More spaces for lower cost
MT Højgaard, a construction leader in the Nordic region, recently expanded into new headquarters. Constructed on the former parking lot of its prior building, the new building had one drawback—not enough parking and limited space for a new parking lot. The firm realized that it needed a new, 300-space parking garage. But the initial design costs for the structure proved to surpass the desired budget. A longtime user of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process, the firm asked its virtual design and construction (VDC) department to explore and model potentially cost-saving alternatives.
With an already efficient design as a starting point, the VDC team realized that removing costs might prove difficult, so it turned to Autodesk® Dynamo Studio software to explore more options quickly. Jesper Wallaert, VDC specialist at MT Højgaard, explains: “Dynamo Studio let us use computational design and a data-driven process to generate thousands of potential geometries for the garage. The idea is to explore as many options as possible without having to manually model each one.”
The team created rule-based parameters for the garage that defined required elements, including levels, lengths, number of spaces, structural standards, and more. Dynamo Studio then generated geometries for the garage. The rules kept the process focused on practical options, with the VDC team reviewing and choosing the best alternatives.
Dynamo Studio generated the alternatives, but the firm needed more than just geometries—it needed to tie those ideas to costs. Linking Dynamo to Autodesk® Revit® building design software let the firm do exactly that. They connected Dynamo to Revit, establishing rules that automated the creation of detailed models. Using the automatically generated models in Revit, the team was able to perform takeoffs and develop detailed cost estimates for the alternatives. Further linking Dynamo to Autodesk® FormIT enabled quick, high-quality visualizations of what the alternatives would look like.
Bringing in Project Fractal, a cloud-based service that explores design variations of Dynamo definitions, they were able to gain even deeper insight into cost. The team added cost parameters onto the original rules developed for Dynamo. The cloud-based analysis they set up in Project Fractal provided cost details for the alternatives that accounted for items such as cost per parking space and costs per design element.
“We were able to review options very quickly,” says Sylvester Knudsen, a VDC assistant at MT Højgaard. “Dynamo Studio gives you the ability to use data to drive the design process and connect those explorations to other design tools. In meetings, we were even able to explore ideas in real time. If someone wanted to see a taller option with a smaller footprint, we could generate it immediately with Dynamo Studio. The connection to FormIt even let people with no Dynamo Studio experience to drive the process.”
The Dynamo-based process let the team explore thousands of options. Out of the thousands generated, they choose the 10 most promising, and uploaded the geometries to Revit. Using Revit, they created 10 detailed models for deeper cost analysis. While they were not able to meet their cost goals, they were able to realize that fact quickly—saving valuable time.
Wallaert explains just how quickly: “After filtering to the most practical options, we modeled 10—all of them in half a day. Without Dynamo Studio, it would have taken about 3 or 4 days to model each one. We avoided the time drain that can come with a cost analysis process where you waste days modeling options that don’t solve the problem.”
“We achieved certainty about the cost requirements for the garage, thanks to Dynamo Studio,” adds Wallaert. “More importantly, we now have a rule-based process for generating parking garage models that meet all the requirements of the Danish market. A client can come to us with their project needs, and we can generate multiple options with precision pricing in no time.”
About the firm
MT Højgaard, part of the MTH Group, is one of the leading construction and civil engineering firms in the Nordic region. Based in the MTH Group’s headquarters in Soborg, Denmark, MT Højgaard has been delivering building projects for more than 100 years. Notable projects include the Great Belt Tunnel, the Moesgaard Museum, and Denmark’s Royal Library.