Launch Slideshow

Using BIM for Complex Precast Elements

Using BIM for Complex Precast Elements

  • The $27 million residence hall at Valparaiso University was completed in an aggressive 12-month timeframe, largely due to its precast concrete construction using BIM, and design-build project delivery method.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_01_tcm77-2157000.jpg

    true

    The $27 million residence hall at Valparaiso University was completed in an aggressive 12-month timeframe, largely due to its precast concrete construction using BIM, and design-build project delivery method.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    The $27 million residence hall at Valparaiso University was completed in an aggressive 12-month timeframe, largely due to its precast concrete construction using BIM, and design-build project delivery method.
  • Coreslab Structures  of Indianapolis  produced precast elements for Valparaiso Universitys first all-suite residence hall  its only 100% precast concrete dormitory.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_02_tcm77-2157001.jpg

    true

    Coreslab Structures of Indianapolis produced precast elements for Valparaiso Universitys first all-suite residence hall its only 100% precast concrete dormitory.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    Coreslab Structures of Indianapolis produced precast elements for Valparaiso University’s first all-suite residence hall — its only 100% precast concrete dormitory.
  • Corey Greika, Coreslabs Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president, notes an interesting trend. During the recent recession, a higher percentage of the precasters projects requiring BIM were institutional, such as the Valparaiso University job. Now that private sector construction activity has increased, the plants number of BIM projects has gone down, with the exception of large projects such as stadiums.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_03_tcm77-2157002.jpg

    true

    Corey Greika, Coreslabs Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president, notes an interesting trend. During the recent recession, a higher percentage of the precasters projects requiring BIM were institutional, such as the Valparaiso University job. Now that private sector construction activity has increased, the plants number of BIM projects has gone down, with the exception of large projects such as stadiums.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    Corey Greika, Coreslab’s Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president, notes an interesting trend. During the recent recession, a higher percentage of the precaster’s projects requiring BIM were institutional, such as the Valparaiso University job. Now that private sector construction activity has increased, the plant’s number of BIM projects has gone down, with the exception of large projects such as stadiums.
  • Mortenson Construction was able to install decorative thin brick precast panels more quickly than a traditional brick and mortar façade, especially during harsh winter weather.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_04_tcm77-2157003.jpg

    true

    Mortenson Construction was able to install decorative thin brick precast panels more quickly than a traditional brick and mortar façade, especially during harsh winter weather.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    Mortenson Construction was able to install decorative thin brick precast panels more quickly than a traditional brick and mortar façade, especially during harsh winter weather.
  • By using BIM to execute its precast design, Mortenson Construction assures higher quality. Structural conflicts were resolved up front and decorative exterior wall panels were more easily aligned with planned openings and joints.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_05_tcm77-2157004.jpg

    true

    By using BIM to execute its precast design, Mortenson Construction assures higher quality. Structural conflicts were resolved up front and decorative exterior wall panels were more easily aligned with planned openings and joints.

    600

    Mortenson Construction

    By using BIM to execute its precast design, Mortenson Construction assures higher quality. Structural conflicts were resolved up front and decorative exterior wall panels were more easily aligned with planned openings and joints.
  • A 3D BIM rendering helped Coreslab design precise coursing for the dormitorys brick inlay façade, without having to draw and redraw layouts for each precast panel.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_06_tcm77-2157005.jpg

    true

    A 3D BIM rendering helped Coreslab design precise coursing for the dormitorys brick inlay façade, without having to draw and redraw layouts for each precast panel.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    A 3D BIM rendering helped Coreslab design precise coursing for the dormitory’s brick inlay façade, without having to draw and redraw layouts for each precast panel.
  • During the design phase, Coreslab Structures (Indianapolis) Inc. helped determine where critical structural elements would be located, such as shear walls, door and window openings, and spaces for bathroom units. It really helped to have the 3D model up front in BIM, so we could walk around the building and really understand its structure, says Corey Greika, precast sales manager and vice president.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_07_tcm77-2157006.jpg

    true

    During the design phase, Coreslab Structures (Indianapolis) Inc. helped determine where critical structural elements would be located, such as shear walls, door and window openings, and spaces for bathroom units. It really helped to have the 3D model up front in BIM, so we could walk around the building and really understand its structure, says Corey Greika, precast sales manager and vice president.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    During the design phase, Coreslab Structures (Indianapolis) Inc. helped determine where critical structural elements would be located, such as shear walls, door and window openings, and spaces for bathroom units. “It really helped to have the 3D model up front in BIM, so we could ‘walk around’ the building and really understand its structure,” says Corey Greika, precast sales manager and vice president.
  • The designer planned for internal spaces large enough to allow prefab bathroom units to be inserted into each suite.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_08_tcm77-2157007.jpg

    true

    The designer planned for internal spaces large enough to allow prefab bathroom units to be inserted into each suite.

    600

    Mortenson Construction

    The designer planned for internal spaces large enough to allow prefab bathroom units to be inserted into each suite.
  • Workers hoist a precast panel from a flatbed truck at the jobsite. Mortenson estimates the project's precast design and design-build approach shaved months from the project timeline.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_09_tcm77-2157008.jpg

    true

    Workers hoist a precast panel from a flatbed truck at the jobsite. Mortenson estimates the project's precast design and design-build approach shaved months from the project timeline.

    600

    Mortenson Construction

    Workers hoist a precast panel from a flatbed truck at the jobsite. Mortenson estimates the project's precast design and design-build approach shaved months from the project timeline.
  • BIM reduces the chances for error in precast construction. Rework is easily cut in half, says Andy Frank, Mortenson construction executive.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_10_tcm77-2157009.jpg

    true

    BIM reduces the chances for error in precast construction. Rework is easily cut in half, says Andy Frank, Mortenson construction executive.

