Photos and Updates
September 2, 2010: Virtual Project Becoming a Virtual Reality
Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage project didn’t start from the ground up; it started from a three-dimensional computer model.
Kiewit Construction, general contractor for Toyota Elephant Passage, began the $50 million project with a 3D computer model. The technology — called Building Information Modeling (BIM) — allows the contractor to build the entire model virtually before putting a shovel in the ground. The 3D layout of the project designs the intricate details of Toyota Elephant Passage, such as water and sewer lines, electrical and other utilities to the many habitats that will house Asian elephants, Indian rhinos, Malayan tapirs and many other animals.
Zoo Vice President for Planning and Capital Projects George Pond says the 3D computer model will help prevent mistakes in the construction process. The 3D model foresees problems such as sewer and water lines intersecting on the project and helps the design team create solutions.
Because of the BIM technology, possible problems in the construction phase are anticipated.
Some benefits of BIM technology include:
- Lower costs
- Improved project completion times
- Increased on-the-job productivity
- Better coordination of construction documents between the contractor and the Zoo
- Better access of vital information on materials to all parties involved on the project
Kiewit has a full-time staff member dedicated to using BIM on its projects around the world. The model also supports our commitment to sustainability. By anticipating possible glitches, materials such as pipe, lumber, concrete, etc., are not wasted, thus saving natural resources in the construction process.