Offsite Construction and Prefabrication in Civil Engineering

By Akio
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Prefabrication is the designing and manufacturing of assemblies under factory conditions, then transporting them to—and assembling them on—a construction site. The technique is most widely used for concrete and steel sections in structures where a particular part or form is repeated many times.

In civil engineering, prefabrication plays a key role in the construction of bridges, roads, tunnels, and more. Prefabrication can be used for:

  • cantilevered decks of elevated bridges in highway projects
  • parapets of expressways and road curbs
  • precast girder units and beams for elevated roadways, tracks, viaducts, and pedestrian footbridges
  • decks for long span bridges
  • tunnel linings, especially for tunnels formed by tunnel boring machine
  • sea walls
  • railway platforms
  • noise barrier panels
  • overhanging ducts and service channels for underground facilities
  • storm water discharge culverts

… and many other elements of a civil design project.

Contributing Factors to the Prefabrication Trend in Civil Engineering

The main reason for prefabrication construction is to reduce the overall construction time on a project. This time savings can yield significant budget savings.

Prefabrication allows for work to be conducted simultaneously onsite and offsite, as well as helping with better coordination among the project team.

Less onsite staging, such as scaffolding, is needed. Weather does not impact construction. Prefabrication can also reduce onsite resources, such as labor and equipment, and minimize waste. Factory conditions offer quality control checks on each piece produced.

Prefabricated concrete, for example, can avoid the imperfections frequently found in concrete poured onsite. The lack of exposure to the elements, and the ability to fabricate in factory conditions rather than on ladders or from scaffolding also improves quality.

Examples of Civil Design Projects Using Prefabrication

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Goethals Bridge

Goethals Bridge Prefabrication

Goethals Bridge. SOURCE.

The new replacement Goethals Bridge, linking Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Staten Island in New York City, is currently under construction and has a cable-stayed design. The replacement bridge will be located directly south of the 88-year-old existing Goethals Bridge.

The design of the $1.5 billion project was led by Kiewit-Weeks-Massman. Prefabricated steel will compose two spans, one eastbound and one westbound, to measure 1,635 feet. The project team is constructing 36 precast concrete structural support columns for the foundation—18 each for the eastbound and westbound roadways—consisting of prefabricated steel rebar shafts.

Prefabricated anchor boxes will be installed at the top section of the bridge’s eight towers. The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2017 on time.

Crossrail

Crossrail Prefabrication

Crossrail. SOURCE

The Crossrail railway project in London is Europe’s biggest underground construction project.

Twenty-six miles of twin-bore tunnels have been built for the addition of 10 stations and linking to 30 existing stations. Eight tunneling machines bored the 6.2 diameter rail tunnels, 40 meters under London.

Over 200,000 prefabricated concrete segments line the tunnels. Seven segments and a keystone will be used to make up tunnel rings, locked together to build a concrete tube reinforced with steel fibers. Each segment weighs 3,000 kilograms and each keystone weighs 1,000 kilograms. Crossrail construction is being delivered on time and within budget.

Panama Canal Expansion

Panama Canal Prefabrication

Panama Canal. SOURCE.

The Panama Canal expansion project adds a new lane to the existing two lanes to allow for passage of large vessels, such as container ships, bulk carriers, and tankers. Work began in 2014 and is expected to be complete in May 2016 at a cost of over $5 billion. The new lane will have two locks chambers, one on the Pacific side and one on the Atlantic side.

Installation of 16 prefabricated rolling steel lock gates was completed last year. They were manufactured in Italy, then shipped, tugged, and “rolled” to the site.

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When complete, ships will enter through two-pair of buoyant gates, which are 7-feet-thick, weigh up to 3,200 tons, and are up to 82-feet high. In addition, 46 prefabricated steel lock walls were put into place to hold water in the lock chambers that range from 45- to 55-feet thick at the base to 8 feet at the top.

West Kowloon Terminus Station North

West Kowloon Terminus. SOURCE.

West Kowloon Terminus. SOURCE.

The West Kowloon Terminus Station North is the largest civil contract awarded for the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Located in Kowloon, the terminus will serve as Hong Kong’s international gateway to China. Engineering firm BuroHappold designed a curved, steel, and glass roof to accommodate a large central space to provide natural light and views of Hong Kong Island. The free-form roof will be made up 7,000 tons of prefabricated steel trusses weighing up to 40 tons each.

Doubly-curved trusses, triangular in cross-section, will form three long curved lattice trusses. These will be supported by prefabricated curved steel columns up to 50 meters in height. A concrete roof beam for the steel roof will be comprised of six concrete cantilevering beams, with eight concrete sections spanning between each beam.

