OFFICEPROJECT is a leading Russian architectural company focused on the engineering and design of office space. Under the leadership of CEO and Chief Project Architect Denis Lobanov, OFFICEPROJECT has become one of the market leaders in terms of the quantity and total area of completed projects. The company had used CAD tools for years. In 2018, OFFICEPROJECT undertook another shift in design technology, implementing BIM (Building Information Modeling) using Autodesk Revit.
“We think that an industry leader should pave the way in implementing the latest design technologies,” says Mikhail Kapchuk, head of design at OFFICEPROJECT. “That’s why OFFICEPROJECT was the first Russian multi-discipline architecture firm that made a transition to Revit exclusively for interior design, in order to increase productivity and design quality and to reduce the number of project errors.”
OFFICEPROJECT began implementing BIM by crafting an internal design standard, creating templates and object families from scratch. This process took the company almost a year. Per Kapchuk, “Interior design has certain idiosyncrasies: our projects include numerous details, decoration options, and custom elements. In the case of doors, for instance, in large-scale architectural projects you can use easily accessed standard door families. In our case, however, door objects also include handles, hinges, door closers, and finishing on both sides. Even at the conceptual design stage, our projects specify custom lighting.
Although many manufacturers of furniture, bathroom equipment, lamps, and office equipment are actively adopting BIM standards, often the Revit families they develop do not comply with the standards of our company and include information that overloads the work file. For that reason, we needed to create specific families within our company.”
The first BIM project
The first modeling task completed by OFFICEPROJECT was a 2300 sq. m office building project. The lead architect and two designers worked in a single Revit file without external references. It took about a week to draft a conceptual BIM model. This model served as the basis for Autodesk 3ds Max visualizations and drawings used in negotiations with the customer. After getting approval, OFFICEPROJECT started to expand on the project proposal. “We accelerated our process by 70% compared to using CAD tools,” reveals Mikhail Kapchuk. “The new technology streamlined design review and decreased the number of errors.”
According to Mikhail Kapchuk, design was accelerated primarily due to automated creation of bills of materials (BOMs) for all project elements; these bills of materials are automatically recalculated whenever changes and adjustments are implemented. The expert noted that Revit lets users produce not just plans, but also 3D schemes for the customer, which simplifies negotiation of complex spatial solutions. Modeling is conducted simultaneously on several planes, and Revit automatically generates elevation and section views. This enables users to solve a multitude of issues, and coordinate all the details.
Designers also sped up the process when working with doors. “With CAD we did all the work manually: marked sizes, entered descriptions, specified the sides to which the doors opened,” recalls Mikhail Kapchuk. “These routine tasks often led to mistakes by designers. In Revit these tasks take half the time: you just have to choose the right doors from a previously created library. If a door is changed, schedules and bills of materials readjust accordingly. This automation helps reduce errors.”
This particular project required designers to include a large quantity of wooden panels for wall cladding into the project models, and to create BOMs for them. To accelerate the process, designers implemented a preconfigured curtain system in Revit. The company also managed to speed up the creation of custom objects, including reception areas, dressing rooms, and lounge areas. For instance, creating a reception model in the 100 sq. m entrance area took approximately two hours, while bills of materials and schedules for newly drafted models were created automatically. According to Mikhail Kapchuk, this saved the company about two days of work.
Revit filters for floor design
While modeling the floor, designers encountered a small problem. “The floor in the project is a “layer cake” consisting of the floor slab, raised floor, damp proofing and floor coating,” says Mikhail Kapchuk. “In order to see specific layers on various plans, such as on the floor and raised floor plan, designers applied filters. At the same time, they were able to make changes to the floor design anytime with just a few clicks, and these changes were reflected in all connected drawings and bills of materials. Revit filters allow us to adjust any compound structures and elements, including walls, ceilings, and floors, by categories and by representation on the drawings, which adds to the efficiency of the program. Later, we were able to save a lot of time on the task as a whole, especially on calculating the BOMs for multi-story offices.”
After implementing BIM technologies, OFFICEPROJECT was able to complete the design of the first office building in just two months, including all negotiations. Beside the time savings resulting from automated BOM generation, they noted several other benefits of the transition to BIM and Revit: “We check models for clashes and are able to detect and correct errors during the design stage. For instance, while checking the model of our first office created in Revit, we discovered that one of the partitions incorrectly joined the facade glazing. Revit also reduces duplicate elements and immediately highlights errors. Additionally, a model lets specialists from different departments join the process instantly. After opening a BIM model, an employee can see all its characteristics. Other benefits of Revit are the robust design data and high level of design automation, which helps reduce errors and clashes. A Revit project is easy to use for construction workers and technical supervisor’s auditors and is a valuable source of information for operators.”
Currently, OFFICEPROJECT has only accomplished the first stage of implementing building information modeling technologies. 60% of its employees made the transition to Revit, and the rest of the staff have completed the training and are waiting for the start of new projects. OFFICEPROJECT is also planning to expand its application of BIM. Next, the company will be integrating Revit with the visualization program and expanding information modeling from internal use to contractor and customer communications.