How an Industrial Mindset Helps SHoP Speed Its Design Process

By Akio

ArchiFuture 2015 is the largest and most influential BIM strategy and technology event in Japan. John Cerone, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at SHoP Architects, delivered a keynote address on Design Delivery to the ArchiFuture conference attendees on October 23, 2015 in Tokyo. The following is a summary of his presentation:

SHoP Architects ArchiFuture2015

John Cerone, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at SHoP Architects

Since moving its design process to the 3DExperience platform, New York-based architecture firm SHoP has adopted an “industrial” attitude toward buildings. The firm uses virtual design to “fabricate” buildings, much as the aerospace industry assembles airplanes using digital models.

“In architecture every building is different, and every detail is different, but our processes are very much the same,” explains John Cerone, director of virtual design and construction with SHoP Architects.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Every building is different but our processes
are very much the same” – John Cerone @SHoPArchitects

This approach requires a new design mentality, focusing on a high level of detail and a close working relationship with fabricators very early in the design process.

Moving to a parts mentality

The most significant difference in this industrial approach is shifting to a focus on individual pieces as well as the project as a whole.

Very early on in a project, the design team works in terms of individual components and systems.

“They may not be the final systems that will be fabricated — they’re more like placeholders — but the system is setup so that when we get the accurate information we can easily swap the parts in,” Cerone explains.

A project may have hundreds of thousands of parts, but virtual tools allow the firm to structure all of that component data and access it in context of the larger system. CATIA allows the designers to easily move from a view of the entire building into separate building systems as well as the individual part.

Individual components within the larger structure

On SHoP’s largest implementation of this technology, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, SHoP learned to create templates for component types, then use CATIA language to expand those templates into distinct pieces.

As Cerone explains, “We’re beginning to think about design in terms of which parts are reusable and which parts are different.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “We’re thinking about #design in
terms of which parts are reusable, which are different”

In this case, a simple panel template containing all of the design, engineering and fabrication information was expanded into a handful of panel “families,” and then 12,000 unique panels.

Barclays Center: Installation of 12,000 unique panels

Barclays Center: Installation of 12,000 unique panels

The schedule component

With every aspect of a project living in the 3DExperience platform — not just geometry but also drawings, models, schedules and other details — something so abstract as the schedule itself can become a component that is attached to a design detail as a specific line item.

“That line item has a deliverable — the detail or a model of that detail is the deliverable and that can be attached to that schedule,” Cerone explains. “The schedule can be used in two ways: the linear time, but also as an object. The task that is associated with time is also a container for these deliverables.”

The result of this is a holistic view where time is always a factor, helping keep projects on schedule.


Viewing the schedule as a “component” attached to a design detail can help keep projects on time

A world without drawings

Because all component information is generated in the model, SHoP prefers to communicates through fabrication plans when possible, rather than passing design drawings to fabricators.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Component info in model allows @SHoPArchitects
to communicate via fabrication plans, not drawings”

In the case of the Barclays Center, SHoP provided the panel fabricator with the machine code needed to cut each panel, as well as information on the install sequence to help plan which panels to cut and deliver first.


Fabricators receive machine codes needed to perform the cuts of specific pieces; no drawings need be exchanged

For both fabrication and installation, Cerone notes that the laser scan becomes a critical part of the design process.

“It’s essential that we know the conditions that we’re installing to so that we can find problem areas ahead of time, before units are installed,” he says. A laser scan will reveal when conditions are out of tolerance, and ensure an accurate fit for installed components.

An evolving process

In addition, the firm has found that as new virtual processes are explored on a given project, subsequent projects move much more rapidly.

For example, as the Barclays Center neared completion, SHoP began to apply the processes it had learned on that project to a project in Kenya. Despite working with a vastly different form, using a different technique, the firm was able to reduce the design time on its new project to a couple of months.

“This leaves more time to run analysis, and to be much more specific about what we’re designing,” Cerone says.

Subsequent projects have moved from design to fabrication in a matter of weeks, while retaining a high level of complexity.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “How an Industrial Mindset Helps
@SHoPArchitects Speed Its Design Process”

Related Resource: 

Façade Design for Fabrication: an Industry Solution Experience from Dassault Systèmes


Think a Zero RFI Goal Is Impossible? Consider These Strategies for Improving Project Coordination

By Marty R

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Early collaboration can reduce RFIs,
reduce change orders on AEC projects”

The typical commercial construction project generates on the order of 3,000 to 20,000 RFIs (Requests for Information). It’s a staggering number, especially considering reviewing and documenting each RFI takes time. Studies show each RFI resolution costs about $1,000 in time and labor, even when BIM design tools are utilized.

