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A Beautiful Precast Concrete Garage: Gare de Mons

The beautiful but complex parking garage serves the passengers using the new railway station of Mons (Bergen), Belgium, and is designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. Hurks delphi engineering and Hurks prefabbeton addressed the challenges with advanced use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). In addition to gaining benefits thanks to choosing BIM, they also won the Tekla Global BIM Awards Precast Concrete category.  

The parking garage has architectural wall structures in complex shapes and very interesting, smoothly shaped but massive beam elements with complex reinforcement. The beam and wall elements connect to and support the massive cast in place concrete deck above. Because of their complexity, frames and wall elements set challenges for Hurks delphi engineering and Hurks prefabbeton, who were together responsible for detailing and prefabricating the concrete elements with some help from a structural engineering office.

If the team had not been using BIM in a clever way, the structure would have been prone to errors. The complex shapes of the frames and wall elements set challenges to the engineers. Communicating this kind of shapes correctly to mold-builders and rebar workers using only 2D drawings is very difficult. Tekla was not just a design and detailing technology: Also the communication between the main structural design and detailing offices was model-based, and the model was used for fabrication.On site, utilizing BIM continued as the team chose Tekla BIMsight for site planning and visualization.

Hurks prefabbeton utilized the model data in production planning, taking advantage of their ERP software. The in-house detailing office Hurks delphi engineering modeled all the reinforcement with Tekla, so the data describing the complex structure could be exported from the accurate Tekla model to the rebar fabrication software and production machinery.

However, the organic shapes were not easy to fabricate.

-“For this project, we were not able to produce all the elements using our large welding and bending machines, but all bars, separate or parts of a mesh, were produced using some of our machines and directly from the model data,” says Robbert Sterk, Application Developer at Hurks delphi engineering.

Choosing BIM for production and installation lead to avoiding errors, but Hurks also needed some additional drawings. Extracted from the models, the drawings were of good quality and had very clear dimensioning that took into account the special shapes. Implementing various export features of Tekla Structures ensured that the production process moved flawlessly. In the end, reinforcement was perfectly fitting.