Every project has its own unique challenges and 100 Queens Quay is no different. Early on, Plan Group understood that we had to maximize our in-house talent and abilities.
The first challenge was geographical. Our work would have to take place on the two most congested and busiest floors of the building. The physical space available to us for material handling and lay-down was extremely limited. The second challenge we identified was a human one. With many installations planned at heights, we needed to keep safety front and centre, from original design right through to installation.
By using BIM processes to design the modular build of the main mechanical rooms and the majority of the installation for the first and second floors, we set ourselves up for success: improving safety, reducing costs, and delivering a quality project that our client, (and Plan Group), can be proud of.
Our solution to these challenges was an integrated one. The Plan Group BIM Team worked arm-in-arm with our experienced site team on every aspect of the design, finding unique and creative ways to leverage our skills and available technology, all the while keeping the safety of our installers top of mind. We knew prefabrication and an assembly line installation process would be the best solution given our geographical challenges, so the integrated team went to work. First, the team designed steel racks which optimized material and installation for duct, piping and electrical. Our design accounted for varying support requirements, while satisfying the dimensional constraints of a standard transport truck.
Most of the items in these areas would be prefabricated in a controlled environment, as either suspended racks, or floor-mounted equipment skids. By pre-assembling modular racks we significantly reduced manpower during a time when union halls are stretched thin, material handling and the required lay-down area on a job site with limited space, and the amount of time installers are required to work at double height floors; therefore, decreasing the safety risk of the project.
Then, the team developed a just-in-time delivery, lift-to-install logistics plan that ensures the modules can be landed and placed safely and quickly. With the assistance of the Robot Total Station technology concrete embedded supports inserts have been strategically placed to take into account all architectural and structural elements along the path.
The use of BIM technologies (including Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, BIM Track, Trimble Field Points and SysQue) made these plans possible, from design and coordination to producing accurate and issue free assembly and spools drawings. Additionally, BIM technology allowed for seamless collaboration between team members in different geographical locations; a big advantage for companies like Plan Group who operate across Canada.
Plan Group was in charge of the overall multi-trade BIM coordination for the project. With our main challenges in mind, we developed two solutions for improving our internal collaboration on the project. To start, we implemented an issue tracking system that was available on multiple BIM platforms and accessible anywhere, including web based or mobile. This way we have kept all of our teams informed of our progress at all times and able to respond in real time. We also created families that best suited our needs. For example, we created families for mechanical equipment and accessories that would show the power, data or fire alarm requirements, making it easy for the electrical team to complete their layouts during the coordination process. We also created families that contained location points or location point markers for point easy extraction and fast location on site.
The solutions used on this project decreased the issue response times between BIM teams from approximately 1 week down to just 2 days and improved coordination between our mechanical and electrical teams, both in the office and on site.
Using an Assembly Line Procedure is almost unheard of in our industry, but we were able to capitalize on this model to the project’s advantage. Modules and equipment skids will be assembled and tested in a controlled environment, on the ground, in similar fashion to an industrial assembly line. After assembly, piping and ducts ends are temporarily covered with a plastic sheet to prevent dust build-up or damage from debris during transport. The BIM approach allowed us to develop all fabrication and installation drawings and bills of material in record time, minimizing design quality issues and ensuring seamless collaboration between all teams involved.
Initial project forecasts estimated a project manpower peak spike when the tower, mechanical room, and Level 02 were to be in full swing, requiring 85 tradesmen; the use of modular racks has reduced this number to approximately 60. Projections put the install of the 27 mechanical room modules and the 29 L02 modules (a combined total of 3200 linear feet of duct and 7095 linear feet of pipe) at 10 days total. Less people on site in an already congested area means a larger and safer work area.
Although Plan Group is not the first company to think about pre-fabrication in construction, such initiatives are usually implemented in the initial design of the build. We took a traditional building design and pushed it further by designing modules and skids, not just in the mechanical room, but throughout the building.
Following a BIM process and BIM collaborative tools allowed us to significantly improve on time spent pre-construction and communication, reducing error and increasing precision of fabrication and install.
Our processes display, first and foremost, Plan Group’s commitment to the safety of our employers and team. By using available BIM technologies, collaborating early and often with all stakeholders, we have been able to provide a solution for our client that keeps our people safe and will result in an installation everyone can be proud of.
The Plan Group team continues to pave the way for multi-trade contractors using BIM technologies and we are committed to improving our processes. The submission is an excellent example of interoperability because of the use of multiple tools and software to aid in the constant adaptation for the project’s needs, allowing maximum efficiency through improvement in collaboration.
Plan Group is a dynamic subcontractor who believes working together makes anything possible. Using a combination of our in-house talent and the latest technologies, we transform ideas into reality.