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Innovation in Structural Engineering

Winner - Special Recognition Award

Beijing Building Construction Research Institute Co., Ltd.; Beijing Institute of Architectural Design; National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) – (Karst, Guizhou, China)

One of the top nine science and technology infrastructures in China, the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope will be the largest single-aperture telescope on Earth. Its antenna aperture is 500 meters, which is as big as 30 standard football fields. Its cable net structure consists of 6,670 main cables and 2,225 downhaul cables, and the weight of the cable wheel alone is 216 tons. The reflector consists of 4,600 reflector units installed on the cable net.

From site selection and design to construction, the Beijing Building Construction Research Institute, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, and National Astronomical Observatories deployed BIM technology in the form of AECOsim Building Designer, MicroStation, Bentley Navigator, ProjectWise, and ProSteel. With ProSteel and BIM’s parameterized technique, the teams designed and optimized the 445 network cable nodes, cutting the cost by CNY 4 million.


D&H Steel Construction

Westgate Footbridge – (Waitakere, Auckland, New Zealand)

The Westgate Footbridge in Auckland, New Zealand, links the community facilities of a shopping center, local library, and sports complex, which had been cut off from each other by highway expansion. The challenge of this NZD 5 million project was to design the approach ramp as a double spiral – with both left-handed and right-handed spirals – while minimizing its environmental impact on the local creek that it followed.

D&H Steel Construction used ProSteel to create the bridge model, which served as the base from which it modeled, detailed, and fabricated a series of jigs that were then used to form the spirals and ensure the ends of the truss sections were accurate. The ProSteel model became the primary source of accurate information and allowed D&H Steel Construction to coordinate the precast concrete, foundations, handrails, throw screens, and pedestrian lighting. In addition to overcoming the technical challenges, the approach used also significantly reduced workshop man-hours and project delivery time.


Fitzpatrick Engineering Group

Octapharma Blood Plasma Facility – (Charlotte, North Carolina, United States)

Octapharma’s life-saving human plasma products help with intensive care, emergency medicine, and many chronic diseases. The main goal of this USD 26 million project in Charlotte, North Carolina, was to replace outsourced testing operations and expand internal warehouse and processing capabilities, which would save Octapharma USD 1 million per month. With this amount of money on the line, a traditional design-bid-build process would have cost three to four months on the schedule and millions of dollars.

Because the project was so unique, the design was constantly changing. The ability to share BIM model data multiple times during the design phases was key to meeting the schedule. Using AECOsim Building Designer, Fitzpatrick Engineering Group could easily share accurate data with the detailer and virtually eliminate data re-creation. This shortened the construction schedule by eight weeks on this project, saving the owner USD 2 million.

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