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Related Resources

INDUSTRY SOLUTION EXPERIENCE: Civil Design for Fabrication

WHITEPAPER: Civil Design Innovation – Innovative Industrialization Methodology Achieves Breakthrough in Civil Design

WEBINAR: Extended Demo of Civil Design Industry Process Experience


 

Watch the “Civil Design” Industry Process Experience at Work

By Akio
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Civil Design IPE demo video

In this video, you’ll see an in-depth example of how a civil engineer can use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to design a railway/bridge structure.

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ISE in action [Webinar]”

The process begins by either leveraging the included Civil Engineering Catalogues (i.e. smart tools, reusable components, and IFC-compliant objects which speed up the creation of the skeleton), or the design can start from scratch.

Railway/bridge structure using "Civil Design"

[Railway/bridge structure using “Civil Design”]

In our railway/bridge project example, the user creates a site from scratch, inserts the terrain, and imports a point cloud to set up the canvas for the structure. The railway’s center curve, imported from a IGES, STEP, or IFC format, is geo-located onto the map.

The Terrain Preparation app allows the user to create a mesh on the point cloud, and apply a contour map to reveal the elevation curves.

You’ll also see how to geo-locate objects by using coordinates from Google Maps, in order to insert 3D mockups of local landmarks, analyze the project’s environmental impact, run noise simulations, and more.

A Large Range Scale is available to mix large range objects with normal range objects within the same view.

Using a Large Range Scale in "Civil Design"

[Using a Large Range Scale in “Civil Design”]

Civil Design automatically generates excavation along the center curve, driven a by parametric trapezoidal profile, and estimates the volume removed from the terrain mesh.

The user can modify the side angles and base width as needed. This allows the engineer to compute the excavated volume and get an early estimate of cost and duration.

The project in our demonstration incorporates a constant deck and a cantilever. You’ll see how the engineer creates each using a combination of templated objects and custom modifications.

To make multiple design options, the engineer quickly creates alternatives by selecting the piers and applying a different template.

The edited elements are color-coded to highlight the difference between versions.

Creating multiple design options in "Civil Design"

[Creating multiple design options in “Civil Design”]

The Span Cutter tool automatically creates arch segments and splitting surfaces between each segment.

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Span Cutter & more features in #CivilDesign from @Dassault3DS”

Manufacturing simulations help the engineer determine how the segments will be optimally constructed off-site or on-site.

Running simulations in "Civil Design"

[Running simulations in “Civil Design”]


3DEXPERIENCE CompassComplete the form to watch these scenarios
and more play out in the Civil Design
Industry Process Experience from Dassault Systèmes.


Collaborative, Efficient Design Processes with “Civil Design for Fabrication”

By Akio
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A Growing Global Infrastructure

As the global population continues to rise, worldwide spending on civil engineering projects is expected to grow. Emerging markets such as China, the Middle East, and Latin America will be looking to facilitate rapid increases in infrastructure projects quickly and cost-effectively.

To keep pace, civil engineering and infrastructure professionals will need to address industry challenges, such as managing costs and schedules, reducing waste, and improving efficiency.

One key reason for inefficiency in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) infrastructure projects is fragmentation. An integrated, collaborative environment would eliminate fragmentation, address business challenges, achieve higher quality, and improve efficiency.

Civil Design for Fabrication does just that:

YouTube Preview Image

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Processes with “Civil Design for Fabrication” [VIDEO]

Building Infrastructure through Collaboration

Civil Design for Fabrication provides collaborative access to design models and data. The solution creates an integrated Building Information Modeling (BIM) design platform that allows owners, designers, engineers, and fabricators to have simultaneous and real-time access to design models and project data.

Flexible Design Change

Civil Design for Fabrication enables the team to work in parallel, share data, and create a single-source mock-up. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes it easier to accommodate changes in design, such as from onsite construction dependency or a change in design direction at construction phase.

A template-based design method lets customers change the design quickly and easily. Users can work from a full civil engineering catalogue of reusable, adaptive 3D templates, or can create their own template for future use.

templates - Civil Design for Fabrication

Templates make it easier to accommodate changes in design, which can be frequent. Time is saved by importing prototypes from a list of components, which can be easily modified and instantly updated, ensuring consistency while reducing errors.

Large Model Handling

Infrastructure project planning and designing require holistic observation, since projects are connected between road tunnels, bridges and highways, and railways.

true terrain - Civil Design for Fabrication

Large BIM data like “true terrain” information is integrated into Civil Design for Fabrication, adding new geo location tools for more precise excavation calculations.

Design for Fabrication

The same platform of collaborative data is linked to fabrication data and to construction costs, quantities, specifications, and schedules. This will promote time-saving pre-fabrication, reduce rework, and cut waste.

Result: Efficient Infrastructure Projects

The outcome of using Civil Design for Fabrication will be integrated design, improved efficiency and productivity, faster delivery, and cost-effective design and construction.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Collaborative and Efficient Design
Processes with “Civil Design for Fabrication”

Related Resources

Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

WHITEPAPER – “Civil Design Innovation: Innovative Industrialization Methodology Achieves Breakthrough in Civil Design”



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