The construction model for this steel stair tower was built piece by piece right down to the bolts and connectors. It is 41 ft tall and will provide access a large cooling tower here in Monterrey, Mexico. Except for the critical dimensions, elevations from grade, and the general layout, the stair was built directly as a three dimensional model. This means we did not need to invest a lot of time with two-dimensional engineering drawings.

This is important because the model is to be used to illustrate a preliminary proposal for design and construction and is the basis for a cost proposal for the project. Because it is a 3D construction model, we are able to control our initial engineering assumptions and the structural details for the project and at the same time provide our clients with enough visual information to understand our concept. In other words we were able to be competitive without “giving away” the steel profiles, connection details, and 2D drafted documents and structural details that may have been lost from our control.

Once the project has been accepted, we can export the model into our CAD progeam to generate the 2D drawings directly from the model. This means final approval will be very quick and we can move immediately into fabrication and final installation. Important is that the construction model is available to support the entire process and can be continually viewed for clarification and visualization. This will of course simplify fabrication and be helpful to our office for fine tuning our calculations, the 2D drafting, and do the structural detailing for the connections.

The value of a construction model is that it gives us the ability to manage our commitment to the project, control the information we provide to our clients, and use the resulting model to facilitate the design and construction process.

Joel Kennington
Monterrey, Mexico