The Finnish company Elvak has a well-earned reputation as a forerunner in building services design as a result of quality projects and active research and development work. After a long history of working with AutoCAD and MagiCAD for AutoCAD, the company is currently in the process of bringing in Revit and, naturally, MagiCAD for Revit. This will allow Elvak to deliver quality projects to their customers regardless of their preferred platform.
During their implementation of Revit, Elvak has gained valuable experience on the practicalities of bringing in a new design platform. We talked with the company’s MEP professionals about the success of Elvak, the process of implementing Revit, and the new possibilities that will accompany the new platform.
Customer-focus as the cornerstone of Elvak’s success
With his decade-long experience at Elvak, head of MEP automation design Mika Jokitalo is the perfect person to shed light on the company’s operations.
”Elvak is a building services growth company with 62 employees based in Kempele and operating throughout Finland. We are present in all phases of a building’s lifecycle all the way from product development to maintenance”, says Mika
Elvak’s services cover the entire lifecycle of a building and include MEP design, installation of automation, fire detector, and security systems, and systems maintenance.
Elvak has grown considerably in recent years. Mika sees this success to be a direct result of the company’s customer-oriented approach: ”Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We listen closely to our customers and react to their needs. Our growth has been built on many long and steady customer partnerships”, explains Mika.
Elvak CARE is a comprehensive building services maintenance service. The service completes Elvak’s offering for the entire building lifecycle by providing monitoring and maintenance services for finished buildings throughout their use.
Elvak CARE brings together the building user, maintenance and owner with an easy solution that covers preventive maintenance, system monitoring, reporting, and simultaneous management of multiple buildings.
Revit implementation supports Elvak’s goals
Long-time AutoCAD users, Elvak are currently in the process of bringing Revit into the company. The need for Revit implementation has its origins in increasing industry requirements and from the company’s own desire to remain at the forefront of building services design.
”We have been using AutoCAD and MagiCAD for AutoCAD from the beginning of our MEP design business in 2013. Initial preparations to bring in Revit were started at the end of the year 2021”, says Mika.
”We want to be at the forefront of industry developments and transitioning to Revit supports this aim. It is an opportunity for us to develop our own processes and to stay current with developments in design software. The increased intelligence in BIM models also places increased demands on design tools and Revit enables a higher level of accuracy in modelling and calculations. There is an increasing emphasis on the benefits of BIM and we want to stay current with this development as local building acts are updated”, continues Mika.
Mika is also expecting that adopting Revit will bring tangible benefits and new possibilities compared to their previous ways of working.
”One of the biggest benefits of Revit is that it enables a closer cooperation between disciplines. Projects are done into a shared models and updating information is easier.”
Keys to a successful implementation of a new design platform
The implementation project of Revit is already far along at Elvak and the company feels confident they will have Revit in use in commercial projects from 2024 onwards. To hear more about how the practical side of adopting Revit, we talked to Markus Kiviniemi, head of research and development.
”We set up a separate project team for Revit implementation, which has representatives from both HVAC and electrical design and project management. This project team has specifically defined goals for the implementation. The aim is that in the near future most of our design work will be done in Revit and all of our emplyees will be skilled in the platform”, explains Markus.
Now that the implementation project is well underway, Markus is able to look back and identify important things to take into account when moving to a new design platform.
”Reserve enough time for the ramp-up of the new platform, get tailored training for the software and proceed in phases, as implementing a new design platform is a longer process”, guides Markus.
In the case of Elvak, tailored training from MagiCAD has been an essential part of the implementation project.
”We have received training that has been tailored to our needs and planned together with MagiCAD according to our project schedule”, says Markus.
Research and development projects creating the practices of tomorrow
Elvak has invested considerably into research and development, which illustrates the company’s commitment to advancing the building services industry. After all, good industry practices are not just about the operations of a single company.
”We want to be forerunners in our industry. This is why it is natural that we are participating in different shared multidisciplinary development projects. These are public projects that shape many of the future practices in our industry”, tells Markus Kiviniemi.
SICu – Sustainable modular construction and simulation
An excellent example of the development projects is the SICu research initiative into sustainable modular construction and simulation.
”SICu is an Industry 4.0 project to develop sustainable modular construction. We have several years of experience in MEP design in connection with modular construction and bring this expertise into the project consortium that aims to develop practices in the field”, explains Markus.
”The productivity of construction has remained flat for decades and has not developed in pace with other industries. Further development of modular construction is an opportunity to grow the productivity of construction and we want to be a part of this”, continues Markus.
From drawing to modelling – Moving to Revit from a designer’s perspective
For both electrical designer Joona Kupila and HVAC designer Markus Mustonen, Revit was a completely new acquaintance. However, for these experienced AutoCAD users, the Revit experience has turned out to be a highly positive one.
When comparing the two platforms, Joona and Markus immediately agree that the biggest difference between AutoCAD and Revit is not really anything to do with the functions themselves, but instead the change in mindset from drawing to modelling.
”The thinking in AutoCAD is based more on drawing, whereas in Revit it is based on modelling”, tells Markus and Joona agrees: ”The mindset is the biggest difference between AutoCAD and Revit also in electrical design. You can do some modelling in AutoCAD, but the modelling tool in Revit is on a different level.”
In addition to modelling, both Joona and Markus are impressed with the increased opportunities that Revit offers for collaboration between different project participants.
”Revit makes it easier to collaborate across disciplines, especially when each discipline is working in Revit. This enables a whole new level of clash detection, for example”, tells Joona.
”Revit also enables a certain type of non-verbal communication, for example through clash detection. It is not necessary to always have meetings to go over things, but a lot of things can be managed in real time through the model”, continues Markus.
The two platforms are not mutually exclusive, however, and in some cases even their simultanous use can be possible.
”In electrical design we’ve done some projects where the electrical design was otherwise done in AutoCAD, but the modelling and routing of electrical containment was done in Revit. This provided a better understanding of the elements and helped reduce issues on-site during installation”, tells Joona.
The implementation project of Revit at Elvak has naturally been a learning process for the designers as existing workflows and practices are not directly applicable in the new platform.
”It’s not realistic to expect that you’ll be able to do things the same way you did before in AutoCAD, you just have to take the leap and start doing things in a new way”, says Joona.
During the implementation project, Joona and Markus have developed a clear picture of things that are important to keep in mind when moving to a new design platform.
”You need to set aside enough time for the implementation. The two platforms are different, in the end, and if the company or employee doesn’t have previous experience with Revit, there is going to be some work in learning the software and doing the groundwork. Also, if it’s possible to attend trainings, then those will always make the transition easier”, reminds Joona.
”I would also say that it’s important to approach the new design software with an open mind. It pays off to try things without prejudgement as you may find new opportunities and innovations that help improve design work”, adds Markus.
Relying on MagiCAD regardless of platform
MagiCAD has been in use at Elvak for AutoCAD and, naturally, is now used for Revit as well. Both Joona and Markus are convinced of the benefits of the software.
”MagiCAD is constantly needed in HVAC design when working in AutoCAD or Revit. Design work and sizing, in particular, would be much harder to accomplish without it”, notes Markus.
”Personally, I’ve been using MagiCAD since the first time I started AutoCAD and would not be able to work without it. It’s a comprehensive package of tools for design work”, says Joona.
Elvak is a Finnish building services growth company. Our cornerstones are strong expertise, a comprehensive service offering and an innovative approach to building services development.