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It's all About Pour: A Pour-focused Approach to Concrete Construction

It is all about the pour - and finding the right way to plan accurately and straightforwardly the construction work from the very beginning is an asset in the competitive concrete construction industry.  

DPR Construction is a large national and international commercial contractor and construction management company based in California. Their core markets cover advanced technology, healthcare, higher education, life sciences, and commercial buildings. They have 27 offices across five regions in the United States of America, and four offices overseas. And It employs 3500 full time employees and 3300 craft employees in the field. 

In our Webinar: A Pour Focused Approach to Concrete Construction Andy Dickey, Business Development Manager for Cast-In Place at Trimble, had a chat with Bo Snyder (VDC Manager, Self Perform Work) and Scott Kahler (SPW Concrete Project Manager) from DPR on how they are using Tekla Structures. In this post, you will discover what exactly means pour focused approach and how they streamline the mobilization by using pour information from the beginning of the process. 

Pour planning and sequencing: streamlining the mobilization.

For DPR Construction, the pour planning starts already at the bidding stage. They use Tekla Structures for many parts of their workflow, including to extract the quantities, and to plan the pour sequences and schedules. They have fit the software's use to their way of working and not the other way around. DPR Construction does what they call the "traditional approach," which means using the Tekla 3D model combined with other traditional methods.  


The pour planning starts when they put the model together, and the team is marking up pdfs, their general thoughts on sequencing, and what direction they want to flow around the job. A lot of this, such as the wall heights and lengths, are still manually calculated. When those calculations are done, they are delivered to the VDC group. This information is incorporated into the model using the Pour functionality inside Tekla to visualize the plan. Later in a meeting, they look at the model and the 2D drawings and have a more in-depth look at the plan. 

During the meeting, they might find clashes, issues, and discuss things that can be done or not based on their 3D model and drawings. They use all that information to find an agreement and flash out things that are not happening and find a consensus of what the sequence is going to be, explains Bo Snyder, VDC Manager. 

The next step in the progression is moving from a set of marked pdfs to the model. This means that they are not making the calculations on 2D drawings but in the model. They might layout some foundation walls and sequence those and they might apply other means and methods and set up some guidelines to quickly calculate the sequences set up. "We save a lot of time and effort by using the model to put that information instead of going drawing by drawing" says Snyder. They still might have a meeting and check that everything looks fine, and even make some changes.

"This is a more efficient and accurate way to work and get the sequence at a very early stage of the process," adds Scott Kahler, SPW Concrete Project Manager.   

For DPR Construction, 3D Modeling is more than preparing a nice visual. It is a way of working. The 3D model shows the building's real dimensions, and it is particularly useful when the project faces a lot of elevation changes. If, when doing drawings and plans, an elevation is missed, you will need to repeatedly do all the planning and drawings when you notice you missed it. 3D enables you to see precisely physically and in space where everything is when you are planning.

Pour focused Planning: Better consumable information.

DPR Construction's Pour focused approach means that they are doing the planning using a 3D modeling and the pour related information as a base to build that model and plan the whole construction. They work as a team to set up the pour brakes, sequencing, and schedule and add all that info to the model. 

Their pour focusing planning is a great way to directly input the team, break the model and the pour and running animations, and verify schedules. Their approach aims to make sure that everything fits with the quantity and the time they have and, of course, the schedules. 

Tekla Structures pour functionality is unique, bringing a lot of flexibility to the users. For example, it allows DPR Construction to play with different scenarios without breaking the pour.  "This is relevant in moments when we ask ourselves what about if we do this instead of that, what if we group things and so on" says Snyder.  They can move any pour brake and the quantities change automatically.

"It is very point and click, which makes it more accessible and more scalable to the project," Snyder adds. 

DPR Construction has found the Tekla model useful for coordination, too. In some cases, they might have many sequences and zones within a project. That is great from mechanical systems and framing and sign off, but the pour might expand for two, three, or even four zones. It is good to have the pour coordination to emphasize that one zone is not enough, but you need to do multiple zones at the time. It helps to check which zone needs to be done and what kind of work needs to be planned before starting the job.


Watch our webinar to learn more about how DPR uses Tekla Structures and the pour information to streamline the mobilization.