Connecting through the Cloud: Digital Docs Drive Quality Control Efficiencies
With exceptional craftsmanship, exceptional environmental stewardship, and exceptional design, MetLife’s corporate retail headquarters located in Charlotte, NC, is a true masterpiece of planning and execution — elite among other corporate headquarters buildings. Honored as one of the top interiors projects in the Carolinas by the Associated Builders & Contractors, the LEED Platinum commercial interiors project consisted of the complete build-out of 262,000 square feet over ten floors of the Gragg building and 104,800 square feet over four floors of the adjacent Woodward building located in South Charlotte’s Ballantyne Corporate Park. A location developed and owned by The Bissell Companies. The project represented the single largest lease transaction in the history of Ballantyne Corporate Park.
Of this project, it could be said that “the devil was in the details.” With impressive, high-end finishes such as STARPHIRE® glass and back-painted glass; walnut paneling and other custom millwork; Caesarstone quartz; as well as luxury lighting including long-lead, custom fabricated chandeliers and suspension mounted pendants — the quality control process was an essential component of this project. The project also included the construction of a horizontal fire shutter located in the three-floor monumental stair that is the only one of its kind in Charlotte.
MetLife was also a job in which everything aligned — ceilings, walls, and floors. Reveals in the monumental stair’s 10-foot walnut wall panels, for example, were aligned with the pre-cast stair treads and railing joints. A custom lighting arrangement comprised of frosted-to-clear Plexiglas® cylinders in the Gragg building’s café area was aligned directly with the angles in the millwork of the seating located directly below it. Balfour Beatty project manager, Daniel Smith, oversaw the process of taking this one-of-a-kind arrangement from conceptual design to shop drawings through fabrication and installation. With the intricate pattern and varying cabling lengths and mounting heights, this lighting arrangement is the quintessence of MetLife’s complex and intricate construction elements.
In order to ensure the high level of quality that defines one of the largest and most prestigious master-planned corporate parks in the southeastern United States while working within the confines of a fast-track schedule, Balfour Beatty embraced the iPad as a productivity and quality control tool in the field. The project was 100% paperless, utilizing digital document processes to keep plans current and ensure all subcontractors were working from the same set of updated documents. Specifically, the project team used the GoodReader app to view and markup drawings, schedules, ASIs and RFIs, and contracts among other project management workflows. Autodesk BIM 360 Field, a cloud-based service that combines mobile field technologies with cloud-based software for collaboration, was utilized for punch-list. This software enabled the team to quickly document field conditions (positive and negative) using written descriptions and photos, assign responsibility for correcting any deficiencies, and automatically distribute actionable items to the responsible parties. These digital documentation technologies helped save valuable time and manpower on an aggressive schedule that did not allow for quality control to be a separate, independent process that occurred at the end of the project.
“The high-end lighting package is a great example of the extensive front end communication and coordination required to be successful on the entire MetLife project. On a scale of 1-10, I give GoodReader and BIM 360 Field a 12 for helping streamline the processes that better supported our lightning speed of execution.” – Daniel Smith, Carolinas project manager.