Data Driven Design

January 31, 2017



Data is all the rage lately, it seems like everyone is talking about it and we all need it. There are countless books written on Big Data and the Data Revolution. So how can the design and construction industry get in the data game and start to reap the rewards?


It has been proven that Data Driven design can help a project to be more efficient, successful and operate more effectively. To understand how, it is first necessary to define what “data” is, in order to get a better understanding of how to take advantage of it. Data is defined as facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. So what does that mean to us in the AECO industry? It means that data is not additional information that needs to be tracked it simply needs to be collected and analyzed. To put it in layman’s terms, the entire process of design and construction, in reality, is simply a practice of data collection and data sharing. The construction documents, equipment specifications, the fire rating of a door, the cut sheet for an air handler, and even the decision that the owner of the facility made regarding what lights to use in the lobby are types of data that should be shared with the entire project team.


Currently, this data is in multiple documents; paper drawings, various 3D BIM’s, specifications shared as PDFs, notes in a notebook on the contractor’s desk, or even saved in the mind of the lead designer of the facility. With this data in multiple locations and in a myriad of formats, how do designers, contractor, and owners of the facility analyze the data? The hard truth is, they don’t. They use it once and then either throw it away or archive it. This fragmentation leads to mistakes, errors, productivity loss, duplicate entry, and simply stated an outdated means of planning, designing and constructing a building. More importantly for the Owner of the facility, it means they don’t really know if they are getting what they need and want.


There is a growing movement in the ACEO industry that is promoting the collection of this data into a single data environment. Thus standardizing data, centrally locating it, and tracking it over time. The collection and tracking of the data that is already required for the construction of the facility does not require additional data to be collected, nor does it require extra work to collect or store, it only requires a change in process. Placing the project and facility data in a ‘single source of truth’ and requiring all on the project team; from the owner to the architect to the contractor and all team members in between, to store their project data in this one location allows better sharing and makes it possible to analyze the data at any time in the life-cycle of the facility.


The planning, constructing and operation of a facility is complicated and requires teams, consultants, and BIM tools to manage all of the different formats of data in a way that is efficient for the individuals consuming and presenting the project's data. Rather than changing each team's current workflow or introducing a new “app” that does one task true Data Driven Design requires a comprehensive solution that can be easily used by all team members and integrate with existing design tools such as Revit, ArchiCAD, Solibri, IFC compatible BIM solutions, and Excel.


dRofus is one solution in the market that strives to do just that. dRofus has worked with and continues to collaborate with architects, engineers, contractors, and owners to develop a fully integrated solution that truly allows for your facilities to be planned, constructed and operated by Data and not guess work.


dRofus in Action


North Island Hospital Project


Project Specs:

  • Project Type: Healthcare Facility

  • Start: April 2014

  • Estimated Completion: Early 2017

  • Location: Campbell River and Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, BC


Project Description


This particular project is comprised of two hospitals with very similar programs. The client wanted to keep them as standard and similar as possible so the staff could easily work between the two facilities. dRofus has allowed us to easily manage both sites in a single database, therefore standardizing our data across both sites, and enabling us to run reports on both sites at the same time. This type of standardization and reporting would not be possible with Revit and Excel on their own. The level of effort to manage the room names and numbers alone would have been double without dRofus, and would easily have become an onerous task to continually ensure that the changes on one site were also made on the other site. dRofus allows us to quickly make changes to both sites simultaneously.

dRofus was adopted when the project was awarded, which allowed several team members to edit the project data, as well as permitting all design team members and the contractor to access the project data without accessing the Revit models.

 “dRofus helped maintain the evolving project program with ease and reliability.”

Tammy Adolf, Integrated Design Data Manager, Stantec


Looking Forward


The AECO industry is becoming more and more versed in BIM and the number of applications that aid Owners planning a facility, Architects & Engineers designing a project, Contractors to build, and Facility Managers to operate their buildings grows, dRofus’s interaction and integration with these newly evolving solutions will grow as well.  The most recent example of dRofus’ commitment to being a true collaboration tool for the whole team can be found when looking at the current expansion to the Oslo International Airport. 


The owner has taken the initiative to operate based on BIM. dRofus is being used both during planning/construction and operation of the airport.  Using a single dRofus database for both the project and operations phases required broad open source interoperability.  There are dynamic OpenBIM connections between dRofus and over ten design and construction applications (example include Revit MEP, Tekla, and Microstation to name a few).  Concurrently dRofus is connected to over 14 operations and control systems to facilitate continued uninterrupted operation during construction.  It is only the beginning for dRofus’ goal of expanded interoperability and in the upcoming months the expansion of the dRofus API and software will to continue to facilitate even more integrations


About dRofus


dRofus is a Common Data Environment (CDE) that keeps the entire project team connected and on the same page. Using dRofus during planning, design, and construction of a facility allows all stakeholders (owners, designers/engineers, contractors, and more) and BIM authoring tools (Revit, ArchiCAD) to collaborate in real time with the assurance that the information they are viewing is precise, up to date, and reliable. dRofus is a true ‘single source of truth’ project planning and delivery tool that delivers a more accurate project, while at the same time allowing the project team to shorten planning and construction timelines, providing a real ROI to the team from the first project. As dRofus is a global company with locations in Australia, France, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, dRofus can support your project regardless of location around the world.


About David Patera