AEC Tech News: 2D to 3D #11

23 Mar, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

An Easy Sell: Swedish architect shows building owner the advantages of working in 3D

When global construction services group Skanska won a contract to tackle a school redesign project that would add 8,000 square meters of new design-build to a 12,000-square-meter redesign project of a school in Haninge, Sweden, just outside Stockholm, the owners stipulated they wanted construction documentation to be delivered in AutoCAD format. But the firm that Skanska contracted to carry out construction documentation, Jacobson and Flank Architects, was firmly committed to working in 3D using Graphisoft's ArchiCAD and a 3D Virtual Building approach.

Solid Support for 3D
Skanska used its influence with project owner Tornberget by convincing the owner of the returns on investment to be gained by taking advantage of some of the early modeling already done on the project in ArchiCAD by Kristian Lindgren Arkitekter. This early Virtual Building model could be further exploited in later design phases, argued Skanska representatives.

Jacobson and Flank backed up the early support given them by Skanska by providing 130 construction drawings created directly from the Virtual Building model. An ArchiCAD user for more than 10 years, the firm has long known the value of modeling in 3D and the value that can be extracted from the model throughout the life of a design project.

"For me, ArchiCAD is a natural tool," says project manager Stig Bengtsson, a 10-year ArchiCAD user. Early in the redesign project, Skanska began requesting quantity take-offs from the 3D model to ensure that bids submitted from their contractors were correct — not something that can be done easily working in 2D.

Better Quality Control
Another advantage of working in 3D with the Virtual Building model was the amount of quality control available to architects. The building's new roof, based on concrete columns and a new steel structure, was a critical part of the combined new and redesigned elements.

"We carried out clash detection with the steel construction and found errors in 3D that had been undetectable in 2D," says Bengtsson. "We had to do some rapid redesigning to solve the problem. If not for the 3D model, we wouldn't have found this problem and would ultimately have been held liable." And, he adds, "Solving this issue at the site would obviously have been very costly."

Chief among the many advantages of 3D in general and the ArchiCAD 3D Virtual Building in particular, Bengtsson says, is the ability to make project revisions automatically to all drawings — a special concern for a project manager. As for construction documentation, the point of initial concern for the owners, Bengtsson says he's convinced that his firm can produce construction documentation faster — and certainly more accurately — by leveraging the full power of the 3D Virtual Building model.

Certainly on this project, says Bengtsson, the owners were soon convinced that the construction documentation was thorough, accurate and timely — not a result they would have come by easily working from 2D.

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