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Tower Reaches New Heights in

AEC Excellence Awards 2017 // Construction

Image courtesy of China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd.

For China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd., BIM was integral to success on a complex tower project.

At the outset of the Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Financial Center project, the goal was set for the use of BIM with all employees, specialties, and processes. Not only that, the contract requires the delivery of BIM models to serve the operation and maintenance upon completion (in the precision of LOD500).

For the past three years, more than 100 members of the BIM team have worked and collaborated on the design and construction. Expected for completion in the fall of 2019, Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Financial Center will be a striking new landmark and integrate business and commercial space; luxury apartments; and a five-star hotel. It has a 390,000-square-meter total construction area, constituting a four-story basement, a five-story podium, and a 103-story tower, reaching a total height of 530 meters.

Complexity by the numbers

The team set out to achieve high production precision, no storage on the construction site, no rework in construction, and low cost in operation and maintenance.

In a project this size, the numbers don’t lie. BIM has helped adjust 20,000 wall layouts and more than 8,000 door heights for ceilings of different elevations and types in more than 50,000 square meters. By avoiding the modification and rework ahead of time, the project saved 30 days and $10 million RMB. With an output of nearly 4,000 drawings for the models of masonry panels, light partition walls, piping shafts, doors, and more, contractors could prepare their work precisely. This helped to cut the amount of materials needed for delivery, saving 60 days of construction work and material and labor costs of more than $14 million RMB.

Beyond the construction work, generative design was used to program and import the 3D coordinates to create an accurate façade. 14,800 pieces of façade components were finished three times faster than the typical process and ensured 100 percent accuracy.

Data is everywhere and accessible

BIM has transformed the project management of the tower. Before construction, 932 models were compressed into 12.21G and stored in an accessible, private server. The total number of models to be tracked reached 184,504 with 763,552 logistics updates.

All information—from ordering and transportation to entry, installation, and acceptance—is updated via mobile phones or iPads and stored on the BIM platform so it’s easily accessible for everyone at any time.  Currently the project has created 2,950 QR codes for major equipment and prefabrication components. By easily scanning the QR code, the status of logistics can be updated automatically, creating greater collaboration and ensuring the accuracy of data.  Approval processes are also streamlined with mobile.

Image courtesy of China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd.

“Only by using BIM and the latest technologies throughout the entire construction process, we can finish a building 530 meters in height in five years. BIM has not only changed the way we work, but also clarifies how we think about and meet new challenges.”

—Yawu Su, project manager, China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd.


Automation and virtual reality improves safety

Emerging technologies are prevalent on the construction site of the Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Financial Center. Robots are used to locate the position of pipe supports accurately, improving the speed of measurement and reducing errors during installation. Above the tower, drones fly to capture images of the construction site each day to compare and analyze the schedules within the different areas.

Through the combined application of BIM models with virtual reality devices, workers experience safety simulations about the risk of working at high heights, such as feeling the actual danger and fear when falling and working far above the ground with no protection. The scenarios also include machinery and equipment operation in order to improve their safety awareness on the construction site. In addition, virtual reality is used for the owners, designers, and construction team to visualize the interiors of the apartments and hotel and experience the different materials for décor and design.

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