Connor Christian, John Grady, and Shannon Lightfoot, Senior BIM Technicians, McCarthy Building Companies Central Division
McCarthy serves its clients with the latest technologies to solve their toughest construction challenges. We're true builders who utilize technology to augment our hands-on experience. That combination ensures clients get greater control—from preconstruction to completion. On-time scheduling, higher quality, safer projects, and better costs are just a few of the ways customers benefit from this unique approach. McCarthy also has a nationwide network of builder specialists, yet we maintain permanent offices in local markets too. That means we deliver expert solutions leveraging national best practices, plus strong sub-contractor relationships locally to help lower client cost and drive better results. It also means we have a deeply-felt obligation to give back to the community in every city we work in from coast to coast.
As a 100% employee owned company, we are dedicated to customer satisfaction. We personally own every issue – not delegate it. We work harder to make sure clients are happy, because we have a vested interest in their success. At the end of the day, our goal is to provide our clients with the safest, highest quality project at the best final cost, every time.
Buildings and jobsites are becoming more and more congested and difficult to envision from just a set of 2D drawings. Designers and Engineers are creating structures in a 3D environment for placement in a 3D world. Building systems are rapidly evolving to implement new technologies that have not yet been implemented into construction before; resulting in challenging interfaces. It is no longer acceptable to go into a meeting with an owner with a hand-drawn site logistics plan. As a result of these challenges, McCarthy has instituted the use of SketchUp as a virtual construction tool to adapt and overcome to the challenges of the ever-evolving construction environment of the 21st century.
While working in conjunction with BSA LifeStructures this model, presented through Layout, was used to communicate the site logistics during construction.
McCarthy is committed to continuous innovative improvements to our building process. Utilizing SketchUp, our teams have been able to convey critical information in all phases from pre-construction to close-out, enhancing our Virtual Design and Construction services.
We have found that by creating a site logistics plan utilizing SketchUp, we can now show owners where we will be, and how it will impact their employees and clients.
Our field staff is now finding solutions virtually, using SketchUp for RFI’s, mock-ups, self-perform concrete, and other details.
First cost estimates were over $25,000 due to the required mechanical, electrical, fire sprinkler and IT systems which would need to be removed and re-installed along with building a new full height rated wall, 2 new rated security doors, and a rated tunnel ceiling. Using SketchUp the McCarthy teams were able to show the congestion and suggest a simpler solution, reducing owner costs by over $15,000.
By constructing this model we are able to clarify with the Architect that beams would either need to be enclosed or painted. We were able to show the cost savings of painting the beams vs. encasing in drywall.
This model, created from a simple elevation pdf, helped the owner understand how the different skin systems would look once installed.
SketchUp has also been used to create concrete lift drawings to help the trades visualize the task from start to finish – potentially catching any accidental omissions before starting actual construction.
The first step was to create the formwork components. The formwork system being used was Peri. The local Peri representative sent over drawings of the parts in their system, which we used to make the components. The program used to model was Sketchup Pro. Sketchup was used in lieu of other software so that the process of creating lift drawings could then be transferred to the field on future projects using the components made for this model. Each component was made with ease of installation in mind. Almost all of the parts created were dynamic, allowing the user to interact with and control each component easily.
Custom dynamic components allow the user to quickly select the correct form configurations
Once the formwork was created the model of each of the towers was created. Using these models, the jobsite Superintendent was consulted on pour sequence so the towers could be broken up into their respective pours. At this point the formwork was applied to each pour model using the Peri drawings as a guide. Once each pour was formed, drawings were made using Layout that showed the details for the formwork and concrete as well as all relevant details from Peri and the Contract Drawings.
Two sets of prints (one for each tower) were created and put into use on the jobsite. The drawings allowed the formwork setup to begin without delay and resulted in seamless creation of the formwork as shown in the drawings.
During the modeling process it was discovered that the initial pour sequence was not going to work. The pour sequence was changed and a series of bulkheads were worked into the model so the pours could be sequenced in the most efficient manner. This problem might not have been discovered until after the first pour was completed and some of the new concrete would have needed to be cut back. It was also discovered in the South Tower that the embeds were in the wrong location and would interfere with the slabs as they went up the tower. This is also a problem that would have only been discovered after the first two pours when the first series of embeds was already in place. Solving these problems, and the resolution of smaller problems like locating where custom made formwork, resulted in avoiding an estimated $46,000 in rework and inefficiencies.
By modeling our RFI’s, site logistics plans, building mock-ups, self-perform concrete, and many other details, we have found increased efficiency, better quality, and reduced costs. The aforementioned products have allowed us to improve our relationships with Owners, Architects and Subcontractors creating a collaborative environment that is beneficial to all parties.
As a leader in BIM technology, our vision is clear and we have been able to reduce cost by utilizing SketchUp to pass those savings onto our owners. One of the reasons SketchUp is such a powerful tool at McCarthy is the small learning curve and low cost. Most of the BIM systems out there have a larger learning curve and higher price. SketchUp’s ease of use and the availability of extensive online training, has allowed our teams to remain on-site and implement their new tools faster. SketchUp has allowed our quality department to standardize and visualize our best practices for our Building Enclosure Program, allowing these models to be used as a baseline for future projects. McCarthy holds an annual SketchUp contest throughout the company to enhance SketchUp’s use. SketchUp is now being utilized in almost every department from owner presentations to RFI’s. SketchUp has allowed us to continue to have the hands-on approach we need to be the best builder in America.