Project Puuvilla: From Factory to Shopping Center with BIM Collaboration

One hundred years ago the Porin Puuvilla mill produced cotton but today it has turned into a shopping center combining old and new structures and housing retail, office, warehouse and parking space. At Puuvilla the precast concrete provider Parma faced a very tight schedule which they tackled with Building Information Modeling (BIM): Modeling taking into account the needs of all project parties, extensive utilization of rich model information in production and installation, and collaboration between project parties in design and fabrication and on site.

Puuvilla is located on the bank of the River Kokemäenjoki, in Pori, Finland. The construction project includes extending the old textile mill Kutomo and Lusikkalinna, converting Värjäämö (dyehouse) into office and business facilities, and demolishing Uusi Kehräämö (spinning mill) and the repair shop. 

3D modeling-based design has been adopted throughout the project. The 13 project parties agreed that both construction process and the quality improved significantly with modeling-based design. This is the story of the Puuvilla project showcasing viewpoints of some project parties.


The precaster: Parma utilizes model information to the max

Parma supplied precast concrete elements from
element design and detailing to manufacturing and installation. The team utilized BIM from the bidding stage when Parma created a model for calculating quantities and presenting solution suggestions. For Parma, Puuvilla was a big job. With two detailing offices, seven factories and two assembly subcontractors they delivered about 10,000 precast units. For example just the Lusikkalinna part has total 4793 precast components, including 2097 hollow core slabs, 463 beams, 192 columns, 1595 composite planks, 55 stairs and 130 load-bearing walls.

Collaboration using common Precast Modeling Guideline enabled precast delivery at record speed and without errors. Status management kept everybody in design, fabrication and construction informed.

Detailed model with exact dimensions and information

After the successful bidding, Parma continued to work with BIM. Two contracting detailing offices located in different parts of Finland, A-Insinöörit and Narmaplan, collaborated seamlessly to create a Tekla model that had zero dimensional mistakes. For the afore-mentioned Lusikkalinna, no drawings were created for hollow-core and half-cast slabs as the slab designer received the detailed information using a Tekla model. The geometry, location and building section information of the precast slabs were directly transferred from the Tekla model to the factory’s ERP system without drawings. To support element design management, the team utilized the model’s element status information about the progress of detailing, and used it in meetings. Despite the hectic schedule, the detailers met the deadlines successfully and received praise for the error-free work – thanks to the collaboration and good quality achieved with BIM.

To support element design management, the team utilized the model’s element status information about the progress of detailing, and used it in meetings.  Despite the hectic schedule, the detailers met the deadlines successfully and received praise for the error-free work  - thanks to achieving efficiency with BIM.

Accurate, rich Tekla model information allows utilizing the model in production and construction.

BIM for production

A key to keeping the tight schedule was abandoning email and paper and instead using models as communication tools. With the status information in the models, Parma monitored and managed the progress of element design and production so that the plant could prepare in advance and produce the elements fast. The fabricator’s ERP systems read the dimensions and material specifications directly from the Tekla model thus avoiding human errors Reliable information about the element materials, formwork and quantities was available in the Tekla model so the information could also be used for material purchase even before the all element drawings were ready for production. The status information was read from the ERP system back to the Tekla model daily, while the other project parties used Tekla BIMsight to access the information on site. “We could monitor the production and coordinate it with the model without the old-fashioned paper documents. This saved us a lot of time during the production planning and fabrication,” said Project Manager Marko Reuna.

Fast installation

The framework installation proceeded at a record speed. The rich model information kept the site crew informed and was used for visual review before and during installation. Production engineers entered the actual element installation dates in the Tekla model for monitoring the schedule.

Any element being ahead, on or behind schedule was indicated in the Tekla model. “BIM boosted the installation and made decision making more assured as everyone could see what we were discussing,” said Juha-Matti Kujanpää from the general contractor Skanska..

Precast modeling guidelines for collaboration

A crucial success factor in the Puuvilla project was using the Finnish Precast Industry’s Modeling Instructions (BEC 2012) as these offered a common guideline that worked as the basis for the work of design and detailing offices A-Insinöörit and Narmaplan. Thanks to the guideline, the two companies could work on the same project following the same manner of modeling.

However, primarily the modeling guideline supports precast fabrication facilities and site work and focuses on the needs that the two disciplines have regarding the model information. The project parties agreed on questions such as element naming, data fields to be completed and other fabricator specific issues. At Puuvilla, especially the installation contractor and the element factory benefited from the correct, easily usable model information. Models with consistent content can be effectively utilized and bring benefits to the entire project by saving cost, time and material – following the precast modeling instructions should produce similar models regardless of the design office or modeler.

“As the Design & Build contractor we felt that sharing a common guideline for modeling was extremely important,” said Mr. Kujanpää from Skanska.



Puuvilla in numbers

  • Area 100,000 square meters
  • Volume 400,000 cubic meters
  • Total investment approximately €130 million
  • Contract worth approximately €110 million
  • Construction period 11/2012 – 10/2014

Project parties

  • Client: Porin Puuvilla Oy, c/o Renor Oy and Mutual Pension Insurance Company Ilmarinen
  • Design & Build contractor: Skanska Talonrakennus Oy
  • Architectural design: Arkkitehtikonttori Küttner & Pussinen Oy
  • Structural engineering: Narmaplan Oy
  • Element supplier: Parma Oy
  • Element engineering: Narmaplan Oy and A-Insinöörit Oy
  • Supplier of steel structures for Kutomo: Beam-Net Oy
  • Fabrication planning of Kutomo roof trusses: Contria Oy
  • Lightweight facade element supplier: TPE Turun Pelti ja Eristys Oy
  • HVAC and electrical engineering: Projectus Team Oy
  • Sprinkler engineering: Firecon Group Oy
  • Laser scanning and inventory modeling: FMC Group / FMC Virtual Services