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Steinberg Hart transforms network to foster improved collaboration, creativity and connection

Client: Steinberg Hart

Location: U.S.A.

VinZero Partner: U.S. CAD

Industry: Cloud & Construction

Autodesk Solutions: Autodesk BIM 360, Autodesk Revit

OVERVIEW:

Best known for its design of structures that connect with community, Steinberg Hart has become an internationally recognized name. California projects such as the two-tower MIRO mixed-use residential project in downtown San Jose and the 200-room boutique Thompson Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles reinforce that reputation.


The full-service architecture firm achieves these creative yet practical visions with considerable help from technology for inspiration and visual interpretation as well as communication of those ideas.


When technology advancements threatened to slow the creative and collaborative process, the company partnered with U.S. CAD to ensure platforms and applications continued to enable, not inhibit, innovation.


NETWORK EVOLUTION:

The rapid evolution of BIM and interoffice collaboration in the last five years has been a steep learning curve for many in the industry including Steinberg Hart. Gautam R. Shenoy joined Steinberg Hart as the BIM/VDC Director in 2016 to help resolve the emerging disconnects. “At the time, a majority of project data was shared across a distributed team located in multiple offices, primarily in California. At the time, communication was based on a wide-area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN), which meant the status of projects and even the timeliness of data shared was compromised between offices because of speed limitations.”

One of Shenoy’s first tasks was to expand the use of Revit Server. “We scaled up the capability of the servers and the number of projects that were hosted,” he adds. As a foundational tool for work sharing, Revit Server supported project collaboration across a WAN. It brings models together from Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, Revit MEP, and Autodesk Revit. Through it, multiple team members can access and modify models at the same time.


THE CLOUD CONNECT:

By early 2019, Steinberg Hart needed to prepare for another technology shift that would require some outside expertise.


“One of the tectonic shifts in our practice has been the transition from network-based project environments to the cloud,” Shenoy explains. “Starting in early 2019, we were seeing a growing demand to use Autodesk BIM 360 web-based applications to streamline communication from our customers and partners. While we had the BIM 360 platform, we had some growing pains with regard to application of it. We did not have the expertise or required network infrastructure on the front end to facilitate the transition."


A MEASURED APPROACH:

U.S. CAD training and education plans are custom developed to suit a company’s unique processes, platforms and people. “U.S. CAD is particularly strong in delivering effective change management training procedures and practices to help team members become proficient on more advanced platforms with speed and clarity,” Shenoy says. “It’s a very measured methodology.”


In this instance, Shenoy and Lamont took a project-by-project approach, training individual project teams, rather than the entire office. The first training exercise met with a Los Angeles-based team.” During this two-hour long class, U.S. CAD technical experts stepped through tools and techniques within the BIM 360 platform that team members could then easily apply to their specific projects, once they returned to their desks.


“We hit the ground running in these sessions because it’s truly on-the-project learning,” confirms Shenoy. When asked why the training is customized to the specific project, Shenoy believes the benefits are twofold. One it’s the best way to build acceptance and therefore encourage adoption and two, every project has unique specifications.

“One of the things that can get lost in today’s digital conversation is the variety of project delivery procurement systems,” says Shenoy. A design/build has a completely different set of parameters and requirements as compared to a design/bid/build. As well there are unique regulatory agency requirements. Drawing sets have to be put together with different levels and degrees of completion to meet the criteria of that specific job.


ENGAGED AND CONFIDENCE:

The broad adoption of BIM 360 is evidence of a growing confidence in the tools and the platform. When Steinberg Hart teamed with U.S. CAD in 2019, the company had one project on BIM 360. Today, they have 10. As well, the company has jumped from 5 seats to 75 seats.


“Our people are meeting benchmarks on a timely basis,” Shenoy adds. “And we’re seeing more engagement. For example, our project managers are typically platform agnostic, but in the last six months, they have begun to ask whether they should use BIM 360. To me, that awareness shows that they understand the potential advantages.”


The next training session will focus on features and functionality of computational design. For this area, U.S. CAD will help in identifying customized modules to develop and foster learning for each level of capability: new, experienced and advanced.

Current events such as the coronavirus pandemic, are shaping new directions for the Steinberg Hart team to communication and collaborate.



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