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2018 BIM awards

2018 BIM awards

Trimble recognizes North American projects that highlight effective use of modeling for design and construction.

The Tekla North America BIM Awards celebrate the success of projects in North America modeled using Trimble’s Tekla software. The awards welcome project entries of all sizes and complexity, with judging based on collaboration between multiple participants and use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and open BIM; challenges solved with Tekla; multi-material aspects or complex geometries; and the “cool factor” — uniqueness of the project and creativity in project execution.

Following are the 2018 Tekla North America BIM Award winners in six categories — Cast-in-place concrete, Precast concrete, Steel, Multi-material, Small project, and Tekla Structural Designer.

Tekla 3D model of 727 West Madison

Cast-in-place concrete: 727 West Madison

727 West Madison is a 46-story, cylindrical apartment tower in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood and will be Chicago’s tallest building west of the Kennedy expressway. Located on Madison Street and Halsted Street, this iconic building with street-level retail spaces will incorporate banquet halls, a business center, pool, and health club to be shared with the adjacent 400-room hotel.

Pepper Construction’s Self Perform Group served as the concrete subcontractor on this project, placing more than 27,000 cubic yards of concrete from May 2017 through May 2018. Project completion was scheduled for fall 2018.

Due to site logistics and schedule, the concrete structure was built in three phases — the tower proceeding ahead on the critical path and the parking garage/podium split into two phases.

Early in the project, the concrete superintendent and project engineer were flying through the model when the superintendent realized that the current schedule would not work because of the atypical size of the detention tank. The depth and length divided the site, cutting off pumping accessibility to the tower once parking garage construction began.

With the concrete Tekla model, the field team was able to detect this early enough to work with the general contractor, design team, and client to provide an alternate size and location, saving the project time and money.

Tekla BIMsight also helped identify a condition in which the construction fence and property line did not allow proper shoring of an upper floor cantilever. Because the shoring was laid out and overlaid early, the issue was identified with enough time to submit and obtain approval to install the construction fence outside the property line for temporary shoring without negatively impacting the schedule.

Tekla Structures was used throughout the project for concrete quantities and model-based estimation. The model was updated for a variety of value engineering options and design changes through several rounds of budgeting before contract award.

Milestone IFC was used with the change management tool in Tekla Structures to quickly locate changes, output spreadsheets to quantify changes, and model snapshots or meeting fly throughs of the model to communicate change order requests.

Once concrete placement started onsite, project engineers and superintendents used the model to accurately order and track quantities for concrete deliveries. On one of the pours, the accurate model quantities saved concrete from two trucks compared with the original hand take-off.

From breaking ground through topping out, the model was used for all concrete layout. Layout points were populated, managed, and exported from Tekla using text files that were fed directly into total stations. Field technicians and project engineers coordinated hands-on in the field using Tekla BIMsight.

Rendered model of the Statue of Liberty Museum

Precast winner: Statue of Liberty Museum

High Concrete Group, LLC is a family-owned company that has delivered precast concrete structures for nearly 50 years. The company provides structure and enclosure systems, components, and accessories for virtually every kind of project from residential to warehouse and retail structures and sports stadiums, including several exceptionally complex buildings.

High Concrete creates constructible models for 95 percent of its projects to Level of Development (LOD) 400, for which it relies on Tekla Structures software.

The Statue of Liberty Museum is a new museum on Liberty Island that features precast concrete panels around the perimeter, with the exception of a glass façade that faces Lady Liberty and gives patrons of the museum a view of the statue from every angle. The structure also features a large staircase that leads to a green roof for a unique vantage point of the statue.

High Concrete was responsible for the large insulated precast concrete panels around the outside. The panels have a distinct vertical rib pattern and the concrete mix and finish were created to give the appearance that the panels rose up out of the stone around the island. The precast panels were designed to withstand flood waters and also interface with the steel structure. The precast concrete was modeled in Tekla Structures to LOD 400, which means the concrete parts are modeled accurately and in their correct location; all hardware, including lifting devices, are modeled and all reinforcing added to the pieces.


There were many challenges to this project. For example, it was on an island and required special shipping parameters. High Concrete had to ensure all panels were able to be shipped on a barge to the site. The project also has a lot of steel interface, so High Concrete relied heavily on reference models from the steel supplier to ensure the steel structure and precast panels aligned perfectly. The complex shape and design elements of the project made it difficult to visualize the final project, so they created rendered augmented reality models of the project and offered the customer a unique experience to visualize the project using Microsoft HoloLens.

