By Patrick Alvarez, Senior Superintendent
When I started working on our 2850 Fannin St project in November 2017, I knew one of the challenges would be the aggressive structure schedule. The team was looking at a 5-day concrete cycle on each floor of the 27-story tower.
From previous experience, I knew that congested working decks on such a quick cycle would provide challenges to performing traditional layout activities before pouring concrete. Thankfully, I had worked with a new technology at Latitude Med Center, another high rise in Houston, that could help. There we used a robotic total station (RTS) to double-check the plumbing sleeve layout. I thought the 2850 Fannin St project, with its quick-turn schedule and small footprint, would be a good opportunity to use the RTS to complete the layout for the plumber, not just check it.
Our building information model (BIM) coordinator imported CAD drawings derived from the 3D model into the layout software. The RTS software allows particular layers of CAD files to be turned on or off, as there is a huge amount of data in these models. The software accounts for everything – PT cables, embeds, structure design, and MEPS sleeves/leave-outs.
After the design team reviews and approves the BIM coordinated sleeve drawings, it takes just one person to operate the RTS in the field. The RTS allows for accurate layout even while working around vertical reinforcing obstructions or congested working decks. Our station is providing accuracy within 1/8 inch in 300 feet and layout is generally done in less time than a traditional layout with one person.
The robotic total station brings the precision of a 3D model to the field, improves accuracy over the more manual layout methods, and reduces the amount of rework needed.
At Hoar, we don’t use technology just to be modern and “in the know.” We want it to bring value to our projects and our clients. That’s exactly what the RTS does.