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Leaning into the best technology

  • Client: WSB

  • Location: U.S.A.

  • VinZero Partner: U.S. CAD

  • Industry: Infrastructure

  • Autodesk Solutions: Autodesk Civil 3D, Autodesk BIM 360, Autodesk Navisworks, Autodesk InfraWorks, Autodesk Plant 3D


WSB are headquartered in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. We have between 500 and 550 employees. We have engineers and land surveyors and landscape architects, of course, but we also have some unique roles: environmental scientists, pipeline inspectors, visualisation specialists and many more.

As far as projects are concerned, we’re often involved in street reconstruction design, construction inspection, land-surveying activities,

master planning for parks, water-quality projects, traffic studies and many more. We’re a full-service firm, and we strongly believe in forging relationships with our clients—partnerships really—as we work together to build what’s next in infrastructure.


As a firm, we truly believe in leaning into the best technology we can to support our clients and their endeavours. Part of that solution is Autodesk and their products. In that journey with our clients, we are sometimes faced with new challenges. One of those challenges

came in the form of a renewable-energy project we were part of recently—a solar project. If you think about a solar farm and picture the solar panels, they’re elevated above the ground.

Those solar panels need to be placed at least 3 feet above the ground, but not more than 5 feet, so part of the design process is analysing whether or not that condition is true, whether or not that tolerance has been met. And anybody can do that if they’re using any kind of civil engineering software.

The tricky part is designing the corrective grading that helps fix the problem when it’s not in tolerance. You can’t really do that dynamically. So sitting in the office one day, thinking about this problem, I decided it might be worth a try to leverage computational design to solve this problem in a dynamic format. So I called U.S. CAD, and we had a conversation about computational design and some of the inputs from my project, some of the factors. They were able to help us develop a solution that took us through the computational design process and allowed us to dynamically build grading models that achieved the solution our client required


The backbone of our design program here at WSB—for our municipal and land development and landscape architecture teams—has been Civil 3D. We’ve been using that for a long time. But as we’ve continued to work with our clients, we’ve realised the need to

enhance our abilities in the way of collaboration, visualisation, stakeholder feedback, and more, so we’ve started to leverage additional components of the Autodesk AEC collection, things like BIM 360, Navisworks, Plant 3D and Infraworks. Those tools have really helped us grow as a company, and they’ve helped us support our clients in some pretty incredible ways.


As we look back in time, month over month, project over project, year over year, we continue to grow in efficiency. We continue to grow in quality. We’ve increased our level of collaboration. We’re able to communicate designs more effectively. We’re able to mitigate risk more clearly and easily by developing robust models. We’re able to take that information, and hand it off to experienced field inspectors and senior engineers, and they’re able to do “constructability” reviews on the designs and solutions we’re putting together to ensure there aren’t conflicts when we go into construction. I think that’s really important.