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Student Living Building, Melbourne: Precast Detailing with Tekla

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For Steel & Precast detailers of Advenser – a CAD & BIM service provider in the Global AEC industry – Tekla was a clear choice for the latest precast detailing project ‘Student Living Building’, because it met the client’s exceptional error tolerance standards for detailing accuracy

Located in Melbourne , the project involved the demolition of an existing 7 – storey building and construction of a 47-storey residential tower complex (with additional basement levels) in its place. The building structure included 763 units with several layouts, each including a kitchenette, pre-fabricated pod suites and a space for study area. Landscaped terrace areas, ground floor lobby with retail tenancies and common amenities at Level 1 were also a part of the design.

Challenges Faced During Project Execution

  • Design of Precast members was such that there were a combination of wall panels and columns of varying thickness
  • Complex design of reinforcing steel
  • Various unique and custom paint specifications had to be incorporated in panels
  • Varying elevations for the basements and Level 1 columns and shear wall
  • Panel design variation at each level, in spite of visual similarities
  • Set of 4 shop drawings for each panel along with rebar detailing, other details and color sheet
  • Frequent design revisions
  • Tight deadlines

Overcoming The Challenges With Tekla Software

Structural complexity was easily resolved by adopting Tekla Structures for modeling. When compared to other 3D software options, modeling of panels with Tekla was made possible with minimal effort, which facilitated better work coordination. For each level of modeling, detailers faced a couple of challenges such as design changes and frequent revisions. Custom building components and other macros aided in completing the task without any hassles. As the building required multi-colored panels, paint details were provided in separate shop drawings as per the client’s request. Advantages of options such as model attributes and ‘cloning’ of drawings were optimally utilized.

A total of 1,003 precast members were used for the entire project. The building also had lower level basements and shear walls with varying levels. Coordination of panels with respect to these elevated slabs presented a challenge but placement of slabs using Tekla eliminated most of the errors and coordination issues that would have otherwise arisen in the situation. Though the building created an impression that all levels were identical, in reality there was a panel design variation in each level of the building. This challenge was easily met with the help of Tekla’s advanced tools.

The next major challenge for the detailers was to create a panel with several recesses. This was easily tackled using custom components in Tekla. Initial modeling errors were kept in check by utilizing customized ‘object representation’ settings.

’Visualization’ – The BIG Tekla Advantage

The biggest advantage of using Tekla was undoubtedly the convenience of 3D visualization of the entire building that made accommodation of modifications a hassle- free task. Frequent design changes during the detailing phase was a challenge as it required corresponding regular updates in the drawings as well. However, with Tekla model modification, drawing updates were done with reduced effort in comparison with other 3D modeling options. Tekla’s custom components also provided guidance and ease of modeling tasks. In spite of regular model changes, these custom components made error-free drawing creations and updates possible.

Multiple Man- Hours Saved

The requirement for a set of 4 shop drawings per panel meant double the number of tasks compared to other precast detailing projects. However, with the help of ‘drawing clone’ property and other advanced options in Tekla, not only was this managed easily, but there was also a considerable saving in man-hours, which would not have been possible through conventional 3D techniques.

Tekla: The Software Of Choice

Detailers at Advenser opined that they had never used a software that gave them as much freedom and work satisfaction, until they got their hands on Tekla. Clash detection was easily tackled in Tekla structures and detailed material lists were extracted from shop drawings with ease.

The client already had a predefined set of standardized detailing instructions that were capable of producing drawings that were a quick-fit with fabrication shops. In the client’s own words, this enabled a smooth coordination among the various stakeholders such as engineering, procurement and fabrication units. There were no error notifications either from the fabrication shops or from the erection team at the project site after final drawing submission.


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