A Computerized Completion

by Nick Watry, Owner/Lecturer; Watry Design Group, Belmont, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 3, Pg. 70-71

Document Type: Feature article


The original designers of the 1.6 million sq ft Fillmore Center in San Francisco (its largest mixed-use development project in 20 years) had specified a large amount of steel reinforcement in the walls, slabs, girders and foundations. The number of reinforcing bars created enough congestion to greatly increase the time required for construction. Some areas of the project were almost impossible to construct because the volume of concrete was too small to secure the reinforcement. Because of many delays and extra costs, construction nearly came to a halt. The contractor told the owner that construction costs were running nearly twice the initial budget. The owner brought in The Watry Design Group, Belmont, Calif. to redesign the remaining portion of the project to bring costs under control. The original structural design had been created mostly with manual structural calculations. Using the latest computerized structural analysis tools, the company refined the structural design of the remaining project, reducing needed reinforcing steel requirements by about 35% and formwork and concrete by 10%. These changes, through reduced labor and material costs have cut remaining project costs by $15 million.

Subject Headings: Construction costs | Reinforced concrete | Structural design | Computing in civil engineering | Foundation design | Reinforcing steel | Bars (structure) | Owners

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