Tocci Partakes in Optimizing Design with BIM Conference


Laura Handler presenting behind a podium at the 2014 BIMForum

Last week, 18 Tocci team members descended on the BIMForum, Optimizing Design with BIM conference.

Our own Laura Handler co-chaired the conference with James Vandezande, AIA, from HOK. They opened the conference with an explanation of the theme, optimizing design.

Along with the 488 other attendees, our cost engineers, project management team, general superintendent, VDC modelers and coordinators, and even our graphic designer were immersed in a day and a half of rich content. The conference included presentations on optimizing urban design, concrete details, and decision-making – as well as a great debate on purposeful “wonky-shaped” buildings. BIMForum Boston was full of information to be received by all kinds of construction industry professionals. Here are some of the key takeaways of the Tocci Team.

A number of team members were extremely motivated by Tyler Gosss presentation on collecting metrics to measure modeling performance. See Tyler’s video here.

Moises Berrun (VDC) is planning on watching it again, to solidify his thoughts. Kirsten Soderlund (VDC) is planning on collecting data on her upcoming project to track modeling productivity and identify hang-ups. Laura Handler also enjoyed Tyler’s presentation and shared these thoughts on her own blog. David McCauley (Assistant PM) was interested in using predictive analytics to consider subcontractors’ progress on the job site.

Jason Reeces presentation had several themes that stuck with the Tocci team:

  • Val Tzvetkov (VDC) and Tia Karon (Executive Assistant) were inspired by the notion of “stop validating and start simulating”; they are both excited to implement that concept and leanify their different work processes.
  • The idea of “how much data is too much?” struck a chord with everyone – ranging from Bob Tierney (General Superintendent) to Maria Pelaggi (Business Development) and Caleb Fenske (Graphic Design). Being able to convey the correct (and right amount) of data, no matter what the situation, is crucial for success.
  • Peter Tremblay (Senior Project Manager) and John Tocci (CEO) latched onto how Reece used set-based design to simulate a very wide range of potential outcomes (36!) quickly for glass selection. Graphing design options could focus the team on material selection, MEP system decisions, and even which company to select for major trades.

Joe Cavallaro (Project Executive) and John Tocci both expanded their vocabulary. Joe finally feels like he understands LOD, and John enjoyed ideas such as “collaborative optioneering” and “multi-objective optimization”!

A number of our team members enjoyed seeing designers, builders, and owners coming together around innovative topics and share goals:

Joe Cavallaro enjoyed seeing clear outcomes – projects benefit when the “us against them” barriers are taken down. Alan Battistelli (Assistant PM) agrees and wants to contribute to a more collaborative culture on his projects. He is identifying daily opportunities to work as a partner with the design team and communicate that message to subcontractors. Greg Cerino (Senior Cost Engineer) is looking to explore remote collaboration with designers during design to establish and update project budgets.

Several team members were inspired to connect with our VDC team’s capabilities. Tony Sandonato (Executive VP of Operations) is looking to expand our applications of laser scanning. Joe Ferolito (VP of Cost Engineering) wants to figure out how to scale VDC for optimal use on some of our smaller projects.

Not surprisingly, we were all left thinking about workflows. Jennifer Heikkinen (Director of Project Management) enjoyed a nugget of wisdom from a Bechtel presentation: you can’t keep bolting new processes on and keeping the old – something’s gotta go! She’s still reflecting on what tools or processes to let go of. Bob Tierney might have an answer for her: integrate the design documentation and detailing process and basically skip shop drawings! Kirsten Soderlund echoes Bob’s thoughts; she has seen and hopes to avoid the double work that happens when people don’t abandon their existing workflows. She is already mapping out a few workflows for her next project! Ashwin Ramesh is diving into scripting, as using APIs to speed up (not eliminate) workflow was a recurring theme.

Tocci team members acquired quite a lot of useful information from many different presentations. If some of our takeaways peaked your interest, be sure to check out the next BIMForum event to be held in Dallas, TX this fall. You can also find more information about BIMForum on their site: