How Layton Built Tech Success at a Private University
The Layton Way consists of delivering predictable outcomes to create growth and long-term relationships with customers who want quality and real value. We pride ourselves in delivering predictability within all aspects of our work.
A recent exemplary display of these types of differentiating efforts is our use of technology and incorporation of BIM 360 into an ongoing project at a private university in Nashville, TN, to have access to data in real-time throughout the construction process.
Together with our building partner, RC Mathews, we have been contracted to be part of the $616 million capital project encompassing a total of four buildings and neighborhood beautification in the surrounding areas. RC Mathews completed the first residential college in mid-2018. Currently, we are completing the first of the three additional residential colleges and have ongoing infrastructure work in the surrounding neighborhood.
We wanted to take advantage of RC Mathews’ lessons learned from such a unique and “outside of the box” project. While wrapping up their project last year, their same project management team and some of their field supervision joined our team onsite at the campus residential housing and began attending meetings to share their insight. They have helped us work through constructability issues and raised awareness of potential roadblocks in an effort to mitigate delays and be more proactive on the rest of the project.
The neighborhood beautification project is ongoing alongside the construction of the residential colleges. This project encompasses six square blocks directly south of the residential colleges’ construction. It includes concrete underground duct bank installations through eight streets and roads of the neighborhood which moves both electrical power and the university’s low volt cabling off overhead poles and puts them underground. This includes outside vendor low voltage cabling such as AT&T and Comcast. The hot and chilled water piping is also being installed from the central plant through the neighborhood to service the new residential colleges.
Tremendous communications efforts have been established to help streamline how issues, progress and interruptions are announced in a timely manner. This includes weekly project-specific reports that go out to all university executives and leadership along with the implementation of a Layton-based project website, which includes weekly updates every Friday for students and the public on the status of the project and any upcoming milestones.
The project has been designed to match the historic Gothic architecture of the campus, with aligns well with the look of the surrounding 100+ year-old buildings. A lot of intricate carved stone encompasses the exterior and as a result the team has encountered a variety of challenges in scheduling, masonry detailing, and site constraints alongside the zero-lot line of the project site. In addition, the work must be accomplished throughout the school year without interrupting students and their ability to study or access necessary technology towards their education such as internet, electricity, and other infrastructure components that can be compromised during active construction.
Students have move-in/ move-out deadlines for each semester, presenting a tight time-frame for project milestones and overall completion. Sequencing of the exterior skin requires a-typical sections to be completed first, meaning that a masonry wall with a roof tie-in must be completed first before the roof deck to accelerate dry-in.
The exterior skin makes up most of the critical path on the overall project timeline with masonry work finishing very close to project completion and, as a result, the task requires great coordination during phasing to ensure it remains on schedule.
Building Information Modeling ( BIM) coordination has been a critical piece in the success of this project. Randy Christiansen, Layton BIM Manager, has worked very closely with the design team from the beginning of the project to coordinate and finalize early start areas while the design was being completed. He, along with the site management team, had the opportunity to review and comment on progressive early release drawing packages and help the design team work out issues during preconstruction that helped provide quick decisions under a tight timeframe. For instance, the team had to quickly design an underslab water drainage system that was not able to be done until they reached the bottom of excavation. Because of BIM, the team was able to observe existing conditions and then design the system around the other underslab MEP rough-ins that were already beginning to be installed.
To date, the team has had around 250 documented RFI’s discovered through BIM coordination instead of finding them in the field.
There is very limited space onsite for material storage and equipment setup, and virtually no room from the sidewalks to the building l ine off the roads adjacent to the project. It is also along a state highway with a major thoroughfare to downtown Nashville and 25 th Avenue— the main road leading to a Level 1 Trauma Center and the Nashville area’s key healthcare facility for helicopter transport for major life and death issues.
