Skanska USA leverages virtual reality to win five out of six new projects
by on 12/01/2017•
An Autodesk Enterprise Priority customer since 2009, Skanska USA has steadily become one of the largest BIM 360 users worldwide. A number of groups within Skanska consistently use Autodesk software products—including the customer’s Miami-based Preconstruction department, which primarily uses Revit, LIVE, Autodesk® InfraWorks®, and Autodesk® 3ds Max® (to a lesser degree). Other departments at Skanska utilize such Autodesk offerings as Navisworks, BIM 360, and Civil 3D. In 2018, Skanska looks to expand its successful US EBA globally to incorporate key international markets like Sweden and the United Kingdom.
With a goal of increasing its win rate for new projects, Skanska engaged Autodesk to help its Tampa-based Preconstruction unit develop a technological differentiator. Working closely with members of the Tampa office, Autodesk leveraged virtual reality (VR) to create a cost and time-saving template that helped the customer achieve its goals.
Customer Background and Goals
Headquartered in New York City, Skanska is among the world's leading construction groups. With nearly 11,000 employees nationwide and offices in 31 metropolitan areas, Skanska’s U.S. operation provides comprehensive construction services and develops public-private partnerships. Skanska applies its expertise in construction, civil infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and commercial development initiatives to everything from small renovations to billion-dollar projects—using a variety of delivery methods. In 2015, Skanska had $7.1 billion in total U.S. revenue, accounting for one-third of its annual global revenue.
Challenge: With a modest 20 percent win rate, Skanska’s Tampa, Florida office needed a technological differentiator for its Preconstruction unit. The competition was showing technology during the preconstruction process, while Skanska’s current workflow took three weeks to produce a deliverable and required assistance from visualization groups outside of the Tampa office. Each of these factors increased the cost and time it took to produce deliverables—resources that were not available for all of Skanska’s pursuits.
Skanska was using a combination of 2D hard copies and 3D renders to create one-off presentations to show design and cost configurations to its customers. The process was slow and archaic. Created using 3DS Max, 3D models and renderings were then linked to cost data through an interactive presentation using Adobe Air. This process was time-consuming and required the customer’s Preconstruction unit to seek external expertise. Thus, the goal of this project was to create a template that could be repeated on numerous projects.
Solution: Using VR, the tool Autodesk set out to develop would bypass traditional rendering software to create a real-time rendering and estimate visualization. This template would decrease the production time from three weeks to one week, saving time and money to produce the deliverable. The Preconstruction department could also produce it without requiring assistance from outside departments.
Immersive technology is new, exciting, and intimidating to customers that have never put together an experience before. As such, customers who want to differentiate themselves need to invest in the technology and resources to do so. Led by Senior Preconstruction Technology Specialist, Kelsey Stein and Preconstruction Manager, Jeff Courtney, Skanska’s Florida VDC team met that challenge head-on after they saw a demonstration at AU 2105. It was then that Skanska decided to validate if this could be a value added to its preconstruction business.
Skanska reached out to Autodesk to work on a Proof of Concept (PoC) for a class that Stein had signed up to teach at Autodesk University (AU) in 2016. The customer met with Autodesk for an hour every other week, during which she learned the software basics and how to start creating the desired functionality.
Success: With the knowledge of VR and the template Autodesk helped develop, the Skanska team went to work on implementing this template into its Preconstruction workflow. Prior to using the new template, Skanska’s Tampa-based Preconstruction unit won an average of two out of ten bids. Since implementing the system, the office has now won five of its last six bids. While other factors are involved in the bidding process, the customer has expressed that the VR template is by far the most radical change to the process and, therefore, is likely the most significant driver of the recent uptick in jobs won. Not only has Skanska seen an increase in projects won, but the company is differentiating itself as a technology leader in its market.
“With Autodesk’s help, we’ve seen a 50 to 70 percent increase in preconstruction projects won.”
Kelsey Stein, Senior Preconstruction Technology Specialist, Skanska Florida
This story appeared as part of the Technology Keynote at Autodesk University 2017. Watch Kelsey Stein's presentation here.