A specialist in 3D scanning, metalwork and structural steel fabrication servicing the Brisbane and South East Queensland markets, Watkins Steel has expertise in the scanning, drafting, fabrication and installation of quality steel structures, with a strong focus on using modular structures wherever possible to minimise time on site and optimise efficiencies.
Among the company’s recent projects was its involvement in the upgrade of the Qantas Premium Lounge at Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal. Watkins Steel was contracted by builder Shape Group to supply and install steelwork as part of the refurbishment scheme. The job required structural steel for lift shaft support, stairs, landings and support beams.
According to Ben Yu, BIM Manager/Project Manager, Watkins Steel, the biggest challenge for this project lay in the complex geometric dimensions through three different levels. “Using the 3D laser scanner with the RTS total station, we were able to produce an accurate existing model to overcome this challenge. The result was that the project was delivered a week ahead of the construction schedule with zero rectification works.”
“Using the 3D laser scanner with the RTS total station, we were able to produce an accurate existing model to overcome this challenge. The result was that the project was delivered a week ahead of the construction schedule with zero rectification works.”
Ben Yu, BIM Manager/Project Manager, Watkins Steel.
Qantas Lounge upgrade - Lift Shaft.
A Telka drawing for the Qantas Lounge upgrade.
The project consisted of complex geometric dimensions across three levels, making it difficult to access all areas to take measurements. Access was very restricted, with only one set of double doors providing entry to the site. With no cranes on site, all steel supports and equipment had to be manhandled with limited access and beams were welded on site, resulting in a difficult installation process. Given the tight construction time-frame, Watkins Steel needed to ensure accuracy in fabrication to minimise rectification works that would hold up other trades.
The solution entailed site measurement completed using the Faro Focus 3D X 130 Laser Scanner. These scans were loaded into software to digitally re-create a ‘3D point cloud’ model with exact measurements.
The in-house drafting team used Telka Structures 3D Modelling Software to detail the structural steelwork needed for the project. Once these drawings were done, the completed Telka models were imported into the ‘3D point cloud model’ to check for any clashes and verify that the steelwork was in the right position. This avoided clashes with ducting during the project and ensured the lift shaft hole in conjunction with the steel were in the correct position.
From there, the construction drawings and model were taken to the in-house production team to handle the processing and fabrication of the steelworks using the Voortman V808 Coping Machine.
Approximately 10 tonnes of steel was processed by the Voortman, saving 80 hours in fabrication time.
Using the Trimble RTS773 Total Station all mark-out points for the steel beams were set out on site.
This was beneficial to the tight construction time-frame, saving two days on installation.
The total 4 Stage Linked Process (4SLP) allowed the project to be completed ahead of schedule.
BENEFITS OF THIS APPROACH INCLUDED:
- Guaranteed 100% accuracy of site measurements using the laser scanner. All measurements were exact and could be linked to the drawings.
- Guaranteed 100% accuracy of site markouts with the Total Station. Saved two days on installation with no rectification required.
- Site measurement took one day, saving three days and multiple visits.
- Reduced fabrication time. Using the Voortman V808 machine, 10 tonnes of steel was processed, saving 80 hours.
- Overall, Watkins Steel’s Four Stage Linked Process allowed the project to be completed 1.5 weeks ahead of schedule.
Michael Dykes, Project Manager, Shape Group comments: “Working with Watkins Steel, I could rest assured knowing that all structural steel would be delivered and installed within the construction time-frame. Watkins Steel have always exceeded my expectations and are always proactive in design issues and problem solving to ensure the desired outcome is achieved. I would definitely recommend Watkins Steel in the future.”
“Working with Watkins Steel, I could rest assured knowing that all structural steel would be delivered and installed within the construction time-frame. Watkins Steel have always exceeded my expectations and are always proactive in design issues and problem solving to ensure the desired outcome is achieved. I would definitely recommend Watkins Steel in the future.”
Michael Dykes, Project Manager, Shape Group
Watkins Steel’s key point of difference lies in a unique digital workflow that links its entire steel fabrication and installation process from start to finish. From site measurement through to steel detailing, processing, and installation, all data collected by the Watkins Steel team remains consistent and reliable across this process.
The company has created this unique digital workflow by investing in a series of technological equipment that could integrate with Tekla Structures Software for steel detailing. This includes: Faro Focus 3D Laser Scanner and Realworks Software for site measurement; Voortman V808 Coping Machine for automated & precise steel fabrication; Trimble Robotic Total Station & Field Link Software for onsite steel installation; and Trimble Connect for sharing models with clients in the cloud.
While there are a number of fabricators in Australia that have some of this equipment, Watkins is unique in having linked and developed the four-step process between each element of steel manufacturing and installation.■