The Transformation Phase of Conceptualized Complex Architecture to Reality

Be it the Brooklyn Bridge or the Burj Khalifa (Dubai Tower), it is now an established fact that the fabrication work phase is an essential part of complex engineering projects. Rolling back the history of engineering activities, detailing occupies a prominent place and is a guiding path for the smooth and safe execution of installation/construction.

Previously, detailing activities were performed by hand sketching on a board. With the advancement of software technology, the detailing moved from board to computer screens with the help of building information modeling software (BIMs) like Autodesk’s AutoCAD, Bentley’s MicroStation, etc. As technology progressed, the two-dimensional (2D) detailing transitioned to a three-dimensional (3D) presentation, by leveraging 3D modeling software such as Trimble’s TEKLA, Aveva’s BoCAD, Bentley’s Structural Detailing, etc. Construction material that was previously manually fabricated, with the physical reading of 2D detailed drawings, has been replaced today by computer numeric control (CNC) machines. These CNC machines have automated the process, leading to enhancement in the precise cutting of material, optimum utilization of material, reduction in generation of structural steel waste, and so on.

Although the maturation of detailing activity is mainly due to software or machine operated fabrication works, the advancement of skill in engineering and fabrication continues to serve as the foundation for evolving the presentation of drawings/3D models and the handling, cutting, and sourcing of material using CNC machines. The detailed precision of structural steel and construction material generated from these drawings has cemented its value as a strategic step preceding, the sourcing materials for construction.

These drawings help engineers and designers to model the proposed building structure, prepare drawings and marking plans, and fabricate material accordingly. Structural detailing offers comprehensive analysis on all the required construction component specifications as translated from architectural designs and provides a virtual environment to stress analyze the intended materials as part of the structure. Creating accurate structural fabrication drawings requires a partner with long-term experience in structural engineering, design fabrication of complex architecture, advanced knowledge of material stress analysis, and expertise in engineering/structural based software.

A major challenge for a client in Singapore in constructing a sports stadium with curved structures, a dome ceiling, movable roof, and multiple assemblies was estimating the quantity of structural steel and construction material needed within each phase of the construction. With Avineon’s proven reputation for managing complex engineering support projects and strong expertise in CAD, steel detailing, and structural 3D modeling, the client reached out for support services. Avineon used Tekla to create a 3D model structure of the stadium along with connections and produced shop fabrication drawings, with the materials intended for use. The model provided detailed information on the structure of the stadium, the preparation of assembly along with the site erection, and specific part detail drawings for the project. This facilitated the fabrication of source material, using CNC machines for cutting and drilling, preparing for assembly fabrication, and minimizing on-site welding works. Overall, Avineon exceeded the client’s expectations in terms of subject matter expertise in structural engineering and planning while delivering comprehensive structural fabrication drawings within the expected timeline and budget.

Yongnam Structural Fabrication
Yongnam Structural Fabrication

3D View of Architecture

Another key challenge the client experienced was the critical need for the timely furnishing of fabrication drawings, to foster early detection of installation problems and provide local as well as global coordinates of every single part related to all aspects of the assemblies. The pool of skilled workforce available at Avineon answered the challenging requirement by leveraging technical and engineering expertise to provide additional value to the structural fabrication detailing services. The presentation pattern of local and global coordinates made by Avineon in fabrication drawings helped them to install structural steel members precisely and efficiently. This helped the client to commission the project without any hindrances and furthered the client’s relationship with Avineon.

Today a major challenge in the successful completion of any complex project is the accuracy of structural fabrication drawings, so as to reduce hindrances during the sourcing and installation of material. Even more essential is finding a partner like Avineon that has the right balance of subject matter expertise in the right engineering discipline and software knowledge to help construction companies build safe, well-analyzed structures and buildings regardless of the complexity of the architectural design.