To finish up the fall semester, second-year students in the Building Construction Science Program enjoyed learning about construction management at three site tours in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with their studio instructor, Chris Monson, associate professor.
The first project was a new sanctuary building being built by JohnsonKries Construction Company for the parish of St. Francis of Assisi.
Two other projects were visited on the campus of the University of Alabama: the National Water Center and the fourth phase of the Science and Engineering Complex.
The National Water Center is a joint venture by Triune/Beck of Dallas, Texas, and is being delivered as a design-build project. The large poured-in-place concrete foundation walls were toured as workers were finishing the preparations for basement slab pours.
The Science and Engineering Complex Phase 4 is the last – and most complicated – building in a series of projects for the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering. Built by Doster Construction of Birmingham, Ala., the laboratory research building was designed to include state-of-the-art mechanical and technology support systems for advanced engineering research.
Students got to see the BIM digital model where every building system had been placed – sometimes with tolerances of less than an inch –to detect clashes and serve as a management tool for subcontractor installation. The extreme difficulty of the systems construction was evident inside the ongoing building site work.
Students toured the large clean room, learned from the specialty subcontractor about the increasing levels of cleanliness required for the installation, and saw how the subcontractor used the BIM model on an iPad in the clean room to virtually check mechanical component installation.
Students also go to view the huge mechanical equipment and ductwork located in the building’s penthouse that was required to support the dozens of specialty research laboratories.
Throughout the tour, Assistant Project Manager Andrew Pitts and a number of his colleagues gave detailed explanations about how Doster’s use of BIM made construction management on such a complex project much easier and cost effective.