Property & Buildings

WSP Cited as Leader in BIM

WSP USA has been recognized as the third largest design firm in North America using building information modeling (BIM) for its projects, according to a recent survey by Building Design + Construction (BD+C) magazine.

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©DBOX

One World Trade Center marked the first official use of business information modeling (BIM) technology by WSP USA. BIM is also being used on 2 World Trade Center and 3 World Trade Center.

In its 2017 Giants 300 Report, BD+C ranked 150 firms based on their 2016 BIM revenue figures. WSP reported $479 million in BIM revenue. WSP was ranked fourth in 2015 and third in 2016.

“This is a great recognition of the design work flows we have in place and a true reflection of the skill level of our engineers,” said Andy Schrader, CAD/BIM manager for building services at WSP USA. “Using BIM allows for better understanding of the architect’s design intent and brings the collaborative design approach closer between other consultants.”

“What we are doing with BIM is building the building before we construct the building,” added Charles Guerrero, director of CAD/BIM services at WSP USA. “BIM is a 3D digital representation of a building and its intrinsic characteristics. It is made of intelligent building components, which include data attributes and parametric rules for each object.”

“BIM affords us the ability to utilize the intelligent components as design tools that enhance the quality of our design as well as provide a virtual coordinated 3D model,” added John Bredehorst, WSP executive vice president and managing director of the firm’s New York City building systems group.

Guerrero was pleased with the firm’s ranking by BD+C, and called it “earned and deserved.” Clients are recognizing that the use of BIM in the design process helps determine what is possible, and the most efficient approaches to make creative ideas a structural reality.

BIM allows for constant information exchange among architects, engineers, specialists, developers and contractors, helping teams make well-informed decisions faster and achieve more effective and efficient design.

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©WSP USA

A BIM image shows the design details for a floor of the 53W53 Museum of Modern Art tower in New York.

“The advantages of using BIM for a project are numerous,” Guerrero said. “Some of the benefits include a reduction in the need for costly rework, errors and omissions. BIM also facilitates coordination and collaboration, resolves conflicts and improves productivity.”

BIM is becoming the standard for projects “because it offers the ability to communicate more clearly the design intent and coordinate work between trades easier,” Schrader said. “This process keeps us pushing to make design decisions earlier, which ultimately makes the projects more successful for everyone.”

Growing Trend

Pick any one of WSP’s recent iconic structures, and there’s a good chance that BIM technology was used during the design stage. Some notable examples include:

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©ATELIER/JEAN NOUVEL

53W53 is a 77-story residential tower currently under construction that will expand the neighboring Museum of Modern Art.

  • 53W53 is a 77-story tower at 53 West 53rd Street in New York City currently under construction that will serve as an expansion of the neighboring Museum of Modern Art building.
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian museum located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., was focused on sustainability. The primary engineering designs for onsite renewable energy included geothermal heat exchange, solar thermal collection, and photovoltaic arrays.
  • 55 Hudson Yards, a complex mixed-use 40-story tower in New York City that includes a six-story ventilation shaft building for a nearby subway.
  • The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, a 160-acre, 7,000-seat spring training facility, is used by the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros and was developed over a former landfill. In an effort to reduce water usage, storm water is collected and stored in retention ponds and used for irrigation and ground cooling for all fields on the site.
  • 9 DeKalb Avenue, also known as 340 Flatbush, the 73-story residential building currently under construction, will be Brooklyn’s first super-tall building and the tallest New York City building outside Manhattan.
  • One Dalton Street, a 62-story tower in Boston, includes 500,000 square feet of condominiums, a five-star Four Seasons Hotel, and 20,000 square feet of support space. It will be New England’s tallest residential building when completed this year.
  • Citi Field, a 45,000-seat stadium, home of the New York Mets baseball team, where BIM was used to coordinate the stadium’s “retro” structural and architectural design.
  • Journal Squared, a 53-story commercial and residential tower, is the first of a three-building development in the Journal Square neighborhood of Jersey City, New Jersey.
  • 8 Spruce Street, a 76-story residential building in Manhattan originally known as Beekman Tower.
  • Salesforce Tower is a 1.8 million-square-foot San Francisco high-rise, and at nearly 1,000 feet in height, it is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.
  • One World Trade Center, the iconic 104-story, 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper, was completed in 2014. BIM is also being used by WSP on 2 World Trade Center and 3 World Trade Center.

“The WSP building structures team has been involved with BIM since the beta phase with Revit during the initial purchase by Autodesk,” Guerrero said. “Its first official application was in conjunction with SOM on One World Trade Center. It is only natural that our history, experience and expertise with the process be recognized.”

No Looking Back

WSP has worked with just about every BIM software that has been tested by architects through the years.

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©NICOLA EVANS/WSP

BIM tools at 8 Spruce Street in Manhattan ensured that the installation of the building’s complex exterior cladding would be problem-free.

“We have embraced the technology and developed MEP components and work flows for each system, including CATIA, Microdesk, Autocad 3D and Revit,” Bredehorst said. “Once our staff got a taste of working in 3D, they did not want to go back to basic 2D drafting. These new tools make the design process much more enticing because our engineers are actually designing rather than just drafting to develop our documents.”

WSP will continue to expand its development and use of BIM tools in 2018 as more clients recognize the value it adds to their projects.

“With the development of more Autodesk cloud services, WSP will be looking to Autodesk Forge and the BIM 360 platform to help provide faster communication and decision-making at different stages of a project,” Schrader said.

Though commonly used during the design stage, BIM can be used at various phases of a project’s life cycle, from construction through operation, to demolition.

“As the technology develops, the process is providing greater assistance with estimating quantities, accurate fabrication, sequencing and phasing, and post-construction sustainability and maintenance,” Guerrero said. “WSP is constantly exploring proprietary, market programs and methods to enhance, revolutionize and innovate the BIM process. One of our current areas of focus is the seamless integration of our analytical and BIM modelling tools.”

“WSP was an early adopter to this design process and still presses on the forefront of the technology,” Schrader added. “It has always been the mantra of WSP to keep exploring new tools to be efficient.”


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