YSA Design is a leading designer for the cruise ship industry. The firm has switched to BIM modeling with Revit and saw a drastic improvement in workflow and communication with clients. Creating 3D images for client review now takes seconds, instead of weeks. Using the central model as the single source of truth means fewer mistakes. And adding virtual reality brings collaboration to a new level, allowing everyone to walk through a space before it has been built.
YSA Design has noticed that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is growing in use in Norway and worldwide. Autodesk defines BIM as “an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.” In Norway, BIM is now required for government projects, as well as for most commercial (land-based) contracts.
It became clear to YSA Design that BIM was the future for the industry, and the firm decided to start using it. “At YSA we always want to be up to date with the latest technology. So, after some research and feedback from the employees, we understood that Revit is the right software for us,” says Anne Mari Gullikstad, CEO of YSA Design.
The firm hired Giacomo Hinna as a BIM administrator to help them transition to using BIM and Revit. All the employees were sent to a course to learn how to use Revit, and Hinna, as the BIM manager, was there to support the transition. Then it was time to start using the software in active projects.
“At the beginning, it was not very easy to accomplish even a simple task and overall Revit looked like a very complex software. After a short period of learning, working with BIM gives us a much deeper tool that helps us in the process and simplifies the workflow,” says Patrik Österberg, project manager at YSA Design.
Using Revit has meant a new way of working for the team at YSA Design. Hinna explains, “Before switching to Revit, we used 2D drafting software. The whole process was much less efficient. You have technical drawings, but in order to show work to the client, you need to create 3D drawings, which is a separate process. If you are showing something to the client and the client has suggestions, you have to go back and change it in the technical drawings. We used to have people who specialized in 3D visualizations, so they were less involved in the overall project”.
“Now, it is much easier to have something to show to the client. Everyone [in the firm] is using Revit, so anyone can make adjustments. The BIM model is used to do the design work, as well as to create a visualization for the client, and to adjust materials. It is the only source of truth. If a client has a suggestion or we realize that we’ve made a mistake, we can fix it, and it is fixed everywhere. We only use one program. Before, we used so many different programs (visualization programs, Excel, etc.).”
“Changing the position of one or more elements in Revit doesn’t take much time, just a few clicks. It can be done during meetings. Instead, in the 2D world, you have to change it manually for every single view. Even small adjustments can take several days,” explains Österberg. The firm noticed that they were making fewer mistakes since converting to Revit. Errors used to happen at handovers (e.g., one person creates the technical drawings and another the 3D visualization for the same area). Now, with everyone working in Revit on the same model, work flows better.
A customer of YSA Design says, “Having a unique 3D model as a source for every output is important for consistency in the workflow. YSA Design can provide anytime with very short notice the latest drawings and 3D views. Before, it could take weeks to get an updated package, especially to get realistic shots.”
YSA Design is currently working on a large project involving 3 cruise ships. The firm acts as coordinating architects and is also designing some of the areas on the ships. It is the first project of its kind in the world that is fully done in Revit. “When you have different offices working together, using BIM becomes even more important,” explains Piantino. “One company is designing the restaurant, another is responsible for the area right outside, and you need to make sure everything is aligned.”
“It used to take weeks to go from an adjusted 2D drawing to an adjusted 3D drawing. And now it takes a few clicks”
—Georg Piantino, Senior Architect at YSA Design
YSA Design mainly focuses on interiors, so visualization is crucial. To showcase the full potential of 3D visualization, the firm organized a presentation for the key stakeholders in the project. Architects used VR (virtual reality) headsets to “walk” customers through the ship’s model, using Revit and a VR tool. The presentation was a success. Using 3D and virtual reality allows the customer to experience the design in a much more immersive way: they can see the colors and materials, feel the space and get into details.
“Being able to practically walk inside the ship is a game-changer,” says a customer of YSA Design. “[With 2D drawings], it was difficult to read the design and imagine how the area would look like when it’s done. Now you can have a real-time feeling of the space, areas and materials. So it’s easier to spot potential problems and solutions.”
YSA Design aims to lead the way in using BIM and 3D modeling in the cruise ship industry. In 2019, the firm demonstrated a sports bar they had designed for the Radisson cruise line, at a marine interiors fair. Using VR headsets, visitors could virtually walk around the bar, experience the materials, look on top of and under things, like checking where the glasses would be hanging. It is a world of difference compared to looking at technical drawings.
In addition to 3D drawings, the cruise ship industry has historically relied on mockups (physical models) to help customers imagine what an area would look like once it has been built. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and countries announced lockdown measures, international travel ground to a halt. It became impossible to organize a meeting with a client and look at a mockup together. That is where Revit proved invaluable. YSA Design can share their 3D model with a client online and review it together. “Thanks to Revit, we can review areas together with the client and make adjustments, even though we are oceans apart,” explains Piantino. “It’s why we are so busy despite the pandemic.” A customer of YSA Design says, “Overall, we can say that working with YSA helps us to feel much more involved in the project and taking part in the design progress. Even though we cannot be physically together now, BIM allows us to cooperate efficiently.”
“We are proud to say that we were the first in the cruise ship industry to set up a project 100% in BIM”
—Anne Mari Gullikstad, CEO of YSA Design
YSA Design now uses Revit for all its new projects. The firm hopes that its success will inspire more industry players to start using BIM, from shipyards to furniture makers. This can unlock even more possibilities. “The real power of BIM is the information,” says Hinna. “We are now managing all our materials inside Revit, instead of Excel. We know the sizes, colors, prices, etc. And many suppliers of furniture, lighting, and other items are issuing BIM libraries for their products. Once you have that, it becomes so easy to play around with the design, like changing the material from wood to stone with a click.”
For the cruise ship industry, this is the beginning of an exciting journey.
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