    600

    Coreslab Structures

    BIM reduces the chances for error in precast construction. “Rework is easily cut in half,” says Andy Frank, Mortenson construction executive.
  • "Speed is the main benefit of using BIM." - Corey Greika, Coreslab's Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_11_tcm77-2157010.jpg

    true

    "Speed is the main benefit of using BIM." - Corey Greika, Coreslab's Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president.

    600

    Harold Lee Miller

    "Speed is the main benefit of using BIM." - Corey Greika, Coreslab's Indianapolis precast sales manager and vice president.
  • Mark Ganote and Corey Greika talk at Coreslab's plant in Indianapolis.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_12_tcm77-2157011.jpg

    true

    Mark Ganote and Corey Greika talk at Coreslab's plant in Indianapolis.

    600

    Harold Lee Miller

    Mark Ganote and Corey Greika talk at Coreslab's plant in Indianapolis.
  • N'Cho Yapi checks a precast element shortly after it is poured at Coreslab Strustrures.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_13_tcm77-2157012.jpg

    true

    N'Cho Yapi checks a precast element shortly after it is poured at Coreslab Strustrures.

    600

    Harold Lee Miller

    N'Cho Yapi checks a precast element shortly after it is poured at Coreslab Strustrures.
  • Paul Sprague smooths a surface at Corelsab's plant in Indianapolis.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_14_tcm77-2157013.jpg

    true

    Paul Sprague smooths a surface at Corelsab's plant in Indianapolis.

    600

    Harold Lee Miller

    Paul Sprague smooths a surface at Corelsab's plant in Indianapolis.
  • Precast concrete pieces in Coreslab's yard await deliverty.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_15_tcm77-2157014.jpg

    true

    Precast concrete pieces in Coreslab's yard await deliverty.

    600

    Harold Lee Mill

    Precast concrete pieces in Coreslab's yard await deliverty.
  • The Kalasatama Fiskari and Fregatti residential buildings in Finland took the prize for Teklas 2013 Best Precast Project. The BIM model includes piled foundations, detailed and reinforced concrete elements, load-bearing structures, and thermal insulation and brickwork.

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/BIM_16_tcm77-2157015.jpg

    true

    The Kalasatama Fiskari and Fregatti residential buildings in Finland took the prize for Teklas 2013 Best Precast Project. The BIM model includes piled foundations, detailed and reinforced concrete elements, load-bearing structures, and thermal insulation and brickwork.

    600

    Tekla Inc.

    The Kalasatama Fiskari and Fregatti residential buildings in Finland took the prize for Tekla’s 2013 Best Precast Project. The BIM model includes piled foundations, detailed and reinforced concrete elements, load-bearing structures, and thermal insulation and brickwork.
 

Software support

“Interoperability has been a significant area of development,” says Carl Taylor, engineering segment manager for Tekla, a Trimble company. As part of its effort in BIM adoption, Tekla has released Tekla BIMsight, a free tool for project communication and collaboration.

Accessibility is the bottom line for precast producers. “The open source technology makes BIM a lot more attractive,” says Greika. “Now we’re not tied to a specific software just because our customers are using it.”

The complexity of precast concrete construction can be considered a drawback or a benefit within BIM, compared with another material such as steel. To software manufacturers, it represents “a number of challenges,” says Taylor. “One major factor is its complex piece geometry, including warping, cambering, and shortening. There are also custom connections between multiple pieces that are unique to each fabricator and situation.”

From PCI’s perspective, the custom-built aspect is a distinct advantage. “Precast concrete components and systems are engineered to order by the industry,” says Becker. “Typical building specifications delegate that design to the precast producer. All key information is developed as part of the delivery process, so concerns for liability in sharing models will not be a constraint in implementation.”

Putting BIM into practice

Precasters must commit the resources to make BIM work at the plant level. At Coreslab, this means uploading each of its precast elements into Revit, so architects and engineers have them at their fingertips. “It’s up to us to make sure our products are in designers’ BIM libraries, so it’s easier for them to design with precast than another material,” says Greika.

“Precast producers must understand that BIM is not just software to create drawings in a new way,” says Taylor. “It’s a whole new way of working that requires business process changes. Our most successful customers have incorporated BIM throughout all departments.”

Investing in BIM includes hard costs associated with software, hardware, and training, and what Taylor calls “softer costs” of process change. “The benefits in overall efficiency, communication, and productivity are sometimes difficult to measure,” he says, “but they extend far beyond engineering and detailing.”

Shelby O. Mitchell is a Berwyn, Ill.-based writer and the former editor of TCP. E-mail shelbyo.mitchell@gmail.com.

For links to more information on BIM for precast, visit the following:

Setting a Standard in Building Information Modeling,” Architect, April 2014
The U.S. is behind in embracing national BIM guidelines, but industry leaders are tackling key obstacles including software development and national standards.

BIM Makes Leap Forward,” The Concrete Producer, Jan. 2012
TCP reports on developments in BIM data exchange and the establishment of the Precast National BIM Standard (NBIMS).

Design Assist Collaboration ,” Ascent, Fall 2013
Gate Precast contributes as a design-assist partner offering design and detailing innovations including the creation of a BIM model, development of the specialized mixes and finishes, and scheduling enhancements.

Tekla Global BIM Awards 2013
The BIM software manufacturer has been showcasing its customers’ best work since 2010.

TCP Influencers 2013: Modeling for Masonry,” The Concrete Producer, Nov./Dec. 2013
David Biggs is a champion for BIM for masonry products, with the success of the precast segment as an inspiration.