Dennis Harrington | Author | Hanley Wood
Top Design-Builder Keeps Quality High on $770 Million Missouri Corporate Campus Expansion
Centene® Corporation is a $46 billion, FORTUNE 150 company headquartered in Clayton, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. The healthcare company broke ground in early 2017 on a nearly $800 million expansion of their downtown Clayton campus. The expansion’s first phase, expected to deliver in 2019, includes a 600,000 square foot, 28-story office tower and 550,000 square foot parking garage with retail space.
Chicago-based Clayco, a top 15 U.S. design-build company, was awarded the Centene construction contract. That, in turn, makes the Centene project a top priority for Tomislav Zigo, AIA, LEED AP. Zigo is Clayco’s Vice President of Virtual Design and Construction. His team of 14 VDC professionals rank as one of the industry’s largest and most advanced, now supporting the operation of four laser scanners. “We have two full-time VDC engineers assigned to the Centene project,” says Zigo. “A big part of this job is quality control.”
Observing the admonition that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, Zigo’s VDC team is responsible for a variety of QC tasks, including “capturing existing sites in order to verify any existing conditions,” he says. Reality capture doesn’t stop there. Zigo’s team scanned the location of all foundation wall embeds for steel beam placement. Any variation in embeds could have an adverse trickle-down effect on the structure. “We were also focused on the concrete core being plumb. As scaffolding and form work is going up, we scan each section of the concrete wall to make sure there’s no deviation from the design documents,” Zigo explains.
Zigo checks-off a variety of other QC tasks, such as camber scanning and scanning elevated decks for floor flatness and levelness. Later, when the MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) sequence begins, the VDC team will scan all areas where MEP systems are encapsulated.
“Our laser scanning helps assure consistency of deliverables, accuracy of installation, and reduces our liability from specifications not being met. Laser scanning accuracy exceeds the standard of care,” Zigo explains.
“Everyone knows we can objectively validate results. It raises the level of quality. We’re more preemptive.”
Clayco standardizes all laser scanning hardware and software applications with FARO. “Yes, we think FARO is a great product. But it also makes our lives easier in terms of consistency and education. We use FARO SCENE to assemble the point cloud data and use Rithm applications to analyze flatness and camber. Then we push the point clouds to our design contractors and design consultants, embedding them in Revit® using AutoCAD. We use ReCapTM for reality capture,” Zigo says.
“Our findings are instrumental in ensuring the quality of the build,” Zigo says. “Our team delivers a body of work that inspires confidence and, with relative ease, validates results. For example, we can selectively apply a topping compound and save the owner money instead of topping an entire 24,000 square foot slab. Laser scanning and Rithm software spots potential troublespots. “Our team introduced Clayco to scanning eight years ago. The purchase of our first scanner raised some eyebrows. After we demonstrated payback within four months, no more questions were asked. Now I have a hard time imagining how we could start any as-built project without a laser scanner.