This Canadian engineering and design firm says AGACAD’s software for modelling precast concrete elements in Revit has halved the time it spends on drawings and improved its overall efficiency while enhancing project quality.
Kerkhoff Engineering Ltd is a structural engineering and design firm with commercial, residential and agricultural projects across Western Canada. One of the company’s areas of expertise is precast concrete.
Whether working on offices, homes, warehouses, airport terminals or dairy farms, the team’s focus is on using its experience and the latest technologies to deliver cost-effective innovative solutions that fully satisfy each client.
“We needed a way to automate steps in the precast design and shop drawing process to eliminate as much manual work as possible,” says Chris Klop, a building technologist at the company. He oversees the drafting department, with responsibility for quality control as well as for coordinating designs with the engineers and consultants.
“It had to place standard connection details and create or duplicate sheets and views so we wouldn’t have to manually create them and drag them onto sheets one by one,” Klop continues.
“And it had to be integrated into Revit, which is becoming the industry standard for BIM and which we were already using for all design and drafting. We didn’t want to have to export and import into different programs to get results.”
For its tilt-up concrete projects, Kerkhoff Engineering was looking to increase efficiency with professional productivity software.
Modelling and managing building information in Autodesk Revit was an early and obvious choice for Kerkhoff. Clients value the ability to see what a structure will really look like as designs and drawings come to life in three dimensions, while for project participants Revit ensures accuracy and better coordination.
Kerkhoff Engineering’s team chose AGACAD’s Precast Concrete Suite of tools for modelling prefabricated concrete walls, floors, columns and beams with real-time project updates in Revit.
The package “did the two basic requirements we had quite well and consistently,” Klop says. In terms of working with Revit, it brings the best of recommendations: Autodesk itself, which has named AGACAD one of its AEC Industry Partners, specifically features this precast suite as third-party software that’s helping to make Revit the environment of choice for BIM precast work.
The Precast Concrete package includes split, update and modify options for precast walls and floors, as well as rules-based batch insertion of connection details, plates, grout tubes, etc., and easy renumbering/marking of elements.
The software creates element views with automatic dimensions and generates bills of materials and shop drawings for combinations of structural and architectural elements, ensuring quality production and accurate assembly.
By using AGACAD’s precast solution, Kerkhoff has halved the time it spends on drawings and improved overall efficiency while enhancing project quality.
“The benefit is quite clear. The tools have made it possible to provide more detail without any extra work. We can efficiently create 3D precast drawings fully coordinated with other consultants, all in Revit. That cuts down on coordination time and errors during construction, ” Klop says. He notes the package “even solved some problems we didn’t even know we had.”
Asked what functionality is most useful, the head draftsman said: “Smart Connections and Smart Assemblies, definitely,” adding: “We also use Sort Mark a lot in initial project set up for numbering panels and so on.”
Smart Connections automates LOD 400 modelling in Revit, enabling easy batch insertion of grout tubes, cast-in plates, anchor bolts, lifting bolts, and cuts on any surface of beams and walls.
Smart Assemblies automates documentation for combinations of structural and architectural elements. It combines hosted or nested concrete and steel elements into a single Revit entity and generates all needed views, rules-based dimensions and assembly sheets based on rules and templates. It also updates existing shop drawings when changes are made to the project.
Sort Mark is a Revit extension for quickly sorting/renumbering elements and grids on the basis of any available parameter and adding any needed additional information to them. It thus eliminates a huge amount of manual work.
Other tools within Precast Concrete include Floor Panel Layout for planning prefabricated floor panels and splitting them into slabs, the
Smart Walls toolbox for easy wall and join management, Floor+M to create slabs using structural framing families, and Wall Reinforcement for placing vertical, horizontal or diagonal rebar, edge reinforcement, and U-shaped rebar, in solid or multi-layer walls.
Figuring out all the software’s powerful features and configuration options has naturally taken some time. A year after starting to use it, Kerkhoff Engineering continues discovering additional ways to use it to do things better and faster.
All along, the support provided by AGACAD has been “amazing,” no matter that it’s based halfway round the world in Northern Europe, Klop says. “I especially want to mention Valensas Balsevičius”, a BIM Application Engineer at AGACAD. “He’s gone out of his way to deliver quick, clear and relevant help to get us set up and answer any questions or concerns.”
This client relationship is a great example of AGACAD’s focus on “Building BIM Together” and securing all the benefits of BIM for the AEC industry.
Advancing building technologies for nearly 30 years now, AGACAD today is the developer of the world’s widest range of true BIM software for Revit professionals, with 12,000+ users in 130 countries. AGACAD solutions incorporate top BIM practitioners’ insights and automate best practices.