to guarantee their place at this free event.


Intergraph Raises Second Quarter and Fiscal Year 2006 Financial Guidance

Contract Awards

BST Global, provider of enterprise business performance management solutions for project-driven organizations, announces that South African engineering and management company BKS Group, has selected BST Global as its enterprise solutions partner.

BKS is a wholly-owned South African multi-disciplinary engineering and management company with 25 offices throughout Africa and a staff of 550 employees.

Building on its strong presence in the gas provider market, Intergraph Corporation announced that Air Liquide has selected Intergraph's SmartPlant Enterprise solution to run its global engineering operations. Air Liquide is the world leader in producing industrial and medical gas and doing related services, supplying oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and other gases in over 70 countries.


Meridian Systems, a provider of enterprise project management software for optimizing capital projects, programs and facilities, announced that Fifth Third Bancorp has implemented Proliance® software. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with $105.0 billion in assets.

Axium, a developer of innovative financial and project management solutions for the architectural and engineering (A/E) industry, announced that over 300 new clients have been implemented on Axium’s Ajera software. Securing over 300 clients puts Axium on target for a 40% year over year revenue growth, making 2006 the most profitable year to date. Axium’s growth is a direct result of the success Ajera clients have achieved from using the software.

Synergis® Technologies Engineering Design Solutions Division announced that its technical training and support played a significant role in the successful AutoCAD 2004 to AutoCAD Electrical 2007 software transition for Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based Greenray Industries. Greenray Industries, a leading manufacturer of precision frequency control products designed for communications, military, aerospace and instrumentation applications, required a software package that would help them increase output and decrease errors in the drafting department. After deciding to make the transition to Autodesk's AutoCAD Electrical software, Greenray turned to Synergis for training.

Riverbed Technology, Inc. announced that Lagan Construction, an international construction and building business, has installed Riverbed's Steelhead(R) appliances to improve the performance of its business critical applications over the WAN, to provide accelerated back-up and centralize IT support.


CH2M HILL, a global full-service engineering, construction, and operations firm, is the top environmental firm according to Engineering News Record (ENR). The number one ranking marks the first time CH2M HILL has held the top spot in ENR's annual rankings of the Top 200 Environmental Firms.

Dexter + Chaney, developer of Forefront(R) Construction Suite construction management and accounting software, placed 19th in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s recently published annual ranking of the Puget Sound area’s largest software developers. It marked the third consecutive year that Dexter + Chaney has climbed on the listing: the company was 20th in 2005, 21st in 2004 and 23rd in 2003.

Sage Software announced that it has received Constructech magazine’s Hottest Companies of the Year Award a second consecutive year for its innovative technology, showcasing the company’s Sage Timberline Office and Sage Master Builder business management solutions for the construction industry.


CH2M HILL announced the addition of Greg Pulliam, Water & Process Market Segment Leader, to lead client development efforts in water and wastewater for the company's industrial marketplace in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of the U.S. Clients will benefit from Pulliam's 30 years of industrial experience in combination with CH2M HILL's traditionally strong resources in the West.

New Products

Meridian Systems® announced new promotional offers when building owners and construction organizations purchase Prolog Enterprise Packs of 10 or greater. Prolog is the industry standard for successful construction project delivery, and Prolog Enterprise Packs make it easier to standardize on Prolog software for construction project management.

Oce Imagistics Inc. introduced the Oce Imagistics im5530/im6030 and the im7230/im8530 series of MFPs. With speeds ranging from 55ppm to 85ppm, the four modular designs offer highly developed functionalities each in a single, smart and easy to use system. The im5530/im6030 are ideal for midsize workgroups requiring advanced connectivity, security, scanning, fax and finishing, enabling increased productivity. Timesaving features like scanning to multiple destinations, booklet-making, duplexing, and job build are easily accessed through an intuitive touch screen display. The im7230/im8530 are top performers that can easily withstand the challenges of any production environment.
Targeted for high volume departments and light production areas, the im7230/im8530 can create complex jobs with custom print settings and finishing attributes found in centralized copy and print centers.

