Design Coordination

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Budapest Ferihegy Airport - Sky Court building - Design Coordination

CAD technology has been accelerated the design phase of construction projects drastically e.g. by allowing much more flexible and simply way of design modifications. On the other hand this workflow acceleration combined with frequent - and sometimes last minute - changes, easily lead to poor quality. Poor design quality lead to huge financial loss for property developers. Coordination of design process became more and more difficult, crying for a solution.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) concept has brought us the opportunity to coordinate design process by displaying that Coordination is the key to hold the project together and ensure the good quality, just like it did at the complex development of Sky Court, the new central building of 2nd Terminal of Budapest Airport.


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Coordination work tracked the whole design process and got higher and higher importance as the development went deeper into details. Due to the difficult built-in technologies in the final stage more than 20 designer teams participated in the project as sub-contractors. These teams diverse not only regarding their locations but also regarding the software platforms they used for the specific design.

The traditional way would be that when a discipline reaches a certain point with the design, it shares its plans with other stakeholders, so they can adjust their designs accordingly. However, in our case the number of stakeholders and the variety of their software forced the main contractor to break with the traditions and put more emphasis on the coordination, and introduce it as a new discipline.

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The following main groups participated in the Sky Court project:

  • Architecture – ArchiCAD (Graphisoft)
  • Superstructure RC – Allplan (Nemetschek)
  • Substructure – 2D AutoCAD (Autodesk)
  • Steel structure – StruCAD (AceCad)
  • Roof – Tekla Structures (Tekla)
  • Coordination – Navisworks (Autodesk)

We can easily imagine that a software, which was developed for pure steel structural design, cannot even open a 3D mechanical model to take it into account. This can make direct communication between disciplines impossible and put coordination into a central position.

Failure cost is approximately one third of the total investments of designing/construction projects according to 2010 data in Economist. This is a cost without a realized product, so it should be avoided as much as possible and/or turned into economic value. As we are talking about the price of faults, a good way to decrease it is to find new methods to eliminate the mistakes and increase the quality at the same time.

Once the information is already centralized, it does help the communication, but also opens up prospects which would not be possible without having all the components at one place:

  • Clash detection
  • 4D coordination
  • Quantification

We already noticed that different disciplines can use very special software and require deep technical knowledge, but it is also important to realize that coordination can have its own software too, which reads and handles all different kinds of models and allows the coordinator to decrease failure cost with the above mentioned possibilities. These features isolated the coordination of Sky Court even more and pushed it into a new discipline to be the independent auditor of the project.

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