4D BIM for Construction

Safety Planning with Synchro at Pearl Harbor Hanger Renovation

Posted by Amir Hamaoui on Oct 22, 2015 7:27:42 PM

The Safety Lead, Blake Mead, and VDC Lead, Angelo Lago, for Hensel Phelps Pacific Region used Synchro Software to plan and successfully execute the renovation of a hanger in Pearl Harbor, HI with increased safety and more efficient production.


What is the Project?

The project is a renovation of a 260 x 100 sq. ft. hanger on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, HI. The project removes all hazardous materials, upgrades the structure to Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) blast rating, improves overall structural capacity, repairs roof damage, adds beams to the attic space, removes piping fire sprinklers and updates interior finish.

How was Synchro introduced to the Project?

Blake Mead is always looking for ways to take safety to the next level. “Safety should not be a reaction or lagging, it must be more proactive.” As Blake became more familiar with building information modeling (BIM) and virtual design and construction (VDC), he and Angelo discussed using Synchro to improve safety planning. Angelo gave Blake four hours of one-on-one training to get up to speed with Synchro. “Blake took a hold of it and ran.”

To visually show safety hazards in the model, safety icons created by Synchro were placed in the location and time of the hazards. Angelo first heard of this from his colleagues and shared them with Blake for use on the project. In addition, all other safety components, such as barriers and candle sticks, are also shown.

Hensel Phelps has a long history of using Synchro for planning and scheduling and is actively expanding its use. Their regional VDC leads regularly meet to share best practices and push the implementation of 4D Planning, which is part of the VDC toolkit.

How did the 4D model improve the plan? 

The Superintendent and Safety Lead created an initial schedule in Synchro and linked it to the model. Upon reviewing the initial plan sequence in Synchro, it was apparent that they could perform specific studies and alternate sequences before the roof demolition to optimize the plan. 

The initial plan seemed great, but visualizing it showed that the order of replacement caused additional hazards: the laydown area was not in the optimal position, work areas overlapped, and the access walkways could have been better located. Overall, the plan was simplified, made more productive and safer.

What are the basic safety requirements?

The project requires safety meetings with all trades for each phase three weeks prior to the start of work. During this meeting, they review the Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA). They walk through the sequence to identify any hazards in the environment or the job procedure so that each step of the entire job can be done safely and efficiently. Any identified hazard is mitigated by eliminating the process, isolating the process to eliminate or minimize the hazard, providing guards or control devices to eliminate or minimize the hazard, or providing personal protective equipment and enforce its use to eliminate the possibility of injury.

How was Synchro used to enhance the meetings?

The first time the visual plan was viewed there was an immediate impact in terms of understanding and identification of hazards. The visual plan was used throughout the duration of the project and the Synchro PRO model was projected during meetings for all to review.

By showing the Synchro model live, they were able to expand the Gantt view, show dates and tasks, and the objects that are related to them. The trades can immediately react, like when a warning line was not safe enough and they needed to use fall protection to get access. The Safety Lead, Superintendent and trades all collaborated to fix and immediately update the 4D plan with confidence before any problems are identified in the field.

What was the initial reaction from the field?

The Synchro 4D visualization simply made so much more sense. The trades like it because it wasn’t the routine reading of safety standards. With previous pre-plan meetings, engagement was minimal with quiet head nods. “Guys in the field are not big on reading procedures; they are hands on, visual learners.” A picture speaks a thousand words and a Synchro model goes way beyond that.

What was the effect when performing the roof replacement?

“The Synchro modeling effort made the renovation a hundred times smoother.” Everyone had a better understanding of doing it safely and correctly. They were executing the plan that they had previously watched. It was much more effective to repeat what they saw rather than try to repeat what they heard. There is simply more clarity looking at the visual plan. In addition, the trades were more calm and confident- and calm, confident sites are safer sites.

The model also provided more clarification to all parties. As new trades came on board, they were able to review the Synchro model to better understand the upstream and downstream sequences.

What other Virtual Design and Construction tools were used on this project?

As part of the renovation, the VDC team performed a laser scan of the high bay, mezzanine level, attic and roof to create an accurate as-built BIM model. An as-built model was created in Revit and then imported into Synchro to show the sequencing of work for the attic and roof.

What’s the biggest takeaway?

Synchro makes safety planning proactive, easy to communicate and engaging for the trades.

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