Mike’s fascination and history with 3D computer design, since 1984 in both Unix and Dos platforms, has been an important influence on SLA’s early adoption differentiator. In 2005, SLA began implementing and adopting a parametric three-dimensional modeling program called Revit. Revit is a Building Information Modeling (BIM), program that allows for a project to be modeled in 3D. After only a couple of projects, we saw the value of the new workflow and after realizing the greater efficiency of the new workflow we committed to doing 100% of our work in Revit.


Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed the way projects are produced and designed. Like a word processor additional functionality and increase in productivity replaced a typewriter, BIM programs like Revit are quickly replacing 2D CAD programs like AutoCAD. Revit allows Smith LaRock to virtually construct and design a project in a computer. This method forces designers to consider assemblies, material, construction sequencing, product selection, and construct-ability throughout the design process. The capability to communicate more information within a virtual model is a core principle of DistanceDesign™ allowing SLA to offer design services to our clientele spread out across the globe.

What BIM offers the client is the ability to see various aspects of the project prior to construction because the project is being virtually built in BIM instead of just illustrated in a 2D CAD program. There are risks when developing projects, and the cost of changes increase as the design process progresses from pre-design to construction phase. By designing in Revit through our DistanceDesign™ methodology, we communicate our design intent far earlier, clearer, and more efficiently then ever before. This allows the client to make project decision that help streamline the design process becoming a positive impact on a project’s bottom line.


After completion of any requested pre-design services, Smith LaRock utilizes Revit Architecture and Trimble SketchUp. Our kickoff design meetings with the client are typically executed in SketchUp for speed. This allows SLA to quickly show programmatic designs and architectural features in 3D to communicate the design concepts and spatial relationships. Next, we move into our Schematic Design phase where we design/construct the 3D digital model in Revit Architecture. We create assemblies that meet the site’s thermal and durability requirements, assign preliminary materials and finishes, import/create manufacturer products, and establish the building system – all in 3D!


Smith LaRock proudly provides high-end renderings of your project if desired. Working in 3D has real benefits that help communicate our designs through the building finishes, lighting, and architectural features before anything is ever constructed. Render and walk-through animations have the ability to communicate to management, board members, marketing material, and investors, to illustrate the decisions that are being made through the design and development process. Working in 3D increases the clarity of communicating the design through the building finishes, lighting and architectural features before anything is ever constructed.


By seamlessly integrating the work of our consulting engineers directly into our 3D models, Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Civil are better visualized and coordinated throughout the design process. Our BIM approach to design gives us real-time access to design development, design changes, and multi-disciplinary coordination as we work, helping to ensure that our consultants design remain synchronized with the architectural model.

Using Revit Architecture, Revit Structural, and Revit MEP, we can combine the 3D models prepared by each design discipline and coordinate the interference and material collisions that would cause issues during construction. By addressing these conflicts earlier in the project we can help save out clients money while simplifying the construction phase.

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