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General Contractor Achieves Award-Winning Construction Project Results with ARCHICAD

Holder Construction unifies team and avoids costly conflicts with BIM

Boston, MA - March 27, 2008 - Opening this month, the Aquarium Hilton Garden Inn in Atlanta will showcase how general contractors can use Building Information Modeling (BIM) to enhance project teamwork, build faster and avoid costly change orders and field conflicts.  

Atlanta-based general contractor Holder Construction made it easy for its partners to utilize BIM throughout the award-winning, $46 million project. Holder created 3D architectural, structural, and mechanical models in ARCHICAD from various 2D drawings provided by the architect, engineers and trade contractors. This approach enabled project team members to work with traditional CAD software they already had and knew, while reducing the risk that comes with using 2D documents among partners.

Image courtesy of
Stevens & Wilkinson Stang & Newdow, Inc.

Through frequent 3D coordination sessions, the project team was able to quickly identify and resolve field conflicts, saving more than $800,000 in extras and avoiding months of potential delays from collisions. The non-BIM-savvy partners were able to visualize Holders' model using a free NavisWorks model viewer.

"The collaborative 3D sessions improved communications and trust between the various stakeholders and enabled us to make rapid changes in the early phases of the project," said Paul Hedgepath, Senior Engineer - Building Information Modeling, Holder Construction. "The team could now see, walk through and engage in the model collectively to understand the design and construction better. The spaces they designed and approved with 2D drawings and static renderings now could be experienced in an active 3D model."

For example, common beams between the hotel and parking deck presented difficult formwork challenges since the two structures had different floor to floor heights, as well as a ramped parking deck adjacent to the flat floor hotel. "By isolating these beams in the model, we were able to visualize and share this information with the trade contractors, which assisted in formwork logistics planning," said Hedgepath.

Holder and the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection trade contractors were able to coordinate in a 3D virtual environment prior to the installation of work. This accelerated the coordination process by quickly identifying routing conflicts to the team. These sessions provided instant visualization of the placement elevations of MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) components that would have otherwise only been discovered by lengthy calculations between trade 2D elevation notations.

"The relatively few architectural adjustments we have had to make on this project due to conflicts with MEP routing have alone been worth the BIM effort," said David A. Deis, Senior Project Architect - Stevens & Wilkinson Stang & Newdow, Inc.

Serving as the BIM creator, integrator and manager, Holder modeled the structure, skin, MEP systems and interior finishes in ARCHICAD. The model was used by the owner, architect, preconstruction team and field team during all phases of the project. The ARCHICAD model seamlessly integrated with NavisWorks to enable the team to identify 590 collision conflicts.

During the design development phase, for instance, the 3D model revealed several concrete beams protruding through finished ceilings. The 3D visualization of these design conflicts was supportive to the design process. The team addressed and resolved the issues quickly, without incurring any costs or schedule delays.

Holder Construction won the 2007 Construction Best Information Technology Solutions (BITS) Award from the Associate General Contractors of America for the most innovative use of technology to solve a particular business problem.