Darren’s presentation covered Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) evolution from CAD to Building Information Modelling and how it’s being applied to the Freedom Tower Project, the reasons for changing to Building Information Model (BIM) and the impacts of those changes on industry and practice.
These are my notes; Darren detailed these headings with project examples, liberal graphics and video. In a separate presentation he showed BIM use for visualisation. I've added a few links – in italics – to relevant articles/sites discovered while researching this post which were not directly quoted in the presentation.
- Darren J. Rizza - SOM Firmwide Digital Design Director
- IT Systems
- Knowledge Management
- Digital Design Applications
Realising the Freedom Tower: Pioneering Process Change
Darren outlined SOM's history with BIM which they termed, back in the 80's, "Reality before Reality". At that stage the desire to model projects led SOM to develop AES, an in-house BIM solution created in partnership with IBM. This was used for Frank Ghery's Bilbao Guggenheim Structure & is still in use for some projects.
In the 90's there was a realisation that an in-house solution was a dead end. It worked but no other partners could use it and sharing information is crucial to BIM. SOM adopted a mix of AutoCAD/Architectural Desktop, which partially addressed the BIM goal.
In the early 2000's SOM was still seeking a true BIM solution. After extensive evaluation of possible technologies SOM adopted Revit as their BIM solution. Today SOM deploy a mix of these applications and technologies, from AES to Revit, depending on the project demand and team resources.
The Freedom Tower Project - "Recapture the skyline";
Darren introduced The Freedom Tower project outlining the process that led to SOM being involved in realising the The Freedom Tower design competition winner.
With a complex site and many interested parties there was a demand for modelling to create and communicate the design. This huge project is, for understandable reasons, employing state of the art security and safety design. The project also has to meet strict environmental guidelines to minimise it's impact and maximise operational efficiency.
In April 2005, with the project well underway, security demands required a complete redesign. The result is an SOM design, a 1776 ft high structure with 69 floors, 2.6 million feet of commercial office space, Restaurants, Observation Decks and Public spaces, in an asymmetrical tower that twists as it rises topped off with a cable stayed broadcast antenna.(Image right Copyright SOM)
SOM, Freedom Tower & Revit;
The demand for BIM;
Experience with previous projects convinced SOM a revolutionary approach was needed. Simply coordinating documentation and detecting/resolving interferences consumes a huge amount of resource in a large project. BIM promised to reduce or eliminate these efforts by aiding design visualisation, analysis and document coordination.
Revit was initially adopted for sub-ground structure only. A "small trial" although small in this case means 15 underground levels of building, subway and major infrastructure! Tower was to be done conventionally in ADT/AutoCAD but after success with the sub-ground portion the Revit team just kept going and completed the whole structure.
The final design uses Revit for;
- Sub-ground, building and interior - Revit Building.
- Building Systems - Massed in Revit Building until Revit Systems was available, now Revit Systems.
- Structure - Revit Structure model being used along with external packages for Load Analysis and Tender detail spec.
- Heavy use of Revit Shaded Views - without render - for Design Development & Client communication.
- Final High Quality output and video production with 3D Max & Combustion.
- Constructware - Tender Process
- SOM review room uses Tablet PC's + Plasma Screen for digital review
- Revit Model can be reviewed live, Revit Design Options used to aid this.
- Design information is shared using Design Web Format (DWF) and revisions captured with Autodesk Design Review.
- Autodesk Consulting are a Project Partner with equal status as typical AEC Consultants (Structure, Services etc) would have in a conventional project.
- They provide; Training, Support, Application & Content Development.
Impacts on Process;
- People work on sheets creating views (plans, elevations, details etc) with maybe separate 3D Models created for Presentation or Analysis.
- Information/data is structured for presentation on sheets. Layering based on line/view visibility.
- The deliverable is sheets/schedules used to transfer information to Consultants, Clients etc
- BIM Work-flow:
- People create a model which captures objects and object relationships, all aspects computable for analysis.
- Information structure reflects real world systems and objects with object display based visibility - Layers only considered for output to traditional CAD formats.
- Object relationships, quantities and properties captured.
- The work-flow and workset structure is based on system/function not output (sheet) or visibility as information is simply a report from the model.
- The deliverable is a model from which sheets, schedules and views are simply reports.
The demand to share...
- Freedom Tower Project operates under an Open Information Policy.
- Sharing is not an option.
- Architects share and manage a master BIM.
- Structure, Services, Tender Details.
- Construction "as builds" will be added to the BIM
- The client can use the BIM to manage the asset.
BIM's shared among all;
- Freedom Tower makes extensive use of linking, worksets and copy/monitor to manage access/updates.
- SOM Maintain Masters which are sync'd across the offices.
When everything is touched by everyone…?
"Separate Liability" is a legacy concept. Shared Liability, Everyone is responsible.
Legacy regulatory structures are struggling to cope with this:
Legal Liability... [RC: How do you manage that?] Phil Bernstein added that the AIA are reviewing contract documentation in light of new BIM process demands
Contracts based on segregation... [RC Don't work]
Charging is based on project value is dated... The BIM is an asset for the building owner… Should demand extra fees.
"Lets Designers think about design, not documentation"
Visualisation throughout the process
Design not document focused, until documents are needed
Coordination is enforced by the system, not dependent on the user
Easier to offer more options, better solutions
Simulation: Energy, Lighting, Structural Behaviour
Quantity & estimation: Areas, Volumes, Components.
Time reduction: Instant revision, Live model for review
My travel & accommodation was provided by Autodesk Building Solutions Division, Asia Pacific.
I own both Autodesk Architectural Desktop & Viz Licences – http://rcd.typepad.com/about.html
I use/manage ADT, ABS, Viz and Revit applications for The Warehouse Limited, a retail company in New Zealand.