BIM makes precast concrete manufacturing easier and more efficient
Updated: Mar 6
The precast concrete units for Trimble’s new Finland offices have been modeled by using Tekla Structures software. Finnish precast concrete manufacturer Parma utilizes structural BIM in cost estimation, project management and production planning.
Design Manager Pasi Salmela of Parma explains the benefits of building information modeling for precast concrete production.
“With a 3D building information model, we can ensure early during sales negotiations that our view of the project coincides with that of the client,” he says. “The model is of great help with quantity and cost estimation, too. As we know, a large construction project requires tons of calculations. In the design phase, the model plays an important role in combining the designs of the different design and engineering disciplines and in preventing later problems.”
“The precast concrete manufacturer can utilize the building’s 3D model at an early phase before detailing, and these days we always use BIM to visualize the project at least during the sales negotiation phase,” Salmela explains.
In ten years, the data transferred from modeling software to Parma’s ERP system has evolved and been enriched.
“We can take the quantities of cost estimation directly from the model to our production management system. The data moves fluently between the programs and makes it easier to start and monitor production,” Salmela says.
Custom components make detailing faster
According to Salmela, precast concrete unit sales and manufacture at Parma is based on creating standard solutions. Parma’s library of custom components for precast concrete design and detailing is one of the most comprehensive in the industry.
“In the component library, designers have the standard details and connections ready to use in the design system. These types of tools guide designers to use standard solutions, which makes design more efficient. All the most typical precast components have been detailed, and the project-specific solutions are being modeled manually. About 70% of details can be found in the library,” Salmela says.
Trimble software communicates with the precast concrete ERP system
“The hollow-core slab information needed to build Trimble’s new offices has been read from the model directly into to production management system,” Salmela says.
Parma uses Tekla Structures software for production planning, and they are moving on to do visual review in Trimble Connect. Parma is part of Consolis Group, the leading precast concrete solution provider in Europe, and uses the group’s ERP system for production control. This system is compatible with Tekla Structures software. They are in the process of creating a data link to Trimble Connect, too.
“Thanks to modeled data we don’t need to manually key in information for our ERP; and vice versa, we can transfer production status data in the model, letting the site and office know when the units have been cast and delivered,” Salmela says. “Our project portal, which is connected to the ERP, includes functionality to view status data.”
“BIM is also very useful if there are any misunderstandings or challenges in production. By looking at the model it is quick to comprehend which part of the structure is in question and how to solve the issue. For a new employee joining the project, for example, this is a quick way to get the hang of what type of building is in the making. Trying to understand a project based on 2D drawings is extremely slow compared to the 3D world.”