"With Revizto our clients understand all aspects of the design."
22 Apr, 2015
An Interview with Melissa Thiessens of GSBS
GSBS is a company that hardly needs an introduction in architectural circles, being at the forefront of sustainable design and energy consulting for more than three decades. They designed the Utah Olympic Speed Skating Oval, that became one of the first 13 buildings worldwide designated as LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the US Green Building Council. Since then, they continue to design structures that qualify for this prestigious designation.
We are proud that GSBS is now using Revizto. Melissa Thiessens, the BIM Manager at GSBS, shared with us her Revizto experience and told us how Revizto increased the effectiveness of their workflow and collaboration…
How did you find out about Revizto?
I saw Revizto in the exhibit hall at RTCNA 2014. At that time we were still searching for a good way to show live walkthroughs in client and coordination meetings, but since many of our Revit models are taken to a high level of detail, the performance was often way too slow to be useful. Many times we couldn’t have even successfully opened the model on a laptop.
What was your first experience with Revizto?
The first project we used it on was for a new mining operation in Nevada with six main buildings. The buildings themselves are not very intense — a couple small offices and some very large metal buildings — but being able to export all the buildings at once on the site was very helpful. It allowed the client to really visualize the size and placement on their site. As the project progressed and each building had more of the detail and equipment added, we began exporting the buildings separately to use in our design team coordination meetings. We didn’t even make it through a full week of the trial period before deciding to subscribe to Revizto.
How do you use Revizto now?
Revizto is currently used in the early stages to show schematic design work to the clients, to help them make decisions about their spaces. Once we move on to the design development and construction documents phases, we continue to use Revizto exports in client meetings, but also use them in team coordination meetings to quickly find clashes and things that aren’t necessarily clashing, but could be placed more efficiently. With Revizto, sharing a model is very simple, and it’s great that an owner or consultant can quickly learn how to navigate through it on their own. It is now so much easier for us to share the design at many points through the project, not just major milestones. The fact that they can also leave comments on things they see that the whole design team has access to is awesome.
What features do you appreciate most of all in Revizto?
Being able to quickly export the models all at once without the need to append separate models is very helpful. It is also great to be able to export the .exe files for times the client meeting is taking place where there is not a very reliable internet connection. We also appreciate an ability to export out of AutoCAD, Navisworks and Sketchup, since we don’t always have control over what software the owners’ consultants will be working in, and some of our designers work in Sketchup at the very early stages as well. It is also nice how quickly you can tweak the materials in the Editor without having to go back into Revit, fix them and re-export. Revizto is definitely a great value-added software to Revit, Navisworks, AutoCAD.
Is there anything you would like to add or improve in Revizto?
It seems like every time I think of something I wish it did, there is an update with that and a couple things I never even thought of, but love. I do wish that there was a way to add multiple team members at once, and maybe create ‘job teams’ so when you need to invite the same people to six separate buildings on the same project, you could do it with one click. Although I asked about this during the last webinar and was told that you are working on it already…
A lot of the gamers that have played with the models also wish there was a ‘jump’ button, for those times your topo surface is just a little too low to allow you to walk right in the front door.
How do you use Issue Tracker in your projects?
We have been making use of Issue Tracker in coordination meetings, so that we have a record of what was pointed out in the meeting, and the consultant can then go back to their office and pull up the saved view to explain the issue to their modeler. Issue Tracker is very useful. It is so nice to have the notes and the saved view in one place, accessible to everyone, instead of taking a screen capture, marking it up and emailing it, or even using Go-to-meeting to show the consultant exactly what we see and need to be fixed. Plus the fact that they can add responses and we have a record of everything is great. It’s also quite nice to be able to filter and assign issues so everyone doesn’t have to go through the whole list to find the ones that involve them.
Could you please share any example of how Issue Tracker helped in your work?
We had a few coordination meetings where we navigated to a spot to show one of our consultants an issue that we called or emailed them about, and we all thought we were on the same page, yet when we get their updated model, the element was in the exact same spot. I.e. our electrical consultant was placing a small mechanical equipment family at overhead door locations so they were sure to connect it to their systems. They originally placed them floating in the middle of each door. When we brought it up, we were told that if we would tell them exactly where the motor was going to be, they would move them to that location. We placed a motor family at each door and notified them when we uploaded our model. We got their new model and were told that they had moved their family into place. It took about two seconds of looking in the Revizto model to see that they had missed a few.
How do you use collaboration tools in Revizto?
In the mine project, we had our structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as the metal building sub-contractor, and the mine equipment company that were the owner’s consultants. All of the engineers and metal building guys came to our coordination meetings. The mine equipment guys were usually not present for the meetings, but would update their AutoCAD equipment file if we found any issues in the meeting that warranted it. Everyone involved on the project in our office, the engineer and modeler from each firm, and the PM and BIM manager from the GC were invited to each cloud-hosted project model to view as needed.
Did Revizto increase the effectiveness of your collaboration?
Yes. The level of care taken on the consultant models went up as they saw how quickly everyone in the room saw the issues when it was projected on the screen in the coordination meetings, so we had fewer of those silly little "oops, I didn’t notice that" issues to wade through. One kind of entertaining side effect was that after a few meetings of good-natured public ribbing when we’d see those problems in a model, a few of them started bringing their modelers to the meeting so they could literally point the finger at them.
What do your clients say about Revizto?
They were pleased by the ease of seeing the project as a whole. Everyone thought it was cool being able to poke around all the equipment to understand all aspects of the design. Having the early whole site models really helped them grasp how massive the site was, much better than when they were looking at the site plans.
In how many projects have you already used Revizto?
We are using it on four current projects of varying degrees of complexity, strictly for showing to the client in two cases and for coordination as well in the other two. We also have a project that was completed before we were using Revizto, where we exported an executable file to give to the owner at the end of the project so they can show it off. Revizto proved to be useful on projects with large sites and multiple buildings, such as the mine. The ease of exporting the models out for a quick fly through is awesome. We also have some very complicated religious work where the level of detail and materials are important to the client from the very beginning. These model files are usually very large and can be cumbersome to even open, let alone navigate around in, in Revit.
In other large projects, we have done full Navisworks clashes on the models at the end of major milestones. Many times, even though we presented our consultants with a clash report complete with pictures and Revit ID numbers, because of time constraints, many of the changes would never get completed. Now with it being so easy to see the issues throughout design and share them with everyone, we are having much better luck.
What would you like to say in the end of our interview?
I’d like to say the Revizto team is great to work with! Questions are always answered quickly, suggestions are taken seriously, and I enjoy seeing a whole team of people that are so excited about their product continuing to evolve and become better.