Flansburgh Architects successfully transitions to Open BIM

Nemetschek Group solutions enabled a LEED Gold certified school building

Open Building Information Modeling (BIM), better known as Open BIM, was a key enabler for the planning of a new school for the town of Holbrook, Massachusetts. Flansburgh Architects achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environment (LEED) Gold certification on this building project by leveraging software solutions from the Nemetschek Group, including Vectorworks, Bluebeam and Solibri.

The new school merges Holbrook’s three existing schools into one building, which will now serve more than 1,000 students from pre-kindergarten through to Grade 12. The building measures more than 200,000 sq t (18,580 sq m) spread across two floors.

It is organised by an internal circulation spine bent around the campus green that connects the lower elementary school entrance on one end of the curve to the upper middle-high school entrance on the other end curve. The shared common spaces (such as the gymnasium, art rooms, cafeteria, media centre and auditorium) and academic neighbourhoods are accessed directly off this main path of circulation.

The defining element of the building’s exterior envelope involved the use of a distinctive pre-patinated copper panel system along the entire front curve of the building. This specific building material was selected for its timeless quality and serves as a natural backdrop for the new campus green.

Utilising BIM

“The Holbrook project has been certified LEED Gold. It boasts 35% water savings and 34% energy savings over the typical baseline,” says Kent Kovacs, vice-president and principal-in-charge at Flansburgh Architects, a Boston-based architecture firm.

Before the Holbrook project, Flansburgh had already used BIM among the internal design team for architectural documentation and coordination.

“Implementing BIM for the coordination was a fairly intuitive process for us. We have been utilising BIM for years, as it gives us one collaborative model with multiple kinds of data attached to it. The challenge came in expanding our collaboration to work with the consulting engineers and handing off the models to the construction team for this specific project,” explains Brian Hores, BIM manager at Flansburgh Architects.

“This is when we decided to transition to Open BIM. It allowed the multi-disciplinary design team to use their preferred system.”

For the New Holbrook School, Flansburgh Architects used their preferred software in the BIM process, which included the Nemetschek brands Vectorworks, Solibri, and Bluebeam.

Flansburgh did the architectural design in Vectorworks then used an Open BIM process to import, export and reference files from all the consultants and subcontractors. The engineers developed structural and MEP models in other software tools in a smooth workflow due to Vectorworks’ ability to handle IFC files for an Open BIM exchange.

Solibri Office served as the quality control tool, checking the model to detect collisions and prevent errors. During the construction process, Bluebeam was deployed for document reviews and commenting, as well as the overall coordination and to issue off sketches to project stakeholders.

“Flansburgh’s Holbrook School project shows the advantages of Open BIM in a vendor-neutral environment,” explains Viktor Várkonyi, chief division officer of the planning & design division and member of the executive board of the Nemetschek Group.

“It ensures efficient collaboration, while allowing architects, engineers and construction professionals to work in the software they prefer.”

More details about the project can be found here.

Alexander Siegmund

Manager Corporate Communication & PR

Nemetschek SE

Tel: +49 89 540 459 255



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