Each day new technology and software are used to accomplish what was previously impossible. Drones fly over buildings and measure their thermal envelopes, lasers produce exact measurements of buildings, and AR/VR technologies let owners and financiers see a completed project before a single brick is even laid.
Construction software is also helping contractors to tackle difficult projects, all while saving both time and money on these jobsites. In the arid deserts of Avondale, AZ, Okland Construction Company recently used Autodesk’s multitude of solutions to complete a $178 million dollar renovation of the ISM Raceway, all while the venue was still being used for events and races. Beginning in January 2017 and ending in November 2018, the job was a daunting undertaking. Not only is it a massive project, but Okland needed to complete these renovations and additions inside an active race track and event venue. There was no closing the ISM until the work was finished; instead, the company had to tiptoe around certain parts of the racetrack.
“This project was a little more challenging than others,” said Jordan Coe, Senior Integrated Construction Coordinator at Okland Construction.
Not only did Autodesk software help keep the project on schedule with pre-fabrication and logistical challenges, it also increased the efficiency of the project through the use of AR/VR, and strengthened collaboration across key players on the project.
“It's also been a really good thing that helped us with our relationship with our client because there have been many times we've worked through some pretty complicated, aesthetic and design problems,” Coe said.
The job was an all-encompassing renovation of existing structures already in the track. The renovation will see the relocation of the start and finish line and an extension of the grandstand to 45,000 seats. In the middle of the track, the contractor built over a dozen new buildings, including a media center, garages, and first aid stations. The company is even adding a helicopter pad to the middle of the track. All this was added to the 45,000-seat venue that hosts NASCAR race weekends and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Swift collaboration and flawless efficiency were critical on such a massive jobsite, which covered hundreds of acres. The fact the ISM was still active also posed multiple challenges to crews who had to navigate around live events like the Tough Mudder competition that was scheduled during construction. In addition, there was the installation of the new leaderboard made of 125 tons of structural steel and two video boards that consisted of 1.6 million LED bulbs. Among it all, crews had to maintain the aesthetics of the grounds for media to broadcast throughout the action.
“It kind of added a different logistical layer to it where we couldn't just do what made the most sense for our schedule,” said Greg Lowe, Director of Integrated Construction at Oakland Construction.
These hurdles were overcome using Autodesk’s wide array of applications. The project’s entire civil design was completed using Autocad Civil 3D.
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“Our civil engineer did a lot of 3D underground utility model that we were able to merge with the designs in Revit,” said Lowe.
Okland also used Navisworks to combine models for constructability review and class detection. The program was also utilized to review certain aspects of the project, to see what they were going to look like, and to determine if any changes needed to be made. With the help of ReCap, the contractor did a lot of laser scanning for the project.
“I would definitely say Autodesk made us more efficient,” said Coe.
Josh Cheney, Autodesk’s Industry Manager of Construction Technology, sees Okland’s expansion and renovation of the ISM as yet another successful use case of Autodesk’s software.
“I think that the greater the challenge you can throw at us, the more Autodesk is going to throw down and try to work with our customers on it,” said Josh Cheney, Autodesk, Industry Manager - Construction Technology. “When it comes to these large commercial projects, you have to have an intentional plan going into the project and Autodesk products really facilitate that.”