VDC NCL, Miami, FL
As part of a joint venture with Miami-based NV2A, Haskell crews employed never-before-seen uses of virtual construction technology to drive unprecedented speed and an unmatched level of quality in creating the award-winning Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Terminal B at PortMiami.

September 28, 2022

Extensive Use of Virtual Design and Construction Saves Time, Money

Technology allows clients to see their designs come to life. It also informs projects from design through construction and prevents costly change orders.

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As a pioneer in design-build delivery, Haskell always has worked across the architectural, engineering and construction disciplines throughout the lifecycle of a project, collaborating with project owners every step of the way.

But now Haskell’s teams don’t just communicate with the owner. They show them the future, adding time and cost components to the design-build experience to produce 4D and 5D animated construction simulations.

“The reaction we get from the owner is the highlight of the meeting,” said Justin Barrette, manager of Virtual Construction at Haskell. “They are excited about the project and want to see it again and again.”

Employing the latest digital technology, Haskell’s holistic approach to project delivery comes to life using Building Information Modeling (BIM). Architects and engineers design in software systems that combine the computer-generated 3D modeling and database-driven tools of the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry with those developed in the video game industry to create and fully realize the 3D conceptual designs.

Clients see exactly what they are purchasing. They also see improved efficiency and considerable cost savings, with Haskell’s ability to downstream design model data into construction, with direct ties into estimating, scheduling, coordination, prefabrication, field layout and execution.

Leveraging BIM to its fullest potential through Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) workflows, designers, construction managers and subcontract partners can detect and resolve myriad problems during design and prefabrication, pre-empting costly delays and change orders in the field. Then, further utilizing this technology in the field execution phase, Haskell maximizes productivity and jobsite safety.

“It prevents rework from happening in the field,” Barrette said. “We look for every opportunity to prefabricate in a controlled environment.”

VDC: Virtual Design & Construction

We are all familiar with popular home remodeling television shows. Critical plotlines play out when “hidden” problems reveal themselves. VDC prevents such surprises. Through automated clash detection and virtual facility walkthroughs, significant problems are discovered well before any real work begins.

“Customers are confident in the information they are getting from us,” Barrette said.

Haskell also uses BIM and VDC when repurposing existing structures. In the past, renovation projects relied on outdated record, or “as-built,” drawings. If available at all, these original drawings often fail to reflect work done since the building was constructed.

VDC employs rapid collection of field measurements using 3D laser scanning and drones for aerial mapping. This allows Haskell to scan the job site and capture measurements, 360-degree photos and topographic contour data of the existing facility and overall site. It proves more accurate than taking multiple trips with a team of architects and engineers, capturing limited photos, sketches, and a few key measurements.

With accurate measurements, architects and engineers can create a 3D representation of the facility to enable the new design process, with or without client-provided record drawings. Customers are amazed at the detail that is achieved. Using this framework of existing conditions, designers and engineers can then explore multiple scenarios to reroute ductwork, electrical and plumbing to accommodate building changes. This allows for the best possible use of space and enhances building functionality.

Growth of BIM in the Construction Industry

Once land is cleared, the site can be staked using Robotic Total Station (RTS) layout equipment, which enables a single worker to perform layout while the robot tracks the position of the layout operator carrying the prism pole. This enables highly accurate location staking for self-perform concrete layout and quality assurance of other trades onsite, and it is done in a matter of days with greater accuracy than using traditional surveying methods. RTS pinpoints the location of such things as the placement of concrete foundations, anchor bolts for future steel column placement, underground utilities and piping penetrations.

Robotic layout technologies modernize the construction process, bridging the gap between design drawings and field execution, Barrette said.

Integrating laser scanning again during construction progress provides real-time feedback so the team to make informed decision regarding construction tolerances. Crews can immediately detect a problem – for example, if steel were installed out of tolerance prior to prefabricated glass installation – and correct it before it multiplies into a costly and time-consuming fix.

