Z+ Architects transforms a house using Autodesk Revit Architecture software, Autodesk Seek web service, and BIM-ready Pella product models.
Pella Corporation designs, tests, manufactures, and installs high-quality residential and commercial windows and doors for new construction and renovation projects. Founded in 1925 as the Rolscreen Company, Pella today employs more than 8,000 employees in numerous locations throughout the United States.
Long known for its commitment to innovation, Pella recently introduced a complete selection of digital door and window models from its 4 best-selling aluminum-clad wood and fiberglass product lines—Architect Series®, Designer Series®, Pella® (ProLine), and Pella® Impervia®—for easy inclusion in building designs created using Autodesk® Revit® Architecture building information modeling (BIM) software. “Architects had been asking for these BIM product models for some time,” says Terry Zeimetz, AIA, CSI, CCPR, commercial marketing manager for Pella. “We developed them specifically for the Autodesk Revit platform because such a high percentage of architects use it.” To distribute the models, Pella relies on the Autodesk® Seek web service and its tight integration with AutoCAD® software and Revit Architecture.
“We have offered our clients 2D drawings in different formats for years,” says Zeimetz. The new 3D product models are part of an ongoing strategy to engage architects with rich, highly detailed information about Pella products at the exact moment they are looking for it—while they are designing. “Our goal is to facilitate the use of Pella products early in the design process, giving us an advantage over some of our competitors when it comes to winning new business.”
To use Autodesk Seek, architects can type the word Pella into a dedicated Autodesk Seek search box within their design applications and, almost immediately, view a complete list of all available Autodesk® Revit® families of Pella products. To add their selections to a Revit Architecture model, they simply drag and drop the product model from Autodesk Seek to the design. “Autodesk Seek makes the whole process incredibly easy,” says Zeimetz. Also available via web browser, Autodesk Seek contains detailed product information from more than 1,000 other manufacturers.
Although Pella first introduced the BIM product models in mid-2009, they have already proven themselves in the field. For example, Z+ Architects, a small architectural firm specializing in custom residential design and commercial projects, recently incorporated the models into a major renovation of a 5,500-square-foot home in Allendale, New Jersey. The home contained Pella windows from a previous renovation. The contractor engaged Z+ Architects to modify plans that had already received zoning board approval. “We had to satisfy the client’s demand for a high-end product, without delaying the construction schedule or straying from the fixed site footprint,” says Michael Scro, principal at Z+ Architects. “The last thing the contractor wanted was to go back to the zoning board.”
In the past, when architects wanted to incorporate Pella products into their designs, they had to painstakingly create the models from scratch or temporarily use a competitor’s models. Using Revit Architecture, Autodesk Seek, and the Pella BIM-ready models, the architects quickly generated a number of alternative design iterations to help demonstrate what would happen if they rotated the roofline, changed materials, or incorporated taller, more slender windows. “Having these highly detailed models helped us dive into the particulars of how changes to the house’s style, siding, and materials would impact the window selection, and vice versa,” says Scro.
Based on renderings generated from the building model, the client decided to transform the home’s exterior, undoing earlier renovations and adding new features, such as a custom-designed window for above the entry portico. Translating the original 2D designs into 3D imagery and a building information model helped everyone buy into the project. “In fact, without BIM we probably could not have convinced the client to approve the designs,” says Scro.
Construction on the home ended in the summer of 2009. “The client was thrilled, and the contractor came out looking very good,” says Scro. Because Revit Architecture and the Pella products helped the architects accurately predict how the finished product would appear, the client was able to make key design decisions with more confidence. “Revit Architecture absolutely gives our firm a competitive advantage and opens up new business opportunities," Scro continues, "especially when used in conjunction with Autodesk Seek and the new Pella products."
Pella Corporation has realized significant benefits from its investment in the Pella models. “The number of downloads we have seen at the Autodesk Seek site is absolutely out of this world,” says Zeimetz. “These models definitely give us a competitive advantage.”
|Pella Corporation / Z+ Architects Customer Story (pdf - 1394Kb)|