Meadowlands Stadium Tracks Big Savings With Bim, Rfid Technology

The $998 million, 2.2 million-sq.-ft. open air Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey is a massive project that will make the new venue built to house both

The $998 million, 2.2 million-sq.-ft. open air Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey is a massive project that will make the new venue Û built to house both the New York Giants and the New York Jets National Football League teams Û one of the three largest NFL stadiums. Using a tight material-tracking system comprising radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging and software deployed via tablet personal computers, lead contractor Skanska USA Building set a productivity benchmark, automatically monitoring 3,200 precast pieces for the 84,000-seat structure. The contractor estimates the tracking solution will have accelerated the construction schedule by 10 days and saved about $1 million.

For any given day, Skanska personnel believed it was critical to have accurate knowledge of supply-chain performance, as well as the current state of production, quality control, delivery, site preparation, and installation of critical-path materials Û most notably the precast/prestressed order from Denver, Pa.-based High Concrete Group, serving the job from a New Jersey satellite plant. Since the project delivery is fast tracked (the stadium is expected to be open for the 2010 season), early identification and resolution of problem issues are essential for the just-in-time (JIT) supply chain to perform as planned.

Facing an aggressive construction schedule, Skanska realized that seemingly small issues can have a cascading effect projectwide, creating a host of delays and cost increases. Accordingly, the company turned to field software manufacturer Vela Systems and BIM (Building Information Management) leader Tekla Corp. to create the means to manage materials across the supply chain.

Custom-made for a specific location in the bowl, each precast piece weighs about 45,000 lb. and measures 44 ft. _ 10 ft. A JIT delivery system allows Skanska to eliminate a lay-down yard on site, relying instead on a small holding area for trailers. The goal is to install the pieces shortly after they arrive at the job. However, this system entails some risk: if the wrong piece is delivered, or if it fails to pass inspection, no room may be available for storage until the correct piece arrives, causing backups and cost overruns. To avoid such a dilemma, Skanska adopted a solution co-developed by Vela and Tekla called Field BIM, a complete construction operations solution.

Skanska has previously delivered a number of successful design-build stadium projects, including Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and Reliant Stadium in Houston, says David Campbell, vice president at Skanska. In our experience, close cooperation among all members of the supply chain is an absolute necessity for success.

The precast pieces are outfitted with RFID tags or smart tags at High Concrete’s Buena, N.J. plant., located about two hours from the Meadowlands site. The pieces are then identified through the use of an RFID reader communicating with a tablet PC that has Vela Systems Materials Tracking software. As the pieces move through the four phases of the production process, information is fed into Tekla Structures, a BIM solution that covers the entire structural design process from conceptual design to detailing, to fabrication and construction.

Skanska is able to view the supply chain and visualize the status of each piece in the BIM system with up-to-date information from the field, including which pieces have been fabricated and their quality assurance status; job site areas that need to be prepared for arriving product; and, what product has been erected. I never have to ask whether precast components are ready for the following weeks’ work, adds Campbell. The answer is always readily apparent on the computer screen. We’re never going back to paper and pencil.
Û Vela Systems, or 888/VELA-SYS