Marc​ ​Pancera​ ​on​ ​Vectorworks​​ ​and​ ​Smarter​ ​BIM​ ​Management

Vectorworks Architect software’s​ data​ ​visualization helps keep projects more organized than ever.

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With​ ​a​ ​history​ ​that​ ​dates​ ​back​ ​90​ ​years,​ ​European​ ​firm​ ​IttenBrechbühl​ ​has​ ​often​ ​had​ ​to find​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​change​ ​with​ ​the​ ​times.​ ​Helping​ ​lead​ ​that​ ​charge​ ​today​ ​is​ ​Head​ ​of​ ​BIM,​ ​Marc Pancera, MSc ETH Arch.​ ​After​ ​joining​ ​the​ ​team​ ​in​ ​2010,​ ​Pancera​ ​moved​ ​from​ ​architect​ ​to​ ​project​ ​manager where​ ​he​ ​had​ ​a​ ​different​ ​perspective​ ​on​ ​the​ ​complexities​ ​going​ ​into​ ​the​ ​design​ ​of​ ​new projects.​ ​“I​ ​really​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​push​ ​the​ ​topic​ ​of​ ​BIM,”​ ​Pancera​ ​reflected​ ​in​ ​a​ ​recent conversation​ ​with​ ​Architizer.

Just​ ​a​ ​few​ ​years​ ​later,​ ​he​ ​had​ ​taken​ ​over​ ​the​ ​newly​ ​created​ ​position​ ​as “Head of BIM” managing​ the ​BIM Implementation across​ ​the​ ​firm’s​ ​11​ ​locations​ ​and​ ​300​ ​employees,​ ​soon​ ​helping​ ​IttenBrechühl​ ​to​ ​take home​ ​two​ ​​Gold​ Awards for the Arc Award BIM in 2016 and 2017, winning for their SwissFEL project last year and their Scott Sports SA project this year.

vectorworks scott office building

3D model of the Scott Sports​ ​SA​ ​Headquarters​, Givisiez,​ ​Switzerland

“​I​ ​help​ ​the team get started with​​ ​the​ correct​ ​modeling process,”​ ​said Pancera​ ​of​ ​his​ ​role​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Head of BIM and coaching BIM Manager.​ ​He​ ​also​ ​coordinates​ ​all​ ​standardized​ ​BIM documents​ ​and​ ​the​ ​firm’s​ ​primary​ ​BIM​ ​execution​ ​plan.​ ​For​ ​newer​ ​projects,​ ​like​ ​the​ ​Scott Sports​ ​SA​ ​Headquarters​ ​in​ ​Givisiez,​ ​Switzerland​, Pancera​ ​had the opportunity to coach his team of colleagues so they would be able to act as BIM Managers on their own in the future.

With​ ​the​ ​Scott​ ​Headquarters,​ ​the​ ​design​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​together​ ​both​ ​open​ ​and focused​ ​work​ ​spaces​ ​around​ ​a​ ​large,​ ​central​ ​atrium​ ​—​ ​a​ ​task​ ​that​ ​called​ ​for​ ​extensive  collaboration.​ ​“For​ ​that​ ​workflow,​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​thing​ ​was​ ​keeping​ ​everything​ ​in​ ​the model,”​ ​said​ ​Pancera,​ ​“we​ ​needed​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​team​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​the​ ​screen​ ​together, and lately​ ​even​ ​touching​ ​the​ ​screen​ ​and​ ​turning​ ​the​ ​model​ ​around,​ ​while finding the right solution.”

BIM visualization of the Scott Sports​ ​SA​ ​Headquarters​, ​Givisiez,​ ​Switzerland

Pancera​ ​attributes​ ​the​ ​success​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Scott​ ​project​ ​to​ ​this​ ​level​ ​of​ ​collaboration also through​ ​Vectorworks,​ ​the​ ​firm’s​ ​preferred​ ​tool​ ​for​ ​BIM​ ​modeling,​ ​and​ ​one​ ​that​ ​Pancera relies​ ​on​ ​even​ ​more​ ​for​ ​bigger,​ ​upcoming​ ​projects​ ​that​ ​require​ ​new​ ​workflows.​ ​In particular, ​the​ ​21-building,​ ​mixed-use​ ​development​ ​called​ ​the​ ​Glasi​ ​Neighborhood​ ​in

Bülach,​ ​Switzerland.​ ​​It’s​ ​a​ ​major​ ​project​ ​that​ ​Pancera​ ​believes​ ​could​ ​only​ ​be​ ​addressed with​ ​an​ ​open​ ​BIM​ ​workflow​ ​due​ ​to​ ​its​ ​scale,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​intricate​ ​coordination between​ ​multiple​ ​teams and multiple software packages. In fact, IttenBrechbühl worked seamlessly throughout the model checking and coordination process by using the IFC Import and Export commands in Vectorworks to collaborate with other companies that also used Solibri, Allplan, ArchiCAD, Revit and AutoCAD.

Housing​ ​components​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Glasi​ ​development​ ​are​ ​being​ ​handled​ ​by​ ​both IttenBrechbühl​ ​and​ ​Duplex​ ​Architects,​ ​while​ ​IttenBrechbühl​ ​is​ ​also​ ​serving​ ​as​ ​a general​ ​planner​ ​and​ ​structural​ ​model​ ​designer.​ ​​“We​ ​have​ ​until​ ​next​ ​summer​ ​to complete​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​3D​ ​model,​ ​coordinating​ ​with​ ​HVAC,​ ​structural​ ​design,​ ​and landscape​ ​design.​ ​It​ ​all​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​come​ ​together​ ​by​ ​then,”​ ​Pancera​ ​said.​ ​Of​ ​course, collaboration​ ​between​ ​different​ ​companies​ ​means​ ​that​ ​several​ ​different​ ​softwares​ ​will come​ ​into​ ​play.​ ​A​ ​challenge​ ​for​ ​Pancera,​ ​but​ ​one​ ​that​ ​he​ ​also​ ​views​ ​as​ ​an​ ​opportunity.


