Soini and Horto Architects

How would you like to work?

In this magazine, we focus on customer interviews. The brief is simple, how do our customers use Solibri and how does it benefit their work. This simple question alone has created myriad of answers and whole host of ideas which provide ‘food for thought’ for both us and other Solibri customers.  

I met Richard Hogan from Soini and Horto Architects. I had previously met Santtu Rothsten from Soini and Horto in an industry event. He enthused the audience with stories of their latest project - The Tripla development in Helsinki. Tripla is a huge redevelopment of retail, transport and housing within an area called Pasila in Central Helsinki. Richard has been a part of this project since 2012, from the competition phase to the current development. My brief was to discover how Richard uses Solibri in his role as Architectural Project Manager. As we talked, the conversation took an interesting turn. We began talking more about the future and what Solibri should be doing that it isn’t doing today. Richard’s wisdom inspired me to both record his ideas here but also share those thoughts with our project development team as they plan future content themes for Solibri Model Checker. 

Richard, an American architect, first moved to Finland in the 1990s. He has seen local architecture move from a considered ‘art form’ to being far more commercial over recent years. The Tripla project saw a change with local architects working with international architects to realize design in new and interesting ways. This has proven to be commercially fruitful for all parties – especially as Finland sees a construction boom at present. 

Solibri is at the heart of the mix when thinking Tripla. “We’d be lost without Solibri Model Checker. We use it to cooperate with structural and MEP teams. We need all the ifc models pulled into one. One combined model and a simple process is what works best.” Richard often sits with both his drawing program and Solibri open on his screen. He then walks through the model in a 3D mode often compares the clash detection reports from the Gravicon, the BIM coordinators involved in Tripla. (Gravicon are also responsible for the rulesets, all clash detection and model management within the build). 

It is this usage that lead us to the discussion of what else we could and should be doing with Solibri.  “Well, one challenge that Solibri faces is to understand that BIM suffers from being seen as a specialty or sub category of the industry. It cannot be left to the tech guys, it has to take over the whole industry. We need to get it out of the hands of the BIM specialist – it needs to be taken into the realm of everybody on all projects. I would argue it should be in all contracts from day one” explain Richard. 

“The industry has gone through a massive transformation. There are now many stakeholders in our projects. More and more of these people are not architecturally trained, many can be from the investment or owner side. When we open the model in Solibri Model Checker, I see many of them recoil in fear of the information, for there is a lot of 3D content in multiple colors and in multiple views. These people very easily get lost in all this information, and I think they would benefit from a simpler view, where the colors are suppressed, or they could choose a greyscale mode. I know the hot water pipe may be purple. They don’t know that. The worst scenario is to make decisions based on misunderstandings.”

I ask Richard about the concept of moving to a more cloud-based service which has a central portal where the customer can log in – a place that stores all the latest ifc models and project workflow comments. Richard supports this level of integration as the way to go. “I would like us to do completely away with all 2D paper print outs. I never know if the building team is using the latest model version. I understand how they just want to build the wall. That’s their job. I think if we can control everything centrally and digitally, we can then offer a simpler solution and even customers get to log in everyday to see the latest version of everything. Right now, there can be delays if the customer requests to see the latest details of a certain space like the car park. You should be able to do it yourself. Everyone knows how to do filtering and web searches like when booking a hotel. Make it simple and let them access the latest information as they need it. It matters to them if they need a quick decision based on how many square meters they have for a retail space on the second floor. It would be great if Solibri could offer more roles and specific content access to different people.”

One pleasure for me was Richard’s request for the integration of 2D and 3D information – viewing PDF 2D floorplans was an example of a simple but necessary feature to further help remove paper from the construction site. This feature was released in Solibri Model Checker v9.8 and is available today. As Richard said “Let’s keep everything in a 3D world but offer 2D options at the right time for the right need. By doing so we will take the industry forward in adopting new processes”.

With that thought, Richard left to continue leading the change in terms of both digital transformation and BIM adoption. Thank you, Richard.