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Rebar + Concrete Constructible Modeling: Setting a Winning Foundation


By Matt Hedke, Construction Executive

Visualizing the field and creating value

Barton Malow is no stranger to the advantages and inner workings of modeling on a macro level. As any general contractor could attest to, every new project undertaken is almost never like the last.

That presents an obvious and natural ebb and flow of challenges that companies like Barton Malow must face, and circumventing that is no picnic. However, modeling gives contractors a keen sense of what needs to be accomplished and by when. This ensures projects don’t accrue waste and provide the best result for company and client alike, which is especially the case during rebar placement and concrete pours. In the world of concrete and rebar, it’s crucial to leverage modeling in order to set the stage for success.


During the preplanning process, Barton Malow uses modeling software to piece a strategy together. Although the scope, magnitude and features of every project’s model are different, the team knows that three things are absolutely necessary:

  • concrete model;
  • pour sequence; and
  • constructibility.

When a job comes in, the team typically 3-D models the concrete as a primary step, then uses the 3-D to visualize the various complex pieces of the project. From there, pour sequence is typically established and defined first. The next priority becomes formwork and rebar. This gives a full view of what to expect on the project. When the team is forced to look in advance, it’s for the best. It means team members know exactly what the project is going to look like before boots are even in the field. The project is built virtually after first identifying things like RFIs, missing information or possible constructibility concerns.

Some of the advantages of this are obvious: it keeps the project on time and on-or-below budget. However, constructible modeling of rebar and concrete provides a number of intangibles, too. It encourages the team to not just know the basics, but to find value in certain on-site duties and ask, “What are we missing”? or “How can we build this more efficiently”? From a collaboration and coordination standpoint, this type of methodology allows the project team to see the challenges ahead of time before they become problems in the field. Then, when these models are shared with the project team, they are able to visualize and present this plan in the field on mobile devices via their iPad, iPhone, Android, mobile job boxes, etc.


 A project that effortlessly utilizes constructible modeling is supported by a workforce that knows how to navigate and utilize these models on site. In a recent build for a forestry company, Barton Malow modeled everything but the kitchen sink. That presented opportunities, however. Once contractors begin to see a job of this magnitude built, they will start to understand the incredible amount of data behind it. With the amount of power and capabilities constructible modeling provides, harnessing it correctly and efficiently becomes the biggest hurdle. That’s why Barton Malow encourages, educates and develops its company-wide workforce to be technology-enabled. This was best exemplified on a recent project for a national courier services company, wherein the team not only had the power of constructible modeling at their fingertips, but knew how to leverage it to their advantage. This approach ensured that little-to-no rework was needed in a massive operation like this. Through one simple motto, “Plan our work then work our plan,” in addition to deep collaboration between the site team and VDC team, Barton Malow challenges the status quo and mines for new ways be safer, more productive and ensure the highest quality on projects.


Rebar and concrete constructible modeling is a differentiator in the construction industry. With so many variables impacting a project, any level of consistency goes a long way. When Barton Malow models concrete, rebar, formwork, embeds/anchor bolts and provides detailed pour plans, it is setting up the foundation for not only wins for the company, but providing reliable, quality work for clients. Moreover, the future of constructible modeling is bright. Soon, this type of work won’t simply be limited to visualizing the field. Want to track man hours? What about cost? Contractors may soon be able to track these in conjunction with a model. As constructible modeling continues to evolve, the industry will have new and more efficient ways to build.

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