One benefit High Concrete gained from the use of Tekla Structures is a database of information that can then be used to feed other systems such as their ERP system, SAP. They populate the cast unit information, bill of materials, and other data from the data from the model. For this project, coordination was very important with the interface of concrete panels and the steel structure, so they used Tekla’s ability to bring in the steel vendor’s model as a reference model, as well as creating IFC files of their model to share with the customer. Finally, they used Tekla’s ability to create layout points that could be exported and loaded into a total station that the layout team used to layout the panels, as well as check location of site-cast hardware.

They also used Trimble’s Sketchup to create a textured rendered model. They exported the Tekla model into Sketchup, added photo-realistic textures, and inserted it into a model of Liberty Island found in Sketchup’s 3D warehouse, and then put that Sketchup model onto the Microsoft HoloLens using the Sketchup Viewer app.

Steel Winner: New Mexico City International Airport

Tekla Structures was used to create a 3D model of the planned New Mexico City International Airport.

The design of the original New Mexico City International Airport has a surface area of almost 8 million square feet and will be modeled entirely in Tekla Structures and represent the largest Tekla model ever created on a global scale. The entire terminal building will be covered by a continuous light Space Frame that will unify walls and roof in a fluid design that represents the fluid movement of flight.

With spans as great as 328 feet, or three times conventional airport spans, this monumental scale was inspired by Mexican architecture as well as symbolism. The largest interior span is 558 feet.

The size of the project would demand thousands of manhours with a manual approach, which, combined with the desire to prevent errors, led to using Tekla Structures to create a 3D model. The more automation the team could incorporate into the process, the fewer mistakes. Geometrically, they needed a method that would allow for physical markings on the elements that could be accurately identified on the model. The surveying team required a list with these elements and their coordinates so that they could easily verify the positioning of the bars.

The project is defined by two database tables with more than 600,000 elements. Moving from a table format into a 3D model was easy in Trimble’s Tekla Structures. With a “raw” model with every bar of the funnels in place, the team needed to assign the connections between them. Tekla Structures offers compatible connections to the HGG software used by the pipe-cutting machine. The team developed a macro via the Tekla API that would read the metadata on each bar, compare it with the database, and assign the proper connection. All cuts were made directly from the 3D model.

Speaking about the size of the project, there are not many modeling tools on the market that can manage so many elements in a single model. Constructora Terminal Valle de Mexico tried modeling the structure in other programs, but the files were too large and could not be operated without tremendous lag.

Using the latest version of Tekla Structures allowed the team to superimpose point cloud data from Trimble RealWorks, point cloud processing and analysis software for 3D laser scanning professionals obtained with a Trimble 3D scanner. Combining the Tekla model, API, point cloud, and layout points allowed creation of a totally constructible model.

Aerial view of construction of the University of Wisconsin Music Performance Center

Multi-material winner: University of Wisconsin Music Performance Center

Entered by JMT Consultants, The University of Wisconsin Music Performance Center is a 75,000-gross-square-foot building designed to be a marquee musical performance center for University of Wisconsin – Madison students, faculty, and special guests. The building will host a 650-seat main concert hall, a 320-seat recital hall, a rehearsal room for the full orchestra, and assorted spaces for public and private administrative use.

The structure of the building is a hybrid of steel, concrete walls, and a few glulam beams. Steel framing and decking rises from the basement and supports all floors and roof areas. However, the Concert Hall is framed by 80-foot-tall walls poured with self-consolidating concrete and braces steel on all sides. Large concrete acoustical chambers also rise more than 30 feet from a supported concrete slab on the second-floor level. The roof of the Recital Hall is framed by glulam beams and wooden decking. The exterior will consist of curtainwall window systems, V-shaped precast panels, metal panels, and stone veneer.

Tight schedules and complex architectural features integrated with the structural design of multiple materials presented an issue that would not have been as successful without the use of BIM. Having steel, concrete, and rebar accurately detailed within one model, with the use of Tekla Structures, made coordination simple and easy. Throughout the course of the project, design obstacles were overcome by performing model reviews containing all building components of the structure, allowing clashes and design issues to be found and solutions to be applied quickly, which was key to keeping the project on schedule.

Utilizing Tekla Structures to work from one intelligent model with steel, concrete rebar and allowing construction data to be easily extracted was key to the success of this project. Trimble Sketchup was used for complex shapes such as decorative precast panels, to be easily modeled and brought into the Tekla model, saving time and increasing the accuracy of these components.

