Trimble’s Constructible Process, allows you to build beyond BIM

Harsh Pareek, Regional Sales Director, India and SAARC, Trimble Solutions
Harsh Pareek, Regional Sales Director, India and SAARC, Trimble Solutions, discusses Trimble’s prowess in designing, planning and building virtual structures from high-rise to railway infrastructure and bridges, with Maria R.

How can the construction industry benefit by adopting building technologies that span all stages of construction - from design to operations?

Today, around the world, poor productivity is the biggest challenge for the construction industry. This reality is not only seen in developing countries but even in mature markets in the West. An analysis of labor productivity trends in the US indicated that in the last 50 years, productivity has remarkably declined for the construction industry, while it has more than doubled in other (non-farm) industries. Technology is a proven catalyst for productivity gains in other industries, but on the contrary, construction still largely depends on manual or paper-based processes. And so, adoption of technology across all stages of construction is vital to boost productivity, improve margins and the brand equity of construction companies.

Chenab bridge

Recently, a study on the engineering and construction industry in the US has revealed that across projects: 10% of materials are wasted; 30% of all construction is rework; 40% of jobsite work is unproductive; 40% of projects are over budget; 90% of projects are late, and only 40% of occupied buildings are utilized. We believe technology can mitigate or remove several of these inefficiencies across all stages of construction – from design to operations. Modern software and other tech tools can ensure greater accuracy in all stages of planning and construction, so that projects are finished on time and within the intended budget.

What technological solutions for construction lifecycle does Trimble provide?

Our technological solutions streamline and enhance efficiencies across stages of construction. For example, in the design stage, architects and engineers can use Trimble’s SketchUp Pro and Tekla Structures to create 3D BIM models that functions as a centralised, digital representation of all-important information related to the project, enriched with manufacturer-specific data, calculation parameters, and even maintenance details.

This same information can then be passed on to the next stage, enabling engineers and fabricators to streamline actual processes of fabrication, erection and construction management, regardless of complexity. A well-designed 3D constructible model with the right information speeds up the building process and saves time and reduces wastage on site.

Software like Tekla Structures and Vico Office also help visualize the true scope and context of schedule line items, material ordering, payment requests, and the objects that other project parties create. These tools can thus be used for managing the entire process from supply to installation, including erection sequencing, schedule and reporting. Additionally, one can simulate and calculate any changes to the installations in the 3D model before applying them. Ultimately, the construction industry is advanced with improved quality, increased profits, minimum errors and reduced risks.

Trimble connect

How can such disruptive technologies facilitate ease of construction, improve quality, and bring cost benefits to project owners?

No project can be truly successful until and unless there is sufficient focus on the content in the construction process. Improved communication and enhanced flow of information leads to greater efficiencies, superior quality and higher performance. Today, more than ever before, technology plays a fundamental role in how we conceptualize, design, build, and make use of the buildings. A perfect example is the expanding role of BIM to Constructible BIM in each stage of the construction process.

With constructibility at the core, a constructible BIM model created with Tekla Structures is the single go-to resource for all construction-related documents, processes, and communications. Everyone involved in the project thus has access to up-to-date information such as drawings, schedules, job information, reports – and can provide their own real-time input and updates as they work. Hence, all the stakeholders are connected and content-enabled all the time.

This way, one can ensure the original design concept is faithfully maintained while adjusting to real-world constraints, such as problems that could not be foreseen at the architectural stage, or in-the-moment adaptations based on the kinds of scheduling or supply complications that will always plague large construction projects.

With adequate focus on the content, a construction project is able to move forward smoothly and efficiently without sacrificing the form or function of the design. Even the optimization of energy, space usage, and other factors can be studied and experimented with via the models first to avoid costly trial and error, saving time and money.

Once the construction process is over and the building is occupied, the ongoing maintenance of its internal systems is easier as all the information is available in the form of highly-detailed models that have been updated to as-built specifications. Also, future remodels, upgrades and reconfigurations can be more effectively planned and carried out by relying on as-built models and data from constructible content.

