Tetra Tech

Tetra Tech delivers water treatment plant $15M under budget with 3D modeling


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As a leading provider of consulting and engineering services worldwide, California-based Tetra Tech is home to technical experts in the areas of science, research, engineering, construction, and information technology. Tetra Tech’s innovative, sustainable solutions help clients address their water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development challenges, while its deep-seated commitment to safety is at the forefront of every project.

Tetra Tech has two concurrent goals moving forward: to implement a “customer first” approach and to become a technology leader in its industry. The company wanted to find ways of driving customer satisfaction by engineering a better project starting with the design phase.

Photo courtesy of Tetra Tech.

Using 3D modeling to drive customer satisfaction

During discussions between the customer and its account team, a strategy began to take shape. Leveraging its understanding of Tetra Tech’s core principles, strengths, and areas of focus, Autodesk could drive the direction required by the solution, while building upon the customer’s goals.

Working together, Tetra Tech and Autodesk reviewed methods, workflows, and technology— they determined that a 3D modeling initiative to ensure higher quality design was key to driving both customer satisfaction and retention. To reinforce this determination, they chose to pilot the concept on a current project—the Huntsville Utilities Southeast Water Treatment Plant. The design team introduced Autodesk Civil 3D and Revit, to the process, utilizing the technologies to examine the near-final work already produced in AutoCAD.

Photo courtesy of Tetra Tech.

Enabling success

Using Autodesk Civil 3D and Revit allowed the team to:

  • Migrate all the existing design work to 3D models in less than two weeks.
  • Uncover both major and minor errors and omissions by examining the 3D models.
  • Incorporate the necessary adjustments with a simple procedure.
  • Create photorealistic renderings of exterior and interior spaces for use in conflict resolution.
  • Achieve an unprecedented level of detail—compared to past projects.


As a result of this pilot, the Huntsville Utilities Water Treatment Facility realized several key benefits that demonstrate Tetra Tech’s customer-first strategy through the quality of its products and services. Tetra Tech’s customer received the following valuable benefits:

  • A construction schedule that was completed 12 months ahead of projections.
  • A winning construction bid of $15M below the engineer’s estimate ($85M vs. $100M).
  • A clear vision and understanding around product quality between Tetra Tech’s client and contractor.
  • Less than 0.5% design related change orders.

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