Offsite Construction and Prefabrication in Civil Engineering

By Akio
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#CivilEngineering | @3DSAEC @Dassault3DS”

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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using #Prefab | @3DSAEC @Dassault3DS”

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.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: 16 lock gates were #prefab’ed in Italy then shipped,
tugged & rolled to @thepanamacanal | @Dassault3DS #Civildesign

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


 

Spotlight on CadMakers Virtual Construction

By Akio
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#VirtualConstruction #AEC @3DSAEC

AEC Industry Solution Experiences on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables designers to view 18 floors of MEP elements at fabrication LOD 400 on what will be the world’s tallest wood building.

SMARTER BUILDING

CadMakers Virtual Construction understands that the cost to construct a building is a small percent of the total lifecycle cost the structure. The company thinks it’s just as important to efficiently plan for maintenance as it is to build a structure, which is why CadMakers takes a holistic view of the AEC process.

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is just as important as building a structure

“People have thought that you can’t use manufacturing best practices in AEC because everything is different in our industry,” explained Javier Glatt, co-founder and CEO of CadMakers, a service company built to streamline the AEC industry and has executed 35 projects worth over US$3 billion in construction value since early 2014. “But new technologies, such as the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, are enabling this industry to automate processes and create a lot of value.”

CadMakers employs Dassault Systèmes’ cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform to promote collaboration throughout the AEC value chain and enable smarter building.

CadMakers uses AEC Industry Solution Experiences to assist in three key areas: identifying conflicts in building systems design before construction begins; coordinating on-site sequencing during the construction process, and ultimately, providing a detailed map for maintenance services during the building’s lifecycle.

“Virtual design and construction is the idea of taking all of the building systems — architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing — and map them virtually,” Glatt explained. “That enables us to identify and resolve problems in advance of live construction.”

“The future of the construction industry is to effectively manufacture buildings as opposed to stick build on site,” Glatt added. “Increasingly, building will be done in a factory floor in a safer and climate-controlled environment only to be assembled on site, similar to how the airplane manufacturing industry has evolved.”

Architectural, structural and MEP coordination of a complex project using IFC and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

VIRTUALLY BUILD IN 3D

Opposed to the typical multi-page set of 2D drawings used by construction project managers, CadMakers shows its clients highly detailed, accurate 3D models early in the building process, which increases efficiency.

“The difference between working in 3D and 2D is powerful,” Glatt said. “Roughly 30% of the problems or risks we identify in a given project result entirely from the fact that we’re able to view the building and its systems in an integrated, 3D model.”

The difference becomes clear to CadMakers’ clients when they get to share the 3D building model created with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

“The 2D architectural drawing is one page, the structural drawing is another, and various building systems are on subsequent pages,” said Ryan Yee, project modeling designer, CadMakers. “But when we use the CATIA application, the 3D building model is right in front of you and that’s where the value is. You can be very clear: ‘here are the ducts, here is the wall, here is the ceiling, and this is why your duct is below the ceiling.’”

“The recent increase of project teams using Building Information Modeling has created new silos, with an uneven adoption of technology amongst teams, adding complexity to traditional project procurement methods,” Glatt said.

“Integrated project delivery methods will become more important to drive efficiencies on complex projects. In this new world, prefabrication and manufacturing processes will be critical to maximizing value to owners.”

“New technologies, such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, are enabling the AEC industry to automate processes and create a lot of value.”
— Javier Glatt, Co-founder and CEO, CadMakers

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processes & create a lot of value.”

SHARING THE 3DEXPERIENCE

The freedom to share the 3D building model throughout a project’s team is a key reason that CadMakers chose the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

In work for UBC Properties Trust, who optimizes the University of British Columbia’s land assets, CadMakers uses a 3D model to serve in a quality assurance/quality control capacity.

Glatt says the project team at UBC likes to get everyone — the project’s architect, engineers and various subcontractors — in a room together to view the model and crowdsource solutions to potential problems.

It doesn’t take long for everyone to drill down to their own concerns. “An electrician had us zero-in on one area of the model. ‘OK,’ he says, ‘how much clearance do I have to get through this shaft? If there’s a duct there, how am I going to get my conduit in there?’ We were solving those problems in real time,” Glatt said.

The real value in such reviews, he adds, is combining the hands-on expertise and experience of construction industry veterans with the visualization provided by the 3DEXPERIENCE model.