Ultimately, the content-enabled focus has tremendous benefits for architects, engineers, contractors and even the facility managers and owners, both before and after the construction process. The value is extended to every aspect of a building’s lifecycle, from refining various phases of the construction to increasing efficacy of every professional working on it.

What are Trimble’s most recent techno- logies for the construction industry, especially for high-rise buildings?

IoT is an often-referred buzzword in recent times, and IoT is all about sensors connected to the Internet and transmitting continuous data for better decision-making. In the construction industry, while this is commonly referred to as telematics, it means that any object or machine component can have sensors installed to monitor operating conditions, performance levels and/or physical states of buildings. Trimble’s technologies are uniquely positioned to leverage IoT across various industries, including construction, especially tall and complex structures.

Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) mark the beginning of a new era of visually immersive technologies and are an important next step in digitization of the construction industry. Using MR, its possible to plan a project and significantly reduce costs while delivering other positive outcomes that lead to better construction.

Tekla Structures

A recent addition to the Trimble portfolio is the newly introduced Tekla PowerFab, its next-generation software suite for steel fabrication management. Designed exclusively for steel fabricators, the suite delivers a smooth, continuous and real time flow of information throughout the project lifecycle.

At the core of Tekla PowerFab is Tekla EPM (formerly FabSuite management information system), which boasts of proven success among Trimble customers in North America. By combining Tekla EPM with Tekla Structures and the Trimble Connect collaboration platform, Tekla PowerFab automates the fabrication management process. The solution gives project teams visibility into the status of components at every stage—from model-based estimating to site delivery—so they can work together seamlessly for more efficient workflows and cost savings.

From truly constructible Building Information Modeling (BIM) through tools like Tekla Structures, analysis and design tools like Tekla Structural Designer to cloud-enabled collaboration tools like Trimble Connect and project management software like Vico Office. Constructibility, through connected, content-enabled and constructible BIM is driving the increasingly complex design and construction of complex structures, including skyscrapers, as architects, engineers, and contractors use Trimble software to manage the entire construction workflow, saving time and money, enhancing communication, and reducing waste. Projects get delivered in time, safely, and on budget.

Tekla PowerFab Workflow

Trimble has entered the Railway and Metro segments in India: what technological transformations do you envisage for these transportation systems?

Indian Railways is undergoing a major transformation in order to serve a growing population with high-speed, safe, comfortable and efficient transportation. It has already outlined a plan to invest ₹8.56 lakh crore in the five years leading to 2022. Of this investment, ₹127,000 crore has been set aside for safety, and ₹5,000 crore for IT and research. The railways have also launched an ambitious ‘zero fatality’ safety initiative with the goal of reducing railway accidents by 66%, earmarking ₹7,500 crore for this initiative.

India currently has 10 operational metros in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore; while over two dozen projects are in various stages of planning or construction for cities like Pune, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada, Indore, Patna, Kanpur and Varanasi.

At Trimble, we firmly believe technology will play a major role in the continuing expansion and transformation of India’s rail and metro networks. Trimble’s Railway solutions use integrated processes and workflows for complete railway infrastructure and asset lifecycle management, from infrastructure planning, design, construction, and maintenance phases, to the operation, maintenance, and repair of rail transport assets. The solutions streamline operations to keep projects on time and costs on target; thus enabling India’s metro and railways to meet their expansion and transformation goals on time, and within budget.

Trimble’s products are in use with several rail and metro projects across India. Trimble’s GEDO trolley for example, is used for Hyderabad and Chennai Metro Rail projects, for checking the parameters of track and to enhance the quality of track installation. The GEDO trolley allows parameters to be checked at every inch of the track before it is fixed, unlike the conventional method of manual checking which was done at about 4-meter intervals. This augments the quality of track and minimizes the corrections that would be otherwise required.

Trimble’s industry-leading construction modelling software Tekla Structures is being used for design and construction of the soon-to-be-opened Chenab bridge in Kashmir, which is the highest railway bridge of its type anywhere in the world.

What is Trimble’s offering to optimize efficiency and safety?

