The Next Step in Steel Construction

The Next Step in Steel Construction

By implementing truly interoperable solutions, steel companies are able to realise improved efficiencies across every stage of their workflow, notes PAUL WALLETT.For construction or steel industry professionals, the Statue of Unity stands tall not just as a nation’s tribute to its...

By implementing truly interoperable solutions, steel companies are able to realise improved efficiencies across every stage of their workflow, notes PAUL WALLETT.For construction or steel industry professionals, the Statue of Unity stands tall not just as a nation’s tribute to its venerable leader Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, but also as a testament to the power of modern technology in steel construction, in bringing magnificent and gravity-defying structures to life. Located in Gujarat’s Narmada district, the 182-m-tall statue is an architectural and engineering marvel. It took 18,500 tonne of reinforced steel, 6,500 tonne of structured steel, 1,700 tonne of bronze and1,850 tonne of bronze cladding to get this marvel ready.Further, the flawless and speedy execution of this mega project perfectly demonstrates how innovation in software and hardware have made it possible to undertake highly ambitious construction projects using steel, located in some of the toughest landscapes in the world, and still deliver them on or before schedule. Eversendai, the leading global organisation in undertaking turnkey contracts, was responsible for structural steel framework of the project and chose Trimble’s flagship BIM software for this mega project. These technological innovations played a role in allowing this project to be completed a full two months ahead of schedule! Building efficientlyTrimble’s leading constructible design, detailing and information management software, Tekla Structures, not only helped the industry overcome its initial reluctance for complex steel structures, but have also got them to build more efficiently, with higher productivity and better cost control. In the case of Statue of Unity, Trimble’s Tekla Structures made it possible for multiple project teams to work simultaneously and in real time. This contributed to an overall efficiency gain of 25 per cent. Said Saravanan Kaliappan, Senior Vice President, Eversendai Construction, “Tekla's software made the construction procedure clash-free and reduced project time and cost, as communication among all project stakeholders became seamless. Even before the practical construction of this mammoth structure began, we were able to solve all issues, much in advance, with the constructible 3D BIM model which enabled us to clearly understand the structure and accurately evaluate the project parameters like estimation, scheduling, fabrication and erection methodology, etc.”Connected construction: Liberating data andbreaking silosEvery architect, designer, engineer and project owner dreams to build structures that leave a legacy, ones that surpass the work of their own, as well as their predecessors. However, as these modern and advanced structures become increasingly complex, so does the management of the projects, with an increased emphasis on communication, especially in the case of steel construction. Every member of the construction team increasingly becomes dependent on their peers or other stakeholders to get a task done, failure of which can result in delays, conflicts and disputes. In order to allow all our stakeholders to dream higher, Trimble has developed the ‘Constructible Process’, which aims to achieve a complete and thorough construction workflow optimisation. Our cutting-edge technology available today enables connectivity across all project phases, platforms, and devices, allowing users to view and share information from anywhere and in real time. Trimble’s Constructible Process is a radical new approach to construction. It stands on three key pillars: Connected, Constructible, and Content-Enabled. Under this process, all phases and trades involved in a construction project are connected, models and workflows are content-enabled, and constructible models drive smarter workflows. The connected construction indeed has collaboration at its core. It allows information to flow back and forth easily for successful and on-time project completion. By liberating data and breaking down silos, coordination and project management is improved across every touchpoint. For the steel industry, connected construction can significantly improve project oversight, leading to improved productivity, lower costs and higher profitability. For example, in any given project, structural steel member sizes might need to change during the design or pre-construction process. As a result, many quantities, drawings or CNC files would be naturally affected. With connected workflows, all changes happen automatically, so the project team can update material orders and keep on building for on-time delivery. Making connected construction the new realityTrimble’s Connected Construction makes it easier than ever to accelerate project processes and team productivity, ensuring everyone is on the same page whether or not they are in the same place. It allows project owners to connect all stakeholders and allow them access to the right data at the right time to make the right decisions. Further, it empowers all stakeholders with confidence throughout the project’s life-cycle by improving productivity, quality, transparency, safety and sustainability. Finally, Trimble’s solutions enabling Connected Construction are now available on a monthly or annual subscription model, allowing a whole new generation of steel and other construction-linked firms to start using Tekla Structures and take full advantage of the world’s leading construction modeling software.The big leapUK-based Taziker Engineering Services realised the benefits of Connected Construction when it won the project for designing, fabrication and installation of four new steel sections for the famous ‘Big One’ rollercoaster. The ‘Big One’ located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach holds the record as the tallest rollercoaster in the UK, with a height of 235 ft. What would have been an immensely risky and time intensive undertaking became much easier with the direct link between the Trimble hardware and Tekla Structures. This interoperability ensured import of vast yet accurate data into the modelling software to create as-built model of existing track as well as the new section of the track, while greatly streamlining the design, build and operate processes, ensuring high levels of accuracy, reducing risk and minimising the likelihood of human error – all incredibly valuable accomplishments both off and on-site. Similarly, US-based and an award-winning provider of steel erection and fabrication Bennett Steel saw that Trimble’s Tekla PowerFab would allow them to work with a continuous and real-time flow of information. As Jeremy Dittman, Production Manager, Bennett Steel, noted, “Organising and coordinating a new job used to take us four or five days, now it takes half a day. It’s easy for anyone on our team to quickly view and understand a change order without the need to check with someone else.”Benett Steel takes full advantage of Trimble Connect, a cloud-based platform within the TeklaPowerFab suite that allows project stakeholders to view and share constructible data and project information from anywhere, at any time. “Right away, Trimble Connect accelerated our workflows and made collaboration between the shop and the field seamless,” said Matt Bennett, Vice President, Benett Steel. “Work that was once time consuming and manual is now done with the click of a button.”Benett added that Tekla PowerFab has increased their production tenfold within the shop and helped them work faster in the field. “Field crews represent the highest cost for our business and with Tekla PowerFab and Trimble Connect, our crews work more efficiently so our costs are lower and our projects are more profitable,” he added.The most important pieces of connected construction are the relationships needed to bring it all together. Platforms like Trimble Connect are open, agnostic, available, and secure to help bring everything together. By implementing truly interoperable solutions, steel companies are able to realise improved efficiencies across every stage of their workflow. These integral connections ultimately help create the fastest, most accurate, and most efficient building process available today: The Constructible Process.About the author: Paul Wallett, Regional Director, Middle East and India, Trimble Solutions, is responsible for business operations, management of overall strategy for the UAE and Saarc regions. He brings over 30 years of in-depth international and regional experience to his post, having worked in software industry in the UK, Far East, the US and the Middle East over the past 22 years.       

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