RFIs are an indication of a lack of understanding of the design, as well as a lack of close coordination among the project teams. Further, RFIs are the source of changes in scope, costing the project owner more time and money than expected.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “AEC projects generate 3k-20k RFIs per project; indicates lack of understanding & coordination”

For AEC teams aiming to improve performance and predictability in construction, the goal should be to reduce RFIs as much as possible.

One way to do this is to get all team members on the same page early in the design process. A building lifecycle management (BLM) approach can facilitate this, drastically reducing RFIs and change orders.

Related Whitepaper: End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices 

BLM success story: One Island East, Hong Kong

Swire Properties Ltd. applied BLM processes and technologies for its One Island East tower in Hong Kong. The 70-story, 1.75 million square foot project was delivered on time, and with zero cost overruns.

3D clash detection became a primary vehicle for early collaboration and enhanced coordination. Over 2,000 issues were identified and resolved prior to tender. As a result, the One Island East project team issued just 140 RFIs—a 93% reduction from traditional construction coordination processes.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “How a 70-story 1.75Mill sq ft
project was delivered on time, with 0 overruns.”


One Island East,
Hong Kong

Incentivizing the shift to early collaboration

The benefits of closely coordinated teams might be clear cut for to the project owner: a project that is delivered on time and on budget. However, individual members of the design and construction team might not be so quick to invest in a change to BLM processes that enable this improved coordination.

Typical construction project budgets include a healthy contingency, meant to cover overruns caused by RFIs and change orders. A portion of the contingency can be reallocated as a fee for the design firm and subcontractors to work on identifying issues that create RFIs.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Reallocate AEC contingency budget to
architect & subs as incentive for preventing RFIs”

Thus, re-allocating a portion of the contingency becomes an incentive for eliminating jobsite problems before they arise.  Technology can support the detection and resolution of these problems earlier—when these issues are less costly to resolve.

The benefits of a collaborative approach

Such early coordination among team members can dramatically reduce RFIs, preventing budget and schedule inflation. Moreover, owners benefit in the long run by having a project team focused on improving operational performance.

AEC teams that put the tools in place to improve project coordination are better prepared to turnover a project that can ease maintenance and operations throughout the building’s lifecycle. And they’ll be able to improve their own bottom-line as well.

To learn more about how AEC professionals can benefit from the collaboration enabled by BLM, download the Dassault Systèmes whitepaper.


BLM Processes Reduce RFIs

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Think a Zero RFI Goal Is Impossible?
Consider These Strategies for Improving Project Coordination”

Watch the “Optimized Planning” Industry Process Experience at work for AEC Project Managers and Construction Planners [VIDEO]

By Akio

JUST RELEASED: a 5-minute video illustrating just a few common use cases for Optimized Planning powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes.

Optimized Planning demo video

In this video, you will see how the Project Execution System helps a project manager resolve discrepancies between a construction plan and the actual execution plan.

The project manager manipulates a 3D view of the supply, status and delivery schedule of materials. He or she also uses Last Planner methodology to validate parts, materials, and contractor supply availability.

Two proposed construction plans are handed off to the construction planner, who evaluates the scenarios in a 4D environment.

Using the Assembly Evaluation application, the construction planner sees that key parts aren’t delivered on time. Also, there’s a problem with how a prefabricated staircase is supposed to be installed. The planner changes the EPC request to deliver staircase in 3 pieces, and updates the work package.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #OptimizedPlanning use case:
foreseeing late delivery of key materials avoids onsite delays

Then, the construction planner uses the Resource Simulation application to see how forklifts and various types of cranes will move materials around the site. He or she is notified of a discrepancy in crane deployment: a crane is scheduled to be in use on two different tasks at the same time.

The Resource Balancing application helps resolve the clash, and the Auto Placement feature helps to best position the crane.

Finally, the general contractor takes the input from the project manager and construction planner, and creates a fully-optimized construction schedule.

Watch these scenarios and more play out.
(Registration required.)
Optimized Planning demo video

Optimized Planning is part of the Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience, powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: [VIDEO] #OptimizedPlanning at work
for #AEC Project Managers & Construction Planners

Related Resources

Optimized Planning Industry  Process Experience

Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience

Collaborative, Industrialized Construction Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

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