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Walbridge uses Reconstruct to Build Automobile Plant in Mexico with Real-time Updates to Headquarters Team in Michigan

The Background

Walbridge provided design build services for a new switchyard and transmission lines at General Motors’ plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. This project scope consisted of a new CFE Switchyard, including the procurement of 230 kV materials and equipment for (5) bays in the CFE yard. Also included are all protections, controls, communications, SAT, set-up, start-up, and testing/commissioning. Walbridge also installed new CFE transmission lines to deliver power to the new CFE Switchyard, including towers, grounding system, conductors, fiber optics, and high voltage cables. All existing CFE substations were upgraded for the new CFE / GM connection. In addition, the scope included the installation of (2) complete bays and all associated civil, mechanical and electrical equipment in the switchyard, including (2) three-phase main power transformers – 30/40/50 MVA, 230 kV, controls, communications, testing and commissioning.

Location: Coahuila, Mexico


Beginning: April 2017


Delivery method: Design–Build


Size: 25,000 Square meters


Final: September 2018

The Challenge

As part of their project execution plan, Walbridge was looking for the following:

One integrated platform

that combined their internal and external reality capture and point clouds; BIM models; and schedule information. This information had been stored in multiple, siloed platforms.

A virtual reality experience

where remote participants could visually tour the project to validate progress as well as identify quality issues represented by deviations between the model and the reality capture.

A visual communication platform

to facilitate both project team and owner discussions regarding project progress and potential impact of change orders during construction.

The Solution

Walbridge used Reconstruct’s Visual Command Center™ to bring together site documentation, designs and the project schedule. Through one integrated platform, Walbridge overcame challenges by providing stakeholder access to Reconstruct, not only from the site location in Mexico, but from locations around the world.

“Reconstruct was a powerful tool to help us execute this project more efficiently. We were able to catch quality issues quickly, inform multiple stakeholders of project progress and improve communication amongst all participants.

- Miguel Perez, Project Engineer  Walbridge

The Results

The three main benefits that Walbridge realized were:

1. Quality

Throughout the project, the Walbridge QAQC manager was able to mitigate the downstream impact of quality issues through early detection. Examples identified in the Reconstruct platform include:

  • By comparing the as-built conditions in the reality capture vs the 3D model, the team was able to document and quickly resolve a conflict between the installation of fire protection equipment and access to overhead access doors.   
  • By performing a virtual tour in Reconstruct, HVAC equipment was found to be installed in a location that didn’t match the design model or vendor supplied shop drawings. This issue was resolved more quickly due to the documentation provided in Reconstruct.

2. Visual Coordination & Colaboration

Walbridge team regularly used interior and exterior reality captures to facilitate communication and collaboration with the owner. Examples include:  

  • Mid-stream in the project, the owner asked for a change to the window wall configuration on one of the elevations of the facility. Walbridge used Reconstruct reality to BIM overlay process to represent how the already installed steel would need be modified to fit the new design. This saved weeks in avoided back and forth communication with the owner.   
  • Near the completion of the project, the owner asked for large, additional, external signage to be applied to the site. Walbridge used the current reality captured in Reconstruct to create design simulations. The process of getting the signage installed -- from design generation, review and decision making --  was conducted remotely, eliminating ambiguity and unnecessary travel.

3. Visual Documentation/Verification

By having a documented, historical record of the project, Walbridge was able to leverage this data to resolve disputes and verify work installed.

  • Walbridge used the Reconstruct timeline to validate actual days that equipment was on site. This helped to ensure resources were being deployed appropriately to keep the project on schedule.   
  • The project team was also able to review the reality models to verify work in place before making payment to sub-contractors. 
  • Walbridge will leverage Reconstruct data from this project to better plan future, similar projects.

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