Protect and serve with BIM – NYC Police Academy

Protect and serve with BIM – NYC Police Academy


The first phase of the project includes 730,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, locker rooms, auditoriums, gyms and training facilities all contained within an academic facility, physical training facility and a central utility plant.

The project was designed by Perkins & Will Architects with Langan Engineering & Environmental Services serving as the engineer of record. STV and Turner Construction Company created a joint venture to provide the construction management and build services for the project.

PDC Asia Pacific Inc. (formerly 4D Global Group Inc.) used Tekla Structures to model the 9,100 tons of steel for the structures. Cives Steel then was the steel fabricator and Stonebridge the erector.

From the very beginning, it was clear that the Academy was going to be a project where 3D model collaboration was not just mandated, but practiced across all trades and all phases from conceptual design to estimating, construction and facility management.

While the Turner-STV Virtual Design & Construction team utilized complex, sophisticated and expensive 3D-BIM software like Revit, Navisworks, Solibri & iConstruct for the bulk of their collaboration efforts, PDC was able to introduce and integrate Tekla BIMsight into workflows that included not only Turner/STV, but also the fabricator and erector both off and onsite.

Using "the perfect BIM collaboration tool"

PDC found Tekla BIMsight to be easy to get (free), easy to learn and easy to use, and still capable of handling relatively large files of multiple formats combined into one environment. Business development manager David Bailey from PDC explains how they took it into use:

"At first we introduced Tekla BIMsight to Cives, the fabricator client as an easy to use tool for visualizing the project and color-coding it to communicate information about the individual members in the model, like approval status, finish and members on hold with reference to RFI numbers."

The Project Coordinator Brady Dobbin from Cives was really impressed with Tekla BIMsight: "The largest benefit I gained from using the Tekla BIMsight model was the ability to view the structure in a 3D image right in the field office! I could locate the area of concern, view from every possible angle, obtain the piece marks in question without straining to see a label on the actual steel and be looking at a shop drawing within minutes."

"There is one other major benefit that I would like to mention as well. We often would use the Tekla BIMsight model when we were trying to figure out erection procedures. It takes a lot of preparation to determine where steel will be stored and in which order it needs to be erected. It is extremely easy to do this with all parties required (i.e. Project Managers, Field, Construction Managers), by gathering around the computer monitor and viewing the structure in its assembled state. The advantage of being able to do this, saves a lot of time and reduces the possibility of confusion or error enormously.”

After a brief introduction and demonstration, even Stonebridge, the erector immediately recognized the benefits of having the model available both in the trailer (on a large flat panel monitor) and on the job site (on a ruggedized Windows tablet PC) as a 3D communication tool to easily and visually access information like piece marks and shop drawing numbers, not to mention connection fit-up. Due to the ease of use and short learning curve, even the ironworkers on-site came to appreciate the benefits of Tekla BIMsight. Field Operations Manager Eric Tessmer from Stonebridge tells more:

"The Tekla BIMSight 3D model is an invaluable aid for field-office communication. It was easy to install and use on our standard computers, not to mention it was free. Our management team and field personnel used it to visualize issues and work together on a resolution when weather or location made it impractical for the team to go to the work area."

As the project progressed, the parties discovered increasingly useful and creative ways to extend the functional and practical benefits of Tekla BIMsight. For example, they imported the MEP models for clash detection and coordination with the complex and extensive piping and duct work, some of which was designed to be routed through castellated beams.

David Bailey sums up their experience with Tekla BIMsight: "It is the perfect collaboration tool for companies, teams and individuals who need to interact with others who are relatively new to the 3D modeling environment, but are also important contributors and stakeholders in the process."

A BIM tool is only as good as it's users are skilled

A tool, no matter how good or how costly, is useless if it is not used. As profoundly obvious as that statement is, the BIM workspace is saturated with sophisticated and expensive 3D software programs that seldom reach their full collaborative potential due to the challenges of team integration.

"Therefore the most useful functionality of Tekla BIMsight is ultimately its ease of use. This was the reason we were able to get such a diverse team of individuals, with widely varying resources and abilities, to use this tool," David Bailey says. He thinks Tekla BIMsight is:

  • Easy to Get
  • Easy to Learn
  • Easy to Use
  • And for Everyone

"You might say that it was the "GLUE" that held everyone around the collaborative benefits of the 3D-model," elaborates David Bailey.

BIM collaboration over drawing-based workflows

The most obvious benefit was the ability to communicate 3D issues in a virtual 3D environment. This proved to be especially beneficial out in the field as the erector used the model to visualize and communicate how the structure was sequenced to come together.

Being able to color-code and update members in the model based on a variety of criteria added even more communication functionality. Visualizing and analyzing the models for other trades that interacted with the structural steel not only enhanced communication, but facilitated critical coordination that prevented very costly rework in the field.

No excuse not to use BIM

PDC logoPDC Group's message to the construction industry is clear. David Bailey says: "If a picture or a 2D drawing can paint a thousand words, how many more words can a data rich 3D model communicate? And if two heads are better than one, then it is incumbent on those who know of the benefits of Tekla BIMsight to share that knowledge with others so that many heads can participate in the collaborative process, to the benefit of all."

Future with Tekla BIMsight

Due to the previously noted universal appeal and collaborative benefits of Tekla BIMsight, PDC plans to continue to use it and introduce it to clients, their clients and subcontractors as they have since its first release - first as a project presentation tool in the bid phase to demonstrate their willingness and ability to function as a BIM-team player, then as a communication and collaboration tool throughout the life cycle of the project, encouraging and assisting both design & trade colleagues to participate and innovate using Tekla BIMsight.


NYC Police Academy

It is the perfect collaboration tool for companies, teams and individuals who need to interact with others who are relatively new to the 3D modeling environment, but are also important contributors and stakeholders in the process.
David Bailey
Business Development Manager