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Integrated Project Delivery builds a brave, new BIM world

Integrated Project Delivery builds a brave, new BIM world

Building information modeling is being touted by its advocates as a lifesaver for complicated projects because of its ability to correct errors in the design stage and accurately schedule construction. But can AEC firms unlock the full potential of BIM while still utilizing design-bid-build contracts and work processes designed for 2D design and construction?

By By Jeff Yoders, Associate Editor | August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 200804 issue of BD+C.

Three-dimensional information, such as that provided by building information modeling, allows all members of the Building Team to visualize the many components of a project and how they work together. BIM and other 3D tools convey the idea and intent of the designer to the entire Building Team and lay the groundwork for integrated project delivery.

Construction management firms DPR Construction, Skanska, and Turner Construction; A/E firms HNTB and HOK; and structural engineers Thornton Tomasetti are using BIM along with other innovative practices such as RFID tagging, model translation, and early design visualization to deliver true integrated project delivery. They're also creating new shared-risk contracts that more accurately reflect the new roles of architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors.

“Our thinking is that if we can sit at the table with the other great minds in the project—the architects, MEP and structural engineers, and our key subcontractors—as early as possible, then we can all deliver the most efficient building,” said Chris Rippingham, BIM engineer at San Francisco-based DPR Construction. “We definitely try to collaborate as much as possible even in situations where the contract doesn't obligate us to do that, but with our experience in integrated delivery that's our normal way of working.”

In the following pages, we present three projects that are achieving a high degree of integrated project delivery through the use of building information modeling and other software tools: the renovation of a floor of the historic One Market Street building in downtown San Francisco; the new NFL stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; and the $737 million expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Landmark at One Market Street: Turning Shared Pain into Shared Gain

The customer briefing center in Autodesk’s San Francisco office in The Landmark at One Market Street will have interactive exhibits that demonstrate the ways that digital prototyping can be used to create products. Rendering: Anderson Anderson Architecture


San Rafael, Calif., software developer Autodesk is expanding and reconfiguring one of the 45,000-sf floors it leases in the historic One Market Street building in San Francisco. To Autodesk VP Phil Bernstein, FAIA, the project represented an opportunity to show how BIM and IPD can make design and construction more efficient.

“If I'm running around the world saying BIM makes vast improvements in process possible, how can we not do this on our own building?” Bernstein told Building Design+Construction.

To achieve integrated design, Autodesk early in the game gathered a team that now includes the San Francisco office of HOK (a big player in the “BuildingSmart” movement), virtual construction pioneers DPR, and the San Francisco office of Anderson Anderson Architecture. Instead of relying on traditional contracts and construction documents, the three firms and Autodesk agreed to form a four-way partnership that stipulated they work together as a team and share all risks and rewards equally. Every non-owner team member is guaranteed to have its costs covered. Beyond that amount all profit generated by meeting contract benchmarks is put into a profit pool which will be divided three ways upon completion. Autodesk also stipulated that the Building Team make One Market Street a showcase for its Revit BIM platform.

“We have a common interest among the parties,” said HOK senior vice president Edward McCrary, FAIA. “This contract makes us true partners where the incentives to profit are meeting benchmarks such as achieving LEED certification and not putting in change orders or increasing the entire price of the project. In this contract structure, the more accurately we share information, the more risk we're mitigating.”

Also gone are the traditional roles of design architect and architect of record. Both architects are creating a set of models and stamping drawings created from their Revit models. Anderson Anderson is designing a briefing center for Autodesk's customers, which takes up half the floor, and HOK is designing the actual office space.

“In the beginning, everyone was somewhat concerned about two architects and how that would work,” said Peter Anderson, principal of Anderson Anderson. “But this close collaboration has benefited us and, I hope, HOK. We're talking a lot more because of the contract. We're specifying a lot of the same products on both halves of the floor, and even though there's a line dividing us, we've talked a lot about what each firm is planning.”

For DPR, which has delivered four integrated project delivery jobs on time and on schedule to date, the collaboration is ongoing with both architects. DPR is using Autodesk NavisWorks to merge the individual Revit models created by Anderson Anderson and HOK. The general contractor is also using a point-cloud laser scan of the existing floor into a final design. The laser scan even took into account the structural integrity of the building's existing slabs and brick columns.

Construction began March 10, and DPR expects to have the project completed by June. The 16-week construction schedule is highly coordinated with all subcontractors.

