Established in 1864, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has a long history of building facilities that drive greater value by leveraging innovation, construction technology, and lean construction methods.
A long-time adopter of Autodesk Construction Solutions, McCarthy deployed a company-wide technology strategy in 2014, which had a direct tie into projects delivered quickly and under budget, resulting in happy clients. While this strategy has been successful for McCarthy, the company recognized that a more strategic approach was needed to help them reach their goal of becoming the “Best Builder in America.”
McCarthy started by identifying their long-term business goals and worked backward to develop a technology-based solution that could help them get there. By focusing on process and outcomes, the team developed the Integrated Virtual Builder (IVB) initiative—a new mindset and approach to beginning all projects with the entire construction lifecycle in mind.
This approach has led to six mega-project wins – a historic first for McCarthy – in each of their five regional locations, with two in the Southern California region. These mega-projects—including a stadium and a federal agency—are each worth at least $350 Million.
Embracing an IVB approach to projects requires a shift in mindset to how work is done—not only across McCarthy but with their trade and business partners as well. By deploying Autodesk Construction Solutions to support this initiative, McCarthy was able to:
- Develop a strategic approach to design-build, rather than being reactive;
- Connect project stakeholders more closely during preconstruction;
- Train trades and business partners on new tools for better project collaboration.
Getting Proactive: Aligning from the Start to Drive Better Outcomes
Developing a technology strategy from the outset changed the conversations McCarthy was having with their customers. The conversations focused on their customer’s goals, and the unique solution McCarthy could bring to the table. This helped McCarthy’s customers gain a deeper and more detailed picture of the process from preconstruction through handover – driving more value.
“We stopped focusing on the product and started focusing on process and outcomes,” says Alex Belkofer, Virtual Design and Construction Director at McCarthy.
“It’s about having a more collaborative delivery strategy to address problems, and then identifying a solution that best fits the approach.”
A common challenge in construction is not having access to the latest model at key moments during the project. As we all know, not having an up-to-date model can lead to schedule delays, budget overruns, and overall inefficiencies. To effectively shift the mindset and onboard everyone to a unified solution, McCarthy met with project designers to propose using Autodesk Construction Solutions, specifically BIM 360, for a more strategic, proactive approach to design-build, rather than the tactical, reactive method that many were used to.
Using a centralized environment enabled the team to plan and layout all aspects of the design more accurately, saving time downstream during construction. Teams could “drop in” their specific design components almost simultaneously and in real time, flag issues in the design coordination and modeling phase.
Better Collaboration and Communication in Preconstruction
“Linking Assemble and BIM 360 meant that we had a conduit from which we could communicate with the design team on ways to improve the files for quantity takeoff – making the process more efficient,” says Connor Burke, Pre-Construction Manager – Southern California at McCarthy.
By using Autodesk Construction Solutions for preconstruction, McCarthy’s estimators were able to take advantage of the Assemble integration with BIM 360 to condition and communicate with designers on ways to refine the model in real-time. Now, McCarthy can provide valuable feedback much quicker and easier, in a platform that the design team can readily access and understand.
“The Assemble integration didn’t just add cost certainty, it showed us a live pulse on where the design was going, and if we needed to make adjustments sooner rather than later,” says Burke. “At the same time, we had the owners and designers involved in this process where we would plug-and-play options to give them the best design options for their budget.”
Through the integration between Assemble and BIM 360, issues were tackled earlier in the process, reducing rework, RFIs, and change orders from the field. Collaborating earlier in the design process created more efficiencies between design and build teams, while giving the owner peace-of-mind.
“The integration between Assemble and BIM 360 was a game-changer,” says Randall Natsch, VDC Director – Northern Pacific at McCarthy.
“Having information centralized in the same suite of products helped facilitate faster design development. Whereas before, information was fragmented and went into silos.”
Teaching Trade and Business Partners New Skills that Translates across Projects
When McCarthy was tasked with the renovation and expansion of the Banner Boswell Medical Center, they decided to embrace the IVB mindset and rethink the way a hospital construction project was planned.
An essential component to successful team coordination is getting buy-in from all project members. This meant design teams, trade partners, and mechanical, engineering, and plumbing (MEP) all needed to work within one model—ensuring full alignment early and often.
Implementing new tools also required a high degree of training and reinforced communication to drive adoption. To get everyone on board with this new approach, McCarthy created Team Fusion – a unified team structure that turned 14 different groups into one.
“We successfully on-boarded 14 different groups to BIM 360 and Revit for the Banner Boswell project,” says Fernando Rivas, Southwest VDC Regional Manager at McCarthy. “Working within a unified platform enabled the team to collaborate more effectively – saving two to three hours each day during design.” With each consultant working for an average of $50 an hour, McCarthy saved the client a minimum of $270,000.
For trade partners and other external stakeholders, these new job skills help make them experts in their field. For McCarthy, the cloud-based way of working is in full alignment with the IVB initiative, furthering the company’s position as a leader in digital construction.
McCarthy has refined the details of their workflow to optimize every aspect of a project from preconstruction through handover. By connecting all phases of construction through Autodesk Construction Solutions, McCarthy can create repeatable workflows that can be used from project to project – not only winning more business but gaining more confidence in their strategic approach.
“Projects can no longer be delivered in silos – we need to evolve and push collaborative delivery,” says Belkofer. “It’s all about being on the boat together and rowing in the same direction.”