September 27, 2021

Graves Lumber gets wins from BIM with AGACAD framing suite

This U.S. lumber yard adopted BIM with the help of AGACAD Wood Framing software for Revit®, enabling it to provide more value-added services for general contractors and increase the efficiency of many of its own processes.

Client Profile

Graves Lumber is a large U.S. supplier of building materials and construction services with over 120 years of history. Based in Ohio, the company is also active in surrounding states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Business Need

Construction services are a key complement to Graves Lumber’s historic role as a supplier of building materials and now occupy half the company’s head office, with a team known across the region for its framing expertise. They handle over 150 projects a year, mainly for GC’s constructing apartments, senior living facilities, and hotels.

“General contractors were starting to do more BIM coordination,” says Andrew Fenner, the Pre-Construction Coordinator at Graves. “So we wanted to transition to 3D and BIM too, to stay ahead of our competitors with the ability to frame a building three dimensionally and collaborate and find the clashes with HVAC, plumbing, electric, etc.,” he says.

Structural framing elements viewed in Navisworks
Detecting clashes between framing and MEP in Navisworks

Then the team got their first project to do 3D modelling for a large building in downtown Columbus, a five-storey wood construction on two layers of podium.

“The question was how were we going to make that happen.”

Thus, the search began for good timber framing tools, ideally in Autodesk® Revit®, the industry leading platform for smooth collaboration among different BIM actors.

Solution

In exploring the options on the market, Fenner found online videos about AGACAD Wood Framing which showed it to be a user-friendly Revit add-on with powerful features. A trial of the BIM solution confirmed those impressions.

“I told the boss I wanted to try this one, and we haven’t looked back since. That was over two years ago,” the pre-construction manager says.

The AGACAD Wood Framing Suite of BIM software provides advanced automation and built-in best practices for constructions with multi-layer timber-frame walls, floors and roofs. It’s easy to batch add, modify or mark just the right elements or parameters, distribute details, flexibly manage openings and connections, and find clashes. Frames dynamically update and adapt, ensuring that shop drawings and cut lists are always accurate.

“With these tools we blew that first project out of the water,” Fenner remembers.

Results

What have been the benefits of the AGACAD software?

“From start to finish, it definitely helps speed me along in my framing. I can just set my settings up, hit ‘frame’ and let it do the work. Instead of picking one wall and having to frame it, then clicking another wall and framing that, I can select a bunch for framing with one click.”

Wood framed walls and metal framed floors in Revit

Even when the contractors that Graves Lumber serves do not take a BIM approach on a project, Fenner finds value in the Wood Framing solution.

“I use your software every single day, to help speed things up and make us look good,” he says. “I use it for framing details. I give cheat sheets to my guys in the field, so they have everything dimensioned and know how many sills there are, the header sizes, how many jacks and kings, how many stud packs, that sort of thing. I also like to include 3D representations in our advice to the architect and engineer.”

Being able to do BIM coordination and find the clashes ahead of time has given Graves Lumber an advantage over competitors, which helps it win business.

“Contractors often go with us since they know what we can do and the value they are getting. That is because we have this software and are able to model like this. We’re one of the first building dealers in the region to move into the world of 3D and BIM,” Fenner notes.

Wood framed walls and metal framed floors in Revit

Written by Bryan Bradley of Textus Aptus.


This client relationship illustrates AGACAD’s ambition of “Reducing BIM stress!” and making it easier to bring BIM to life.

AGACAD is a member of ARKANCE, Europe’s leader in the digital transformation of construction and manufacturing, and for 30 years now has been creating tomorrow’s AEC. Our solutions for BIM professionals – with 13,000+ users in 130 countries – share top practitioners’ insights and automate best practices to eliminate unnecessary tasks and let clients focus on work that creates value.

For more information, contact us at info@agacad.com or +370 618 55 671.