Real-world success stories: discovering sustainable construction solutions

Model-Based Work With Digital Content

19 August, 2019
8 mins read

“We need an IT solution that finds and automatically compiles all the information on service items at the push of a button.”

Mark Heinisch, IT-Expert und cost accountant

The AGN Group Realises Integrated Solutions for All Planning Tasks

The headquarters of the agn group is located in Ibbenbüren, Tecklenburger Land in North Rhine-Westphalia. The nationally and internationally operating planning company offers the entire range of services, from planning, engineering and classical architecture to landscape planning, project management and commercial tasks. The Ibbenbüren location is also the headquarters for the group’s company-wide information technology. Modern IT systems make their contribution in all areas of the company to ensure cost and schedule reliability in construction projects. Particularly in complex construction projects with high quality standards and comprehensive project management tasks, consistent digital planning and construction is continuously gaining in relevance. That’s why the general planner relies on integrated solutions, based on the motto: agn – digitize general planning.

Architecture, Structural and Building Services Plannning 

As the group acts as a general planner and handles orders for public and private clients for all trades in-house, the decision was made to implement a completely integrated solution for model-based planning and construction. For this reason, Mark Heinisch who has more than twelve years of experience as software developer for the construction industry, supports the calculation department at agn. His task: The creation of content tailored to the group for the software systems Revit by Autodesk and iTWO 5D by RIB. These, in Revit created BIM (Building Information Modeling) are supposed to generate fully automated lists of services according to the standars service book (STLB-Bau) and the German Construction Contract Procedures (VOB), which cover the architectural planning for building construction, structural engineering and building services planning. This content will be used in work phase 3 for cost estimation and in the cost calculation in work phase 6. 

As a general planner, the group handles contracts for public and private clients for all trades in-house. This is why agn requires a completely integrated solution for model-based planning and construction. Picture: agn Niederberghaus & Partner GmbH.

Due to the high complexity, agn requires a solution for tenders that finds all information on service items virtually at the push of a button and automatically compiles it. Picture: Uwe Sülflohn, Oberzissen.

Consistent Process Für Modelbased Quantity Calculation

The goal in the building construction sector is to calculate the elements and the finishing completely with all trades, up to painting, plastering or floor covering work, over elements and partly also over rooms.

Mark Heinisch

Significant Cost Savings

Mark Heinisch, who had already worked intensively in the past on optimizing the workflows when using Revit and iTWO together, is currently implementing a comprehensive process especially for model-based quantity calculation with the new software content. “The number of items in a quantity calculation according to STLB construction is very large,” explains the software expert and calculator. “In the case of a reinforced concrete column, for example, more than 1000 combinations are possible, which must be processed by the system. Since we at agn divide our tenders by floors and, if necessary, by construction stages, the complexity increases even more”, the professional adds. “For this reason, we need an IT solution that finds and automatically compiles all information on the service items virtually at the push of a button,” he adds.

Between the two IT systems Autodesk Revit and iTWO 5D from RIB, the group is therefore relying on another analysis and information system. This way – in addition to the data from the architecture model – additional detailed data for the calculation can be included in the BIM model. This includes, for example, the compressive strength class of concretes. Information like this is then automatically transferred to the RIB solution iTWO 5D. The advantage: Accountants receive the correct position for all relevant data of the various components from the prepared position library and no longer need to generate them independently. 

These days, cost calculations are already possible with relatively little manual effort for a few trades, such as bare brickwork, drywall construction or facades, and are already being used for current construction tasks of the agn group. “The experience gained in these first steps is all incorporated into the new content”, explains Heinisch. “The aim is to calculate in the building construction sector the bare brickwork, through the elements and the finishing completely with all trades, up to painting, plastering or floor covering, through elements and partly also through rooms”, he adds. “It would then be conceivable to calculate the costs for the required plaster, for example, exclusively on masonry walls with just a few clicks. And that would save a significant amount of time,” he continues.

Positions of Specifications Can Be Easily and Safely Adjusted

In the medium to long term, the company is expected to save a great deal of time with the help of this fully digital solution, particularly in the case of revisions and corrections, which is part of the day-to-day business within the construction industry. After all, subsequent adjustments are usually standard. If, for example, walls, windows or the facade are moved in the BIM model and the room book changes, the new, corrected positions of the specifications are available in just a few minutes, according to forecasts by Mark Heinisch. The tedious, manual search for positions and the calculation of quantities using triangles will soon lie in the past. In addition, the group of companies expects the new content to minimize the risk of errors. “For more than ten years iTWO from RIB has been supporting the BIM process for planners and calculators. The modern software solutions help to significantly speed up our work and provide support in many areas,” says Mark Heinisch. “Nevertheless, IT solutions can never replace the know-how of a civil engineer. A plausibility check by a real professional will always be necessary. After all, even in the age of digitalization, people are needed,” he summarizes.

In the medium to long term, the company is expected to save a great deal of time with the end-to-end digital solution, especially when revising and correcting data. In addition, agn expects to minimize the risk of errors with the new content. Picture: Uwe Sülflohn, Oberzissen.

Advantages for the AGN-Group:

  • The group implements consistent solutions for model based planning and construction 
  • Tailor-made content for Revit and iTWO 5D
  • High time savings for revisions and corrections


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