“Here at Haskell, we are always looking for creative ways to execute our work more efficiently. How can we accomplish our work more accurately in less time with less resources to maximize our efficiency?” Barrette said.

Pushing BIM To Its Limits

As part of a joint venture with Miami-based NV2A, Haskell crews employed never-before-seen uses of virtual construction technology to drive unprecedented speed and an unmatched level of quality in creating the award-winning Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Terminal B at PortMiami.

“The NV2A/Haskell Joint Venture delivered a highly complex project under challenging conditions with complete excellence,” said Pete Kinsley, President of Haskell’s Infrastructure & Transportation Delivery Group. “Innovative use of Building Information Modeling, or BIM technology, enabled us to execute with precision, speed and quality. We satisfied all primary objectives for Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as those for PortMiami.”

While many large-scale projects follow a process of planning, architectural design, engineering, detailed plans, shop drawings, field-dimensioning, fabrication, construction, etc., the JV team took a different approach, applying building information modeling (BIM) and virtual construction at an unprecedented level.

  • BIM was used for all design and trade coordination. Frequent measurement with robots, laser scanning and regular data assimilation into the model kept competing tolerances in balance and informed construction work in real-time.
  • The steel system, which comprised more than 8,000 tons of structural steel, needed to be fabricated in more than a half-dozen different shops to meet production schedules. The team reviewed the structural model daily with engineers and detailers, followed by physical inspections in the shops to confirm details, welding procedures and dimensional accuracy. This assured the precise erection of a steel structure comprising massive, atypical, radiused structural members
  • The team selected a vendor in Colombia that prefabricated the more than 100,000 square feet of curtain wall in modules directly from the BIM model rather than from measurements in the field. The modules were delivered in 12-foot-by-16-foot sections that were easily erected with glazing already installed in the frames. The real-time, hyper-accurate model saved six months of construction time.

“We definitely pushed our BIM, Reality Capture and Digital Layout capabilities to leverage our construction model – not only for coordination of the challenging building design but also for our logistics planning inside the terminal and around the site,” said Danny Parmenter, who was Haskell’s Construction Executive on the project. “We accomplished a lot of great things that would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do accurately without our technologies.”

BIM-enabled technology and VDC workflows reduce risk and keep jobs moving. Delivering work when promised builds customer confidence and further grows Haskell’s reputation as a proven industry performer.

Haskell uses virtual design and construction through all phases of the project lifecycle to maximize project efficiency. Contact our VDC team to discuss – and even virtually envision – your facility needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Building information modeling (BIM) is a process of digitally capturing and documenting the physical and functional characteristics of a facility during the design and construction process and beyond. It is a collaborative process that allows for the integration of all project participants and stakeholders. BIM can extend the three primary spatial dimensions (width, height and depth) by incorporating information about time and cost, known as 4D/5D schedule simulations, and can also extend to asset management and sustainability. It offers the ability to create and maintain highly accurate virtual representations of spatial and geospatial information, as well as quantities and properties of building components. It allows a range of collaborative processes relating to the built asset from initial planning through construction and then throughout its operational life.

VDC, or virtual design and construction, refers to the process of expertly employing technology such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Robotic Total Station (RTS), 3-D virtual scanning, aerial mapping, etc., to efficiently deliver the highest-possible built asset. This process aligns stakeholder expectations, reduces risk to overall cost and schedule due to rework, and enhances overall customer experience and satisfaction.

BIM, or Building Information Modeling, is an integrated workflow built on coordinated, reliable project information that is considered throughout planning, construction and operation. Computer-Aided Design, or CAD – refers to the use of computer systems to assist with design of construction projects. The key difference is that while CAD utilizes computers to produce 2D and 3D drawings for construction projects, BIM incorporates far more comprehensive project information for improved designs.

Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is a multifaceted process that leverages building information modeling (BIM) to its fullest potential to inform workflows, design and construction for the most efficient creation of high-quality facilities. It allows designers to detect and resolve myriad problems during design and prefabrication, preventing costly delays and change orders. It then extends to the field execution phase, maximizing productivity and jobsite safety.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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