Interior visualization of the Scott Sports​ ​SA​ ​Headquarters​, ​Givisiez,​ ​Switzerland

Pancera​ ​says​ ​that​ ​IttenBrechbühl​ ​wants​ ​to​ ​prove​ ​that​ ​moving​ ​toward​ ​open​ ​standards like​ ​IFC​ ​is​ ​the​ ​best​ ​thing​ ​for​ ​BIM​ ​and​ ​the​ ​industry,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​integrate​ ​several designs​ ​into​ ​large-scale​ ​projects​ ​like​ ​these.​ ​“The​ ​export​ ​of​ ​models​ ​out​ ​of​ ​Vectorworks are,​ ​in​ ​my​ ​opinion,​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​on​ ​the​ ​market​ ​and​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​controllable,”​ ​says Pancera.​ ​For​ ​him,​ ​creating​ ​great​ ​work​ ​from​ ​a​ ​BIM​ ​model​ ​is​ ​all​ ​about​ ​keeping​ ​track​ ​of what​ ​information​ ​is​ ​going​ ​out,​ ​coming​ ​in,​ ​and​ ​how​ ​it​ ​all​ ​affects​ ​the​ ​project.​ ​”Vectorworks makes​ ​a​ ​model​ ​where I’m in control of the Properties/Information,” ​he​ ​said.

Pancera​ ​finds​ ​that,​ ​with​ ​many​ ​other​ ​BIM​ ​tools,​ ​you​ ​often​ ​have​ ​to​ ​specify​ ​too​ ​much before​ ​you​ ​get​ ​to​ ​actually​ ​draw.​ ​“With​ Vectorworks,​ ​I​ ​can​ ​draw​ ​a​ ​wall​ ​and​ ​then,​ ​step​ ​by step,​ ​put​ ​more​ ​information​ ​in​ ​and​ ​make​ ​it​ ​more​ ​detailed,”​ ​he​ ​said.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time, Pancera​ ​finds​ ​that​ ​recent​ ​features​ ​like​ ​Vectorworks Architect 2017 software’s​ data​ ​visualization ​​help​ ​keep​ ​those expanding​ ​details​ ​organized​ ​and​ ​accessible​ ​by​ ​differentiating​ ​objects​ ​with​ ​multiple colors​ ​as​ ​more​ ​data​ ​and​ ​parametric​ ​values​ ​are​ ​added.

As​ ​a​ ​BIM​ ​expert​ ​staying​ ​on​ ​top​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​latest​ ​features,​ ​Pancera​ ​is​ ​excited​ ​for​ ​the continuing​ ​improvements​ ​to​ ​visualizations​, web view and virtual reality features ​for Vectorworks​ ​2018.​ ​But​ ​as​ ​the​ ​head​ ​of​ ​BIM​ ​for​ ​IttenBrechbühl,​ ​he’s​ ​most​ ​enthusiastic​ ​for the​ ​continued​ ​emphasis​ ​on​ ​usability.​ ​“There​ ​have​ ​been​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​improvements​ ​under​ ​the hood,”​ ​Pancera​ ​says​ ​about​ ​changes​ ​that​ ​are​ ​less​ ​apparent​ ​but​ ​still​ ​make​ ​a​ ​noticeable difference.​ ​“We​ ​want​ ​to​ ​implement​ ​the​ ​new​ ​version​ ​as​ ​soon​ ​as​ ​possible,”​ ​Pancera​ ​said, “It’s​ ​much​ ​more​ ​stable​ ​and​ ​much​ ​more​ ​user​ ​friendly​ ​…​ ​and​ ​usability​ ​is​ ​crucial.”

Nighttime visualization of the Scott Sports​ ​SA​ ​Headquarters​, ​Givisiez,​ ​Switzerland

Another​ ​crucial​ ​benefit​ ​that​ ​keeps​ ​Pancera​ ​encouraging​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of Vectorworks ​across the​ ​firm​ ​is​ ​a​ ​less​ ​common​ ​collaboration:​ ​the​ ​one​ ​between​ ​architects​ ​and​ ​the​ ​software developers​ ​making​ ​BIM​ ​tools​ ​possible.​ ​His​ ​working​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​ComputerWorks, Vectorworks’ Swiss distributor,​ ​means​ ​that​ ​Pancera​ ​can​ ​send​ ​​feedback and suggestions for improvement​ ​and​ ​get​ ​fast, personal​ ​feedback​ or even direct updates ​—​ ​something​ ​he​ ​feels​ ​other​ ​BIM software companies​ ​could​ ​never​ ​offer.

“It’s​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​reasons​ ​for​ ​why​ ​we​ ​work​ ​with Vectorworks,”​ ​Pancera said,​ ​“We​ ​can​ ​get​ ​real​ ​constructive​ ​feedback​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​very​ ​important​ ​…​ ​It’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​the software​ ​itself,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​people​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​software.”

Want a deeper look at leading Swiss architecture firm IttenBrechbühl’s BIM philosophy?

Fill out the form below to receive the video, “Big BIM in Practice: A Conversation with IttenBrechbühl​.” Their team talks in more detail about the Scott Sports Headquarters, and how they set their own rules for that project. Moreover, you’ll learn what they deem the greatest benefits of BIM.

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