A new type of blueprint- Meet VDC
The Sanford Fargo Medical Center in North Dakota is one of the largest structural engineering design and commercial projects ever to hit the city of Fargo. What is even more impressive is its scope : one million square feet spread out over 109 acres in total. The steel structure is reinforced with concrete as well as shear core and the building itself houses over 380 plus beds and over 30 operating rooms. However the sheer size of this building is not one of its most impressive aspects.
You see – the building itself which is massive in it’s own right, is actually built within an area known as the Agassiz Lake bed. Agassiz was once a lake located in northern North America. Lake Agassiz’s waters once flowed from remains of the last glacial age but have since dried up. The development in this area is especially challenging due to the high concentration of condensed water retained within the clay rich soil of the now dry lake bed. From soil composite integrity to expansive study on the water composite levels of the mostly clay soil, the structural engineering team was meticulous in its preparation and safety with the creation of this building. In addition they faced only a 30 month project schedule with unfavorable winter working conditions. The soil composition of the area does not traditionally support the weight associated with a building the size of the Sanford Fargo Medical Center along with all these other challenging factors, so the question remains- how did they do it?
The building itself was created using new 4D architecture modeling-that is,mapped entirely with the use of advanced C.A.D.(Computer Aided Design and Drafting) technology. Each stage of the building’s inception was drafted detail by detail using computers. Each room, every window, and yes even all the steps were a carefully constructed 3-d blueprint which proved invaluable to the engineers working around the clock to build this amazing facility.
Use of this technique resolved many problems the structure would have posed early on such as reduction of cost, safety enhancement ,environmental awareness, and even time management. The team using the technology touted that their development time decreased, and even saved three months in the process by using computer modeling to pre-determine fall water run out projections, account for poor soil conditions by creating a MSE land wall and even decrease the overall cost of the job by ten million or more in estimated costs.