In Hong Kong's fast-paced architectural environment, delivering high-quality projects on time is crucial for success – and it’s exactly what LWK + Partners, the city’s leading architectural firm, has built theirs on. Their unwavering vision has made them a talent powerhouse, with over 1,100 staff members across 12 branches worldwide. As LWK + Partners grew, so did the regional demand for BIM. The practice was looking to adopt a prominent BIM software that would help streamline their design process to create improved results more efficiently. They found Archicad.
The Road to Seamless Design
The firm partnered with Graphisoft to leverage Archicad and best optimize its workflow. The team had to overcome the usual adoption challenges, including time constraints and resistance to change from the team. Communication with clients that promoted the efficiency of BIM and encouragement by younger and new members helped drive the transformation.
Now, with an intuitive design platform transforming workflows, 2D drawings, 3D models, and renderings can be produced simultaneously, resulting in significant cost and time savings.
"We used to spend a lot of time and effort creating 2D drawings from 3D models with the same standards as the original 2D drawings," the firm explained. "Using Archicad to create traditional 2D drawings is relatively easy as it has many layer settings that are the same as the kind of layering we were already using.”
The biggest customer-facing area that BIM impacted was the team’s visual presentations. The beginning of each project requires complex images of the conventional plans, elevations, sections, 3D diagrams, and renderings – sometimes even fly-through animations.
"If we need to finish a set of drawings conventionally and then create those 3D items, it could be time-consuming and require too many resources. But using Archicad requires less manpower, and it takes only a small software interface to manage the job. Archicad can manage 2D drawings, 3D models, and renderings at the same time.”
Collaborating across locations and disciplines
Archicad's collaboration tools have also been invaluable for the considerable number of dispersed teams. When the practice completed a large-scale project at Tin Shui Wai, the project had over 20 types of towers, villas, and a large clubhouse. The team collaborated on this project with its Manila counterpart using Archicad, which helped them meet the deadline efficiently. “Other software we use in design, like Rhino and Grasshopper, are very compatible with Archicad, and they have direct links that can reflect any changes in the Archicad model for the changes made in Rhino or Grasshopper,” they added.
As a result of its real-time collaboration capabilities, Archicad also helped facilitate teamwork between LWK + Partners’ design teams. Multi-user access to the BIM model gives all stakeholders access, which allows for faster decision-making and helps reduce the need for lengthy, costly meetings that can stall projects further.
LWK + Partners recently designed a project in the Kai Tak development area. The facility was designed to hold large mechanical and electrical equipment and consisted of different floor designs. The project also has an education center.
"The project requires BIM technology to place the entire compact facilities in the same building. We can see what is required in the project at the early stage after using BIM," the firm expounded. "This project is under construction now, and we encountered fewer problems now that we use BIM.”
LWK + Partners has also acquired a BIM consultant company to give their architects first-hand experience, developing their BIM standard workflows and bridging the gap between current practices and the technology they were adapting.
BIM has opened new construction methods, such as prefabrication, allowing better management and coordination using the BIM platform. LWK + Partners has worked on impressive projects using BIM, including a building of mixed-use plus residential in Sham Shui Po. The project followed a BIM workflow from schematic design to government submission and tender drawings, serving as a touchstone for the company's subsequent projects.
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