“Since the design is constantly evolving, even as we go into construction, we have ongoing constructability analysis with everyone at the table figuring out how and what to build within the constraints of the project. For example, by coordinating everything down to the straight-line support wires for the lighting fixtures in the virtual environment, we are eliminating the need for rework in the field,” said DPR's Rippingham. “Also, to make sure we hit our turnover date, we ordered the skyfold doors, which have an 8-10 week lead time, even without design finalized.”

DPR managers feel confident that, with this highly planned and coordinated project schedule in place, they'll be able to meet the contract's benchmarks. “With everyone on board and issues figured out earlier on, using BIM tools, we're in a much better position to reduce overall project risk for everyone, thus creating a win-win situation for all parties,” said Atul Khanzode, DPR's virtual building group leader.

Giants-Jets Stadium: Using RFID to Speed Delivery


In the BIM model of the Giants-Jets project, precast concrete sections that are "damaged" are colored orange, "manufactured" are yellow, "arrived" are red, "ready to ship" are green, "received on site" are light blue, and "erected" are dark blue. Everyone on site has access to the Web-updated model. BIM Model: Skanska

In the Meadowlands of northern New Jersey, the steel structure of the new $1.3 billion stadium for the National Football League's Jets and Giants is rising. The shared facility broke ground in April 2007 and is scheduled to be completed in time for the opening whistle of the 2010 NFL season. Designed by 360 Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., the bowl-shaped gridiron will have a seating capacity of 82,500, including more than 200 luxury suites and 9,200 club seats, not to mention two club lounges and four restaurants. Four 40 x 130-foot video scoreboards will be hung from the upper deck in each corner of the 1.9 million-sf complex. Ewing Cole of Philadelphia is architect and MPE engineer-of-record.

Design-build contractor Skanska (ranked third among construction companies in BD+C's Giants 300) is using several project delivery technologies to ensure an on-time finish, including a close BIM partnership between structural designer and engineer-of-record Thornton Tomasetti and steel fabricator CanAm of Point Rocks, Md.

The stadium BIM model was created in both Revit Structure and Tekla software. In addition to using the programs to find interferences in the design stage, Skanska is also tracking 3,200 pieces of precast concrete from fabrication to installation using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Field construction software provider Vela Systems of Burlington, Mass., updated its RFID-based Materials Tracking module to interface with the Tekla BIM model, color coding each section of precast concrete in the model: sections in the “manufactured” stage are colored yellow, “ready to ship” sections are green, “received on site” are blue, and “erected” sections are dark blue. Vela calls this interface “Field BIM,” as it elevates the model from design management to construction management by incorporating live field information.

The pieces are so big that nearly every section takes up an individual load from plants in Buena, N.J., and Allentown, Pa. The RFID tags are attached at the plant and scanned with a pen scanner that communicates with a PC-based tracking system at the factory. The RFID tags are scanned when they arrive at the jobsite—in fact, the tags are scanned again at every point between manufacture and installation and networked to the system. With each scan, new information is uploaded via the Internet to the 3D Tekla construction model, which is available to all Skanska project managers. Vela is also providing its quality management and work list modules to Skanska via tablet PCs.

“Because of the project's size we knew we'd have to use some type of tracking software like this,” said David Campbell, VP of innovation and technology at Skanska. “We're actually right on track for the 2010 [NFL] season mostly because of the models and the tracking we're doing.”

Campbell said the construction team didn't want to use laptops because they're hard to read in sunlight. But finding the right PC tablet was crucial, because the pen reader for the RFID has to be within 25 feet of the computing device to be read properly. The solution: Motion Computing's LE 1700 tablet PCs. “Giving our guys the ability to write on a tablet as in any other job site was something important that Vela gave us,” said Campbell.

Tekla's Internet-based viewer can be seen by anyone on the project. All construction documents are delivered to the tablet PCs onsite.

The structural steel design from Thornton Tomasetti and CanAm is a similarly collaborative effort. Since the project's startup last year, nearly 19,000 tons of steel have been modeled, 70% of them in Revit Structure and 30% in Tekla. More than 8,000 tons have been erected to date.

Instead of creating one BIM model for the entire project, Thornton Tomasetti is creating a different set of models for CanAm as new information about each section becomes available. The detailed models tell the fabricator the number of bolts required for connections, the precise tonnage, and other exacting details. As the process moves along, CanAm is able to order steel at the optimal time and start working on finished portions of the design without waiting for a final model or RFI process. The final model will have the vast majority of connections finalized and construction documents created from it.