A veteran electrician or plumber doesn’t need to learn to manipulate the model, however.

“We’ll do the heavy lifting, but we need the construction veterans to be the brains behind it all,” Glatt said. “We ask him, ‘how close can we get these pipes together? What about hangers? Flanges? Valves? How are you going to actually install this and in what order?’ So we get that veteran expertise and we’re capturing it to shape the model in real time.”

RESOLVING THE COMPLEX CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

With Optimized Planning, including the DELMIA application, users move beyond a static model and show clients how the building components will be assembled together.

“When you build the 3D model, you have all of the parts and pieces there, every nut and bolt, but you may not think through the complexity of construction,” Yee explained. “Using the DELMIA application within Optimized Planning, you can see piece-by-piece, assembly-by-assembly, the sequence and processes of construction.”

That has real benefits on a complex job site. It provides informed decisions about when materials and assemblies are delivered to the job site, and where they are placed on the site in relation to the crane, as it can only pick up so many items in a day.

Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to connect the value chain through all of the suppliers and subcontractors, the general contractor can optimize deliveries and minimize bottlenecks on the job site.

“Where you put the crane is very important, as it dictates process and flow,” Yee said. “With the DELMIA application within Optimized Planning, you can visualize which tasks need to be prioritized, and which can be scheduled in conjunction with others. That improves efficiency to shorten the construction timeline.”

NEW INSIGHT SOLVES PROBLEMS OFF-SITE

Within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the CATIA application enables users to design piping, tubing and HVAC systems from concept through detailed manufacturing.

Moreover, users can build intelligence regarding the new system into the 3D model.

“Let’s say you add an elbow to the HVAC system. That changes the friction in the system, which in turn changes the fan specs,” Yee explained. “In CATIA, when you add elbows you can link them to the standards of your entire HVAC model, and it will identify what fans or valves you’ll need when you change the design.”

A new piping interface and platform lets users place specific elements in defined locations.

Users select the equipment, supports, hangers and more; then CATIA creates the route.

“You know the pipe is going from point A to point B, so why should you do all the leg work to route it when the software will do it for you — and probably do it better?” Yee asked.

The bottom line, he continues, is that CATIA enables users to identify issues in a plumbing or HVAC design and resolve them before the system gets to the worksite.

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before the system gets to the worksite” @CadMakersCo

HOLDING ONTO THE KNOWLEDGE

Glatt believes the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has a definitive competitive advantage: its data-driven, model-based architecture delivered by the ENOVIA application within Optimized Construction, seamlessly connect business processes.

This architecture, he argues, enables users to leverage the 3D model in new ways.

One prime example is the long-term facility maintenance and management that occurs long after architects, engineers and construction crews leave the site.

“When the project is turned over to operations and maintenance staff, are they going to have the expertise and know-how to manage new wastewater systems and complex mechanical systems in a building?” Glatt asked rhetorically. “We can design new technologies into buildings, but can we operate them for the next 50 years? That’s where the ENOVIA application in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can be extremely powerful.”

The metadata behind a 3DEXPERIENCE model, Glatt explains, includes every pump, filter and substructure in an easily searchable form.

It can even include warranties and maintenance schedules for all of the building systems.

As a result, high quality building maintenance and operation can be built into the project from the start, rather than relying exclusively on the skills of a maintenance staff that learns a building’s idiosyncrasies over time.

Sooner or later, members of that maintenance staff will retire, so their experience and specific building knowledge will be lost; but content in the data-driven, model-based ENOVIA architecture will remain forever.

SOLVING COMPLEX PROBLEMS WITH TECHNOLOGY

Combining their technological expertise with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to power its virtual design and construction business has been the crux of CadMakers’ success.

“We believe in solving problems using technology, and we believe the 3DEXPERIENCE platform may be the most powerful software available to our industry today,” Glatt said. “It’s an excellent match for very large, complex projects. You don’t just have an architectural model, or a single building system. You have every mechanical, electrical and plumbing system right in front of you.

“In the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Dassault Systèmes has created an amazing technical solution. It’s up to us to leverage its capabilities to solve real problems on the front lines of architecture, engineering and construction for our customers.”