Indeed, safety is one of the biggest priorities for the Indian Railways and Trimble’s portfolio of railways operations and monitoring solutions, as a key component of our asset management solution, allows railways to monitor track and wagon performance on a real-time basis and get real-time diagnostics, which can not only reduce downtime, but go a long way in preventing derailments that make up more than 50 percent of all railway accidents in India.

For a project to be successful, a highly efficient and streamlined construction process is of utmost importance, and this circles back to using technology in all stages of the construction lifecycle. As an example, Trimble’s CrewSight™ software combines jobsite access control with your worker database for increased control and site security.

From traditional to constructible, how is BIM impacting the construction processes?

The global construction industry now firmly believes that Building Information Modeling (BIM) makes planning, construction, and building operations significantly easier and more efficient. However, only recently it has realised the full potential of BIM in the most crucial phase, which is actual construction.

In fact, the construction industry has realized that the actual constructability of a BIM model is an important determinant of success. In other words, only when a BIM model is truly constructible, does it unlock the true value of BIM in making the construction teams more productive and the process more efficient. Hence, the industry is now witnessing a rapid transition from traditional BIM to Constructible BIM.

In simple terms, a 3D Building Information Model is termed constructible only if it is equipped with enough detail or information that can be applied during actual construction. The ‘design BIM models’ and ‘constructible BIM models’ differ on the level of accuracy, development and richness of detail present in the model itself.

The term ‘constructible’ thus defines the ease and efficiency with which structures can actually be constructed from a mere 3D BIM. A constructible model is far superior to the traditional BIM as it allows designers, engineers and contractors to streamline their processes and improve efficiency and productivity throughout the project lifecycle.

Applying the principle of constructability to a BIM, architects and engineers can ensure that the design and fabrication are completely flawless. MEP contractors can use this model to reduce data capture overheads. It also helps reduce construction costs, increase construction speed and efficiency, minimize construction waste and increase sustainability over a building’s lifetime. This is why it becomes imperative for the industry to adopt Constructible BIM.

Apart from streamlining the construction processes, constructible BIM goes a step further and also provides owners or managers of buildings with useful data related to various building components. Facility managers get access to real-time information about the services or equipment installed in the building; and they can make accurate assessments of the condition of such assets, how the building operates and where efficiencies can be made, which in turn enables better operations and utilisation of assets.

Therefore, firms that build and share constructible models add tremendous value to their projects and ultimately to their bottom line, through better designs, enhanced collaboration, better cost management, less waste and increased jobsite efficiencies. They also have delighted clients, and create more repeat business and referrals.

Tekla Structures

Please tell us about one of the most challenging and critical projects undertaken by Trimble?

The Chenab Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir is the world’s highest railway bridge slated to be opened possibly by the end of 2019. The harsh terrain and severe climate meant that its construction faced several challenges including schedule compliance, technical excellence, and logistical management. Beyond the obvious geographical challenges, the project contained approximately 25,000 tons of steel detailing; the management of which was a hugely demanding task.

Recognising the enormous complexity of the project, the engineering and construction teams used Tekla Structures from the very beginning. All structures, temporary cables and related anchoring towers were modelled in Tekla Structures. BIM was also utilized on site for erection sequence planning, geometry and quality control.

With the help of Tekla Structures, the team produced tens of thousands of drawings, with members of the various parties using it daily to run files for production, management and flame cutting. The contractor on the project, Chenab Bridge Project Undertaking (CBPU), had many BIM users working on the project, and the site management used Tekla BIMsight, a professional tool for collaboration, for reviewing the model on site.

As a result, the entire construction workflow could combine models, check for conflicts and share information using the same easy-to-use BIM environment. It also enabled project participants to identify and solve issues already in the design phase before construction.

Throughout the bridge construction process, BIM proved its capabilities in various ways. Using Tekla Structures for the Chenab Railway Bridge construction made assessing information at every stage of the design project possible, while improving efficiency and productivity, and minimizing the need for rework. The Chenab Bridge project clearly demonstrated that BIM can make even a highly ambitious project less complex to design, plan and construct.

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