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 AEC infrastructure projects is fragmentation. An integrated, collaborative environment would eliminate fragmentation, address business challenges, achieve higher quality, and improve efficiency.
Some of the big changes in the AEC Industry are being pushed by A. Zahner Company, an engineering and fabrication company based in Kansas City, Missouri.
In January 2016, we met with Zahner representative Ed Huels, Director of IT / VDC Services, to learn how the company is responding to the challenges that face the AEC industry.
Edward Huels, Director of VDC service, A.ZAHNER COMPANY
Zahner has a long history in the sheet metal fabrication industry, dating back to 1897 when it was founded by Andrew Zahner. The company went through several transformations, producing a variety of standard sheet metal applications.
In the 1980’s, L. William Zahner, took the reins as the fourth-generation great-grandson of the family business. The company moved beyond producing standard systems to exploring architecture as art, just as the design world was beginning to explore new technology-based design solutions.
World-leading, innovative technology is being used successfully to make the aerospace and other manufacturing industries more responsive to demand, dynamic in development and increasingly efficient in delivery. I would argue that the construction industry is crying out for this innovation to drive efficiency, generate sustainability, improve safety and reduce waste.
The techniques of Building Information Modeling (BIM), being applied in some areas of the industry, take us part-way but the full value has yet to be realized.
The technology used by the aerospace industry embraces the full spectrum: from initial design, detailed 3D digital mock-ups, to testing and proving in the virtual digital world. The 3D model is reviewed, revised, redesigned and tested to destruction without injury or damage.
The same platform of collaborative data then tracks materials requirements and the manufacturing process, following the aircraft from assembly to sale and delivery. It integrates data across the lifecycle of the program, to generate efficiency, reduce cost, cut waste, increase sustainability, improve safety and create value.
In this webinar, you will observe interactions between a general contractor and a subcontractor, facilitated by Optimized Construction on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
When the subcontractor shares a 3D model with the general contractor, it’s a smooth exchange. Multiple project contributors may be employed by different organizations and still work together seamlessly within a single environment.
In the Design-Review process, the subcontractor reviews and validates an installation, and makes a suggestion to enhance the work instructions.
An interactive Work Breakdown Structure enables the general contractor to segregate project tasks by type, and delegate each task to the appropriate worker. The status of each task is tracked within the 3D model.
Dashboards offer various views, including a Phase Gate view and an Issue Summary view, for the general contractor to manage the project using integrated project plans.
SMEDI is particularly strong in designing bridges, having designed almost all the major bridges in Shanghai. Of course, SMEDI’s work goes way beyond the city of Shanghai. One notable example is the Ganjiang Second Bridge in Jiangxi Province, which has a “fish-like” design that fits very well within the surrounding landscape.
The complex structure of the bridge comprises of a steel upper part, a concrete lower structure and in the middle, a mixed concrete and steel section.
The Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (SMEDI), one of China’s top municipal engineering companies, has completed 12,000 projects including water treatment plants, as well as road, bridge, rail, urban landscape, fuel gas and geotechnical engineering projects.
Compass spoke with Lv Wei Zhang, association chief engineer in SMEDI’s IT Center, and Junwei Wu, deputy director of SMEDI’s BIM Center, about their work to develop IT solutions for civil engineering’s unique challenges.
COMPASS: What challenges are SMEDI facing in executing its work?
LV WEI ZHANG: In China, it is common for major infrastructure projects to be carried out with design and construction happening in parallel. Typically, only 50% of the project is designed when construction begins. During construction, owners are able to plan the rest of the project with greater precision. So they modify their design as the project evolves. This is one of the ways to adjust projects.
ArchiFuture 2015 is the largest and most influential BIM strategy and technology event in Japan. John Cerone, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at SHoP Architects, delivered a keynote address on Design Delivery to the ArchiFuture conference attendees on October 23, 2015 in Tokyo. The following is a summary of his presentation:
John Cerone, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at SHoP Architects
Since moving its design process to the 3DExperience platform, New York-based architecture firm SHoP has adopted an “industrial” attitude toward buildings. The firm uses virtual design to “fabricate” buildings, much as the aerospace industry assembles airplanes using digital models.
The typical commercial construction project generates on the order of 3,000 to 20,000 RFIs (Requests for Information). It’s a staggering number, especially considering reviewing and documenting each RFI takes time. Studies show each RFI resolution costs about $1,000 in time and labor, even when BIM design tools are utilized.
RFIs are an indication of a lack of understanding of the design, as well as a lack of close coordination among the project teams. Further, RFIs are the source of changes in scope, costing the project owner more time and money than expected.