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Sunday, January 17, 2010

BIM Success Story: Autodesk - Construction - Sundt Construction: Water Reclamation

Peoria, Arizona, gets clean water—on time and on budget—thanks to a BIM construction process, powered by Autodesk.

"Sundt Construction used Navisworks software to create a 3D model that we used for reviews by the operational staff and presentations to the Peoria City Council. The software allowed us to take the roof off the structures and created a fly-through of the whole plant. Stakeholders were able to more clearly visualize what we were building. The Navisworks model provided a powerful and more effective way to communicate the project." —Shawn Kreuzwiesner, Utilities Engineering Manager, The City of Peoria, Arizona

Project Summary Operational in 2008, the $135 million Butler Water Reclamation Facility is the culmination of the largest public works project ever undertaken by the City of Peoria, Arizona. The facility processes 10 million gallons of wastewater each day and provides Peoria with a valuable renewable water resource while integrating visually into its surroundings. The Butler Water Reclamation Facility has impacted the environment in positive ways and attracted the attention of the American Public Works Association, which named it a Public Works Project of the Year in the environment category.

The Butler Water Reclamation Facility project perfectly illustrates how building information modeling (BIM) can enhance constructability, planning, and coordination on large projects. To visualize and explore the project before it was built, Sundt Construction, Inc., the construction firm engaged by Peoria during the design process, turned to BIM solutions from Autodesk, including Autodesk® Revit® Architecture software, Autodesk® Revit® Structure software, AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software, and Autodesk® Navisworks® software.

“BIM is an integrated process that gave us the ability to understand the project’s characteristics as the design evolved,” explains Andrew Apostolik, Sundt Construction’s senior project manager on the Butler Water Reclamation Facility. “Before and during construction, the model helped our team to deliver the project according to Peoria’s time and budget expectations.”

The Firm Founded in New Mexico in 1890, Sundt Construction has prospered along with—and helped to build—the Western United States. Today, the Arizona-based, employee-owned company is the 55th largest construction firm in the United States, and it serves public and private sector clients throughout the nation, delivering government facilities, office buildings, heavy civil projects, and more.

Sundt Construction has seen strong growth in its public sector work in recent years, a development the firm attributes in part to its approach to government work. “Success isn’t just about having the low bid, which is why we approach government work with the same service-first philosophy we apply to private sector work,” says Dan Russell, simulated construction manager for Sundt Construction. “In practice, our approach means we try to bring in BIM to facilitate constructability insights, 3D reviews, and schedule coordination at each stage of a project.”
The Challenge Home to more than 146,000 people, Peoria’s appealing weather, thriving economy, and lively cultural life have led to a boom in population, making the city one of the fastest growing in the country in recent decades. With its accelerating growth, the demand for municipal services has skyrocketed. Peoria had long relied on a wastewater treatment facility operated by a nearby community, but continued use of this facility would have prevented Peoria from reaching its goal of gaining more control over one of its most precious resources: water.

“The city evaluated its options, and decided to build a state-of-the-art treatment facility that would allow us to convert our wastewater into a renewable water resource suitable for irrigation or groundwater recharge,” says Shawn Kreuzwiesner, Peoria’s utilities engineering manager. “Water is a critical resource for desert communities, and we saw the new plant as an opportunity both to take charge of our water and to prepare for future growth.”

To help keep construction issues at bay, the City of Peoria chose Sundt Construction and a construction-manager-at-risk project delivery model to complete this immense project. With this delivery model, Sundt Construction embraced the challenges inherent in the project—and made the Peoria’s project goals its own. “As construction manager-at-risk, we guaranteed a maximum construction cost, which provided us with an added incentive to work efficiently,” says Russell. “Juggling the project’s complexities and meeting our budget goal required that we suggest options for reducing project time and costs and work with the engineering team to help ensure constructability. From planning to coordination to construction execution, we relied on BIM to facilitate each process.”

The Solution

Joining the project when the designs were about 50 percent complete, Sundt Construction built its workflow around BIM solutions from Autodesk, creating 3D models of the 2D data provided by the design firm. Sundt Construction used Revit Architecture software and Revit Structure software to model and integrate the architectural and structural elements of the design. AutoCAD Civil 3D software enabled Sundt Construction to visualize the intricate underground elements of the design. To identify interferences and coordinate construction better, Sundt Construction aggregated, reviewed, and analyzed the models in Autodesk Navisworks software.

