An Interview with Amir Tangestani, Kasian Architecture

December 21, 2016

​As an integrated architecture, interior design and planning firm of nearly 300 talented and dedicated team members, Kasian strives to enhance the human experience through great design. Our passion is strengthening connections between people and places by creating built environments that inspire and improve lives – turning clients’ visions into reality. Since its founding in 1983, Kasian has developed into one of the world’s top 100 integrated design firms. Offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Doha enable us to engage with clients locally and abroad in all market sectors. From multi-billion dollar healthcare campuses to finely-crafted workplace interiors, Kasian’s breadth of expertise, combined with our continued thirst for knowledge, has been the driving force behind great design and strong relationships for more than 30 years.


CanBIM: Tell us about Kasian's BIM capabilities


AT: Kasian is at the forefront of utilizing Building Information Modelling (BIM) in conjunction with its team of consultants, sub-consultants and stakeholders to create an integrated workflow built on coordinated, reliable information throughout the lifecycle of the project. Kasian has been using BIM for over 10 years now and has successfully completed hundreds of projects using the technology. At Kasian, we strive for BIM Maturity Level of 3 where all project stakeholders work collaboratively in a central BIM environment, producing a federated multi-disciplinary BIM model.



CanBIM: What is your role at Kasian? Also, can you tell us about your background and experience with BIM?


AT: I am the BIM Manager at Kasian Architecture and oversee everything BIM related for the firm. I have a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) and a Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering and have been focused on BIM professionally and academically for the past decade and a half. My professional experience includes working on both ends of the building industry: construction and design. This has given me a more holistic view of BIM implementation for the projects I lead.I have worked collaboratively with many project teams on various institutional, commercial, industrial, and residential building projects across Canada and believe that successful BIM execution would not be possible without mutual contributions of all the parties involved in a project.


CanBIM: What is Kasian's philosophy toward BIM as it pertains to your firm's projects.


AT: We currently have more than 180 BIM users across our 5 Kasian offices. At Kasian, we have embraced BIM to its fullest extent and all of our new projects including architecture and interior design are initiated, developed, and delivered in Revit. A successful implementation of BIM at this level wouldn’t have been possible without a rigorous training program, an effective internal support community, a cutting-edge IT infrastructure, and a progressive leadership. As a pioneer in the industry and as a believer in the value that BIM has to offer in a collaborative project environment, we also expect all project parties to work in BIM and to contribute to the collective effort shared by all stakeholders in a project. We find that this implementation strategy maximizes the client’s investment by taking advantage of BIM and what it can offer throughout the process of design, documentation and construction.



CanBIM: Tell us about an interesting project where BIM is being implemented. What are some of the major challenges of said project that BIM will help to overcome? 


AT: Kasian is designing the new Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, NWT. The $300 million P3 project will see a new hospital built in the area of the current hospital — the square footage is expected to almost double in size to 280,000 square feet. The new facility will feature both outpatient and inpatient services. As a new architectural landmark set in the heart of Yellowknife, with prominent visibility from Frame Lake, this point of pride for the community was primarily driven by clinical planning and the natural topography and contours of the site, blending itself into the landscape and local culture.



BIM was heavily used in the design stage and facilitated space planning and program verification for the project along with providing a live data management platform that was maintained throughout the project lifecycle. This helped with producing automatic data-intensive outputs to support scheduling, analysis, and other design-related computations. The generated outputs include: wall schedules, door and hardware schedules, signage schedules, equipment schedules, etc. The data extracted from the BIM model was also utilized to create an extensive, live “room data book” for the project that included all the required room information such as areas (program area vs actual area), room ID, adjacencies, acoustics, lighting, accessories, electrical devices, equipment, fire rating, doors, wall protection, HVAC, plumbing, medical gasses, ICT, controls, etc. for each and every room in the hospital. Utilizing this platform, Kasian was able to share real-time, live data with the contractors and suppliers throughout the construction phase of the project. This minimized the time and effort spent on procurement coordination and resulted in less construction waste.


At the same time, the use of live wall and building sections, plans, roof plans and elevations, and extending these live sections into the details proved to be one of the most significant, and fruitful results of the use of BIM on Stanton. This, in addition to a rigorously defined set of templated views provided a solid framework on which to build. For the envelope details of the project the use of 2D line work was kept to a minimum, augmenting clarity and graphics and with so much model based geometry work proceeded as efficiently as possible. Also, establishing a central server that could be accessed by all consultants simultaneously enabled collaboration between Kasian and other project teams located across Canada and facilitated coordination greatly.


CanBIM: How did using BIM on the project improve or optimise Kasian's processes


AT: Using BIM for Stanton optimized Kasian’s processes in two levels; internally and externally. Internally, BIM facilitated:

  • Running sustainability studies such as solar analysis for the client.

  • Higher quality details through standardized components and intelligent integration with specifications language.

  • More effective change management process,

  • Better-coordinated production document sets leveraging the parametric capabilities of BIM software to keep documents automatically and accurately coordinated.

  • Leveraging BIM models for design assist to solve challenging design configurations and installations.


Externally and at a project level, BIM also facilitated:

  • Improved design visualization and communication with clients, consultants, contractors. This led to better understood and executed design decisions.

  • Better-resolved design documents during construction leading to fewer RFIs, change orders and directives as well as claims and disputes.

  • Ability to better coordinate contractors and trades through clash detection and construction logistics planning

  • Faster turn-around on resolving and coordinating design conflicts through collaborative 3D live review sessions.