Established in 1914, HNTB Corporation is among the largest engineering, architectural, planning and construction management firms in the United States. The multidisciplinary firm comprises three business units, including HNTB Federal, which provides a range of architectural, engineering and planning services to U.S. federal government and military clients.
Listen to a live podcast with Brad Schultz, vice president for the HNTB Federal architecture market, and Marwan Bakri, the HNTB Federal building information modeling manager.
HNTB Corporation adopted building information modeling (BIM) on the Autodesk® Revit® platform in 2005 and has utilized BIM on dozens of major projects. With the help of Revit-based software, HNTB has demonstrated the value of BIM for the federal marketplace, whose projects demand a design and delivery method that maximizes efficiency, cost effectiveness, and sustainability. A robust Autodesk BIM solution has been at the center of HNTB’s close collaboration with builders for many of the firm’s design-build projects. With the Revit platform at the core of its BIM solution, HNTB also uses complementary BIM products such as AutoCAD® software, Autodesk® Navisworks® software and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software. BIM processes and design information provide HNTB and its construction partners with greater design value and flexibility for fast-track design-build projects, enabling them to utilize schedule and cost information early in the process to make more informed design decisions.
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
HNTB Federal provided architectural, interiors, structural and civil engineering design services for the new state-of-the-art Human Resources Center of Excellence (HRCoE) at Fort Knox, scheduled for completion in 2010. HNTB partnered with Turner Universal on this $183-million design-build project, which is the largest single construction project ever undertaken at Fort Knox. The project consists of six buildings that will house more than 4,300 people that are being consolidated in this new facility as a result of the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program. HNTB’s distinctive double-chevron design will be Army certified to a Silver equivalent to the USGBC LEED® certification. Sustainable design features include a white reflective roof membrane, high insulation values, and flexible mechanical systems for a future geothermal well field that all work to reduce the amount of energy required to operate the facility.
All Autodesk Revit-based products were used for the design of this project; the HNTB team used Autodesk® Revit® Architecture and Autodesk® Revit® Structure software, and the project’s mechanical, eletrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineer used Autodesk® Revit® MEP software. This shared, comprehensive BIM design platform promoted efficiency gains throughout the design cycle, helping HNTB to develop its initial design in just 60 days. The Revit Architecture and Revit Structure design models were dynamically shared throughout the design process—resulting in a more efficient, faster design process based on up-to-date design information, which was critical for minimizing the impact of escalating steel prices. In addition, all the Revit design models were routinely combined in Navisworks software for clash detection—fostering project coordination and reducing the need for onsite change orders.
The use of BIM processes and tools led to more flexibility during design (including sustainable design analysis) and more design iterations. This helped HNTB to meet all of the Army’s design and functional requirements for the facility and provide additional finishes within the Army’s budget. During preliminary design, Revit design data was used for early quantity and cost estimating, providing HNTB with information it needed to recommend cost-saving design alternatives. The Revit models, in combination with Navisworks, were vital for HNTB and Turner’s collaborative design-build partnership. This BIM solution was used to check code requirements and for 4D construction sequencing—minimizing construction downtime and helping save the Army both time and money.
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
HNTB Federal provided planning, architectural design, interior design and project management services for the Army’s new Wheeled and Tracked Vehicle Maintenance Training School, which replaces similar facilities at other bases that are being closed as part of the BRAC program. This new $197-million phase I training facility includes design and construction of the first 5 of 11 new buildings and design of a 6th building in the campus. The complete campus will combine traditional classroom-type educational spaces with long-span, column-free maintenance-bay spaces, where students gain hands-on training. This highly efficient, sustainable campus complex was designed to achieve the Army equivalent of a LEED Silver sustainable design certification.
HNTB partnered with Balfour Beatty Construction, and Hankins and Anderson Engineers on this design-build project. These firms, as well as the USACE and users of the Central Campus complex, broke from traditional partnership roles to accelerate the project schedule—providing timely decisions, direction, and approvals for deliverables at critical points throughout the project’s design. Autodesk BIM solutions assisted all these major stakeholders in working together more efficiently and in moving from project-award to start-of-construction in just 6 months.
HNTB’s use of Autodesk BIM software for the design of this facility was instrumental in helping to assess early design alternatives that met the Army’s program requirements and budget. For example, the conceptual floor plans from the RFP (request for proposal) had an unusually large amount of space dedicated to core functions (mechanical rooms, stairwells, etc.). By more quickly investigating design alternatives using Revit Architecture, HNTB was able to propose a larger floor plate that would allow more instructional space on each floor while decreasing the number of floors (and the overall cost of the project). HNTB also used the Revit design models in combination with Autodesk 3ds Max for immersive design reviews (based on a gaming engine that enables virtual walkthroughs using a simple Xbox® gaming controller) that helped instructors test the space and provide feedback to the designers. Clash detection using Autodesk Navisworks helped to resolve design issues before they caused time delays and costly design changes during construction. The Revit model and Navisworks software were also used for 4D construction sequencing during the design and construction phases—assisting the team in better visualizing the construction project and in sequencing it over time so as to support project coordination and to help accelerate the construction schedule.