The new product generation of Allplan 2006 from Nemetschek provides an integrated solution for architectural design, visualization, civil engineering, quantity takeoff, cost planning, structural design, energy advice, and building services. This intelligent system makes multiple entries, data discontinuity, and interface problems things of the past. As a pioneer of BIM (Building Information Model) technology, the company has further rounded out its building model in Allplan 2006.

Trelligence announced that its Trelligence Affinity™ architectural programming and schematic design software now supports Archicad 10. Affinity is a unique software solution that extends the benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to include the conceptual, pre-design process of the building life cycle.

DRCAUTO Software announced the completion and release of Toolkit Max 2007 supported on AutoCAD LT(r) 2007 and AutoCAD(r) 2007 platform. Toolkit Max 2007 provides the ability to load and run Fast-Load AutoLISP files (.fas), Visual LISP Executable files (.vlx), AutoLISP files (.lsp), ObjectARX files (.arx), ObjectDBX files (.dbx) plus a host of additional productivity commands.

Informative Graphics Corp. (IGC), a leader in content visualization, secure publishing and collaboration technology and makers of ProjectDox(TM) project communication and collaboration software, announced that the company will position ProjectDox for city and county construction planning departments as part of an overall strategy to provide advanced collaboration technology for companies and organizations working through the overall design/construction process.

Around the Web

eWEEK Labs Bakeoff: Open Source Versus .Net Stacks, Jim Rapoza, July 9, 2006, Eweek -Review: Linux and .Net zealots can both take away positives from eWEEK Labs testing of various application stacks, but a mix-and-match approach wins the day. Bottom line: Linux and .Net better learn to play nice.

Upcoming Events

July 17 - 18, 2006
Place: Vancouver, Canada
A host of new Canadian research buildings and science teaching facilities (recently completed, and nearly completed) demonstrate innovative, cost-effective solutions for a broad spectrum of growing and fast-changing science programs. Specifically, they reveal how scientific vision, design concepts, and building operations plans are shaping decisions on:
  • Costs & budgets
  • Performance metrics
  • Flexibility features
  • Efficient space utilization
  • Multi-discipline, multi-tenant building solutions
  • Biocontainment, vivariums and other specialized embedded spaces
  • Sustainable ("green") design
  • Mechanical and electrical systems
  • Operations & maintenance
  • Building upon the success of Science Buildings Canada 2005, the Science Buildings Canada 2006 conference will reveal the occupancy plans, lab and lab/office schemes, mechanical designs, sustainable design criteria, security, project planning, management strategies, and bottom-line costs that are shaping the facilities side to Canada's major new science and research initiative.

    Attend this conference to get ahead of the planning curve for your next major science building project, facility renovation program, or facilities management initiative.

    Please note:

    All conference proceedings will be conducted in English.

    July 17 - 21, 2006
    Place: The Monona Terrace Convention Center

    Madison, OH USA
    This meeting will be one of many opportunities for both new and seasoned executives to learn from one another. The blend of activities includes thought-provoking presentations by members of the AIA family and sessions on effective component programs and activities, and a celebration of the achievements of our colleagues.

    July 19 - 21, 2006
    Place: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

    Washington, DC USA
    Experience design in the Nation’s Capital. DesignDC is Washington’s premier event for Metro area architects, designers, engineers and contractors. Learn about the latest tools, trends and technology to give your design business the competitive edge.

    Produced by the Washington Chapter/AIA and Potomac Valley AIA, this conference and expo is specifically tailored toward helping design industry professionals fulfill continuing education requirements, network with colleagues, and meet vendors who can make your job easier and more productive.

    July 20 - 21, 2006
    Place: Hotel Allegro

    Chicago, IL USA
    Designed for architects, engineers, facility managers, project managers, and contractors, this two-day program reviews codes and standards for health care facilities, including changes and new material in Guidelines 2006, and features a lecture format with open forums and question-and-answer sessions.

    At the conclusion of the program, attendees will be able to:

    - Explain the underlying intent and current interpretation of existing and newly revised text in the Guidelines

    - Identify, locate, and use the information relevant to your health facility project quickly and easily

    - Discuss how your state applies the Guidelines

    - Determine how the new Guidelines will affect the design and construction of specialized patient care areas


    You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.