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Breaking Ground: A Vision for Charity

PCL and Habitat for Humanity team up with Building Information Modeling to help connect families in need with their future homes
TAGS: BIM, charity
 HFH volunteers

Check out this feature in our July edition of Construction Digital

Written by Nick Kurth, Virtual Construction Manager for PCL

PCL’s use of innovative construction technologies—such as Building Information Modeling—allowed us to provide Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver future homeowners with a true sense of home ownership prior to construction. Using a detailed 3D model, PCL was able to give the family a “virtual tour” of their house before construction began. They were able to see their living space brought to life using Autodesk Revit and Navisworks in a way that is simply not possible through 2D drafting.

On any Habitat project, there are varying levels of skill and comfort with construction. By using these Autodesk tools, PCL is better equipped to plan and communicate accordingly. In this instance, we initially used a detailed model to plan our construction sequence, as we were compressing a traditional 12 week build down to 8 weeks. To verify that the plan was going to work for the Habitat superintendant, we had a meeting with Habitat where we reviewed a 4D schedule which shows the construction sequence day by day using the 3D model—depicting it in the varying stages of construction from framing to finishes. Once we ironed out the details of what tasks were going to be performed and on which days, we published our 4D schedule so that it was available for PCL volunteers.

This broken down sequence of work allowed for our people to understand visually what activities they were signing up for, and at what stage of construction the project would be. This allowed them to volunteer on a day where they felt comfortable with the type of work that was being performed. For example, those less comfortable with heights could easily select a day that didn’t include roofing, or rolling trusses.

Building hope.JPG

In addition to our own internal communication, our President and COO (Peter Beaupre) used the Navisworks model to show the family what their living space was going to feel like. Until that point, they had only seen elevations and floor plans which don’t portray the same sense of space as a 3D model.

In June 2011, PCL Construction entered into a two-year partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, committing $1 million through both funding and employee volunteer hours. The $1 million will be invested in projects across the U.S. and Canada. In some instances that will mean building an entire home, in others it maybe just a roof raising. PCL is committed to working with our partners at Habitat for Humanity and Autodesk to bring the most innovative technologies to the construction process

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