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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

First Place Winner of Autodesk’s Excellence in Infrastructure – Denver International Airport Expansion

January 31st, 2014 by Susan Smith

The 1st Place Winner from Autodesk’s Excellence in Infrastructure Competition this past fall was HNTB, for the Expansion of Denver International Airport, originally built in 1995. The project was started in 2008-09, and includes 519-room hotel, a rail line from downtown to a hotel, which was part of the original master plan of the airport when it was originally built. The expansion includes the integration of a rail line, new baggage handling system, and the new airport is being prefabbed with a new entry way, security checkpoints, baggage screening – all of that being developed with the hotel.

rendering courtesy of Gensler.

Denver International Airport embodies an “airport city” concept.

“You can see where the rail line comes in and the glass wave shape at the top is the new hotel project,” said Eddy Krygiel, architect at HNTB. “It’s all attaching to the south side of the airport. We moved over 1 million cubic feet of earth in excavation.”

In terms of challenges, the owner has a tight schedule on a very large project, while at the same time the project must meet FAA requirements for height restrictions.

The FAA has very rigid guidelines about how high tall things can be out on the site of construction, how tall they can be during flight times, and how tall they can be not during flight times. “As an example, we have some people putting up curtain wall systems, and because of the size of the cranes we need to get into place we can only lift the curtain wall system up before 1 and 4 a.m. and have to do it at night and starting in mid-December in Denver,” said Krygiel. “We can’t interfere with flight patterns.”

rendering courtesy of Gensler.

HNTB must also report the height of the structures to the FAA,  and they have an awareness of what’s going on for safety reasons.

“Couple that with the requirements of the airport, they were very clear about wanting the project done in BIM, as they felt it was the best way to make sure the project was done right,” said Krygiel. “They didn’t want to get hit with hidden costs, due to conflicts or errors in design for lack of spatial coordination that may happen in the 2D process rather than 3D. They wanted to model at the end of the project to reflect as constructed conditions so they could then use that model in facilities management.”

HNTB helped them put together a BIM Execution Plan. It describes all the geometric and non-geometric stuff that goes into the model, and construction documents for their facilities management system.

Completion date schedule expects the hotel to be completed by the end of  2015. The light rail should be completed in  2016. The Denver Light Rail has a 1-year testing phase. Before they put passengers on the rail they basically want to run trains back and forth throughout every season and make sure there is no problem with track.

The plan is to have baggage drop off at the train station where you arrive on the train, eventually going through an automatic handling system that is connected to the rest of the airport. There’s also in the program a new security screen checkpoint, as part of the public transit center so you’ll be able to get off the train, go through security and straight into the airport before you even reach the main terminal. Parts of this are still being worked out as far as schedule is complete, but the eventual program includes both those.

Denver International Airport (DIA) uses Maximo for facilities management solutions. From Revit and Civil 3D you can get content from there into their asset management and facilities management software. “They are specific that all the tools are going to be either Revit for vertical or Civil 3D for horizontal work – it facilitates taking all that information at the end of the day and bringing it into their facilities management solution,” said Krygiel. “Because we’re specifying that everyone is using Revit or Civil 3D we also leaned on Navisworks for collaboration and spatial coordination because of comp ability, Buzzsaw for file exchange, because we’re dealing with large models we needed a central place to store all information. Early on in the process, we used Design Review to get the owner’s buy-in and have regularly scheduled views of the project as we moved along.”

HNTB has experimented with BIM 360 Glue, Autodesk ReCap, used Infraworks to bring content into the airport. They are looking at Infraworks as a planning tool. The construction team brought BIM 360 Field on board, so they are using that for issue tracking, punch lists and throughout the project.

HNTB’s role is as the program management team. Gensler is the architect of record for the hotel, AMD for the transit center, Parsons has the overall program management contract. Gensler provides the BIM model on a regular basis and helps review and drive the direction for the content.

“There are over 260 firms participating on design and construction side, we have 20 plus different firms creating content for the models, so aggregating all that information has been a challenge. That’s why we are using Navisworks to compile everything,” said Krygiel.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, construction, engineering, field solutions, integrated project delivery, mobile, site planning

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