Case Study | SFO International Airport Project with Hensel Phelps
As one of the largest general contractors and construction managers, and the top airport construction firm in the United States, Hensel Phelps is an industry leader in the successful delivery of projects for both the public and private sectors providing real estate development, construction, and facilities management services to support client needs.
In 2015, Hensel Phelps began work on the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Terminal 1 Center Renovation project. As a multifaceted and phased development plan, with 820,000 SF and estimated completion in 2022, the owners and facilities managers (FM) included extensive data handover mandates in the BIM execution and RFP requirements. To ensure accurate, meaningful data would be collected and checked throughout the project, Hensel Phelps turned to Invicara’s BIM Assure.
In this article, we will explore the challenges faced by the Hensel Phelps project team at SFO, and how BIM Assure has helped provide detailed and thorough data models at handover with Monty Newman and Carl Goodiel, VDC Managers at Hensel Phelps.
The workflow has become so efficient that Hensel Phelps has taken what had previously been a week’s worth of work to gather and check data for a milestone down to half a day or less.
At the onset of the project, the owners provided handover requirements that included gradual BIM data entry throughout project milestones from design development, construction documents, construction services, and finally at project completion. Typically, airports have unique data requirements – from space to safety management – creating a challenge when delivering acceptable data. With complex data expectations, delivering a complete model through manual data entry and validation is a monumental task.
In the past, Carl and Monty had entered all FM required BIM data at the end of a project. “We would do a manual process after the fact to bring the data up to speed. Part of the reason behind this was because the clients would make requests near the end of the project, and we wouldn’t know what they wanted throughout development,” explains Carl. This method of data delivery could cause major delays, Carl notes. “For a previous project, after completion, the owner requested FM data be placed into the model to integrate with their CAFM system. It took the team nearly nine months to pull together the desired data, create and edit model content where needed, and manually quality check the data that was input into the model.” This laborious process influenced Carl’s support of a gradual delivery method for BIM data.
Is it common for clients to develop BIM data requirements? “To some degree, we’re still at the beginning stages of BIM innovation when it comes to providing FM deliverables – BIM data is still a concept and isn’t yet a standard of care, like spatial coordination,” says Monty, “however, more and more RFPs are requiring ongoing data standards. As larger projects become more sophisticated, so do the model requirements. Over the past year, I have seen an increase of ongoing BIM data requirements leap from inclusion on 10% of projects to 50%.”
Hensel Phelps evaluated a number of model-based QC tools and decided that BIM Assure met the needs of their internal processes to provide high quality data to SFO. Carl was impressed with the quality of data produced by the product, and in 2016, Hensel Phelps began using BIM Assure. “Using BIM Assure has helped us be flexible in developing the data that SFO is looking for,” says Carl. “At each milestone, we deliver the models to SFO, who has their own QC process for evaluation.”
At the start of the project, Carl and Monty worked with SFO to evaluate the 80 items initially requested for BIM data handover. Together with the owner team, the group was able to narrow down the list of required assets to 63 items to eliminate extraneous elements and ensure that the FMs were getting only the most relevant, and pertinent data for their ongoing management at the project’s end. “We want to educate the client on what content to include, and why to include it, in each deliverable,” Carl explains.
The team used the Terminal 1 Center renovation as a test project for entering and validating FM data in the model. As SFO was still developing their FM expectations, the first deliverable contained a requirement to provide 19 attributes for all 63 assets. By the second deliverable, SFO had actually revised their requirement down to 14 attributes where some of those 14 were new and others were repeated from the previous requirement of 19. With BIM Assure, the project team was able to generate rules, evaluate the content, and quickly adapt to the changing requirements. So far, Hensel Phelps has completed four of the nine total milestones.
So, how does the team prepare for each milestone? About a month before a milestone deadline, Monty and Carl meet with the design, subcontractor, and trade teams responsible for the data. Together, the team breaks down the attribute data needed for the milestone. Two weeks prior to the deadline, Carl and Monty would:
- Check the models
- QC the data with BIM Assure
- Review the Revit models with the schedules
- Make mark-ups as needed and run through BIM Assure
- Note information from rules check
- Combine the models and return to design team member for updates
- Final QC before model handover with BIM Assure
Does this sound like a huge undertaking during the project? “I don’t ever want to do the FM data at the end of a project, the work we’ve done so far has been a huge time saver and the owners are very happy,” says Monty.
“Using BIM Assure helps us create a higher quality product at the end of the day, that provides long term benefits to clients. We now have processes in place and the tools to deliver high quality, usable data that add value.“
Carl Goodiel, VDC Manager, Hensel Phelps
“At first, the design and subcontractor teams were hesitant about the amount of work and effort in this process. However, once they saw the methods we used to check the content, how easy it was to enter the data with the specifically defined assets, attributes and values (which we had determined ahead of time with the help of BIM Assure), they were fully on board!” In fact, the team went from a 60-70% initial success rate at the first deliverable check to a 90% success rate for the second deliverable, making it easier to get to a 100% success rate for data quality.
“At each milestone, the team has gotten more efficient at entering the data. At first, the thought was that it would be an overwhelming task, but as we’ve progressed the process has gotten easier and easier for everyone,” says Carl. In fact, the workflow has become so efficient that Carl and Monty have taken what had previously been a week’s worth of work to gather and check data for a milestone down to half a day or less.
reduction in data management efforts
As the SFO project moves out of construction documents and into the field, the teams have more detailed content, and anticipate the continued use of BIM Assure for the embedded data of future project milestones, including construction workflows.
In terms of industry progression, Carl believes the delivery of FM data will soon become common, “An adaptable tool like BIM Assure can benefit both project teams and building owners in the long run,” he says. “Using BIM Assure helps us create a higher quality product at the end of the day, that provides long term benefits to clients. We now have processes in place and the tools to deliver high quality, usable data that adds value.”
This value-add could have an impact on entire project teams, especially when designers and subs use BIM Assure features, like slices, to enter data into the model. “Since the slices and tables in BIM Assure mimic the schedules the authoring teams are accustomed to seeing in Revit, albeit in a more concise and visually dynamic presentation, they can be more confident in what they are correcting in the BIM Assure environment and that those changes will be correctly applied back to their models,” says Carl.
How does value fit into this vision? According to Monty, “value is a concern of owners and FM. There is a perception that BIM data is great, but hard to come by and potentially expensive. However, the workflows Hensel Phelps can provide with BIM Assure actually improves the value of our deliverables.”
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