Revit®-based Horizon takes Merronbrook Ltd from ‘behind the curve’ to ‘ahead of the game’

 "Horizon's Revit®-based  software is already driving massive productivity improvements for us.
Moreover, the unparalleled power of the Revit® platform is paving the way for a paradigm shift in how the business works".  Andy Gibson, Merronbrook’s TF Operations Manager reveals why he feels ‘almost evangelical’ about the software.

“We had been considering our options for some time and had looked closely at both standalone solutions and plug-in products that could deliver the specialist timber frame design functionality we needed. In fact we were on the cusp of switching to a Consultec product, when Wolf Systems introduced us to its Horizon software. It soon became apparent that while AutoCAD is accepted as the industry standard, Revit® put Horizon head and shoulders ahead of the field,” Andy explains.


Right place, right time

“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We had been using WolfWin Truss & Joist design software for some time and were migrating towards Wolf’s business management package, Enterprise. Our ‘light bulb moment’ was when we realised that, Horizon could, thanks to its Revit® core, ‘talk’ to Enterprise. And upon this realisation our decision to opt for Horizon really became a ‘no brainer’.

“Our adoption of Enterprise was a natural choice. Discovering Horizon was more of a ‘happy accident’. We were certainly tempted by other solutions; they can all do the functional, framing element pretty well. But none of them would be able to integrate with our business management software. The phrase ‘right place, right time’ has never been more applicable!”

Merronbrook began trialling Horizon in January and taking into account implementation, training and fine tuning, the transition process – smoothed by Wolf’s proactive approach – took several months to complete.


Man And Hammer

Incomparable support

True to form, Wolf proved very supportive throughout the software adoption process.

“We undertook intensive Horizon training at Wolf’s Coventry site; the team came up to us on several occasions and literally sat with our designers working on live projects until they felt comfortable with the new system. Furthermore, the Horizon guys worked really hard to ensure the software met our specific business needs.

“Switching from one system to another is a big step, so you expect some teething troubles, but Wolf’s support has been invaluable. The back-up office support is on call the whole time and rather than just solve a problem, they pick it apart and get to root of an issue.  You really feel that they are doing their very best for you.”


‘Like upgrading from a handsaw to powersaw’

Merronbrook is already realising the productivity benefits promised by Horizon.  Andy explains:

“We are realising huge gains in the upfront design conceptualisation and detailing part of the timber panel design process with automated, dimensionally correct, accurate 3D drawings.

“Producing ground floor plans, foundation and floor schematics, labelling everything up and so on used to be a manual, time-consuming process that we referred to as ‘line work’.  Horizon has transformed what took literally days into a matter of hours. The difference, from a design and productivity perspective, is nothing short of dramatic.”



The power of potential

Horizon brings BIM (Building Information Modelling) capabilities to timber frame and although this functionality was not a primary driver for Merronbrook, Andy believes that it is only a matter of time before the methodology becomes the industry norm.

“If, ten years ago, we had learned that energy efficiency would be a key factor in our work, we would have passed it off as of little concern.  Over the years this has been an increasing focus and we’ve had to up our game. Our current customer base is primarily private sector – builders, contractors, self builders - but I can see a time when public sector requirements will filter down. BIM isn’t top of our list right now – our commercial imperative is to do what our customers require. But we know that with Revit®’s parametric capabilities, we have the tools in place, so it’s a case of ‘watch that space.’

What really excites Andy is the vast potential and what he terms ‘future-proofing’ offered by Horizon’s Revit® engine.

“Thanks to the intrinsic power of the system, we could see a future where Horizon does not only benefit our designers, but by integrating with Enterprise, can impact within stock control, finance, and other key areas of the business.

“If we’d chosen another product we would have effectively had just a better, more modern ‘like for like’ replacement. Horizon sits in Revit® which can do so much more.

“From an operations perspective, I can see the bigger picture and I’d like to think that as a Wolf customer, we’re proactive about ‘pushing the envelope’.  It really feels like this is just the beginning; I don’t think we’ve touched the tip of Horizon’s capabilities yet.”

For more information about Horizon software, please email Karl Foster