Draper Aden Wins Hampton Roads Engineering Award

This year the Engineers Club of Hampton Roads recognized Draper Aden Associates and W.M. Jordan Company with its Engineering Achievement Award. The award honored the firms’ use of virtual design and construction to design and build The Main hotel and conference center in Norfolk, Virginia.

Working collaboratively, W.M. Jordan and Draper Aden utilized a number of cutting-edge virtual design and construction tools.

During the pre-construction phase, the project team established space in an adjacent building that was devoted to the virtual design and construction effort. Construction staff, designers, and subcontractors gathered in one room to develop the Building Information Model (BIM), perform clash detection exercises, and work through issues over a six-month period. Once the BIM was developed, on-site control was established by the Draper Aden Associates Survey Team. This baseline control was used to establish real-world grid lines and elevations that referenced the BIM model’s location in virtual space.

Throughout construction, these grid lines were marked on each floor, carrying the base control (including vertical benchmarks) up 22 stories into the air. These known points were leveraged by the team to construct an actual hotel from their virtual design, thus transforming a 3D BIM into reality.

Technology was used to enhance quality control throughout the project as well. For example, the Latista Field web-based field management tool allowed the entire team to collaborate, automate routine workflows, access and modify the BIM, and manage punch lists.

These virtual design and construction tools played a critical role in delivering the final product: a gleaming and iconic building in the heart of Norfolk’s downtown. Thanks to the vision of Bruce Thompson of Gold Key Resorts, what had once been a vacant bus terminal had been transformed into the city’s newest destination hotel.

The Main includes a 22-story, full-service Hilton hotel and 300-space parking garage. The hotel offers ten luxury suites and a presidential suite among its 300 guest rooms. Amenities include three restaurants plus a juice bar, an indoor pool, fitness center, business center, and many social and business meeting spaces. The Main also boasts the Exchange, the hotel’s 42,000-square-foot conference center with flexible meeting space, including the state’s largest ballroom.

The Main exudes luxury and sophistication. Not surprisingly, the behind-the-scenes engineering and construction efforts relied on cutting-edge tools as well. The results have been spectacular and now are award worthy.