The Midas touch

20 Dec 2011

David Light explains how HOK has adapted Revit for touchscreen technology

This week, Michael Hammond spoke at length to Pete Baxter, Vice President at Autodesk and David Light, HOK London’s experienced BIM Manager, to uncover exactly how the aviation specialists are utilising Autodesk’s widely-used Revit software.

There are of course obstacles to a practice’s adoption of BIM, however both Baxter and Light confess that these are significantly reduced by support from the top tier. This is certainly the case at HOK London, as Light details: “We’re very fortunate that our CEO, Patrick MacLeamy is Head of the IAI (International Alliance of Interoperability) and is very, very passionate about the process of BIM, so it’s very much driven from the top which makes the decision making and push for BIM a lot easier.”

A second, potentially more familiar barrier to BIM adoption is the current economic climate, with many firms tightening their belts over the last few years. As such, a large proportion are becoming ever more cautious about their expenditure, yet Baxter explains that by investing in Revit architects will be investing in the future efficiency of their practice.

He details: “The economic climate is driving clients to demand more effective, more efficient buildings that benefit their purpose and have lower life cycle operating costs.” Baxter explains that Revit can significantly enhance a practice’s communication channels, therefore upping efficiency in a range of areas across the business.

At HOK London they are taking this one stage further. The firm has developed in-house touchscreen technology which utilises Revit in a portable form, enabling its architects to make adjustments to concept designs during remote meetings with clients. This advanced technology permit clients who have little understanding of architectural drawings to comprehend the architect’s design through a 3D image and witness their required alterations in real-time. Light divulges: “I get so excited about technology it becomes almost second nature but I think when you’re explaining it to the client you can see their eyes light up!”

Over the last few years, issues of sustainability have become paramount in almost every architectural design; but how can Revit aid the integration of sustainable elements at the concept stage? Baxter concludes: “[Sustainable design] is not an afterthought. You can’t make a building less bad after you’ve designed it. It’s got to be baked in to the core which means that you’ve got to be constantly analysing and refreshing and refining, and the only way to do that is with the BIM approach.

“The traditional approach does not support this new requirement for working so I think you’re driven by economic benefits but actually it’s driving a change and what we see is that level of adoption accelerating significantly as a result of that.”

Listen to the full discussion below. David Light runs a regular blog on all things Revit. Click here to visit his page.

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