High Concrete Group Brings Award-Winning Project to Life with Constructible Models
On the 1200 Intrepid project, constructible models and revolutionary collaboration tools enabled project efficiency and accuracy for High Concrete Group, LLC is a family owned company that has delivered precast concrete structures for nearly 50 years. With the company’s constant strive for innovation, use of award-winning technology and first rate service and support, High Concrete demonstrates the qualities that were required to bring to life the revolutionary 1200 Intrepid building, designed by the architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
1200 Intrepid project
When High Concrete Group was asked to help bring an 8547 sq m (92,000 sq ft) office building at 1200 Intrepid Avenue to life, it was up for the challenge. Later, they were also rewarded for their work as this project received the 2016 Harry H. Edwards Industry Advancement Award from the PCI Institute. Located at the Navy Yard’s Corporate Center in Philadelphia, a master-planned development within the Navy Yard encompassing approximately 125,400 sq m (1.35 million sq ft), the Intrepid building is constructed entirely of flat concrete planks. Each piece is set at an angle, so the composition gradually becomes a curving wall with mesmerizing optical effects that make the front wall appear as though it is falling to the ground like a row of dominos. Three sides of the structure are conventional flat walls, while the east façade has a variety of radii, ranging from just over 98 m (320 ft) at the ground floor to just over 2,713 m (8,900 ft) at the parapet of the roof.
The company collaborating on complex design
While innovative, the design was complex. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) designed the building’s façade to resemble the curve of ships docked in the Navy Yard, which was constructed through strategic stacking of High Concrete Group’s precast panels, with only lateral connections to steel, in a basket-weave pattern. The flowing and curved shape of the Intrepid building required significant cantilevering and structural load analysis, with one facade not only varying in radius at each level, but also tilting outward as much as 23.5 degrees. Tekla Structures allowed High Concrete Group to easily collaborate with designers, eliminate interferences and ensure the curving precast concrete panels would align properly.
The team collaborated with architects at BIG by easily importing and exporting models into and out of Tekla Structures. After the final model was agreed upon with the design team, the 3D Tekla model was exported and also used by the window contractor to detail the building’s custom windows.
The Intrepid building’s precast concrete façade had to transfer the gravity loads directly through the precast concrete panels to the foundations, so the structural steel system was embedded into the precast concrete panels. To prevent a progressive collapse, if one connection should fail, each panel was engineered with a safety backup connection.
High Concrete Group modeled the exterior steel of the Intrepid building in Tekla Structures to determine connection hardware requirements and identify interference with supporting structures. The team also modeled all embeds and rebar to determine interferences within the piece.
High Concrete Group creates production drawings as well as piece and project level Bills of Materials (BOM) using Tekla Structures. The team ran reports out of Tekla Structures and then loaded them, through an automated process, into SAP, the company’s ERP system. With Tekla Structures, High Concrete Group’s BOM were more accurate and delivered three weeks earlier, giving the company more time to purchase and prepare supplies.
When it came time to set the panels in place, conventional elevation drawings could not be used due to the various radii used on the façade. Tekla Structures enabled High Concrete Group to set data points within their constructible model at the interior corner of each panel and provide the erector with export layout data, which was then imported into a robotic total station on site. As a result, erection of the façade, which was estimated to take a month, only took 2 1/2 weeks. Even with the complexity of the façade, the project was completed free of engineering issues and misaligned connections onsite.
Sharing accurate, constructible information
High Concrete Group sub-contracts about 20% of their engineering work. With Tekla Model Sharing they can share the workload and speed up the collaboration with external project parties. Different offices can work on the same project even without an internet connection, create and update information using the same model and share changes effectively. With Tekla Model Sharing, High Concrete Group was able to speed up collaboration with other project stakeholders because only the changes made to the model are synced. This process is much faster and the data can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
“Modeling to LOD400, where we model the entire precast structure completely and accurately, with all the hardware and reinforcement, means our project files are very large. Before Tekla Model Sharing, we were spending a lot of time waiting on a program to process the data because the files were so big.” To confirm these efficiency gains, the company conducted a time study to see if Tekla Model Sharing would speed up its process and if so, by how much. The results from the study showed performance increased by 75 percent when the team used Tekla Model Sharing to collaborate on design compared to the former workflow.
High Concrete Group has begun using laser projection in production to speed up placing openings, form sides and embeds to their forms. Production workers can line up the form edges with the laser line and quickly place concrete embeds to their location within the forms. This eliminates the need for measuring tapes, decreases reliance on production piece drawings and reduces errors. The information the lasers use to project the location of a piece is a direct export from Tekla Structures, so there is a minimal impact to the engineering department.
High Concrete Group, LLC
High Concrete Group, LLC is a family owned company that has delivered precast concrete structures for nearly 50 years. The company’s innovation, award-winning technology, first rate service and support are the reason that High Concrete Group is the leading producer of architectural and structural precast and the largest product of precast concrete parking structures in the US. They provide structure and enclosure systems, components and accessories for virtually every kind of projects from residential to warehouse and retail structures and sports stadiums, including several exceptionally complex buildings. Their precast products are produced in two plants.
High Concrete Group has been a Trimble customer and used Tekla Structures for well over a decade. The company creates constructible models for 80 percent of its projects to LOD 400 (Level of Development), something it relies on Trimble’s BIM software, Tekla Structures, to make possible. And they are aiming to extend the use of BIM.