Veridian Homes uses Revit Architecture and Autodesk Buzzsaw technology to build greener homes that exceed expectations.
Veridian Homes is a Wisconsin-based home builder dedicated to quality home building and environmental stewardship. A family-owned company in its third generation, Veridian Homes was formed in 2003 when two of Wisconsin’s oldest home builders merged. With 100 employees, Veridian Homes is now Wisconsin’s largest home builder—constructing about 500 single-family and condominium homes each year in Dane County, Wisconsin, and the surrounding area.
The merger of the two companies offered an opportunity for the new company to retool its organization and workflow. “During our merger, we had a window of opportunity to examine our collective processes and decide how to make them better,” says Dan Gorski, vice president of estimating, purchasing and design. The two separate companies needed to combine their design, drafting, and estimating operations into a single, cohesive team and standardize on a common set of tools and technologies. So as they consolidated the design groups, company leaders made the strategic decision to move both teams to a new design solution and indeed a whole new approach to building design—building information modeling (BIM).
“We realized that BIM offered potential improvements in our home designs, documentation, and estimates—to the benefit of our business as well as our customers, community, and environment,” says Gorski. Since both companies had extensive experience with Autodesk software, the logical choice for the merged organization was Revit® Architecture software, a purpose-built BIM solution from Autodesk, combined with Autodesk® Buzzsaw® software for online project collaboration services.
Revit Architecture software gave Veridian Homes the improvements it was looking for. “With Revit Architecture software, we can quickly make changes to our standard set of building designs, get more accurate cost estimates, and let our customers ‘see’ their future homes,” says Gorski.
Veridian Homes currently has more than 40 different home plans (and corresponding Revit Architecture building information models) that prospective customers can choose from—designs for every taste, style, and budget. Its staff of designers use Revit Architecture to personalize those designs to meet a customer’s needs. As changes are made to a Revit Architecture model, all documentation updates automatically, as do the informational views such as schedules and material takeoffs.
One of the core values of Veridian Homes is its environmental stewardship. The company has received several industry honors for its green home building techniques, the most recent being the 2007 Energy Value Housing Award Builder of the Year, awarded by the National Association of Home Builders. Winners were chosen in part based on their whole-house, systems design approach.
Revit Architecture software is invaluable in this regard, enabling Veridian Home designers to create a 3D virtual prototype of a building that is used not only for documentation but also for quantity takeoffs, scheduling, area calculations, and design visualizations. “With Revit Architecture we were working with the entire building; with building components instead of lines, arcs, and circles; with a 3D model instead of separate floor plans, sections, and elevations,” remarks Gorski.
“As we implemented Revit Architecture, we realized that we could integrate our design and estimating processes,” says Gorski. Veridian Homes created new workflows that tapped the Revit Architecture model for precise quantity takeoffs—using that data to produce more accurate cost estimates. Designers, drafters, and estimators now all work with the Revit Architecture model, updating it to match incoming customer specifications or changes, and then producing new documentation and new cost estimates for the customer’s approval.
Making a House a Home
Revit Architecture is also helping Veridian Homes communicate its designs more quickly and clearly. “We can change a design in real time and let the customer see the immediate impact of that change,” says Gorski. In fact, one of the company’s goals is to create 3D renderings of all its Revit Architecture designs and make them available to customers on the company website. “This will be a great tool—allowing our customers to really see what their house will look like,” says Gorski.
Autodesk Buzzsaw software enables Veridian Homes to efficiently exchange information such as plans, specifications, selections, schedules, and purchase orders with its numerous trade partners. “We have over 250 users—from roofers to cabinet manufacturers to appraisers—using Autodesk Buzzsaw,” reports Gorski. “With Autodesk Buzzsaw, we can get project information to them faster and more economically.” In addition, Autodesk Buzzsaw promotes accountability by giving trade partners 24/7 availability to crucial project information and even an audit trail of information distribution.
“Most of the guesswork has been taken out of our building equation,” remarks Gorski. “The cost, the performance, even the appearance of the house—they’re all built into the Revit platform model, so there’s less chance for error—resulting in a better product for our customers.”