Building with a Digital Advantage

Building with a Digital Advantage
There’s no doubt that the stakes are getting higher in the construction industry. Projects are becoming more complex, schedules more accelerated, and skilled talent more difficult to find.

In this environment, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), Building Information Modeling (BIM), and other advanced construction technologies are emerging as key differentiators to safely deliver on project goals. When you can build a structure before ever breaking ground, you’re better able to anticipate and control the factors that affect schedule, budget, and quality of work.

Building Virtually with VDC/BIM Technology
Every delay in the field increases risk to schedule, budget, safety, and quality targets. Building a virtual model during preconstruction gives project teams the ability to uncover and solve potential issues during the planning phase, when it’s more cost-effective to make changes.

At Baker, we use BIM for much more than creating an image of the finished structure. Our teams rely on BIM capabilities to break the structure down and analyze complex areas as well as to plan sequencing and phasing. Virtual models are even used to make decisions about such factors as site logistics, crane layout, and deliveries and staging. Those same models are used throughout construction phases to help decision-making and to confirm the strategy.

Integrating 4D Scheduling and Drone Mapping
4D scheduling and drone mapping offer two more powerful methods for reducing risk. 4D scheduling enables project teams to visualize workflows; drone mapping provides accurate, real-time data on everything from property lines to adjacent building heights. Merging the schedule and drone view with the Revit model gives our teams an interactive tool for reviewing pour sequences, critical trade paths, crane placement, potential hazards, and other key decision points.

Creating 3D Printed Models
3D-printed models provide yet another way for project teams to create and study the structure before getting into the field. Baker teams have used 3D models to work through particularly challenging design issues. For example, models have been used to phase a project based on floor sequence and to show how formwork can be efficiently and cost-effectively stacked and broken down. On One River North, a 16-story residential tower in Denver, Colorado, the project team used a fully integrated model as a contract document. The model was integral to determining layout techniques for the façade, which incorporates a fully landscaped canyon into the design.

Capturing Details with 3D Scanning
3D scanning uses tools such as laser scanners and photogrammetric reality capturing to collect existing conditions and as-built construction in a digital environment. This data can then be used to build a detailed digital model of the structure or jobsite. Baker teams will use 3D scanning to compare what is being or has been built against what is planned. It is a key tool used by Baker’s Renovation Solutions group to identify risks and collaborate on solutions before launching a renovation project.

Improving Client Satisfaction with Smarter Structures
Many firms outsource their VDC and BIM capabilities. At Baker, we keep all modeling in-house to maintain greater control over timing and quality of the modeling process. Our VDC specialists understand how structures are built and are equipped to flag potential issues while building models. This knowledge serves as an extra layer of quality control and reduces the risk of information falling through the cracks.

In addition, maintaining in-house digital construction capabilities allows for quicker turnaround when adjustments are required. A task that might take a few hours to execute in-house could require days or weeks for a third-party provider, depending on their workload. We have greater control over the schedule, reducing the risk of delays.

Not all Baker projects rely on every one of these tools, but technology is fully integrated into our processes. For our teams, it’s not about using advanced construction technologies as a “wow” factor. Our goal is to provide more confident, collaborative, and smarter decisions based on accurate data. It’s one more advantage we bring to our clients, so they are better positioned to deliver on their promises.