What is Shedmate?
Founded in Australia in early 2020, Shedmate is a start-up developing software solutions for the Australian and American construction industries, integrating BIM (Building Information Modeling) and generative design into all of its projects.
The main goal of its founders is to bring time and money savings for shed builders and designers, providing the tools so anyone can create BIM data, design, engineer, detail, and quote a Shed in minutes, from any device.
This is great, but where the heck this idea came from?
The beginning - The need for a BIM implementation
For years now, we have heard that Building Information Modeling is a game-changer in the industry. There are plenty of keynotes and events that target how a team of professionals went about overcoming old industry practices, to design an information-centric workflow that drives decision making both in the office and the field. Our history is no different.
When we started at Blackbird Industries, communication was done by email, and all the drawings were made in CAD-based systems by draftspersons and saved in a local server. Two people were responsible for liaising with clients and getting the information to the office. One of the draftspersons (the first one available at convenience) was then responsible for producing all the drawings and sending them to the administration team to get the council approval. Finally, plans were submitted to construction.
As you might have guessed at this point, communication was the main issue. When a project had to be re-evaluated or got stuck in the process, people needed to seek information in multiple locations such as emails, hard drives, servers, and personal computers. With the BIM deployment, we started to put things together. After an in-depth analysis of the company involving processes, policies, and technology, we designed a BIM Implementation plan based on interviews, checklists, and tests to support our action
• First, we customized software training, templates, Revit families, and standards.
• The communication system was centralized with Slack.
• The old system of manual time books for time tracking was replaced by Tsheets App to monitor the time spent on each project.
• All office personnel learned how to use Kanban-style collaborative tools, such as Trello, to make overall project management straightforward.
• Draftspersons were introduced to tools such as Revit, Navisworks, Enscape to create data-rich models.
• Everyone in the company had in-depth BIM360 training as a Common Data Environment (CDE) to support the entire workflow.
RESULTS OF THE BIM IMPLEMENTATION
With the implementation of BIM, we had a much more productive environment to work on and statistic data began to be leveraged to measure how much time the team spent on each project, and in-depth reports started to be produced to track the bottle-necks.
After an analysis involving profit, markup margins, time spent on each model, and production costs, houses started to be the centre of the debate. We realized that most of our team was not happy with the house projects. The company had itself much more prepared to deal with industrial-grade work.
After this analysis, the management team decided then, after 20 years, to stop taking new house jobs.
After a few months, the results began to shine:
● The relieve of not spending time and energy on house projects freed up time for more significant projects. More time was dedicated to project management and simulation.
● We started producing a Revit add-in to automate repetitive work and improve documentation.
● New features on BIM360, like permission-based files and transmittals, started to be used.
● A considerable reduction in delivery time was verified.
● A better quantity take-off workflow using Revit and Orçafascio was introduced, allowing the company to participate in more significant projects.
● New BIM services were included in the company portfolio.
● Better project deliverables started to be used for client feedback and design review meetings, positively reflecting the company image in the local market.
● BIM360, as the primary repository of information for the company, was implemented with subcontractors, reducing the RFIs and change orders.
As pointed above, the introduction of transmittals made it easier for us to produce quotes, and our effort to train subcontractors started to pay off as they can have access to the permission level information, wherever they are, which drastically reduced the number of formal meetings in the company and request for information (RFIs).
STILL MANY CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME
The implementation was, indeed, a success. Most of the work was being tracked and measured, the company took more projects in, and the teams are much more efficient and confident in their work.
However, there were a lot of different challenges to overcome:
Challenge 1: A Large number of small projects
While the commercial buildings are now benefiting from a data-rich environment, the same doesn’t apply for smaller projects. With more than 200 domestic sheds booked in a year, and at the end of the financial year, up to 5 sheds in a single day, the amount of time spent on these projects was still not satisfactory. The timeframe from our technical sales staff to return from a client visit and get our three modellers to have the plans ready for signing and council approval was more than one week, and projects started to pile up. As a result, our management staff started to question the importance of BIM for these projects.
Challenge 2: Design changes
Even though the geometry and quantity of elements to model in domestic sheds projects are quite low, the structural members themselves are tricky. The purlins need to sit on top of the rafter or trusses perfectly, the spacing of columns guides the construction grids, and the total width of the shed needs to be guided by fascia-to-fascia distance.
When changing the width of the shed or the engineering report comes back with a different column configuration, we needed to start the design from scratch.
