Video Blog: How today’s construction firms are bridging the BIM gap

Turner Construction and Parsons Brinckerhoff talk about how BIM has revolutionized the way that they conduct projects, and how technology has allowed them to leverage collaboration in such a way that they can work with decentralized teams.

May 28, 2014 |
Sasha Reed

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Manhattan to attend ENR’s Global Construction Summit. This is two day event that has both panel discussions as well as an award show honoring some of the best global construction projects. There was one panel discussion in particular that caught my attention, and so I thought I’d share it with you.  

It was with Turner Construction and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Each of these companies talked about the way BIM has truly revolutionized the way that they conduct projects—how technology has allowed them to leverage collaboration in such a way that they can work with decentralized teams. Parsons Brinckerhoff talked about the future and ways that they are leveraging gaming technology to visualize and share information with stakeholders, as well as owners. This allows them to visualize the project and implant 4D information so that they can virtually watch the project over time.  

Turner Construction talked about something a little closer to home and more aligned with what I’m used to talking to customers about, and that was the Wilshire Grand project. This is a record-breaking project of a 73-story high-rise here in downtown LA. When completed, it will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi.  



I don’t know if you heard about this, but they had something called “The Big Pour” back in February, where they took on the monumental task of a single, 24-hour pour of more than 21,000 cubic yards of concrete. Not an easy task. During the panel discussion, Turner talked about how they leveraged BIM for this particular part of the process. They modeled the entire pour, and the end result was they came within 1% of what they estimated their materials to be. They totally hit it out of the park.

I actually had a chance to go to downtown LA and watch the pour. I watched it with Shobhit Baadkar of TITAN AEC. He partnered with Turner Construction to help them with this BIM implementation. He worked with the concrete partner, who previously didn’t have a lot of BIM experience. He took the data the partner had, which at the time was Excel spreadsheets of concrete pour data and time data, and brought it into the model. He was able to model everything, from the trucks coming off of the freeway, to the pour time at the station, to leaving, to the next truck coming in. Obviously they did a phenomenal job because they were able to execute within such a close percentage.  

At the end of this panel discussion, there was a question that was asked from the audience: Are you finding qualified talent to work within your firms, who can blend technology and trade experience or construction experience? The answer was there truly is a gap that’s developed. There are those who are construction professionals who have been doing their job for years and know the industry inside and out, and there are those who are adept at understanding technology.  Being able to find that person who can blend together the technology along with their industry experience is a challenge. There is a gap.  

What Turner did to partner with a BIM consultant to bridge that gap, specifically for this one part and component of the project, I thought was brilliant. It truly allows you to mobilize your teams, reach out to the trade professions, and help bring them into the process without leaving them behind. It creates true value that not only the overall project team sees, but your trade partners see as well.  

So I wanted to pose this question to you: In your firms, are you seeing the same gap between the knowledge workers and those who understand technology? And if you are, what are you doing to bridge that gap?  

I hope that you can share the ways that you bridge that gap here, in the comment section below. I’d love for you to share your ideas with us. Or let us know if this isn’t something that you’re struggling with as a challenge or reality within your firm. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea.  Thank you so much for listening to the blog and I look forward to the discussion.

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text and video were provided by the sponsor company. 

Sasha Reed | Digital COM
Bluebeam, Inc.
Vice President of Strategic Development

As Vice President of Strategic Development at Bluebeam, Inc., Sasha Reed collaborates with leaders in the architecture, engineering and construction industry to guide Bluebeam’s technology, partnerships and long-term goals. She joined Bluebeam in 2007 and co-created the Concierge Approach, a distinctly branded process of customer engagement, product feedback and solution delivery to which much of Bluebeam’s success is attributed, and which today is replicated at every organizational level.

Sasha is known industry-wide as a “conversation facilitator,” creating platforms for exchanges necessary to digitally advance the industry, including the BD+C Magazine Digital COM Blog, which she authors and manages. She’s been a featured presenter at numerous national and international conferences, including the 2014 Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Federal Project Delivery Symposium and NTI Danish BIM Conference. Sasha also co-chairs the Construction PDF Coalition, a grassroots effort to provide a common industry framework from which to create and maintain construction PDF documents, serves on the City College of San Francisco BIM Industry Council, and is Advisor to the Board of Direction for the National Institute of Building Sciences BuildingSMART Alliance.

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