BIM, CIC, Trends in Workplace Design

April 2011
T3 Advisors

As part of T3 Advisor’s ongoing Lunch & Learn program, Rob Elfer and Michael Samra of studioTroikapresented case studies on the utilization of BIM (Building Information Modeling) as a tool for helping tenants improve the design process. Some of the major benefits of using BIM include:

  • 3-D images to help clients visualize the space plan and design throughout the design process.
  • During the design process, changes can be made and seen immediately, no waiting a couple of days to get revised plans back to review.
  • If the entire project team (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineers and Contractors) employs BIM, then coordination and cost estimating become more accurate, timely and efficient.
  • The time to create permit and construction documents can be significantly reduced, thereby reducing the time to complete a project.

Is BIM more expensive than conventional design? Not really, according to studioTROIKA, they have used it as their primary design method for the last 4 years and have seen decreases in construction costs due to the efficiency of the approach, and their fees are as competitive as “conventional” designers.studioTrokia-resized-600

One of the more high profile projects where they employed BIM was the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC).  They were able to complete fully coordinated design and construction documents quick enough to have the approximately 55,000 SF project, completed in a very short time frame; the first 20,000 SF was designed and constructed in 12 weeks and the remaining 35,000 SF was simultaneously completed in 16 weeks from design through construction.

In terms of “Workplace Trends”, Rob and Michael talked about how workplaces are becoming more efficient and dense while also becoming more open.

Some of the principles they are seeing include:

  • Open perimeters along window walls, no spaces, except maybe a conference room, built along perimeters that would block natural light.  Where there are rooms built along a window wall, interior walls have lots of glass to allow light into the space.
  • Few if any, offices. The only “fully” enclosed spaces are conference rooms, interview rooms and phone rooms/booths.
  • Because of the more open nature of spaces, small phone rooms are being incorporated into the space plan to allow for private phone calls and small meetings.
  • To enhance collaboration, all employees are in open workstations with low, if any, partitions.
  • Furniture systems are simple and flexible. In some cases the work surface is being reduced to a depth of 2 feet primarily due to the use of laptops, which do not require the same amount of space as the old monitor/CPU systems.
  • Informal gathering spaces are interspersed throughout the space.
  • A large, central, informal multi-purpose room that can serve as a kitchen/café, large group meeting area..a sort of “town square” for information and gatherings.

The brokerage and project advisory groups at T3 Advisors continuously work with professionals in design, construction, furniture and specialty areas to share, monitor and track trends and techniques in providing optimal workplaces.  It’s only one of the ways T3 provides depth in its services to its clients.