To pour out the concrete structure, both main roads would be regularly interrupted, making this issue one of the largest logistical challenges on a daily basis for the first 45 percent of the project schedule. Much of the neighborhood in the adjacent blocks around the new residential towers house much of the Greek life for the campus. To keep the public aware of the constantly changing construction landscape, the team updates a project specific website weekly on current activities, road/ walkway closures, progress photos and more. It includes links to a live webcam and 360° panorama.
The use of prefabricated components where possible has also helped with our logistical constraints for the project. The electrical trade partner used prefabricated racks of underground conduit stub-ups in the electrical rooms and there are several large masonry chimneys that will be prefabricated on the ground and set in place which, as a result, will reduce the time the roof is left open by several weeks.
The team is currently evaluating opportunities for other prefabrication methods for project elements such as roof dormers to help with both schedule, tight site, and to reduce disruption to students.
To help reduce risk and delays with the masonry instillation, Picco Engineering - a specialized engineering firm from Canada - was hired by our masonry trade partner to detail the carved stone pieces and coordinate structural anchoring systems to avoid clashes and miscuts in the field utilizing our BIM models.
BIM 360 has allowed our team to share, view, mark up and manage construction documents such as drawings, relevant information and models all in one place and accessible at any time. We, along with the project team and subcontractors, currently utilize them as a central file location for the as a central file location for the most recent construction documents and design files from programs such as Revit and computer-aided design (CAD).
The construction drawings for this project of the residential collage alone contains over 800 sheets. When calculated, the printing invoice for two full-size and half-size sets was just over $ 3,000. With a design that was continuously going to evolve, our team knew we had to rely on a more paperless data source to keep up with these constant changes while having a reliable location to always look for the latest information.
BIM 360 Field provided us with this capability and is being used by Layton supervisors for quality control checks and issue tracking, safety reports, and document review. These types of savings multiplied over the four-year lifespan of the job not only helps reduce costs on a tightly-budgeted project but helps us remain sustainable and enhance our lean efforts as a company philosophy.
This project has proved to be every bit as challenging as expected from the beginning, and in some ways, even more so. However, our team onsite was not only prepared with well-managed operations but has taken this as an opportunity to show Layton’s efficiencies and as leading builders while maintaining our values in constructing with integrity. We have been able to use BIM 360 to plan out complex sequencing while tackling numerous constructability issues and navigating sensitive logistical issues. BIM 360 helped our team stay in tune with each other as a team with a goal to even further enhance communication.
Despite the challenges, our team has managed to stay on schedule with our architect and project team members, and the owner is happy with the progress and flow of the job.
They have experienced zero coordination issues in the field because of the proper and specific use of BIM modeling up front prior to the commencement of installations in the field. The first of the three buildings program costs $156,000,000 with the neighborhood beautification and infrastructure addition piling on an extra $30,000,000. The team has been consistently pushed to make cuts where they can in order to sustain an outdated budget. As a result of using BIM, the team was able to report to the university that they did not have any design or coordination cost issues. For any field operations leaders, in either project management or superintendents, having this confidence that BIM modeling will ensure coordination reviews and detection executed on paper prior to field installations without issues has proven to be invaluable.
Layton’s Future Plans with Autodesk
While Autodesk has been rolling out major upgrades to the BIM 360 platform over the last year or two, internally we have been holding off on releasing these features company- wide to ensure full adaptation that aligns with our promise to deliver predictable outcomes. This transition promises to make a big improvement to how data is managed and streamlined. In coming updates, “issues” will be linked to markups on drawings and views in models. Model Coordination will replace BIM 360 Glue, and Build will replace Field.
Look out for these updates and more throughout the end of 2019.
About Layton Construction
Layton Construction Company is consistently ranked among the top commercial contractors in the nation, currently the 44th largest builder on ENR’s Top 400 Commercial Contractors list, with revenues of $1.8 billion annually. Layton specializes in construction management, design-build construction and general contracting. Layton’s construction projects are found throughout the United States, and cover a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including healthcare, hospitality, education, office buildings, manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, sports and entertainment and public safety. Headquartered in Utah, Layton also has regional offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, and Tennessee.