We have been involved with this series of projects in the sports and entertainment realm since early 2012. Since then we have worked on over 40 of these facilities. The descriptions below provide a brief overview of different services we have provided as a part of this process. These projects have afforded us an incredible opportunity to test our theory of modeling for commoditization by using detailed models for the purposes of bidding and procurement.
Glass & Glazing
We have found glass and glazing is an area of great potential. By modeling aluminum extrusions and glass we are able to put the architect’s window schedule into 3d. This part of the process is similar to what you might get from an architect working in Revit and is helpful for coordination. It’s when we go down to the level of caulk and backer rod that we set ourselves apart. By creating a detailed set of drawings from a model we are able to help with the construction of storefront, window wall, and curtain wall. All of this information is provided on the front end of the bid process in an effort to help the bidders easily quantify what they are providing. This helps define scope and serves to help bypass the process of detailing after project award, thereby saving time on the schedule.
Ductwork was an early target for these projects because of the complexity of the kitchen areas and the limited overhead space. Since we were already originating the steel model, it made a lot of sense to integrate the mechanical model into our process as well. Simple things like the coordination of rooftop units and floor penetrations was made much easier. Clash checking and clash prevention measures were performed to assure construction went smooth. Since we were also supplying things like ceilings, walls, slabs, and steel it was easy for us to help the builder with overhead coordination. In these models we rendered things like dampers, insulation, flanges, accurately sized units, and air devices.
Concrete & CMU
We use the saying, “it’s what you don’t model that get’s you in trouble” a lot around the office. Concrete was modeled day one as a part of our structural steel offering. The main reason for that was to keep issues from arising because of a lack of coordination between the two trades. It became very obvious early on that the information that we were entering to keep ourselves out of trouble on the steel side was incredibly useful for coordination and layout in the field. So that was something that we started providing to the builder. CMU was modeled early on to a lower level of detail until one day the intricate entry to the building underwent value engineering and turned into honed concrete block. With the structure and block layout of the entry now becoming more critical, we were asked to come in and provide a “block by block” model of the entirety of the entry structure. From that modeling effort block reports were provided to the DB to help quantify what would need to be purchased. As with the previous two examples the power in this modeling effort came from using the information for purchasing and construction. Coordination is fine, but it stops short of using the virtual prototype provided by detailed modeling to its fullest potential.
Steel detailing is where it all started. That is true, both on this set of projects and with ABSI as a company. Since the steel industry was an early adopter of 3d modeling this is where we cut our teeth as company. As modeling has become more prevalent across the board and especially in structural steel, it never ceases to amaze us how much waste we continue to see in design and construction. There is so much good information that can be taken from a model to help with the purchasing and construction of steel. On a majority of projects it still goes unrealized. For these projects both the owner and the design builder realized that this was an area that could be leveraged. By using the detailed shop drawings we did for bidding, numbers from bidders came in much closer together. Not only was bidding more competitive, the process of getting steel to each site was made much more cut and dried. With steel shop drawings complete, all that was left to do was fabricate and ship on time.
Again with the idea that “it’s what you don’t model that hurts you” we have always modeled the elements surrounding other offerings to be sure that everything worked. Anything from intricate light gauge framing to acoustical ceilings have been modeled in an effort to help procure and build the project. As the number of things we were responsible for modeling grew it became apparent that we needed to go “all the way” and provide more for the project. It was from that need that the architectural model was born.