Project name: Canton East Tower
Company: China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd.
Location: Guangzhou, China
Floor area: 507,681 m2
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
MagiCAD software: Gsite
Standing on the central axis of the Zhujiang New Town area of Guangzhou CBD in China, the landmark Canton East Tower has a total height of about 530 meters with 111 floors above ground and 5 basements. The total investment for the project was approximately 10 billion yuan and the architecture was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Construction on the tower took place from 2011 to 2014 by China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau Group Co., Ltd.
- One of the first construction projects in China where BIM technology was implemented.
- An early version of the Gsite platform was developed together with the client company during the project.
- With the main contractors impressed by the benefits from BIM technology, the success of the project contributed to the rise in popularity of Gsite in the following years.
About China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd.
China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd. was established in 1962. Its business scope has gradually expanded to over 20 provinces across China, and internationally to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia. China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau is one of the leading companies in the China Construction Group in the world Fortune 500 listing and the company has undertaken more than 70 super high-rise buildings over 200 meters, 26 cultural and sports venues, 218 projects with Evergrande Group, 160 projects with Vanke and 44 projects with Wanda Group.
In recent years, the company has undergone enterprise reform and development, gradually forming three main business units of housing construction, infrastructure construction, and real estate development.
Key challenges in the project
Project management is essential for the construction phase. In large-scale projects, such as the Canton East Tower, it is difficult to link up all the project management lines for the entire construction phase and super high-rise construction projects can often face difficulties in managing schedules, contracts, costs, changes, drawings, materials, and labor services.
When the Canton East Tower project started, the project team invested a lot of time on researching BIM. As a result, they gained an understanding that the project management process was at its heart a process of collecting and handling information and the biggest challenge would be the sheer amount and scattered nature of the information.
The second anticipated difficulty was the amount of time that would be taken up by meetings within and between various teams. Everyone who has been involved in larger construction projects has plenty of experience on meetings. Projects can easily require regular project meetings, quality meetings, safety meetings, and so on with team leaders potentially spending the majority of their time attending them.
Although meetings are important for collecting relevant information and defining the next steps, relying too heavily on them for information sharing can affect the timeliness and accuracy of the shared information. Each project party has only limited opportunities for sharing their findings and the information that is retained from meetings can be incomplete and inaccurate.
The progress management workload was very large in the project. The construction of a single floor in the office section of the Canton East Tower was estimated to include up to 300 separate processes from structural work to finishing tasks and a work chain could include 300 related parties. Monitoring the progress of such complex processes required that the general contractor had access to accurate information on the state of each work phase.
1. Gsite was essential in construction progress management. On-site work progress was linked to the 3D model where it could be visualized in real time and the project team could query detailed information on specific tasks and work phases directly from the model.
2. Through Gsite, the team was able to easily obtain drawings related to the current step in the process. All drawings, including their changes, were linked to the 3D model and could be retrieved according to discipline and floor.
3. With Gsite all documents and information related to project progress, drawings, contracts, and subcontractors could be managed in an organized manner, which helped improve file management overall.
4. BIM technology had an impact on detecting and handling collisions, and the team was able to identify design clashes between different disciplines at an early stage. The applications that were used also helped with labor management and administration work, such as on-site attendance and wages.
5. The project required support for effectively browsing super-large models. This was made possible with the help of fast model loading technology, internal and external storage exchange technology and other features.
6. The large-scale models also placed extremely high hardware requirements for the BIM system, which were resolved by enabling network access to models on the server and with intelligent cache technology.
7. The BIM experience and data that the project team accumulated throughout the Canton East Tower project helped provide modeling standards for civil engineering, steel reinforcement, rough decoration, steel structures, electromechanical installations, curtain walls and other disciplines. The team developed more than 500 different types of components, over 70 physical work packages, over 60 supporting work packages and 418 types of supporting work in total. They also formed a general contract term classification system, with more than 3700 main contract terms, over 660 subcontract terms, over 3400 items of subcontract cost details and over 100 templates for drawings, contracts, costs, schedules and more. All of this information formed a basis for future construction projects.
Keys to success
Based on their experiences in the Canton East Tower project, Chief Project Manager Yang Wei at China Construction Fourth Engineering Bureau had five recommendations to share with industry professionals to ensure successful projects:
- Base everything that is done on the project requirements
- Apply BIM technology to address real needs
- Value modeling standards and collaboration
- Make sure that team leaders are closely involved with project management
- Make the most of the accumulated data and experience