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Tekla helps Wayne Brothers untangle web of complexity and build Sierra Nevada’s east coast multi-structure brewery


Wayne Brothers is one of the Southeast’s most progressive and technology-savvy commercial concrete contractors. Founded in 1985, the turnkey industrial/commercial concrete and site work contractor has grown to 400 employees, servicing clients in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Wayne Brothers specializes in negotiated private projects, where its level of service, quality and safety can add value to projects, facilities or properties. Believing that quality begins from the foundation up, Wayne Brothers delivers high-quality proactive construction services to help clients like Caterpillar, Siemens Energy and other commercial and industrial clients reduce construction waste and complete complex industrial projects on schedule.

To aid in their mission to reduce project risk and deliver more value to customers, Wayne Brothers adopted Tekla Structures in May 2012 with the expectation that 3D modeling and the overall BIM process would help them respond more quickly to client demands, and help them raise the quality of their work.

A world-class brewing facility and attraction

The new brewery will have the capacity to make 750,000 barrels of beer annually to supply the eastern U.S. and European markets with Sierra Nevada’s year round beers, seasonal ales and a wide range of specialty beers. Located along the scenic French Broad River on 190 acres, it will also be a local attraction and event venue, offering tours along with a tasting room, restaurant and concert amphitheater when it opens July 2014. At minimum, the new brewery will be LEED Silver certified with a focus on alternative energy, environmentally conscious construction, reforestation and river quality monitoring and protection. The majority of the site will be left wild and intact with plans to develop a trail system with river access to attract rafters and kayakers.

Sierra Nevada’s east coast brewery consists of several structures, including the restaurant/pub/event center; the Brew House; the fermentation tank structure; malt silos; a 150,000 square-foot bottling/cold storage/packaging warehouse supported by auger cast piles and grade beams; the Central Utility Block Building; a waste water treatment facility; the structure connecting these buildings and a road bridge. Among the more complex structures are the Brew House with its cellar, main level and two elevated decks to hold the copper brewing kettles; the fermentation tank structure; the Service Block Building and the two 43-foot long two-lane bridges.

Wayne Brothers performed the deep and shallow foundations, pile caps, grade beams, slab-on-grade, concrete walls, CIP elevated slabs, topping slabs, slab-on-metal decks, decorative concrete (vertical and flat work), concrete paving and other site concrete work for the entire project. The fermentation tank structure is a 12,000 square-foot concrete structure with the capacity to eventually hold the weight of 44 fermentation tanks, which can house 43,300 barrels of beer or about 86,600 kegs. The bridge serves the visitors’ entrance to the property. The bridge work included cast-in-place concrete abutments and retaining walls. The concrete formwork was lined with two different form liners: a slate stone and a sandblast textured liner. This, in combination with portabella colored concrete, give the walls an earthy tone with an aged look.

The Brew House

Beer is brewed in copper brewing kettles set into two elevated platforms located on the ground floor level of the Brew House. Pipes run from the kettles under the floor to the fermentation tanks on the elevated fermentation block and onto the warehouse. The Brew House consists of a basement whose FFE was -17 feet with a 2-foot thick concrete mat foundation, cast-in-place concrete walls, concrete columns and  an elevated concrete slab. The main floor is cast at 0-feet elevation and also includes one area of raised slab at +5-feet 11-inches, which has several block outs and openings for the brewing equipment. Wayne Brothers built the concrete foundation in the cellar of the Brew House along with the main level foundation and platform foundations.

“There were many clarifications and changes that occurred throughout the construction of the Brew House,” said John Vaughan, Wayne Brothers' Project Manager. “Tekla made it easy for us to communicate our interpretation of the changes to our client, the engineer and the field supervisor, saving project time. It also aided us in the formwork for the Brew House by making it much easier for us to see how the walls tied together with the elevated platforms.” (See Brew House illustration)

The fermentation tank structure

The fermentation tank structure consists of ground floor interior space with 12-foot high ceilings and an outdoor elevated deck built to hold the fermentation tanks, with pipes running underneath. The largest tank stands at an elevation of 73 feet atop a 17-foot tall elevated concrete structure, which is supported by a 2-foot thick concrete mat foundation, cast-in-place concrete walls and columns. The elevated concrete deck is 2-feet 4-inches thick with 3-foot deep beams.

The structure presented a variety of challenges that included hundreds of embeds, 5-foot thick concrete sections at the beams and 44 radius block outs that each have a 12-foot 9-inch diameter. To support the weight of tanks, there are layers upon layers of crisscrossing rebar within a 100 square-foot space. The concrete prep and placement required careful planning by the project team. Using Tekla to model the steel before construction began allowed Wayne Brothers to complete this phase of the project ahead of schedule, avoid missteps in the field and dramatically minimize rebar waste. Tekla was used to produce RFI’s, detail rebar, plan and coordinate work activities. (See illustration of fermentation tanks)

“Tekla allowed us to plan exactly how the rebar should be placed, including the interface between the beams and the elevated slab steel,” said Wesley Douglas, Wayne Brothers’ Project Engineer. “If we hadn’t modeled the deck in Tekla, we would not have been able to see the interface with the formwork and the structure, itself, on the 2D drawings because of the congestion. The 3D model enabled our field staff to see exactly where each piece of rebar should go. There was no second guessing.” (See illustration of congestion)

That clarity shaved about a week off the three-month schedule Wayne Brothers allotted to the fermentation block. Moreover, it resulted in no rebar discrepancies due to detailing or fabrication errors. All of the errors that normally would have shown up in the field when working off 2D drawings were detected and corrected in the Tekla model before construction began.

