Heijmans saves $100,000 during first two months of Dynamo usage

by Jay Bekkers, Customer Success Manager; Frank Frank van Heijningen, Customer Success Manager; and Val Maas, Copywriter on 12/04/2017


At Heijmans, a number of initiatives to implement BIM (Building Information Modelling) already existed as part of a company-wide BIM approach. Autodesk has now become Heijmans’ strategic partner to adopt BIM across all layers of the company.

As part of the ongoing EBA, Heijmans’ Customer Success Manager (CSM) had a lot of interaction with Heijmans’ business. One of the customer’s pain points was that many activities in Revit were of a time-consuming, inefficient, and/or repetitive nature—and, hence, ready for automation. Autodesk mentioned Dynamo as an option to help resolve this situation by scripting such ‘boring’ activities. An initial service confirmation order (SCO) has helped selected resources at Heijmans to learn and apply Dynamo. After that, one success followed another.

Customer Background and Goals

Founded as a roadworks company by Jan Heijmans in 1923, Netherlands-based Heijmans now operates in the property development, residential building, non-residential construction, and infrastructure (roads and civil engineering) business areas. Working with private consumers, companies, and public-sector entities worldwide, Heijmans works in the fields of living, working, and connecting, and seeks to build the spatial contours of the future. A public company listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, Heijmans employs more than 4,700 people and has annual earnings of approximately two billion.

The customer’s company-level business goals are to avoid risk; increase customer satisfaction; maintain health and safety; and build in-house knowledge—which, together, will strengthen its financial position. With respect to Dynamo, Heijmans wanted to reduce human error (to ensure risk avoidance, health, and safety), train users (to build in-house knowledge), and save time to make the design process standardization more efficient and more intelligent.

Success Story

Challenge: Heijmans employees needed to spend their time more efficiently, which would enable them to deliver projects more quickly. One way to achieve this would be to take away some of the time-consuming activities. Using Revit alone required a series of activities that were not only very time-consuming, but quite tedious—making the work very error-sensitive. Especially at the start of a project, it could be a real challenge to complete these activities in time.

Solution: One way to eliminate the customer’s time-consuming activities was to implement Dynamo, a plug-in on the BIM-design software Revit. The CSM raised awareness of Dynamo’s capabilities with Heijmans—positioning it as a time-saving tool that allows selected procedures in Revit to be pre-programmed and automated. The automation of recurring and repetitive activities not only saves time, but eliminates the human errors that frequently occur during manual tasks

After developing the first couple of scripts, Autodesk trained several key users from each division at Heijmans. From that point forward, the customer has been developing its own scripts. The training Autodesk organized and delivered was also set up to inspire Heijmans users with the various possibilities Dynamo offers. With the knowledge and skills they acquired during this training, the Heijmans users can now explore new ways to use Dynamo to automate existing scenarios.

Before and after Dynamo: What needs to be done and how long it takes.

Example Script: Copy rooms to spaces from the linked model.

Success: Based on its first experiences with Dynamo, Heijmans has already realized some success. One of the BIM engineers’ frequently recurring tasks is to prepare sheets in Revit to support the modelers. With Dynamo, this is now fully automated and takes much less time to complete. For example, Heijmans can now use an Excel file to generate a fully automated floor map from which to prepare a drawing. Depending on the complexity of the project, performing these activities without Dynamo used to take one to two full days. Now that Dynamo is in place, the same activities take no more than an hour to complete—a savings of 23 to 47 man hours and $1,265 to $2,585—per project. In fact, Heijmans saved enough time on its first project using Dynamo to make up for the time initially spent on developing the solution. These time and cost savings are considered just the first wave of success in using Dynamo to work more efficiently and intelligently.

“The SCO was very useful, and the Technical Consultant was knowledgeable and very supportive. As of today, and for all projects moving forward, we will save a minimum of one man-week of work per project because of this engagement. This has, therefore, already paid for the week we spent on this SCO and will continue to provide these savings.”
Michiel Bottema, BIM Manager, Non-Residential Business Unit, Heijmans

In future improvements to this script, Heijmans sees the possibility to automatically place the legend on the drawing, which would result in a further reduction in overall project time. In addition to shortening some project tasks, this approach can be used as a means of communication between Heijmans and other parties—resulting in more coordinated and aligned designs in the future. Another benefit of Dynamo is the ability to inform the designer of violations of maximum air volumes in air treatment devices. With Dynamo, it becomes possible to detect this type of design flaw during an early stage and, potentially, to automatically generate a solution.