Trimble Westminster Building Exterior Framing and Glazing

Are you heading to Denver in October for the AGC BIMForum?  Then you know the theme of this conference is prefabrication and modularization.  It’s something we do instinctively when we see plans for a hospital or a high-rise apartment building – how can we apply Lean Construction principles to make these repeating floor plans easier to execute?  After all, when we approach construction like an assembly line, we can introduce immense efficiencies and the project can take off.


At Trimble, we experienced this first-hand as we built our new Trimble Westminster campus, just up the road from the BIMForum in Denver.  29 different Trimble hardware, software, and construction solutions helped bring our project to life.  This case study examines the exterior framing and glazing.


sketchup of westminster campus 

Caption: Trimble’s new four-story, 125,000 sf office building in Westminster, Colorado, as depicted in SketchUp


On the newly completed Trimble Westminster Building, JE Dunn Construction subcontracted the exterior and interior metal stud framing, drywall and ceiling systems to Phase 2 Company while JR Butler Inc, was contracted for the ribbon and curtain wall glazing systems. 


In order to meet the expedited schedule and try to beat the inclement winter weather over the Colorado foothills, an integrated design, quality control, shop drawing, and review process was implemented within Tekla Structures and Trimble SketchUp Pro.  Structural Consultants, Inc. (SCI), not only designed the initial structure, but was also hired by Phase 2 Company to complete the exterior structural metal framing shop drawings, all within Tekla Structures.  Concurrently, JE Dunn took 2D mock-up design drawings from OZ Architecture and produced 3D models within Trimble SketchUp Pro to show framing, glazing, insulation, flashings, connections, tricky details and installation sequences. 


sketchup pro panel glazing virtual mock up 1


Not only were the field mock-ups used to determine the level of finishes required, additional caulking, water proofing, and flashings were applied after water testing to correct any infiltration issues prior to actual product installation.  Matt Palumbo, Senior Project Engineer with JE Dunn, noted, “In utilizing the SketchUp Pro software we were able to identify several different difficult details on the exterior skin of the building. We were able to build those details in SketchUp Pro, thus allowing us to truly understand the details in three dimensions.”
prefabricated exterior framing panels Trimble Westminster 2


SCI utilized Tekla Structures to produce the exterior framing shop drawings based upon JR Butler’s aluminum window and curtainwall shop drawings and engineering requirements.  The utilization of the project model for metal stud shop drawing production and review resulted in approved exterior framing shop drawings in half of the time normally allotted on a typical project.  Working with SCI, Phase 2 Company was able to panelize the exterior framing into 139 repeatable sections and frame those sections on the ground in the completed parking lots.  By preassembling jigs for the framing and connections to the building, the prefabricated panels were lifted into place and set within the 1/8” tolerances based upon layout points and lines created within Tekla Structures and laid out utilizing Trimble Robotic Total Station (RTS633) with the Trimble Field Link Tablet.  Lower levels were lifted with forklifts and upper levels were lifted with cranes when several elevations of the building were completed, in order to conserve valuable and expensive crane time.


before and after prefabricated panels 3


Once the flashings and waterproofing membranes were complete, JR Butler implemented Trimble Total Stations to conduct quality control checks and layout to ensure all of the framing sections were within the ¼” caulk joint tolerances.  JR Butler was able to build the aluminum window sections within their temperature controlled warehouse with the glazing already installed and deliver each elevation on a just-in-time delivery schedule to keep the jobsite clean, the glazing protected, and increase overall jobsite site safety by reducing installation times and work over other trades.  By guaranteeing and controlling the rough openings, the glazing was preordered before actual field conditions could be measured reducing fabrication and delivery lead times dramatically.  The pre-glazed systems fit within ¼” of the prefabricated framed panel sections providing weather protection and installation earlier than traditionally constructed projects thus reducing overall temporary winter protection costs and increasing overall jobsite productivity. 

completed Trimble Westminster project 

Stu Shoger with Phase 2 Company concluded, “The Trimble Westminster project was the first time we panelized an entire exterior.  When JE Dunn brought us on, they believed that the use of Trimble technology would help expedite the process, and they were right.  The entire exterior panel installation went smoothly, and that is in large part
because of the model-to-fabrication-to-layout workflow formulated by the team efforts of Trimble, JE Dunn, and Phase 2 Company.”


Be sure to check out our other prefab solutions, including the concrete case study for the Westminster project, the steel case study for this project, the interior framing case study, a virtual mock-up case study on the Mission Hospital, and the new LOD tracking capabilities in Vico Office, including a new MPS Primitives Playbook and Webinar.  We’ll share more prefab solutions from the Trimble Buildings family leading up to the Denver BIMForum.  We hope you’ll be inspired to learn more about our construction solutions and then have the chance to follow-up face-to-face in Denver.


Trimble Buildings is hosting the Welcome Reception at the Denver BIMForum
on Monday evening, October 7.  We look forward to meeting you and your team and hearing about your own success stories.  We’ll have local craft brews to welcome you to our backyard, plus many of our product experts from Tekla, Trimble Field Solutions, SketchUp, Vico, Prolog, and WinEst.  So please plan on joining us. 


If you’d like to schedule a private demonstration, please use this form to suggest a time and we will work out the details.  And if you can’t make the conference, use the form to schedule a private web demonstration any time this week or next.



Yes, let's plan a time to meet...