McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is setting the bar high in digital construction innovation. As a top 20 Engineering News-Record (ENR) general contractor (GC) with over 150 years’ experience, they’re pushing towards the goal of becoming the “Best Builder in America.”
With construction projects becoming more complex, improved design phase services and integration with design partners is a necessity. This is challenging teams to work together – in new ways – to deliver exceptional client experiences.
To achieve this, McCarthy is focused on process and outcomes, and developed the Integrated Virtual Builder (IVB) initiative – a new mindset – that takes a holistic, lifecycle approach to project planning. IVB integrates all phases of the project together to achieve optimal communication and ensure information is not lost between project phases.
As long-time users of Autodesk Construction Solutions, McCarthy’s focused on refining the details of their workflow to optimize every aspect of a project.
The preconstruction phase involves multi-level coordination between different stakeholders – design, construction, and project owners. The McCarthy team found that during this stage, project estimators spent too much time accessing model files, pricing out models, and returning files to project owners for review.
In their current workflow for the ATEP – Irvine Valley College IDEA Building project, teams would receive a single, monthly delivery of updated building plans. From there, they would spend two to three weeks pricing items on the plans, then several more weeks passing the drawings back and forth between stakeholders for validation. In the span of six months, the team would complete three to four estimates.
The team was in the market for a solution that would:
Through the Assemble integration with BIM 360, McCarthy found the answer that they were looking for to effectively communicate between multiple stakeholders.
“The integration between Assemble and BIM 360 was a game-changer,” says Randall Natsch, VDC Director – Northern Pacific at McCarthy. “Having information centralized in the same suite of products helped facilitate faster design development. Whereas before, information was fragmented and went into silos.”
Each team had some familiarity with the tool prior to the integration. The faster cadence of publishing files on a weekly basis allowed estimators to access information and deliver estimates to the design team much faster.
“The Assemble integration didn’t just add cost certainty, it showed us a live pulse on where the design was going, and if we needed to make adjustments sooner rather than later,” says Connor Burke, Pre-Construction Manager – Southern California at McCarthy. “At the same time, we had the owners and designers involved in this process where we would plug-and-play options to give them the best design options for their budget.”
Within three or four days, the model would be updated, and the team would reprice. They continued this process, – known as continuous cost modeling – which is now practiced on almost all design-build projects.
The preconstruction team completed 25 cost-updates in a six-month period – a feat that wasn’t possible prior to the Assemble integration.
Through the integration between Assemble and BIM 360, issues were tackled earlier in the process, reducing rework, RFIs, and change orders from the field. This created more confidence and peace-of-mind with the owner, as they had a deeper understanding of the project by getting involved in the design process earlier.
As a result of the improved preconstruction process, McCarthy has now won more work with this owner. In addition, the design teams McCarthy collaborated with have approached the firm with the desire to collaborate more in the future.
“The design teams that rolled this out have come back to us asking to work with us again on design-build projects in the future,” says Burke. “It’s not just project owners that are happy with this Assemble integration. Our design teams are coming back to us and saying, ‘Let’s do this again.’”
Connections between solutions in the Autodesk Construction Solutions portfolio has enhanced workflows across McCarthy. Perhaps most importantly, ensuring communication between project stakeholders—project owners, construction teams, and designers— and setting the stage for highly innovative and creative project solutions that wins more business.