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| #VirtualConstruction #AEC @3DSAEC

RELATED RESOURCES

WHITEPAPER | End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Collaborative & Industrialized Construction with Dassault Systèmes

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CadMakers partners with leading architecture, engineering and construction companies to provide a range of virtual design and construction (VDC) services to enable smarter building. Services include 3rd-party construction design and coordination review; constructability analysis; virtual design and construction implementation frameworks and protocols; enablement of mechanical prefabrication; concrete detailing packages; and shop drawing generation.

Petersen Automotive Museum: How Design-Assist Models Are Transforming Façades

By Akio
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By David Zaitz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Petersen Automotive Museum | Photo by David Zaitz (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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#Façades | @Petersen_Museum @aZahner @3DSAEC

Zahner is an internationally acclaimed engineering and fabrication company best known for its highly crafted architectural metalwork.

One of Zahner’s recent projects, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), demonstrates how supply chain integration can help move complex buildings quickly to completion.

KPF principal Trent Tesch brought Zahner onto the project during its early stages to prove to the owner that the proposed façade — a complex swirling structure of stainless steel ribbons—would indeed be possible to fabricate.

The fabrication team began and lived in a 3D world from the beginning.

“We took the architect’s surface information and built out all of the parts based on their original 3D model,” says Mr. Shannon Cole, Zahner Senior Project Engineer.

The project called for the design of 26-foot long unitized pieces that spanned from one anchorage point to another.

Overall view of Fairfax façade of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Overall view of Fairfax façade of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

“For the structural design, we laid out a wire frame and provided this to our structural engineer for analysis,” Cole explains. “This wire frame was then used to fabricate not only our scope, but the structural steel as well. Because [the architects] did their detailing in separate software, the next step towards actually building this was to bring it into our CATIA model as a cross-check to verify that they were providing the required geometry.”

Cross-checking geometry enabled Zahner engineers to accurately verify that each of the more than 300 unique ribbons were correct.

The team relied on CATIA to create knowledge patterns that could be adapted for each element. The CATIA software also enabled Zahner engineers to export and manufacture the parts.

As Cole explains, “From CATIA we had basic scripts that would export all the files to our shop in .dxf format. That’s what gets cut on our factory floor.”

One 26’ long prefabricated ZEPPS™ panel showing internal structure

One 26’ long prefabricated ZEPPS™ panel showing internal structure.

While the process of designing each ribbon was fairly complex and required some design expertise, the fabrication and installation process was much simpler.

“Essentially, we’re building it twice,” explains Cole. “We build it once using CATIA, and then we build it again on our shop floor. So it’s important to get everything right when we build the design in the model, so that the fabrication and installation processes flow smoothly.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Forget measure twice, cut once. @aZahner’s
facade #design process lets them “build it twice” @3DSAEC

Detailed features of model to aid in assembly of panels

Detailed features of model to aid in assembly of panels.

This process of “building it twice” is executed in a managed structured engineering practice, similar to what you might find in the the construction field.

“We had a limited number of senior engineers who worked on this at the conceptual phase, and when production began we were able to bring in additional junior engineers who could smoothly transition into producing the additional system design work.

The model allowed them to quickly release a lot of parts to production based on the rules and knowledge patterns that were used,” Cole says.

The model kept installation simple as well.

“One of the most fantastic things about this is that there were a hundred parts unique to each and every one of these panels, but the way everything fit together for these elements, the parts checked each other,” Cole says.

Detailed view of panel to steel anchor

Detailed view of panel to steel anchor.

The installation team used jigs to ensure the location of critical points on the product.

From there, the finish skins simply had to have their corners come together correctly to demonstrate accuracy.

Left: Model view of survey information for steel (Red box is the steel as surveyed in the field; Blue is ideal panel.) Right: Installation photo of anchor.

Left: Model view of survey information for steel (Red box is the steel as surveyed in the field; Blue is ideal panel.) Right: Installation photo of anchor.

“Everything went up in the field fantastically well,” Cole says.

He attributes the accuracy to reliance on and trust in a 3D model.

“Even when there were problems, the model allowed us to identify them early, we knew exactly what we were getting into at every step.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: How Design-Assist Models Are Transforming
#Façades | @Petersen_Museum @aZahner @3DSAEC


Related Resources

WHITEPAPER: Technological Changes Brought by BIM to Façade Design

Spotlight on Zahner: Improving AEC Efficiency Through Façade Design Integration

Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience



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