Self-Performing with Precision Since Sundt Construction self-performed the concrete work on the project, the company was particularly interested in modeling and coordinating the construction of the Butler Water Reclamation Facility’s structural elements. Working from its Revit Architecture and Revit Structure models, Sundt Construction separated the concrete structures into individual concrete pours, measured material quantities for each pour, and created sequencing plans and concrete lift drawings. “It’s really amazing what you can do when you can link a 3D model to a schedule,” says Russell. “BIM let us coordinate every concrete pour virtually.”
Sundt Construction delivers an award-winning public works project using Autodesk BIM.

During construction, these models of individual pours helped the team to more easily visualize the sequence of each concrete element in the project. “Our crews had a better understanding of what each concrete pour entailed and how it related to the work of other trades,” reports Russell. “We compared the Butler Water Reclamation Facility to a similar project that was done without BIM. On the Butler Water Reclamation Facility project, we determined that there was 67 percent less concrete rework, and avoiding rework is definitely one of the keys to controlling costs.”

Integrating Piping Faster With so much of the Butler Water Reclamation Facility underground, Sundt Construction relied heavily on AutoCAD Civil 3D software to model the facility’s below-grade features, especially the extensive yard piping and electrical duct banks. Russell explains, “In traditional 2D tools, it’s hard to see whether pipes at different elevations are adequately spaced. Using Civil 3D software, we were able to walk through all the underground utilities virtually before even breaking ground on the project.”
Sundt Construction delivers an award-winning public works project using Autodesk BIM.

Apostolik notes that AutoCAD Civil 3D software also helped to provide the team with advantages over traditional 2D methods of georeferencing piping and understanding the materials needed to execute the design. “Visualization is only the beginning,” he notes. “Civil 3D software lets you lay out piping using real-world coordinates in the sizes you intend to install. When it comes time to purchase piping, the software automatically generates a list of materials. That helps to save hours of work and prevent ordering errors.”

Navisworks Paves the Way for Construction To review how the water treatment plant’s structural, architectural, and below-grade elements harmonized, Sundt Construction regularly aggregated its design models in Autodesk Navisworks software. “Navisworks software combines the work of diverse teams into a virtual whole,” explains Apostolik. “Everyone who needed to collaborate, including architects, MEP engineers, and equipment vendors, could work together to make their parts integrate. At every stage, Peoria’s staff was able to review our progress and make valuable contributions to enhance the overall usability of the facility. For instance, they made suggestions that helped to increase the accessibility of equipment that needs frequent servicing or replacement.”
Sundt Construction delivers an award-winning public works project using Autodesk BIM.

Sundt Construction reports that Navisworks software helped the team identify and resolve more than $200,000 in interferences on the Butler Water Reclamation Facility project. However, the Navisworks model proved even more valuable as a foundation for clear communication with Peoria’s leaders. Kreuzwiesner explains how Navisworks software helped bring the design to life for Peoria’s operational staff and elected officials. “It’s very hard to visualize a 3D building from 2D drawings even if you’re accustomed to doing it,” he notes. “Sundt Construction used Navisworks software to create a 3D model that we used for reviews by the operational staff and presentations to the Peoria City Council. The software allowed us to take the roof off the structures and created a fly-through of the whole plant. Stakeholders were able to more clearly visualize what we were building. The Navisworks model provided a powerful and more effective way to communicate the project.”

The Result When asked to quantify the benefits BIM delivered on the Butler Water Treatment Facility project, Russell reports that the advantages become crystal clear when contrasted with traditional methods. “If we compare this project to a comparable project using traditional 2D methods, we see a huge difference—84 percent fewer requests for information and more than 6,000 hours saved on concrete rework alone,” he says. “In addition, it’s common to have a half a million dollars or more in change orders. On the Butler Water Reclamation Facility, there were no notable change orders. It’s no contest. BIM is better for Sundt Construction and for our clients.”

Its facility operational and ready to increase processing capacity as needed, the City of Peoria is experiencing the benefits of BIM first hand. “After witnessing the intelligent application of technology throughout the construction process, I believe that BIM definitely benefits owners,” says Kreuzwiesner. “It helped Sundt Construction take a proactive approach to managing every aspect of construction, and we are extremely pleased with the result. We have an effective facility, and it was delivered not only on time, but also on budget.”

Download the Story

Sundt Construction Butler Water Reclamation (pdf - 215Kb)
Autodesk - Construction - Sundt Construction: Water Reclamation


Myke Locksmith January 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

Too bad the water still tastes funny. I guess it could be worse. :P

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