David Miller Architects reflects on the success of using Autodesk Revit Architecture as its building design solution of choice
Founded in 2000, the David Miller Architects HQ is in the heart of central London. The practice has repeat clients in both the private and public sectors and focuses on projects with contract values up to £15m, and specialises in education, social housing, student housing, and commercial developments.
David Miller Architects’ managing director and principal architect, David Miller, has a long history of using Autodesk software. “We have used AutoCAD since the foundation of the practice ten years ago and I personally have been using Autodesk software since 1992,” he says.
“We bought Revit Architecture around three years ago and invested in three licenses. We used it on a number of projects but would quite often fall back into using AutoCAD. Just over one year ago we decided to make a complete commitment to Revit Architecture.”
Initially, Miller says it was Revit Architecture’s 3D capability and the potential for greater quality control through the BIM process that attracted the firm to the software: “Working in this single model the information was fully-coordinated and less likely to contain errors. It allowed our young team - who did not have years of experience behind them - to produce highly coordinated information that was quality-controlled.
“Previously we used AutoCAD for 2D drawings, supplemented by 3D models built in Rhino 3D. What we were effectively doing was moving from one platform to another throughout the process, building 3D models of even quite small details and then reverse engineering them into 2D drawings in order to output them to contractors.”
BIM advocate Simoni has furthered the firm’s progression to Revit Architecture by implementing what she describes as ‘a very tough schedule of training’. “We have now finalised the basic phase and are pushing forward to some of the very advanced topics,” she says. “The whole office has grown in a parallel way and we are now reaching the top capabilities.”
Soon after the firm started using Revit Architecture, it began to see unanticipated advantages for its clients connected with the integrated project delivery. “Over the last six months, the process has started to really gather pace because, as we have realised the power of the software, we have been getting our clients and collaborators into the office to explain where we think it could go,” says Miller.
David Miller Architects works with a number of clients on public sector projects. These include the construction and services group, Bouygues UK, on Building Schools for the Future projects in Westminster & Tower Hamlets, a collaboration with CityWest Homes for Westminster City Council on social housing projects and student housing with Liberty Living Plc.
“Currently we have two special educational needs school projects and a primary school in Westminster as well as a secondary school in Tower Hamlets,” says Miller. “These are all new builds that are either on site or about to start. Oaklands School in Tower Hamlets and Queen Elizabeth II and College Park School in Westminster have all been developed as Revit models with the structural engineering linked in as a Revit model.
“Working with a structural engineer that uses Revit has allowed us to deliver a lot more structured and co-ordinated information to our contractor-client. The hope is that on our newest school project, George Eliot School in Westminster, both the structure and the services will be developed in Revit as well as the architecture, which will take us to another level of integration.
“Clients benefit from the BIM process in terms of smarter procurement but we are also using it in terms of transferring detailing in school projects for better coordination.” So far, Miller reports that the firm is receiving very positive feedback about the firm’s BIM-enabled projects. “They’re running on-deadline and in budget - and we are getting repeat work as a consequence,” he says.