May 20 2021
Leadership at Every Level: Advancement Champion Somerset Jarvis
Entuitive’s continual pursuit of being better tomorrow than we were today manifests among our high-caliber, talented team. We recognize leadership among all levels of our staff, who continually inspire us with their talent, motivation, and enthusiastic problem-solving.
Somerset Jarvis, Junior Designer, has been leading by example when it comes to pushing herself out of her comfort zone to learn advanced technologies to help solve challenging problems.
We sat down with Somerset to talk about her work.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, Somerset. Tell us about your role at Entuitive and how you’ve been pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Somerset: Thank you for having me. I’m a Junior Designer in the structural group. I’ve been primarily working on the New Adult Mental Health & Addictions Facility project under Belinda Wong. This project pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn a new software in order to create an automation process that would save us significant time during project delivery.
As Andy Ion explained as well, this new facility that is being built in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador comprises hundreds of steel beams to accommodate its complex geometry. We realized that automation would be a necessity in order to save time and reduce human error during the data transfer process.
Can you explain what this transfer process entailed and how your solution improved upon the traditional method?
Somerset: Of course. The facility features a complex design with thousands of beams, the designs of which were my responsibility on this project. The traditional way of designing these beams would have had me designing them in RAM and then manually copying all the beam sizes and parameters, beam by beam, one by one, into Bluebeam for Andy Ion to draft, also one by one, in Revit. The sheer number of beams on this project would have made that manual copying and pasting far too time-consuming to be reasonable.
So Belinda turned to me and said if I could find a more efficient way to figure it out, she’d be on board. I thought this was a great opportunity because afterwards we could teach other engineers at the firm this process, saving countless hours on many more projects.
In working to find a way to automate this data transfer process for the beams, I discovered a software called ISM, Integrated Structural Modelling. It’s a software that can be used as a plugin for both RAM and Revit that can read and locate all of the design information for each beam in RAM and store it in a repository that can then be opened in Revit. Everything about the beam, from its size, camber, and loading type, to shear reactions and number of studs, can be imported into Revit.
“Thanks to this process, 95% of all the beams successfully transferred into Revit, savings us countless hours. The remaining 5% were uniquely designed beams so they weren’t part of that initial information package.”
Wow, that’s an incredible result. Can you elaborate on how this pushed your out of your comfort zone?
Somerset: Learning this new software definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. Because we were on a deadline, I had to research and solve this problem quickly. As such, I taught myself how to use ISM so that I could implement it on this project and then teach others how to use it as well. In addition, I’m grateful that I was given the time and support needed to do this work and that I was encouraged in this environment to step out of my comfort zone. Now that I’ve done that and spent the time to learn ISM, I can teach others and speed up that process in the future.
Have you helped create any other processes or automations during your project work?
Somerset: Yes, I worked on automating a column process as well. Normally when designing columns for a project in RAM, I would access every single column to see its load information, copy that information into a PDF, then send that PDF to Any Ion, and he would manually add all the column information from the PDF into his Revit model. This is essentially two people spending hours copying and pasting the same information into different places.
To solve this problem, Kirk Haugrud, Senior Engineer, helped me code in Excel to line up all the steel columns and loading so Andy could extract that information with a script he developed. We found this process to be between 90% and 100% effective.
Another interesting project, that isn’t an automation process but that still advances Entuitive and our designs, is my work with the Sustainable Performance Group. I learned how to use a program called OneClickLCA, a Life Cycle Assessment software that has a Revit plugin, that allows us to analyze a proposed design for its embodied carbon, or global warming potential. It maps all the material information about the project, such as the concrete slab and the walls, from the Revit model into the LCA software, and then analyzes the embodied carbon for each material. This is much more efficient than doing quantity takeoffs manually! It also helps us quickly understand the materials with the highest embodied carbon to help us make informed design decisions and mitigate that potential greenhouse gas emission.
Another project that I worked on for the Sustainable Performance Group had me looking into different types of low-carbon concrete options that are both available on the market and in development. One example of a low-carbon concrete technology is Carbon Cure, which injects post-industrial CO2 into the concrete during mixing to reduce the amount of cement required to achieve the same strength. This is type of new technology and material innovation could be really beneficial to our projects and our targets to reduce embodied carbon across the firm’s portfolio.
This all sounds like great work! Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone means being open to new ideas, methods, and processes, and continually learning. Your work on these projects shows that by being unafraid to learn new things and take on new challenges, we can improve the way we engineer for our clients.
Somerset: Thank you! That’s absolutely the main benefit of being open to trying new things. Going out of your comfort zone means asking how can we do this better? How can we improve? Rather than sticking with the traditional way because it’s familiar.
For example, if we can automate simple processes, then we can have more time to solve more complex problems, which will continually free us up to be better engineers.
We hire such bright young people, so why waste their time on copying and pasting when we could be using that brain power to solve complex engineering challenges? I’m thankful for my supportive team as well who are always willing to let me try new things. It’s the innovative, entrepreneurial mindset of Entuitive in action.
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Somerset, and for leading by example when it comes to being better tomorrow than we were today. By pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones, being open to learning new technologies, and developing new processes, we continue to deliver great work for great clients.