Federal Government

Bringing BIM to Warrior Canine Connection


It’s a rare occasion to come across a group as dedicated, passionate, and excited as the team at Warrior Canine Connections (WCC), a non-profit organization that helps warriors recovering from PTSD and other brain injuries cope with their traumas and speed recovery by training service dogs. But WCC’s mission is not just to have soldiers train these dogs; the dogs are then offered to fellow veterans with mobility restrictions and mental illnesses. The WCC headquarters and main office though, is currently located nearly an hour away from where their patient-soldiers are in Walter Reed Hospital, making it nearly impossible for soldiers recovering in Walter Reed to visit the facilities and dogs on-site. Therefore, WCC has decided to move their headquarters and central puppy training facilities closer to the city, in Boyds, Maryland, which is accessible to soldiers in DC via public transportation.

However, the location of WCC’s newest facility is currently unsuitable for any animal training or even office work, for that matter. With 4 dilapidated early-1900s barns on site, the WCC team plans to demolish 2 and renovate the 2 others which are larger and in more stable condition. The group was looking for a way to re-design and re-build these 2 structures, but were faced with buildings that do not have blueprints or even as-is models. So how can an organization with limited funds, yet an incredibly powerful mission, make their programs more accessible to those they serve? Part of the answer is developing smart BIM models of their structures.

Scanning the first barn using a FARO laser scanner.

Scanning the first barn using a FARO laser scanner.

In April 2016, the Autodesk Federal Solutions team scanned the two barns with a FARO Focus 3D laser scanner, as well as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), to generate 3D models using point cloud information from the scans. The measurement process, which would normally take weeks using hand, paper, and a measuring tape was completed in less than 3 days; the team was able to scan the existing structures and offer accurate, down to the millimeter smart digital measurements of the facilities – the first ever as-is blueprint of these barns.

The Autodesk team, in partnership with CADD Microsystems, is taking their data a step further. The scan information will be turned into actionable design and engineering results when input and analyzed in Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD. With the Autodesk suite of products, designers, engineers, and WCC stakeholders are able to collaborate on the best decisions for the structures design and functionality. The WCC team will be able to get predictions on their building heating and cooling costs by optimizing HVAC and room placement in their buildings. More, they’ll be able to run lighting analysis to determine where windows should be put, what types of windows they’ll need, and which types of glass will make the structure most green.

By empowering WCC with smart BIM models of their new structures, Autodesk is helping to increase project efficiency and productivity by giving the owners and engineers the ability to work on an accurate, as-is model, with the additional capability to make changes to the structure in digital 3D, rather than on paper. This digital collaborative effort will not only save the WCC team time and money now, but also throughout the project and once it’s complete. After renovation and whenever the WCC team needs to do future maintenance and repair, the 3D BIM model will aid in facilities management and provide engineers and construction teams the information they need to make intelligent decisions on building repairs and additions.

For Warrior Canine Connection, these new structures will be integral to meeting organizational mission goals and bringing their dogs and staff closer to the warriors they serve. The BIM models will empower them to continue serving recovering warriors in state-of-the-art facilities. Today’s building owners are seeking intelligent BIM models when conducting re-design and repair processes to existing buildings in order to realize the same benefits that WCC . Autodesk software allows owners to make smarter decisions for the future using BIM models and reality capture workflows. With Autodesk, the future safety and success of building is guaranteed.

To follow the Warrior Canine Connection story, check back to #AutodeskFederal to see project highlights as the Autodesk Federal Solutions team and their partners work with the WCC. To learn more about smart BIM models, click here. And to check out other Autodesk Federal Solutions Team projects, explore this interactive map.

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