“We knew the only way we'd meet the steel delivery schedule was to do it this way,” said Tom Scarangello, newly appointed chair of Thornton Tomasetti. “Without a model for each section it would've taken months.”

Thornton Tomasetti has established a set of best practices to share with its steel fabricators based on its collaboration with CanAm on the Meadowlands stadium, Chicago's Soldier Field (the first time they used a shared Tekla model with a fabricator), and the Washington Nationals baseball park in the District of Columbia.

“The biggest leap was getting everyone in the fabrication business comfortable with talking this early in the process and sharing this model that we hand off to them,” said Erleen Hatfield, a principal at Thornton Tomasetti and leader of its integrated modeling services group. “Now it's becoming easier and easier with every job. We're starting to have a hard time finding owners who do not mandate BIM on these major capital projects.”

Las Vegas Convention Center: What Happens in BIM, Stays in BIM

The $890 million renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center will include modern interior design, a renovated exterior, and a naturally lit lobby (above). A grand concourse will tie together the center’s three halls. Both a new police station and a Clark County Fire Department facility are planned. Rendering: HNTB

Turner Construction Company (#1 on BD+C's 2007 Giants 300 among contractors) and HNTB Architecture (ranked 10th among architect/engineers in the BD+C Giants 300) are defining their BIM and integrated project delivery processes with a detailed process based manual that goes well beyond traditional 2D collaboration to 3D, 4D, and 5D collaboration. The HNTB/Turner Design Build Handbook defines both firms' requirements and responsibilities from conceptual design thru construction administration and allows for such things as Turner estimators having live access to the HNTB Architecture models.

This high level of cooperation demonstrates how coordinated Turner and HNTB's partnership is. The manual requires both HNTB and Turner to evaluate and, in some cases, alter traditional processes to meet the needs and requirements of the other firm. For example, during the conceptual design phase, HNTB designers need to alter their modeling processes so that Turner estimators can more easily and accurately determine pricing. These processes are successfully being used on multiple projects, including the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium project.

This collaborative approach is fully supported by the leadership at both Turner and HNTB. Prior to the selection of a pilot project, Jan Rheinhardt, program manager of virtual design and construction at Turner, and Patrick Davis, national CADD/BIM manager for HNTB, worked together to analyze the current processes, needs, and capabilities of both organizations and to develop processes that would address those issues and leverage the experience and talent in both organizations before a pilot project was selected.

“The key to the HNTB/Turner IPD really boils down to communication and getting over the traditional adversarial relationship between the AE and GC,” said Davis, co-founder of KCRevit, the Kansas City Revit user group. “The handbook is a living document that changes with every job. As we learn how better to work and communicate with each other and the other design and construction team members, we incorporate those changes into the manual. Different building types have different situations and as a result, the design and construction teams look for different information to extract from the model. That's why we started this manual development before either company had a project to use it on. We want to work smarter, not harder.”

Turner's Rheinhardt said his company would rather create a complete BIM model than one that only comes from one discipline and doesn't holistically address architecture, engineering, and construction issues.

“Rather than us trying to create models from drawings,” Reinhardt said, “we embrace the idea of getting the right model from the right entity. The architect should provide an architectural model, the structural engineer should provide the structural model, and the subcontractors should provide shopdrawing models of their respective trades. In the BIM process, Turner is assuming the role of the model integrator and a facilitator of the effort.”

This collaborative approach ensures that the specific parts of the model are created by the project participants that are most qualified for providing the right building information. It also generates buy in and involvement in the BIM process. Turner sees BIM as a collaboration and management process more so than a technology. “Working with and sharing models with team players, such as HNTB allows us to bring the best in BIM to the project.”

The biggest benefit of BIM, Turner believes, is the increased level of coordination between the project participants. This has multiple positive effects, such as less changes and RFIs, less disruptions of the construction process, and higher levels of prefabrication. Turner is currently working on 50 projects using BIM that total around $11 billion. In two and a half years Reinhardt expects the vast majority of Turner's projects to be done in BIM.

“We've found that 3D-coordinated projects are simply of a higher quality than the traditionally delivered process,” he said. “It makes our job easier and it makes the designer's life easier because there's simply more trust in the model.”

For more on BIM, check out this presentation on the renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center from Turner Construction:www.BDCnetwork.com/contents/pdfs/bdc0804turnerbim.pdfand this one on the work Skanska and Vela Systems are doing with field BIM on the Giants-Jets Stadium in New Jersey:www.BDCnetwork.com/contents/misc/bdc0804skanskavela.ppt.

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