DIALOG a Multidisciplinary Design Practice in North America - An Interview with Yigit Karanfil

June 27, 2019



After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture, Yigit Karanfil pursued his interest in technology and Building Information Modelling processes. In addition to his architectural background, Yigit expanded his knowledge base working with mechanical, electrical and structural engineers, focusing on coordinating teams to work better together utilizing technology. He has managed and supported BIM aspect of various healthcare, retail, mixed use, transportation and industrial projects.


Yigit now the Design Technology Specialist – Technoloty at DIALOG in Toronto.  He is also an active member of CanBIM community, where he has been working with Designers Steering Committee since 2015, during which he’s had several BIM related articles published through CanBIM.



Please tell us about DIALOG.


DIALOG is a multidisciplinary design practice with over 700 people practicing from studios in San Francisco, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. Our team includes architects, interior designers, urban designers and planners, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and landscape architects. Our work includes designing for community wellbeing and urban vibrancy, health and wellness, transportation, education, arts and culture, residential, retail and commercial, as well as mixed-use solutions.


How does digitalization impact the large and complex construction projects in the AECOO industry.


A data rich digital representation of a building opens many doors to accomplish project goals such as visualization, data accuracy, better coordination, less RFIs, reducing operations costs. Even though BIM and digitization can offer benefits for projects of any size, large projects are usually quicker to adopt technology because costs and stakes are higher and so are the benefits of using the technology.


What are the challenges that the AECOO industry is facing in terms of time and cost.


I think the most challenging issue right now is the cost of transition and adapting our workflows. There are no absolute right solutions to some of the workflows we are struggling to implement as an industry. Often, there is a good amount of research and upfront cost (software, training, man hours) involved before a process can be implemented for and you can reap the benefits. There are always risks and unforeseen problems with each project, even with traditional workflows so leaders can be understandably reluctant to invest the upfront time and money to experiment. Although, fortune favors the brave, experimenting is the only way we can progress.


What technologies can make project planning and execution better?


The biggest issues in project planning and execution stem from graphic, verbal or written communication failures. Therefore, collaboration tools have the most positive effect in coordination. BIM models contain more data and better ways to access the data, but misunderstandings and mistakes still happen. Applications that centralize the data whether it is specifications, issue tracking or project documentation can help teams to be on the same page and eliminate misunderstandings.



What are the areas within the AECOO industry, where innovation can make more gains?


Regenerative design, artificial intelligence and automation are hot topics in AECOO right now and rightfully so. These technologies are currently in use to some extent but still haven’t matured yet and they are not accessible as they often require programming knowledge which isn’t a ubiquitous skill in AECOO. These technologies will allow us to design using macro elements like zones, rooms and energy parameters instead of placing and editing each instance of building components, predict and avoid errors and reduce coordination time. We finally have the processing power to run these applications, but software is still catching up as algorithms required for these technologies are quite complex and most current applications are customized solutions for a single project.


Finally, please share your thoughts on what the company should look for in order to improve their productivity?


Keeping track of new technologies and implementing them is the bare minimum requirement to be productive. There are technologies available to the industry on the market that can save thousands of hours each year. Not only you need to hire people that can learn, implement and even develop these technologies, supporting technological awareness for all project staff is important. Having in-house experts is great but the teams need to be educated enough to ask the right questions, able to assess the risks and understand what technology can achieve.


For instance, if a project manager doesn’t understand an automation tool and a technologist that has just started doesn’t know about it, no one will involve the expert and the team will likely waste valuable time on tasks that could be accomplished by software. Creating awareness and continuous education is more important than ever especially when technology is moving very fast and learning resources are easily accessible thanks to high bandwidth internet.


Thank you for taking time to share with us!