MOE: Winning structural engineering with advanced BIM



The Danish engineering company MOE has a history of participating in the design and construction of the most remarkable structures in Denmark, such as the architecturally unique The Blue Planet aquarium, and numerous industrial projects. Since 2007, MOE has worked with Tekla software, and the company has developed its skills in working with BIM tools, and today the company possesses extensive knowledge and experience in this field. In 2015, they won Tekla Global BIM Awards’ Industrial project category with the Amager Resource Center.

Waste-to-energy plant meets skiing slope

The Amager Resource Center is a spectacular building in every way. The 41,000 sq m waste-to-energy plant is currently being built, and when it is finished, it will be 85 meters tall and a part of the Copenhagen skyline. In addition to being an incinerator for Copenhagen, serves at the same time as a recreational area for the city's residents with for example a unique year-round ski slope on its roof.

The Amager Resource Center has been the offering MOE a number of structural challenges. Its challenging architecture is one of the reasons why the building is tremendously complex and has posed great requirements on the engineers.

Overcoming challenges with innovative thinking

Already before the project, MOE had decided that they had to think innovatively. Ambitions surrounding how far one could get with the wholehearted use of BIM tools ran high. This would prove to be a huge gain in terms of minimizing errors and expenses, facilitating work processes and overcoming challenges that the geometry caused.

As a result, MOE won the Industrial project category in Tekla Global BIM Awards in 2015 with the Amager Resource Center.

MOE has taken advantage of Building Information Modeling and used Tekla Structures throughout the process to ensure that the challenging architecture of the structure could be built without errors, and also to avoid unforeseen expenses and problems. Tekla is MOE's preferred platform for solving geometrically complex designs.

"Through a number of steel projects, we have learned that Tekla is a good tool for designing principal details on a conceptual level in 3D, though it is still early in the design phase. It provides a much better overview of the building and ensures that our intended structural solution is buildable. We are able to discover various incongruities and can fix various interfaces, etc., at the office instead of out on site," says Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir, Chief Competence Manager for BIM / Tekla at MOE.

Focus on development and BIM

In their 2020 strategy, MOE placed an extra focus on further developing competence on utilizing BIM tools and on establishing innovation networks across the organization.

"We at MOE believe that Building Information Modeling should be used during the design phase and until execution on the construction site. When the models are used consistently, BIM is not only an effective design tool. It is simultaneously a much better communication platform compared to what we have so far had to work with in construction. Together we have much better opportunities for visualizing both challenges and solutions,“  says Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir. She continues: ”As an industry, it is important that we prepare ourselves for more transparency and collaboration. It is the ability to create smooth transitions between construction phases where the BIM tools really show their strength."

She explains that MOE seeks to implement all projects in Tekla – both large and small, whether complicated or not – in order to ensure that they can use the models throughout the construction process and deliver them to developers, contractors and suppliers.

Better design communication from concept to documentation

-“The whole project was documented with 2D GA drawings, so we created drawings for all planes, geometry and the slope, reinforcement plans and also sections. We also created principal detail drawings from a Tekla model,” says Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir. Currently MOE has created more than 2700 GA drawings from the model, and the number is growing.

-“In the design phase, the structure changes continuously. With Tekla these changes are not a problem: When you change something in the Tekla model, it also changes in the drawings. That's why it's very good to keep the project in the same software,” she continues. When MOE first started using Tekla, they used it for drawing creation, and later moved on to utilize it for conceptual planning.

BIM for collaboration

"BIM tools have experienced intense and exciting developments and we do our best to keep ourselves updated. This, of course, means that we must improve our skills and possess the newest knowledge regarding each tool. This also equally means that we must focus on interdisciplinarity and on how the tools can best be combined. It is not the applications that decide how we deliver the construction. It is the construction that decides which applications we should use," says Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir and adds:

“BIM has also helped at discussions on constructibility. We have at times been able to discover structures that cannot be implemented in practice, and this discovery before production is started is much better in terms of time and finances." She explains that at MOE working with BIM makes for much better communication with the contractor and the suppliers and minimizes managing finishing the project and the technical inquiries.

Collaboration for production and construction

One of MOE’s collaboration partners, Züblin Stahlbau GmbH, is a steel contractor providing the superstructure of the building geometry. Throughout the entire process, Züblin has used Tekla Structures for 3D design and to create drawings of steel structures for production and installation on the site. In collaboration with MOE, Züblin has benefited from obtaining detailed 3D information and having fast access to the model when changes or additions have been made.


Amager Resource Center project in a nutshell

The Tekla model has been used since the start of project planning to determine the size of the building and for the design of the incinerator. The model was created long before the architect was chosen. After the architectural competition, the team continued to use the model to reduce the size of the project due to finances and for adapting the architect's winning project.

MOE drafted construction plans to visualize the building sequence of installations in Tekla, so all items in the Tekla model have an installation date on them. The construction plans have been prepared and used very early on, since the beginning of the project.

By visualizing the construction plans in Tekla, MOE ensured that the desired installation sequence was constructible, and that it was constructible before the given timeframe, and ensured that any problems with the desired installation could be solved before the installation was started out on the site. The Tekla model has from the start been used at construction meetings and proved important in decision making.

Tekla BIMsight was chosen for the construction site. At the beginning, it was used at project handover meetings with contractors and then at meetings on technical clarifications with the executing contractor.

A roof where trees grow

The fact that the roof of this industrial plant must be accessible and safe for the public has created certain requirements on the engineering design. In addition, there will be more than 20 trees planted along the slope in order to create an authentic hill feeling. Each tree will weigh up to 20-40 tons, which sets more requirements on the structure. 

The roofing consists of precast concrete slabs spanning between various rectilinear angled steel profiles. These form the double-curved surface of the roof. MOE utilized a dynamic structural modeling program, Rhino/Grasshopper, to solve the complicated geometry calculations and ensure that the performance can be realized. The programming of the advanced concrete elements was subsequently loaded into Tekla.

Amager resource center in numbers

  • The construction area is 41,000 m2, equivalent to 7 soccer fields
  • 2,500 reinforced concrete piles
  • 30,000 m3 of concrete
  • 5,500 tons of steel
  • 4,500 m2 of secant pile walls
  • 12,500 m2 of beton elements for the roof (without ramps)

The Tekla model

  • Up to 7 modelers working at the same time
  • Up to 10 users viewing the model
  • Over 2,500 drawings
  • Over 145,000 objects
  • All principle steel details
  • All reinforced joints
  • All the reinforcement used in on-site construction


Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir - MOE - BIM tools

It is not the applications that decide how we deliver the construction. It is the construction that decides which applications we should use.
Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir
Chief Competence Manager for BIM / Tekla

Astridur E. Asgeirsdottir - MOE - conceptual 3D

Through a number of steel projects, we have learned that Tekla is also a good tool for designing details on a conceptual level in 3D, though it is still early in the design phase.
Ástridur E. Ásgeirsdóttir
Chief Competence Manager for BIM / Tekla