Kirby Group Engineering

From humble beginnings as a family-run business Kirby Group has grown rapidly to become a leading mechanical and electrical engineering contractor with seven offices in Ireland, UK and Continental Europe.

Founded in Ireland in 1964, the company provides services to clients across a range of sectors including data centres, life sciences, industrial manufacturing and petrochemicals. Today, the Kirby Group employs over 1,000 highly skilled staff with a turnover of approximately €200 million.

The ‘Kirby Way’ involves early engagement, understanding client needs, building high-performing teams and supporting clients through every stage of a project. A forward-thinking focus on and investment in innovation has also helped fuel the company’s growth in recent years.

Kirby’s long standing partnership with Procad (now Symetri), a provider of 3D design and engineering software solutions, has been key to its success in this area. As a leading specialist reseller and a gold partner of Autodesk, Procad (now Symetri) helped Kirby adapt the benefits of the latest Autodesk 3D design and modelling software, initially with Autodesk AutoCAD®; Autodesk Revit® for 3D model-based design; and Autodesk Navisworks® project review software to improve BIM coordination.

In recent years, the Kirby Group has worked on several large projects where Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been a key requirement and Autodesk software and the support from Procad (now Symetri) has been instrumental in helping the Kirby team get up to speed quickly.  In addition to the Autodesk software, Procad (now Symetri) also supplied desktop machines and highly-focused training.

Mark Danaher, Technical Services Manager, Kirby Group said: “From the start of our partnership, Procad (now Symetri) has been proactive in helping us to identify issues and challenges in our existing workflows and how we could best use Autodesk software to resolve them. We started with 3 engineers in this space and now have 48 engineers working all over Europe. They all need technical assistance from time to time and Procad (now Symetri) are always quick to respond with a solution.”

“Whenever we have a problem, Procad (now Symetri) drop everything and dedicates staff to resolving it straightway. There’s a great synergy between our businesses. We have given them full IT privileges which shows the level of trust we have in them.”


Revit to the fore

Autodesk Revit was the primary product supported by Procad (now Symetri) at Kirby Group. The choice of Revit was a straightforward one. Revit is more functionally rich than competitor’s tools in this space. It is also the dominant tool in the industry for coordination of mechanical and electrical services and architectural design; supports fast modelling speeds, and is widely used by architects and main contractors on construction projects. As Danaher explains: “We jumped to Revit because the modelling on Revit is much quicker than on competitive models. It is more dynamic software. You can automate a lot more. Also, with Revit the drawings are directly linked to your modelling.”

While the use of Autodesk Revit is key to Kirby, it also makes extensive use of the other Autodesk software. According to Danaher: “We use Autodesk Navisworks to review models; for clash detection, 4D scheduling and quantification; Autodesk Vault is our internal common data environment (CDE) which we use to store all of our files and project associated data. Autodesk BIM 360 is used to share approved designs and communications with other contractors while also simultaneously capturing site data.”

The Autodesk BIM 360 software is used across all divisions of the business from design, quality and health and safety to commissioning and handover. Kirby understands that data analysis and insight captured through Autodesk’s BIM 360 module is key to a leaner business and more efficient project delivery.


Reaping the rewards

One of the key benefits for Kirby of the Autodesk software is operational agility. Combining the different software solutions enabled Kirby to digitise their day-to-day design workflows leading to significant time and cost savings.

Previously, engineers would have had to print out 2D drawings and bring them to site but upgrading to 3D versions allows Kirby to visualise much more accurately where pipes and services are going to be running, for example. Site markups have also been digitised and implemented into their paperless workflows.

Having the right information at the touch of a button is key. The software enables Kirby to see potential clashes and risks that might hold up or derail the project, resulting in costly rework. Over and above the design benefits, the Procad (now Symetri) solutions make it easy and painless to seamlessly and efficiently coordinate and collaborate with other stakeholders.

Moving forwards,, Procad (now Symetri) is committed to building on the digital partnership with Kirby and Autodesk to drive its ongoing growth.

As Cormac Lyons, Managing Director, Procad (now Symetri) states: “Kirby’s business is evolving all the time. They are updating their processes every day and the software they have has to accommodate and support the changes and improvements to the business. The software and systems they use has to adapt to their needs rather than the other way around. That is one of the things we pride ourselves on at Procad (now Symetri) — delivering solutions that make our clients’ lives easier. Thanks to the versatility of the Autodesk solutions and our own internal experience and expertise, we look forward to what the future holds for the Kirby Group and supporting them every step of the way.”

Related Cases