GMI Continues to Exceed Client Expectations with Vertex BD
GMI is a family-owned, turnkey drywall, framing and acoustical commercial construction company that has operated throughout the state of Texas since 1978, and maintains offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. The company is relationship-driven, with a focus on providing each client a detailed and accurate estimate, and then striving to exceed expectations.
In 2010, the company made a significant investment in panelization and pre-fabrication of walls, confident that this was the future direction of the industry. Since then, GMI has become well-versed in the panelization of both interior and exterior walls, assembling cold-formed metal framing load-bearing walls from its 20,000 square-foot facility.
Originally, GMI converted architectural drawings to shop drawings manually, drawing every single line, which usually took an hour or more per wall panel. In a typical building of 100 or more different wall panels, this conversion represented a considerable investment of time. With a corporate focus on increasing efficiency, GMI wanted to automate some of the process.
“The construction industry is moving towards processes that minimize the amount of onsite work,” said Michael Ward, director of business development for GMI. “We’re trying to be on front of the curve. The more we can build offsite and erect onsite, the more efficient we can be, and the faster the project can be built.”
One of the panel designers for GMI had worked with a software package at a previous employer that might fit the bill—Vertex BD, sold in the United States by Argos Systems, Inc.
Vertex BD automates the creation of shop drawings needed for the construction of walls, floors, ceilings and roofs. Framing rules and properties, such as stud spacing, profile sizes, and corner details, can be set in advance, and the software will generate wall panel drawings automatically.
“Our panel designer knew that with software like this, we would be able to manipulate the panels to better suit how we were going to fabricate them—how we would prefer to build them,” said Ward. “We can also do quality control more efficiently and accurately.”
“Vertex BD had the features we were looking for, plus some additional ‘bells and whistles’ that would be useful to us. But its ability to speed up production was the main selling point,” added Ward.
The implementation was accomplished quickly; it was a simple process to get the software loaded. Argos offers a three-day training session.
“Argos is a good company. Their technical guys took our panel designer by the hand and walked him through to where he could get drawings produced. If we have a question, they are very helpful. If they don’t have an answer, they go to work on it. It’s been a good relationship,” explained Ward.
GMI now uses Vertex BD on 30-40% of its projects. “We use it for anything with load-bearing rules,” said Ward. “Our panel designer was using AutoCAD 4, doing everything by hand. Before it might take three weeks to do the layout and get all the wall panels drawn up. With Vertex BD we can do the same project in roughly a week’s time. This is definitely saving us money and helping us to meet the client’s project needs.”
“The 3D modeling part is particularly impressive,” added Ward. “We can enter it in 2D, and it converts to 3D. This helps us identify any conflicts we might not have seen before. By eliminating errors on the front end, we don’t find them on the back end, where it can get costly.”
GMI uses Vertex BD in one way they didn’t anticipate—to help sales. “I can show prospects the shop drawings—the level of detail we will be able to provide, including a materials list and wall panel elevations with dimensions. They appreciate the level of sophistication and level of quality that we provide,” said Ward.
GMI continues to work with Argos to customize the software, tailoring it even closer to the company’s specific needs.