Clark Pacific Improves Efficiency, Productivity and Quality
For more than 50 years, Clark Pacific has helped shape the vibrant urban landscape of the West Coast. The award-winning design-build manufacturer of architectural and structural precast concrete has completed over 2,500 large structural projects spanning high-profile commercial, residential, parking structures and stadiums, including the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara. The company maintains its stellar reputation by continually improving its processes to deliver better structures.
Senior Project Manager Martin Scheiber and his team guide Clark Pacific clients through the design phase, the fabrication process and into the field. For most of its fabrication, the firm has standardized processes around Tekla Structures, which enables them to coordinate between engineering, precast and rebar fabrication, procurement and project management. This strategy results in better structures, built more quickly, with less impact to the site and reduced lifecycle costs for the owners.
“The productivity of construction really hasn’t improved in the last 50 years,” said Scheiber. “We look at companies outside the construction industry for inspiration to boost our productivity. We’re not afraid to change the way we use technology if it produces better results.”
Clark Pacific takes this philosophy as far as adjusting its methods and deliverables to leverage the capabilities of the tools it uses—and that includes Tekla software. Clark Pacific originally used BIM to coordinate with other trades and generate drawings from the project model. While this was useful to ensure everything would fit at the jobsite and that drawings were free of errors, the firm believed they could still improve their project productivity and ROI with Tekla. They realized they could utilize information in accurate, constructible Tekla models much more extensively, which could take their BIM practice to a whole new level.
Today, Clark Pacific leverages Tekla to improve sales and estimating, design development, project management, supply chain management, and field planning and execution.
Winning bids with estimation
Clark Pacific uses Tekla to win business and provide accurate bids. They start by creating a massing model of the project, which breaks up the building into its precast components. Then they run a series of reports, which feeds into Excel directly out of the Tekla model. The estimators compile these into summary reports and applied realistic costs. These costs are included in Clark Pacific’s pre-production and field planning to ensure they have the correct amount of beds and personnel to cover the project.
“Tekla Structures enables us to quickly put together a conceptual model of a building, which allows us to visually show the advantages of our system over the competition and prove to prospects that we will provide a solution that meets their needs,” said Scheiber. “We have been very successful in winning projects using our model-based approach to presenting and estimating jobs.”
Efficient design and collaboration
Clark Pacific leverages Tekla software’s interoperability during design development to eliminate duplicate geometry work and ensure everyone is working from the same information. They export the Tekla model as an IFC file and send it to the architect, who imports it into the software they use. This enables the design team to see a higher level of detail in a familiar software environment to ensure that the structure fits the design.
“This level of collaboration speaks to the work efficiencies that can be gained by importing structural details into the design model,” said Scheiber. “Working out issues prior to the bidding of trades can avoid missteps and save the owner a lot of money.”
The ability to exchange structural models with the design teams dramatically improves the design development phase of a project and solves problems in the virtual environment instead of during fabrication or at the jobsite.
Speed and accuracy
Tekla Structures provides a library of standard profiles, shapes and parts, which helps Clark Pacific build constructible project models that contain accurate data. Over time, the company has added its own standards, preferences and drawing templates to streamline the process even more.
“The speed at which our models come together enables us to quickly add value to the project,” said Scheiber. “Now that we routinely customize the standard Tekla Structures components to fit our preferences, our efficiency just keeps multiplying.”
Information & project management
Clark Pacific project managers use the information contained in constructible Tekla project models to communicate project status and issues, ensure quality and eliminate jobsite problems. Project managers use a combination of standard Tekla reports and custom template reports to review metrics and budget status.
“Some of our reports may look like they would be complicated to create, but we can generate a custom report on the fly, in a matter of minutes,” said Scheiber. “We also create reports with color coded model images and use them to provide managers with information about project status or issues. These visual reports coming from the model are much more useful than a long list of items or a stack of RFI’s for communicating outstanding issues also with the architect, general contractor and owner. They make it easy for stakeholders to understand relevant information and keep the project moving.”
Bim to speed up processes & help in quality control
“Accurate Tekla Structures models create a single source of truth, taking quality to whole new level,” said Scheiber. “We can check the model, know that it’s right and then reuse the information as needed.”
“We’ve also seen huge gains in quality on the production end,” said Scheiber. “I used to spend a lot of time on the line trying to explain how parts should fit together or helping to fix things that didn’t fit. By running clash detection in the Tekla Structures model, we can focus on producing rather than on solving problems that shouldn’t exist in the first place. We are also able to generate Bar Bending Schedules directly from model.”
Managing the supply chain
Clark Pacific uses Tekla software in its fabrication plants to improve the speed and quality of production and save on material costs.
As with any fabrication job, getting materials to the floor in the right quantities, at the right time is crucial for sticking to the production schedule. Clark Pacific generates reports from the Tekla project model to aid in procurement. Applying cost tracking to these reports allows project managers to track budget performance. The reports also communicate actionable change management information.
“There is a wealth of project data in a Tekla Structures model that can be reused in a number of different ways throughout project design and production,” said Scheiber. “This goes well beyond simply generating accurate shop floor drawings.”
“From Tekla, we are able to export data files from the model directly to our rebar production management software and bending machine. This eliminates the need for hand drawings and draw cut sheets for rebar. Since we began modeling all rebar in Tekla Structures, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the cost of rebar fabrication, while improving fits and tolerances to improve quality.”
From model to fabrication & site
Clark Pacific sees the value in providing the exact information someone needs to do their job. With Tekla, they have improved the way they represent the information in fabrication drawings. “Prior to utilizing Tekla, we were creating shop drawings with all information in one drawing with complex panes and shapes, which was creating quality issues. By having more clear drawings and reports with only relevant information to the job at hand, we are improving fabrication efficiency and quality.”
Clark Pacific uses Tekla collaboration tools to make project model information accessible in its fabrication plants. They create IFC files of each individual cast unit piece so employees working in the plant can utilize model for clarification on a mobile device or associate a part to a bill of materials or drawings.
“Tekla Field3D brings the model onto the shop floor, where the real activity takes place,” said Scheiber. “It lets our fabricators manipulate the model to see the exact intersection or point they need to understand in order to put it together. Use of tool is as easy as dragging your fingers around like you would look at pictures on your phone.”
Field planning and execution
Clark Pacific also uses Tekla project models to streamline the erection process by pre-planning sequences with the job foreman.
“Tekla erection animations help the crew understand what they need to accomplish,” said Scheiber. “This increases on-the-job safety because everyone knows the plan. Viewing the model in 3D enables the erection crew to quickly clarify and verify connection details, which match the connection detail drawings generated from the model.”
Another critical benefit to jobsite productivity is that when something is changed in the Tekla model, the associated 2D drawings are automatically updated.
“The fact that the drawings and other documents always match the latest version of the model is an important aspect of using the Tekla Structures model throughout the project,” said Scheiber. “Leveraging the model geometry for each of our processes and knowing that any change resonates through all the deliverables we’ve generated from the model, has allowed us to win more high-profile projects and deliver higher quality results faster and more efficiently. Tekla Structures helps our project managers to be successful and raises the quality of our work by bringing value to all phases of the process, from sales and estimating, through design development and fabrication and onto the jobsite.”