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Thread: Workflow between Architects - Structurall engineers

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    Workflow between Architects - Structurall engineers

    Hello all,

    A simply question to understand the workflow between architects and engineers.

    The architects have already started to design the project, having also design some structural elements.

    As structural engineers what are you doing in order to start the design of the structural model?
    Do you demand from the architects their model in order to use it as a reference for your model? Do you demand the whole model or is it possible only the structural elements?


    Thank you in advance!

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    Moderator Robin Deurloo's Avatar
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    It is not a question of demanding, there should have been a discussion upfront.

    But yes get the entire model, the structural guys don't just need to model, they need to do calculations too and need to know what the rest of the building is made of.

    From what I know about structural they all use the architects model as a sort of template to place e their own beams, colums and walls.

    Then I usually remove my structure stuff and link in their model. There us of course always some discussion about not being able to change something quickly because it always have to go throught the structural guys and they need to send a new model, but usually everybody gets used to that quick.

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    Demanding is a strong word and the only one demanding stuff is the owner. To answer your question Maria the Architectural model is shared with the entire consultant team. From there each team references and uses what they need as the basis for the design. As an architect I will place columms where I think I meed them and of a size that I guesstimate. But at some point I will get a model back from the structural engineer with correctly sized members (based on calcs) along with beams, footing, piles and pile caps.

    There is a whole science almost to how to preapare a model for sharing.

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    Last edited by awood; June 26th, 2019 at 01:59 AM.

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    So if I don't give you model and just give you PDF's how are you going to your work? the Arch Revit model is the basis for your design. Your calcs are one thing but the GC can't build with out structural plans - and those are based on, and coordinated with the architectural model.

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    So I have been involved in structural teams, with several different workflows with architects.

    As someone mentioned, there needs to be some upfront discussion about workflow with your project architect BEFORE the modelling work starts.
    Technicians need to be able to sit down and nut out the modeling strategy as early in the process as you can. If your office has a BIM manager, or coordinator this should invariably be their role. More so the BIM Coordinator, because they are more often than not someone with a technical background, the BIM Manager may or may not have a modeling background.

    There are a multitude of ways you can manage a workflow with the external consultant.
    Much of it comes down to how much trust you have between the firms and what you can agree on.

    I have been involved in a project where, from initial stages, the architect modeled everything and was responsible for all modeled elements.
    We did this because when we were still in the design development phase, we did not want to be making constant changes to the model to suit client changes his ideas, or design limitations (such as accessability problems, or local restrictions etc).
    This left the architect complete freedom and ease to change his design. However this particular project was on a tight and short deadline, and it had been pretty well planned out before we took the model so the changes were minimal. That said, there were some changes.
    So at the early stage we (the structures team) had the architect model linked, and copy monitored grids, levels, and load bearing walls/columns, slabs, and foundations.
    Essentially all structural elements at this point were simply copy/monitored.

    That allowed us to do less rework and start our documentation process based on small changes. We also had an agreement in place that we would have weekly coordination meetings to discuss upcoming changes. This allowed each design team to understand upcoming work and also for the engineer to pre-approve major changes that may affect the structural design. This kept everyone ahead of the changes.

    Once we passed over to design approval and execution the structures team took ownership of the structural elements. Meaning we broke the copy/monitor on our end, the architect then copy/monitored those elements on his end thus handing the responsiblity over to the structural team. That also meant that any further changes to form or structural element placement had to be passed through the structures team.

    This required some rules in place, such as not deleting elements like walls to change them, but rather changing their types, as otherwise deleting them would remove the copy/monitor links.

    Anyhow, it was fairly straight forward, worked very well with that architect, but it did require lots of communication OUTSIDE of the model environment, meaning we did not rely entirely on the collaboration tools within revit - they were simply to verify and accept changes that we already were informed about. That project went smoothly, a 9 week deadline for a residential block containing 6 multistory buildings and a common parking area at ground level. It was actually really pleasant to work on and with a well coordinated architect.

    That said, I have also worked with architects that do not even want to share their models, or will not work with copy monitor at all, and so that presents all new challenges.
    its impossible to say you have 1 workflow, as each project is different, and each architect will want to do it differently and will have differing levels of BIM capability.

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    I am glad that CM is working for you. I belive that it is a good tool but you have to know how to implement it.
    Thank your for sharing you experience.

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