Ben Woo Architects Customer Success Story

If a company must partner with a consultant on a project, using an experienced firm it trusts can be a key to success.

So, when Benjamin Woo Architects needed design services help with Park Lane Ala Moana, a large condominium development in Honolulu, the firm tapped its longtime vendor ARC for the work. Since the Honolulu, HI architecture firm’s start in 2000, ARC had provided it with large format printing services, and the two companies already had a good work relationship.

In early 2014, after Benjamin Woo Architects (BWA) won a part of the $1B Park Lane Ala Moana luxury residential development, the firm’s employees quickly found the job was stretching the limits of their capabilities. Soon after starting their work on Park Lane, it was clear to the firm’s 14 employees that they would need outside help.

“We got the project going and it was a bit out of hand for us,” said Brandon Fujimura, Environmental Planner/Designer/BIM & IT Manager for Benjamin Woo Architects. “Our team for the Park Lane project was five people, and we needed 10 people on it.”

The firm started to investigate outsourcing BIM work on the project, according to company owner Benjamin Woo, who initially considered foreign firms due in part to their proximity, rather than a US firm. “We looked at companies in Asia, and then we learned ARC also provided that work.” Woo said.

Woo also learned that ARC could do outsourced CAD and BIM. In February 2014, BWA arranged a meeting to discuss outsourcing its Park Lane BIM work to ARC.

The Park Lane project is complex, and required expert professional help, so BWA leaders were cautious about who they might hire for any outsourced work. Park Lane Ala Moana is a group of residential buildings being constructed next to a commercial area, and the project included two drawing phases: construction of the commercial area, and the residential construction. In gauging ARC’s ability to deliver quality BIM work on the project, BWA gave ARC a small exercise to demonstrate its BIM skills. The ARC BIM team successfully completed the test on time and on budget.

“We were very pleased with their performance [on the test],” Woo said, adding that the longstanding connection between the two firms helped make the transition to this new collaboration effective. “Our group has a very good relationship with ARC. The relationship is mutually respectful.”

BWA had planned on doing the project in AutoCAD ®, but the firm was working with a design architect that was working in Revit™. Though some of BWA’s employees were still green in using Revit™, with only a couple of them being proficient in the software, they took on the challenge of learning more.

“We went for it, figuring it could be a good way to get everyone fluent in Revit™,” Fujimura said. “It was a great help that ARC and its BIM staff knew the language of architecture.”

In order to smooth the collaboration between the companies, ARC personalized its services to ease communications. The vendor devised a method of color-coding corrections and markups that delineated between instructions and annotations.

“It made that process go very fast, early on,” Fujimura said.

The time zone difference between the architecture firm and ARC’s team of 60 BIM experts benefited BWA, creating a nonstop work day.

“It allowed us to work on a 24-hour-a-day schedule; we would get the models back at about 9 a.m. So, the time difference worked well,” Woo said.

ARC’s BIM support services has enabled Benjamin Woo Architects to land more complex projects, Woo said. Currently, ARC is helping the company with a second project.

“We feel like ARC was part of the Park Lane design team. It also gave the developer a sense that our team was capable of doing the project,” Woo said. “I don’t think we would have been able to do this project without ARC’s help.”