An Interview with Brian Skripac, Cannon Design

July 5, 2017

Brian Skripac, Vice President at Cannon Design shares with us the company's approach and philosophy towards BIM, their BIM strategy and an interesting case study. Read on!

Karan: Give us a brief Introduction to Cannon Design

Brian: CannonDesign is an integrated global design firm that unites a dynamic team of architects, engineers, industry experts and builders driven by a singular goal — to help solve our clients’ and society’s greatest challenges.

Karan: Give us a brief introduction into your background including your role/expertise etc.

Brian: I am the Vice President and firm’s Director of Virtual Design and Construction My role is to continually drive innovation by merging technology and practice. I have 21 years of industry experience, with the last 11 focusing on the integration of BIM to transform the design and project delivery process. I have successfully developed and managed BIM-enabled delivery systems for large efforts in Design-Led Construction. In addition, I focus on the use of BIM to capture and structure relevant facility data, implementing the value BIM brings to facility owners from an interoperable lifecycle management strategy. I am an advisory group member and past-chair of the AIA National Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community and serves on the BIMForum committee responsible for authoring the LOD Specification.

Karan: What are some of the BIM initiatives being undertaken across different disciplines - Engineering/Architecture/Interior Design/construction. How is BIM helping coordinate across these disciplines.

Brian: The biggest initiative we’re seeing is the further integration of our Architectural and Engineering practice with our innovative and growing construction group. At CannonDesign our Design-Led Construction and VDC initiatives works to evolve our integrated and collaborative project delivery methods and team behaviors, transitioning from traditional two-dimensional deliverables to leading the industry in the development of model-based deliverables becoming the new standard of care at CannonDesign. While some owners have grown to prefer an integrated project delivery approach, which identifies a single point of responsibility and encourages collaboration among all parties during design and construction. CannonDesign’s Design-Led-Construction initiative takes this a few steps further — giving the architect the responsibility of joint ownership in both the architecture/engineering and construction entities. The delivery model breeds collaboration, shortens project delivery, manages risk, obtains best possible competitive pricing, and guarantees cost and schedule — enhancing certainty of outcome.

Karan: What is your company's' philosophy towards BIM

Brian: Our companies BIM philosophy can be summed up in our Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) initiative which is a component of CannonDesign’s Practice Integration Team that focuses specifically on the process orientation of the BIM–enabled VDC delivery process at CannonDesign. The VDC team provides firm-wide leadership in driving a consistent, integrated and collaborative project delivery method of solving both pre-construction and construction issues through the use of object based virtual representations affording project participants a common language of the built environment. The resulting workflow enables enhanced certainty of outcome, in accordance with the prescribed level of reliability of our multi-disciplinary BIM deliverables.

Karan: Can you provide us with an interesting project case study where BIM is being implemented or has been implemented. How BIM has improved lets say design, coordination, process improvement etc.

Brian: Integrated BIM environment enhances collaboration process through design and construction.

The use of BIM was instrumental in the organization and management of data for this new 150,000 sf. student centre that will respond to the evolving needs of current and future students; fully exemplify design excellence and innovation and transform the campus of this leading academic institution.

BIM allowed the design team to create an environment of integration and collaboration to streamline the design/construction process and remove the ambiguity of design intent that comes from traditional project delivery methodologies. Similarly, these evolving technologies and processes allowed the client to become more engaged in the design and review process to better understand the design intent, aiding their ability to make well informed decisions vs. a traditional set of 2D documents as the client was able to see their building evolve and the designers were able to quickly explore design options and arrive at the best possible solution.

Conceptual Programming

Leveraging a BIM-enabled process enabled the team to capture and visualize relevant design information (both geometry and data) from the earliest stages of design that can be reused throughout the entire life-cycle of a building. Model elements created early during the design process continue to evolve and are currently being used for digital fabrication.

Creation of a BIM Execution Plan in the preliminary stages of the project became the platform for all collaboration protocols during design, construction and post-occupancy. By working closely with the client to understand their needs, the Architect was able to develop and manage the BIM deliverables to supply the needed spatial and asset information to assist in their Facility Management and Operation & Maintenance activities working to reduce their total cost of ownership across the life cycle of the building.

Ribbon Connectivity

The information embedded in the model was instrumental in validating adherence to multiple sustainability initiatives, including LEED Credit 8.2 Daylight and Views. Quantity takeoffs extracted from the model enabled an iterative cost estimating process which further highlighted the value of BIM allowing the project to stay on budget. The models were also taken advantage of in the coordination process with the trades and extending in the development of fabrication models as construction continued, contributing to greater reliability and certainty of outcomes on the job-site.

Conceptual Volume

Facilitating coordination is a very obvious advantage that should be leveraged not only in the construction stage but throughout the design process. A lesser-known but equally powerful benefit is the versatility of BIM to review, explore and validate design decisions while communicating these ideas to Clients.

Extremely valuable tool during the municipal approval process (re-zoning, site plan and building permit). The accuracy of the information embedded in the model and the fact that it was readily available was invaluable to provide immediate response to planners and building plan examiners. Site statistics, schedules, energy model information, area take offs, etc were easily provided to authorities without delays. This effectively allowed the project to navigate a very complex approval process in record time.

Future projects would benefit from increased integration of tasks that are traditionally in isolated silos to minimize the further reliance on two-dimensional supplementation to augment the model sections and details for the publication of construction documents as well as leveraging the BIM to more deeply integrate the project specification and schedules for items such as hardware sets.

Karan: What are some of the major challenges in the industry and how are you addressing them?

Brian: A big challenge that we’re working to address with the development of our VDC initiative is overall risk management, liability and intellectual property plays an important role in these more collaborative BIM environments. These new contractual relationships can then be defined for the project to ensure the BIM deliverables and its associated data are not manipulated or used outside of their intended use which can result in the team being provide incorrect information that can be misinterpreted.

Karan: Please share information about your BIM strategy that is not available on your company website, in other words tell our readers something about your BIM strategy they should know they may not already know

Brian: An on-going part of our Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) initiatives is the rollout of our VDC Planning Strategy Sessions is to bring the right people to the table at the right time to define the project's specific BIM–enabled VDC delivery goals and requirements where the BIM will be leveraged to complete various objectives throughout the project’s lifecycle. Through the series of strategic meetings and planning sessions listed below, project teams will be able to outline the people, process and technologies needed to develop and document a project delivery strategy that's in alignment with the client’s expectations within a collaborative/integrated environment. In addition to defining this strategy, the design team will have a framework to implement and achieve the enhanced certainty of outcome and prescribed level of reliability of our multi-disciplinary BIM deliverables.

Thank you Brian. It was a pleasure talking to you!