“On a typical project of this type working from 2D drawings, we’d expect to have 10 to 15 percent waste in rebar fabrication, shipping and placement due to human error alone,” said Barker. “The only re-fabrication—two tons out of 300 tons of steel—was to due to engineering changes after the fact; not to human error. For this part of the project alone, Tekla clearly demonstrated the financial value of 3D visualization for complex cast-in-place projects.”

Tekla also sped up the rebar review process for the elevated deck by approximately 50% as compared to traditional 2D drawing review methods.

“We are responsible for reviewing the rebar drawings for accuracy,” said Douglas. “Reviewing 2D drawings of the rebar, would have taken us upwards of a week on this job. We were able to review the rebar modeled in Tekla in a day. Moreover, working off the Tekla model, we were able to complete the entire process—reviewing the rebar, and getting it fabricated and shipped to the jobsite—in two weeks. Using 2D drawings, it would have taken twice as long.”

The Service Block building

The Service Block building was constructed using precast concrete walls and shallow concrete foundations and it ties the other structures together. This posed logistical challenges to Wayne Brothers because of the constraints of working between three different structures and because it was cut up into small sections. Wayne Brothers constructed and modeled the concrete foundations, concrete stem walls and the slab-on-grade in Tekla, which helped the team better plan and coordinate their concrete work.

The bridge

Building the bridge for the visitor’s entrance to the property gave the firm its first opportunity to combine a civil surface model with concrete model for constructability analysis. Wayne Brothers was given a 2D drawing for the bridge that was based on a 50-year-old aerial topo map of the property. Wayne Brothers used a robotic total station to map the creek bed. They brought that surface model into Tekla and compared it to a model of the bridge they created based on the 2D drawing of foundation design. This allowed them to adjust the foundation and see how the revised design would affect the amount of rebar required. (See bridge illustration)

“We were able to alter the bridge design to accommodate the actual terrain in the Tekla model, which included the roadway being on a radius,” said Vaughan. “This helped us determine the amount of materials we’d need for construction before we were in the field, which also benefited the schedule and resulted in a much more coordinated, efficient project. Without Tekla, we would not have discovered the discrepancy in the bridge design and the terrain until we began construction.”

Tekla’s role in design-build projects

In addition to helping Wayne Brothers complete the cast-in-place work faster with little waste, it also benefited the larger project team. Wayne Brothers created Tekla models from the 2D drawings supplied by the design engineers and made the changes to the models as soon as they received them.

“The Tekla models we built were invaluable for visualizing the impact of the changes and helping us communicate our interpretation of the design intent, allowing us to stay on the same page with the design team throughout the project,” said Vaughan. “Potential clashes were immediately apparent in the models; information we could relay back to the design engineers for adjustments that may not have been caught until construction began. With so many changes, it would have been very easy to miss something, or interpret something in a way different from how it was intended. With Tekla, every member of the extended project team could see how each change affected the project, allowing us to plan, schedule and order materials more accurately.”

Instead of walking the jobsite looking for problems, the design firm’s field engineer viewed Tekla models in Wayne Brothers’ field office to ensure they matched the design intention.

“Rather than having to rip up rebar and concrete, the entire field inspection process was done on the computer,” said Project Superintendent Jason Thompson. “We caught all of the changes and resolved the conflicts before the fieldwork began.”

Other members of the design team, including electricians, HVAC installers and structural engineers, also began to rely on the Tekla models for their parts of the project, coming to Wayne Brothers’ jobsite trailer to check details only visible on the 3D model. In the near future, Wayne Brothers’ field staff will be able to reference Tekla models on iPads, further reducing their dependence on 2D project drawings.”

“The Tekla model helped our team see Wayne Brother’ interpretation of the drawings and multiple changes on the unique concrete structures that were being built to support a series of fermentation tanks and the Brew House,” said Gary Fowler, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Construction Manager. “The model resolved conflicts before the construction process started, saving the project valuable time. This technology proved to be a valuable asset for Sierra Nevada’s Construction Team.”

With more than 300,000 square feet of building under roof and a fast-track schedule, Wayne Brothers credits much of the success of their concrete work for the Sierra Nevada Brewery to Tekla.

“The ability to track the evolving design of the brewery in 3D significantly reduced the risk inherent with fast-track projects and there is no doubt that the BIM process was a significant contribution to this project’s success,” said Barker. “Tekla allows us to inject our expertise as concrete contractor into the design of a structure and influence the overall success of the project.”