Multiple disciplines working on the same Tekla model simultaneously was essential to keeping the project on schedule and ensuring all components would fit together as designed when assembled onsite. Accurately modeling and detailing decorative precast panels, cast-in-place concrete, rebar, embedded steel, structural steel, miscellaneous steel, and acoustical elements in one model made coordination much easier.

Architect’s rendering of Nestle USA Headquarters monumental stair

Small Project winner: Nestle USA Headquarters Monumental Stair

Nestle USA Headquarters Monumental Stair is a small, yet very complex project. This project contains a challenging compound curve shape (oval staircase) with lighted plate railings covering the entire stair frame.

Project contains a challenging compound curve shape with lighted plate railings.

The unique nature of the inner guarding on the stair as it slopes to the vertical, as well as being curved in plan to follow the helical shape, presented challenges. The painted 14GA carbon steel cladding ribbed with 3/16-inch-thick laser-cut steel cladding and rail support paired with illuminated handrails and stair underside cladding that follows the bottom slope of the stringer makes it even more interesting, if not daunting.

Crystal Steel provided full shop drawings and machine data to its workshop to provide all stringers, treads, glass and stainless-steel guarding, cladding, grab rails, and brackets, all fully modeled in Tekla and verified by BIM interface with the client.

The unique nature of the inner guarding on the stair, as it slopes to the vertical, as well as being curved in plan to follow the helical shape, added to the complexity of the project, but with the use of Tekla Structures, it was never impossible.

The project comprised 25 tons of steel, 1,863 square feet of glass in 233 panels, and 3,637 square feet of stainless-steel cladding.

Tekla Structural Designer winner: Cincinnati Tennis Center Court South

Located at The Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, the new 40,000-square-foot South Building stands 104 feet tall. BDMD Architects planned and designed the building and Lawson Elser (LEI) provided structural engineering services on the project.

The multi-material building stands atop 70 drilled-shaft foundations that are 30 feet deep in the soil. The building rises from the ground on 22 cast-in-place concrete columns. The precast seating facing the center court is supported by four cast-in-place concrete raker beams. To handle the gravity load from the seating, these raker beams were supported by prestressed concrete beams at the top and bottom. These prestressed beams span 95 feet, allowing for an unobstructed view for the 252 air-conditioned box seats below.

Lindner Family Tennis Center’s new 40,000-square-foot South Building

The building has slabs on metal deck typically at every floor supported by a beam girder system. Level four and five are supported by steel structure. The building has two steel trusses that span 95 feet, giving a clear floor span at the fourth and the fifth floors. The canopy on the building comprises five steel trusses that cantilever over the box seats by 30 feet and gives the building its height of 104 feet above ground. The building is primarily supported against lateral wind and seismic loads by three concrete elevator shafts.

This project had a strict schedule for construction — between the end of the 2017 tournament and the start of the 2018 tournament. The complexities in the geometry and a plethora of materials and construction techniques used in the construction only added to the challenge. With a thorough comparison of analysis and design tools, LEI chose Trimble’s Tekla Structural Designer for its capability of integration with Revit and the ability to design both concrete and steel together.

Use of BIM and Tekla Structural Designer allowed the team to efficiently visualize, create information-rich models, and design a building of this complex nature. Existing conditions altered the geometry of the building, which caused challenges during construction. However, LEI was able to easily modify the BIM and Tekla models to re-analyze and compare the impact on the original design intent.

LEI engineers used Tekla Structural Designer to efficiently manage the project and save time by not having to switch between multiple software programs to design steel and concrete separately. The software’s ability to compute wind and seismic loads were crucial time-saving tools. The software had the ability to perform FEM analysis along with grillage chase-down, which gave LEI a great deal of control over design and analysis of the model. The capability to perform analysis by floor is a great tool, especially when a model has multiple levels.

Tekla Structural Designer offered collaboration between involved parties, including architects, technicians, and fabricators. Its integration with Revit helped LEI import the geometry from the architect’s model and, after analysis and design, import the information back into Revit. This prevented the loss of vital design data while going back and forth between programs.

Tekla Structural Designer’s user interface was intuitive, user friendly, and easy to pick up; this was LEI’s first project working with the program.

The $25 million project included 420 tons of steel, 111,744 cubic feet of concrete, and 15 pieces of precast concrete tiered seating.

Information provided byTrimble (www.trimble.com), producer of Tekla software (www.tekla.com). View all of the 2018 Tekla North America BIM Award entries at www.tekla.com/us/bim-awards/projects.