OPEN BIM Collaboration Pilot: The Faith Lutheran College Secondary School

by Fulton Trotter Architects

Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran College © Fulton Trotter Architects - Faith Lutheran College


The Faith Lutheran College Secondary School located in the suburb of Plainland one hour West of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. Fulton Trotter Architects were engaged as managing Architects to Design, Document and Administer the Contract during Construction of the College’s new Library Building. This small project worth $1.5M(Aust) is a single storey steel framed building and FTA chose this project as a pilot project for BIM collaboration with the full consultant team consisting of a Land Surveyor, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, Hydraulic Consultant, Mechanical Engineer and Electrical Engineer.

The purpose of the pilot project was to trail the capabilities of FTA and the consultant team to create a fully coordinated BIM.

Intention of documenting in this 3D format was to resolve details and coordinate structure and services, with the aim of reducing clashes on site and time and money spent in coming up with alternative solutions to problems that could have been prevented in the design phase.

Aim was a smoother process for design team, better documents for tendering and construction purposes, and ultimately a more cost efficient building for the client.

Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran College© Fulton Trotter ArchitectsInternal view

Open BIM Team Software Details

  • Architect–FTA (using ARCHICAD to document and coordinate complete BIM model)
  • Land Surveyor (using 12D)
  • Civil Engineer (using 12D)
  • Structural Engineer (using Revit Structure)
  • Hydraulic Engineer (using Revit MEP)
  • Mechanical Engineer (using Revit MEP)
  • Electrical Engineer (using Revit MEP)

Start Up

FTA led initial discussions with the consultant team members to gain an understanding of what BIM tools would be used by each team member and agreements on expected output from each consultant.


FTA created a Sketch Design model in ARCHICAD. BIMx feature of ARCHICAD was used extensively and with success to illustrate early scheme to consultant team, as well as client and authorities to get initial feedback on progression of the building design. SD process remained largely 2D from the consultants, with the aim of achieving clarity of services runs and configurations before compiling the models. From FTA’s perspective this was successful in limiting changes made to various models at this early stage. Once consultant SD systems and locations confirmed, each consultant began their process of 3D modelling and documentation.

Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran CollegeModels of different disciplines. © Fulton Trotter Architects

The consultant team communicated between each other using IFC format except for the Land Surveyor that could only produce a 3D DWG file. To enable co- ordination and model checking FTA was able to use ARCHICAD to convert their files into Library Parts.

Due to ARCHICAD’s ability to communicate in IFC format FTA was able to insert each individual Consultant’s model as a module into the Architectural Model.

The structural engineer’s IFC model was crucial in the process and various iterations of the steel framed structure were tested, to ultimately come up with a framework that suited the architectural form and the services running through the building.

Hydraulic services were modelled in detail, which was particularly successful in assisting to detect and rectifying potential issues with structure and other services during the design phase.

Electrical and Mechanical services models followed and were also useful in clash detection and detailing of architectural finishes to suit.

The ability to turn each consultant’s module on and off and review each model in conjunction with the architectural was also a valuable tool in training junior staff and assisting in their understanding of construction language and processes.


FTA utilise BIMx with a complete model with all structure and services to undertake checks on site that the contractor is constructing the project in accordance with the model and the documentation. It has also been very helpful in the following situations during the Administration of the Contract.

  • Reviewing shop drawings
  • Assisting with queries from builder on site
  • Being able to illustrate design intent to builder through snapshots of model and BIMx file
Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran CollegeStructural and MEP models in ARCHICAD. © Fulton Trotter Architects
Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran College
Structural and MEP models in ARCHICAD. © Fulton Trotter Architects


Without ARCHICAD’s dedication to Open BIM and providing the ability for file merging and exporting in IFC, FTA and its consultant team would not have been able to design the Faith Lutheran College Library Project to the level of detail achieved during Design and Documentation.

Fulton Trotter Architects: Faith Lutheran CollegeFaith Lutheran College © Fulton Trotter Architects

Fulton Trotter Architects
Fulton Trotter Architects is a multi-award winning innovative architectural practice in Brisbane and Sydney servicing Australian national projects. The practice, with a team of over sixty nation-wide, has significant experience in a diverse range of project types in both urban and regional areas. With two offices on the East Coast, Fulton Trotter is equipped to service national projects efficiently and successfully. Fulton Job and Collin was established in 1946 by three of Queensland’s most notable and respected architects. Charles Fulton, Aubrey Job and Jim Collin went on to design several of Queensland’s historic and iconic buildings during their post-war partnership.


GRAPHISOFT® ignited the BIM revolution in 1984 with ARCHICAD®, the industry first BIM software for architects. GRAPHISOFT continues to lead the industry with innovative solutions such as its revolutionary BIMcloud®, the world’s first real-time BIM collaboration environment; and BIMx®, the world’s leading mobile app for lightweight access to BIM for non-professionals. GRAPHISOFT is part of the Nemetschek Group.