One of the premier institutions of higher learning on the West Coast, the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is hard at work preparing to meet the educational needs of California's ever-increasing population well into the 21st century. The undergraduate and graduate student body at UCI is expected to rise nearly 40 percent, from approximately 22,000 to 30,000 by 2010. To accommodate this growth, the university has embarked on a 2.5 million square-foot expansion plan that includes additional housing, educational and administrative buildings, and a new medical center slated to open in 2008. For an on-time, on-budget construction outcome, UCI has implemented collaboration solutions from Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq:ADSK).
In an era of reduced construction spending -- the Dodge Index of Construction Contract Value for the first-quarter 2003 averaged three percent lower than the previous quarter -- UCI is proving that some sectors are still moving forward. In fact, construction statistics for March 2003, the most recent available show that spending on education construction grew five percent, and for healthcare facilities it grew a remarkable 23 percent. Just as it is leading the construction economy, UCI is also a leader in construction technology.
"Our efficient design-build process and Autodesk Buzzsaw(TM) (online collaboration service) have helped us to eliminate the inefficiencies and miscommunications that can cause lengthy, costly and contentious delays on large projects. This directly translates into savings on all project expenses," said Robert Fritch, UCI's Director of Construction. "And we're not talking about spare change; it's a huge savings. On the UCI Medical Center, Buzzsaw is lightening the administrative load and shortening review cycles. There's no question that Buzzsaw is making design-build even more effective by saving us time, keeping projects on track and increasing accountability."
UCI first implemented the Autodesk(R) Buzzsaw(R) service in 2001 as a way to help improve its design-build process, which had been completely overhauled in the mid-1990s after being plagued for a number of years by delays, cost over-runs and litigation. The new design-build process was a success from the beginning, dramatically lowering costs, preventing delays, and reducing litigation. However, its success depended on a complex bidding, design management process and required close collaboration between UCI's staff and outside design and construction teams. To help UCI maximize their Buzzsaw project site and realize the value of their investment, especially for large projects including the UCI medical center, Autodesk Professional Services provided consulting and training services.
Today, UCI has more than 340 registered users on its Buzzsaw project site, 55 of whom are working on the UCI Medical Center project. These design and construction professionals can simply log on to Buzzsaw to exchange and share the latest designs and documents, track project progress, and collaborate on drawings in real time. With personalized email subscription and notification capabilities, Buzzsaw allows users to get instant notification of changes to drawing sets or individual drawings, and keep up-to-date on changes that impact their specific project areas -- all without having to waste time reviewing modifications not relevant to their work. And by reviewing the activity log, UCI's project managers can see whether or not team members are promptly reviewing and accounting for changes. In addition, project managers always know whether or not delivery dates are being met and that everyone has 24/7 access to the exact documents they need, ensuring accountability around deadlines.
"We are delighted the Buzzsaw service has come to play such an important role in the growth of the University of California, Irvine," said Amar Hanspal, senior director, Autodesk Building Collaboration Services. "Managing building projects in a public university setting is often very challenging because there is such a large constituency of stakeholders: campus administration, boards of trustees, students, faculty, political leaders and so on. In an atmosphere where input on design and construction is coming from so many angles, efficient communication is essential. And that is where Buzzsaw excels -- it is the ideal platform for efficiently managing large design-build projects."