BIM 360. Too much data? While BIM360 was quite sufficient for maintaining virtually all project information, whenever a new project comes in, we need to go through the entire process of creating a new job, establishing the admins, copying project folders, and so on so forth. It is a necessary step, of course, but our sales and management staff had only enough training for dealing with files, creating markups and issues, neither they nor we wanted them to be involved in establishing the groundwork on the platform. With those 5 new projects booked per day and the large sheds consuming a lot of work and energy, the BIM team was having a hard time to keep up with inviting everyone to every project and filling up all the information correctly. More often than we like, people started skipping essential steps and using up temporary data, which never had the chance to be replaced, to get past to the next step.
FORGE ACCELERATOR EVENT 2019
How do we make the process faster for these jobs and reduce the work to get up and running on BIM360 for new projects? Enter the Autodesk Forge Platform! With the growing investment of cloud computing solutions, Autodesk announced a Forge Accelerator in Sydney. It was everything that we needed to get our feet wet and start developing solutions shaping BIM360 to our needs. We’ve learned about Data Management APIs, BIM360 APIs, and the new kid on the block: Design Automation for Revit!
We were impressed by what was taught and demonstrated at the Forge Event. After it, our BIM team had enough information and knowledge to start working on a new solution. A cloud-based platform to automate the whole process of producing documentation for sheds.
SHEDMATE WAS BORN
Now, with our cloud platform, anyone on the company, with little knowledge of the underlying complexity, can automatically create BIM360 Projects, sync users, project folders, and permissions at any time during the life cycle of the project, according to our standards from any device.
Using device geolocation, our staff have the system filling up all the details for the Site Address, including Council name and Geo Coordinates with ease. Then, results are reflected in BIM360.
The most challenging part of this process was to build a 3D model that could run outside the scope of Revit. It should be fast and lightweight so we could use it on mobile devices but at the same time, powerful enough to create most of the work of designing the shed for us.
We’ve achieved millimetric precision for all structural members, which gave us the possibility to use that data for fabrication purposes! With only a few clicks or taps, you can change any aspect of the model, and it then recalculates itself to suit our fabrication standards.
Changing the width of the shed now is just a matter of moving a slider. All members update accordingly. Now we can make changes to the shed, and updates are reflected automatically!
We created user groups which allow us to share specific permissions to a group of users, at the right time; for instance, the management and office team receives the access to the BIM360 project as soon as a job is booked-in, but the site crew is only aware of the project at later stages.
Full set of documentation is created automatically; floor plans, elevations, sections, and schedules.
The title block, which contains client information, geolocation, and address, is filled up with no user input.
The process of creating sheds changed drastically by this workflow; we used to spend up to two weeks to go through the whole life cycle of a single domestic shed project in the office. Implementing cloud platforms cut the process to two days and also increased the quality of the deliverables since the system manages everything.
During the last 2 years, we experienced a lot of different new possibilities by interacting with automation processes using Autodesk technologies as the backbone of our business. We started experiencing how we could automate some of the repetitive work to have a much more streamlined process. Then, we slowly invested in different approaches to increase productivity. We are discovering and trying new things every day. It was quite of a learning curve, but it is certainly worth it, we hope we inspire you to do the same, thank you!
Complex processes that were done only by skilled professionals through standalone software can now be done by anyone through a web browser platform.
Shedmate provides the tools so anyone can create BIM data, design, detail and quote a shed project in minutes, from any device.
Our competitors' products require a skilled professional, more extensive training, and only works as a standalone product. With our easy to use solutions, we bring time and money savings to shed builders and designers.
Artur Bessoni - CEO
CEO of Shedmate, civil engineer and BIM consultant, Artur believes the digitalization of the industry is the key to real progress. Empowered by such belief, he spreads his knowledge through a community he founded called BIMExperts Brazil, where he organized 6 online events with more than 60 speakers. Artur has academic experience at Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University and Zigurat Global Institute of Technology (International Master BIM Manager). He has been a speaker at several BIM events, including AU Brazil 2016 and AU Las Vegas 2019. While working as BIM Manager at Blackbird Industries Australia, he was responsible for the deployment, management, and development of new BIM solutions in the planning, design and construction phases. Artur holds deep skils in entrepreneurship, sales, and management. He lectured at Autodesk Training Centers in Brazil, becoming an ACI and holding many ACPs. Currently, he teaches at BIMIAV, an online course at BIMExperts.
Thiago Almeida - CTO
Autodesk University 2019 Las Vegas Speaker, Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering and in Product Design, and Technician Degree in Software Analysis. Strong knowledge of engineering, mathematics and Autodesk products including official Autodesk certifications on Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and Revit MEP. For the past 6 years started to dive into the Revit API to explore opportunities and to leverage customizable Building Information Modeling workflows for clients and partners, resulting in 6 products running in production to thousands of active users. Also, Autodesk ADN member experienced on Autodesk Forge development for real-time cloud-based interaction with engineering data with proven experience on several APIs and environments.
The Golding Family - Investors