Haycon is a Boston-based, design-build construction firm that specializes in high-performance and Passive House building. Founded over 10 years ago, Haycon has relentlessly strived to improve the building delivery process, streamline job site work practices, and to become early adopters of emerging digital technologies. As the firm has evolved to take on more complex projects, this has driven them to explore BIM and digital delivery methods.
But the digital journey didn’t come without barriers. Everyone was used to operating on 2D paper-based drawings in the field and it was difficult to transition them into using a 3D model and other digital tools. If the technology seemed too complex to learn, people tended to revert to more the familiar methods of marking up 2D drawings. Another big challenge was presented by the global shift to remote working. Typical face-to-face meetings had become virtual calls, adding another layer of difficulty in teaching new technologies. This shift really required any new technology or process to be easy to explain while sharing a screen, and to ideally be optimized for mobile use.
Haycon’s cmBuilder journey:
Haycon found cmBuilder to be a clean, easy-to-use, web-based platform that they could import their model into and continually improve it while coordinating better with subcontractors and the design team to plan for their upcoming project – 11 E. Lenox. This is Haycon’s first Mass Timber CLT building and one of the first and largest passive house certified, multi-family residential projects to be built in the city of Boston. While researching the mass timber market, Haycon discovered the UBC Brock Commons case study where CadMakers created a digital twin and also helped with the logistics & planning of cranes and staging at construction. So they connected with the cmBuilder team to see what applications could be leveraged by Haycon for this groundbreaking project. Using a 3D design model to walkthrough a project digitally is becoming more commonplace, but it doesn’t typically capture the means & methods of construction. Elements such as temporary resource equipment – the cranes, lifts, delivery trucks - the people, the materials and how they work both around the building and in sequence over time, throughout the schedule and phases of the project. Simulating this process digitally in advance is exactly what cmBuilder makes easy! Haycon was able to improve their project management with site logistics simulation, creating better visualization, rapid scenario analyses & confirming the site plan is practical for when construction begins.
Adopting the cmBuilder.io platform was also very easy for Haycon, as it navigates similarly to other CAD/BIM and digital software in the industry, while having the added benefit of being 100% web-based. After a short training session over zoom, in just a couple of hours the team from Haycon was able to pick up cmBuilder and use it on the project to reduce the amount of time spent in coordination and logistics planning.
Construction site simulation using cmBuilder
Because of the space constraints on 11 E. Lennox, Haycon needed to figure out logistical challenges such as - where the mobile crane would be staged, where concrete pumps and concrete trucks might fit, where to access different sides of the project with different lifts and how to get all the material into the building with such a small laydown area. Using cmBuilder to model and simulate these elements was critical to making sure all four corners of the building could be reached from the laydown area and still not affect the adjacent properties outside of the jobsite.
They were also able to use their total station data to confirm site dimensions as-built for the jobsite and plug that right into the cmBuilder model. Being able to see that the crane will fit where desired or if they should bring it in from the street vs the parking lot helped save a lot of planning time.
“As a systems thinker, it’s always refreshing to find new tools that help bring together multiple aspects of a project in a clear and concise way. cmBuilder’s easy to use interface, breadth of functionality, and amazing support & development teams combine to create a wonderful user experience. From jobsite space planning to work sequencing to subcontractor price scoping, cmBuilder has become a staple in Haycon’s BIM toolbelt, and will continue to be moving into the future.”
Which cmBuilder features made the most difference to Haycon
What stands out for Haycon is the smart, parametric resource catalog and the cmBuilder technical team’s customer service. For example, Haycon typically uses scissor lifts but there weren’t any yet available in the resource library. Haycon simply submitted a “model request” via the in-app feedback tool and within 24 hours, the cmBuilder team had made available a parametric scissor lift inclusive of all specifications in the catalog so Haycon could change the size and verify where it could sit around the building. Easily adjusting the height and verifying it could reach all the floors, etc. The construction team was able to use cmBuilder to choose different crane sizes and see what might work better, all in real-time. They could change the length of the boom or the outriggers or even just the size, length of the crane to make sure it matched whatever cranes that would be used in the actual site. They were also able to adjust the parametric tree resource to match the existing site conditions, as to verify there would be no interferences or impacts.
With regards to communication, cmBuilder’s 1-click shared presentation mode feature helped the Haycon team to walk subcontractors through the build sequence virtually over video conference calls, analyzing and editing the site logistics with in real-time to avoid potential hurdles in the live build.
Before cmBuilder, accurately placing equipment on the jobsite took up to 3 days with the process involving calls to different crane reps to figure out different load tables, specs and sizes, pulling out other map services to make a 2D sketch of the jobsite without accurate measurements or scales and trying to guestimate where the crane might reach based on looking at the cut-sheet, going back and forth with internal teams and then double-checking with the crane reps. With cmBuilder, Haycon could easily model and simulate the optimized crane and temporary resource selections, and run multiple scenarios to find the best fit in less than half a day! Being able to spend just a few minutes to put a resource in the site plan – especially a large equipment – was a game changer for this project.
cmBuilder gives Haycon the ability to easily model, simulate and share with project stakeholders their site logistics plans in 4D, driving better planning decisions from data and intelligence. This in turn drives efficiencies on site and saves time and money on the job.