3-D Bim Format Software Economizes Precast Jobs

The Eagle Ridge Residential Development covers a 371-acre area in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada one of the world’s hottest construction markets, thanks

The Eagle Ridge Residential Development covers a 371-acre area in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Û one of the world’s hottest construction markets, thanks to an energy boom. The $1 billion project includes 3,700 residential units comprised of nearly 2,000 multifamily suites, along with single-family housing, town homes, semi-detached houses, social housing and a bridge interchange linking the new development with existing roadways. The first phase consists of seven precast building, six of which are six stories and one that is four stories.

Working on a fast-track schedule, the project’s structural engineer, Kassian Dyck & Associates of Calgary, opted to carry out the design-to-fabrication job using Tekla Structures 3-D modeling software, which worked ideally for both the precast detailing and the structural design elements of the project. Kassian Dyck modeled the entire first phase of the work using the software and upon completion will have modeled 22 buildings in Tekla Structures.

General contractor Centron Residential Corp., a 20-year Alberta-area veteran developer, wanted to use a modular system for this project Û prefinished as far as possible to reduce and streamline site work. Centron Project Manager Ken King felt certain this method would succeed, if the benefits and limitations of each building system were understood. The contractor chose the cost-efficient total precast solution to increase speed, reduce site work, and incorporate building information with other trades. The site was cleared in May 2006 with construction starting in July. With pieces supplied by Lafarge North America/Alberta Precast Division, the first precast building was erected in April 2007; construction of the third building began the following month.

According to Wayne Kassian of Kassian Kyck, his team could not have detailed the total precast building on an accelerated schedule without the extensive 3-D modeling benefits. Modeling included the hollowcore roof and floors, interior load-bearing wall panels, columns, beams, balcony slabs, stairs and landings, temporary bracing, exterior insulated wall panels, as well as elevator and stair shafts. According to Kassian, creating shop drawings with the 3-D modeling and editing them was accomplished at a faster pace than ever before. Drawings for simple cloned pieces could be completed in five to 10 minutes, while more complex pieces could take up to 1.5 hours to finish. Previously, these pieces could take anywhere from two to eight hours per drawing with 2-D computer-aided drafting.

In the dramatic shift of structural drawing creation from 2-D drafting to 3-D modeling, Tekla Oyj Corp. of Finland (with U.S. offices in Kennesaw, Ga.) is a forerunner with its Structures product, an innovative solution for Building Information Modeling (BIM). According to company representatives, Tekla Structures is the first completely integrated 3-D solution for precast concrete. Modeling tools, such as automated and intelligent parametric adjustments, have been added to the software, while enhanced intelligence and modeling automation ensure quality results and increased productivity.

The BIM process allows for a smoother flow of information, since the model can be shared throughout the design, detailing, fabrication and erection phases. This results in shortened lead times and the capability to respond to schedule challenges. Eventually, overall project costs will be lower. Storage of all construction information in one location that is readily shared, easy to view, and accessible perfectly suits the general contractor’s need for integration, control and management. Precast producers are now starting to receive requests for proposal and scopes of work that specify the use of a 3-D model, at least during the coordination phase.

For precasters, immediate benefits are realized in the reduction of casting and construction errors; rapid quantity takeoffs; and fast, accurate and consistent drawing creation. Other precasters using the Tekla system include High Concrete Structures, Blakslee Prestress and Coreslab Structures.

The Tekla 3-D model was used extensively during the Eagle Ridge project, beginning with the design development phase with the owner, architect and precaster. Building information visualized in the model aided design development, increased the speed of approvals, and assisted the precast team with the design development of the structure. During the design development phase of the work, the 3-D model was used to create snapshots for meetings and discussion on stair geometry and brick pattern with the architect. It also was used to solve lift-hook and erection issues with the precaster. All shop drawings and erection layouts were created with and maintained in Tekla Structures. In addition, Kassian Dyck modeled erection bracing and shoring posts, as well as panel strongbacks that are required to stiffen some precast panels’ openings and prevent damage during transportation.

The entire project and all details were modeled in 3-D using the Tekla Structures software, meeting such challenges as keeping thousands of bricks in the model as consistent as possible and implementing an updated version of the software in the middle of the job. New erection layouts were created after the structure was modeled, so information for erection was added to the drawings after the modeling process. The design team also was able to maintain better cross coordination and checking of drawings to insure no fit, geometry or hardware misplacement occurred during the construction phase. Û www.tekla.com