An Architecture Firm That Accidentally Discovered BIM

Vectorworks Architect is well-known for its BIM capabilities, allowing firms around the world to maintain the integrity of their internal design and documentation strategies with an all-in-one solution. The ability to collaborate between firms and share files with ease lets users shift their focus to their designs and all but forget the stress of document sharing. This was the case for Idle Architecture, a Melbourne-based firm that got into BIM completely by accident.

After ten years of operation, a trusted client provided Idle Architecture the opportunity to design and build an apartment complex on Sackville Street, aimed at addressing the population boom in Melbourne and building up one of the city’s industrial areas. The Sackville Street project was the first in the firm where engineers and consultants volunteered to create and exchange 3D models and data to collaborate, meaning Idle had started engaging in BIM without even knowing it.

“The first meeting was a bit accidental — when we got involved in the project, drawings were needed for an office in Tokyo,” Chris Idle, director of Idle Architecture, said. “Then the consultant and contractor wanted to collaborate. It soon became a part of the construction phase.”


Design by Idle Architecture | Photo courtesy of Binyan Studios Melbourne

An additional time-saver was reviewing the 3D model alongside collaborators within Vectorworks instead of printing dozens of drawings. This versatile option allowed Idle Architecture to spend less time preparing for the logistical components of meetings and more time on tangible solutions that enhanced the collaboration process as a whole.

From a design perspective, the Sackville Street project was an opportunity for Idle Architecture to creatively situate their work within the larger context of industrial development. However, taking a non-traditional approach required buy-in from the client — a task made possible with the help of several Vectorworks features that could help represent what the firm was envisioning.

“We work on big projects when most architects in Australia work on small housing projects,” said Idle. “It’s a big learning curve getting younger graduates up to that level — a big conceptual language coming from small offices and wanting to learn big, complicated projects.” With this in mind, the firm conducts monthly sessions where employees can come prepared with questions as different workflows are demonstrated.


Design by Idle Architecture | Photo courtesy of Binyan Studios Melbourne

Streamlining design processes helps the firm with efficiency — a major priority for Idle Architecture to stay on top of their growing portfolio of projects. To contend with the rotating door of deadlines, Idle decided to remove SketchUp and Rhino completely and focus all efforts on optimizing their use of Vectorworks. “My view is that I used to spend money on software for about half its efficiency when I’d rather get the best out of software by learning how,” Idle explained. The transition process took over a year, but the firm reaped its benefits with the Sackville Street project.

“It helped to have seamless movement back and forth from one stage of the project to the next,” Idle said. “It certainly saves time.” And time is precious, given the amount needed to properly set up BIM models. It’s not even a matter of choice. BIM is a long-term investment in your business,” he said. “You’re getting a bit more out of the design and giving every component the same level of opportunity through clash detection and coordination.”


Design by Idle Architecture | Photo courtesy of Binyan Studios Melbourne

Thanks to Vectorworks Architect, Idle Architecture was able to consolidate their software. And through their coordination efforts, along with the BIM capabilities Vectorworks offers, Idle Architecture can make the most of their investment — in a way that is faster and smarter.

This article appeared on ArchDaily

Topics: Buildings


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