As a leader in planning, design, engineering and project management solutions, KEO is a respected end-to-end specialist in creating the built environment. Its projects across 11 international markets reflect leading-edge aesthetics and are driven by a quest to bring resonant meaning to project work – while improving societies and preserving ecosystems.
KEO is a company that is, “continually pursuing innovations that will crystallize the client’s vision by promoting design excellence, high standards, and delivery quality—and using experience and expertise to resolve complexity and realize opportunity.” This mindset has led to KEO’s involvement in many of the world’s most ambitious and iconic projects for more than 50 years. Increasingly, these types of projects are created using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology. KEO’s reputation for quality and innovation is the result of carefully detailed planning – taking into account factors that influence not only the client’s perception, but also the actual design and structural value of each project. BIM technology has taken planning and realization to an entirely new level for KEO, and has helped the business improve collaboration and optimize workflow efficiency.
“For us, the most important aspects are accuracy, efficiency, continuity and consistency. Autodesk helps us greatly in achieving consistency – especially since a major challenge is that our primary operations are spread across four countries, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, each with strong cultural differences. Against this background, we need to communicate and fully understand extremely complex issues of design and aesthetics.”
One of KEO’s largest-ever projects is beginning to dominate the skyline at the interface of Downtown and Business Bay in Dubai. The Aykon City Towers complex has an extraordinary footprint in excess of four million square feet—and is a unique “first” in that it will provide a complete micro-city environment featuring retail, leisure, healthcare, and educational options within one self-contained structure. It delivers the vison of what the acclaimed architect Norman Foster referred to as, “The Vertical City.” Aykon Towers’ lead tower will include 964 residential units and 324 hotel units, with the entire development forming part of the 40 million square foot Canal Project Master Community. One of the main challenges on this project is working across a spectrum of highly varied environments, each requiring unique structural and aesthetic solutions.
“BIM is now our standard way of delivering projects. It’s now the case that BIM is used for most of what we do – it plays a powerful role in unifying and aligning our processes, standards and procedures.”
BIM technology played vital role in connecting the different environments on the Aykon City Towers project, helping to bolster group interaction while refining complex workflows into a structured, just-in-time chain of responsibility and delivery.”
KEO is finding several Autodesk products highly effective for empowering its teams and creating stunning visual monuments and developments that are attracting global attention. Autodesk® Revit® has become a stock-in-trade tool – an architectural design and documentation software application that was created specifically to support BIM workflows. For instance, every intelligent model created with Revit represents a complete project and is conveniently stored in a single database file. This allows changes made in one part of the model to be automatically propagated to other parts of the model, dramatically enhancing workflow.
Alongside a range of Revit products, KEO also deploys Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage software for inter-team and inter-department collaboration. Additionally, AutoCAD® software supports and supplements blueprint envisioning and production. Autodesk® BIM 360® has been especially important, providing a unified common data platform that promotes integrated, collaborative workflows between architecture, engineering, and construction teams.
“Thanks to some of the solutions we have put in place together with Autodesk, we have seen massive improvements in renderings. These results are astonishing. Something that used to take one or two days is now taking a few hours. Also, working with BIM 360™, we have transformed the performance of our operational teams and how they connect and collaborate – changing our project delivery timings dramatically.”
Renderings that used to take one or two days is now taking a few hours. Also, working with BIM 360, KEO has transformed the performance of its operational teams and how those teams connect and collaborate—changing project delivery timings dramatically.
BIM 360 has become the thread that holds all contributions together, helping all stakeholders speak a common language. While Florez believes that the range of BIM products are “catalysts for our efficiency and productivity,” he also understands that building team understanding of the products and their capabilities is key. “For example, Autodesk organizes Multiple Awareness Sessions, which are an important area of support. They ensure that we can better leverage products to ensure that teams work in more efficient ways.”
While the Aykon City Towers project is due for completion in 2020, the Kuwait’s Business Town Tower in the heart of Kuwait City’s Financial District is a KEO-lead project already open for business. Its twin towers are set amid a 14,000 square foot central plaza with an up-scale retail offering from the world’s leading brands. The development represents a classic synthesis of multiple needs, each with diverse stakeholders – logistics that would have presented extremely labor-intensive and costly hurdles for conventional hard-copy design.
“Working with Autodesk allows us to use fewer resources to get maximum efficiency. So we are able to reduce the design team significantly while maintaining the very challenging delivery programme. I believe this will be the root not only of our continued success, but the core factor differentiating our business from the competitors of the present and the future.”
The Autodesk platform will continue to connect, convey, and simplify the way KEO approaches overall project planning. KEO is playing a key role in envisioning and delivering a range of large-scale mixed-use environments for Emaar’s Creek Harbor projects in Dubai. Each project is a vital cog in an enormously complex wheel. Creek Harbor is one of the world’s largest greenfield developments and will ultimately provide homes for more than 100,000 residents. This implies massive logistical challenges and the need to communicate engineering, architectural and aesthetic data from multiple sources into the development’s extraordinarily hectic front-line.
The extreme design complexity and multi-layered delivery protocols that KEO’s flagship projects demand is certainly labor-intensive. The challenge is to maintain—and even increase—those delivery levels while consuming less of the vital human resource.