HOK is one of the world’s largest and most successful architectural, engineering, and interior design firms. Since 1955, it has completed thousands of major projects and won numerous awards, including a recent first-place ranking on Engineering News-Record’s inaugural list of the Top 100 Green Design Firms. Today, HOK employs more than 2,600 employees in 26 offices around the world. And although its skilled professionals offer expertise in a broad variety of disciplines—including architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, construction, and lighting—HOK prides itself on its ability to integrate these services into a unified creative effort that helps the firm fulfill its principal mission: using design to help clients achieve their goals. More than just a philosophy, this principle has inspired many of the firm’s most important business and technology strategies, including the decision to implement three of the industry’s most significant trends: building information modeling (BIM), integrated project delivery (IPD), and sustainable design .
Providing BIM Leadership
Since the mid-1990s, HOK has been a leader in the adoption of new design technologies. For the past decade, the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry has been undergoing a dramatic paradigm shift, moving away from traditional 2D drafting methods to BIM, an integrated process that enables architects, engineers, owners, and builders to share consistent, reliable project information throughout all phases of design and construction. “It is an essential part of our strategy to be a leader in this movement,” says Patrick MacLeamy, the firm’s CEO. “BIM supports our core mission in a way that no other design process can do.”
After early experimentation with several possible BIM solutions, HOK standardized on Revit® Architecture
BIM software. “In 2005, our board mandated the use of Revit Architecture on all new projects,” says MacLeamy. HOK also set the ambitious goal of implementing the new software on more than 20 projects in the first year alone.
Expanding BIM Globally
In London, HOK architects designed the fast-track 5 Churchill Place project at Canary Wharf with Revit Architecture. Together with the structural engineers, who used Revit Structure, the team created an accurate digital model of the 36,000-square-meter (390,000-square-foot) building before beginning construction, significantly improving coordination. “If we hadn’t used the Revit platform, our work might have been easier initially, but we would have ended up with gaps at the interfaces and a lot of rework,” says Robert Studd, project leader. For increased understanding of the overall project, the team members regularly updated and distributed a NavisWorks model of the project to the extended design team.
On another university project, the 119,000-squarefoot Emory University Psychology Building, HOK extended its use of BIM to both the early programming phase and to collaboration with the builder. Using the capabilities of Revit Architecture, HOK issued a book with 3D/Smart room data sheets to the 40 different researchers assigned lab space in the building, which they updated as the process evolved. “That was tremendously helpful in obtaining input and a consensus from end users on final programming decisions,” says lab planner Chirag Mistry, LEED AP. To identify any conflicts and ensure coordination prior to construction, the contractor worked with its subcontractors to issue a complete model of the building in Autodesk NavisWorks software, which allows teams to visualize all types of models regardless of file format or size.