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
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 reasons for prefabrication construction is to reduce the overall time period of construction time on a project. This time savings can yield significant budget savings.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
The AEC industry is moving toward embracing a collaborative environment. It is crucial that owners, designers, engineers, and fabricators have simultaneous and real-time access to design models and project data.
AEC business leaders are advocating for Building Information Modeling (BIM) as the future of infrastructure projects worldwide.
Adopting BIM technologies into the civil design process will enable stakeholders to instantly collaborate with each other on an integrated design platform. BIM can provide for digital sharing and collaborating of models, instead of individually working from drawings.
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.
Integrated project delivery (IPD) is a collaborative building delivery method.
IPD integrates diverse stakeholders—owners, engineers, architects, construction companies, contractors, and government agencies—to form a collaborative team under one contract. IPD also incorporates a variety of systems, practices, and business and financial structures. It is a joint venture approach, with shared risks and rewards.
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.
The reconstruction of the Yanggao South Road covered the area between the current Century Highway and the Pujian Road cross-route bridge, and measures a total of 1.95km (1.2 mi).
The road, tunnel structure, Zhangjiabin Bridge, rain sewage pipeline, traffic sign and lines, signal lights, ventilation, monitoring system, power transmission and distribution, architecture, greening, and related equipment—as well as the initial greening and pipeline relocation—cost RMB ¥1.455 Billion in construction and installation, with the total investment amounting to RMB ¥2.47 Billion [USD $386 Million].
The Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform version R2015x was selected as the BIM platform for the entire process. SMEDI realized the following benefits by adopting the 3DEXPERIENCE platform:
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.