10 Year Award – Award of Excellence: San Francisco Federal Building, San Francisco

Maria Ciprazo
Director of Design and Construction
General Services Administration, San Francisco

Eui-Sung Yi
Morphosis, Los Angeles

Smarter Construction of Tall Buildings Using Embedded Fibre Optic Monitoring Systems

As engineering limits keep being pushed to design taller buildings, often in increasingly congested urban environments, constructing these buildings is becoming more and more complicated. We have seen some amazing advances in technology to enable faster construction and to address unique challenges which were inexistent a few decades ago. We have a duty to be proactive in coming up with solutions that can enable the designs of the future to be built.
This presentation describes a state-of-the-art monitoring system using fibre optic sensor cables embedded within the structure of a tall building, to act as a sensory nervous system for the building. This monitoring system measures the differential shortening and movement of the structure, as it is being built. This is a quantum improvement over the traditional laser or tape measure readings that are typically used by contractors to guide them during the construction. With this embedded fibre optic monitoring system, designers and contractors can know exactly how much each column at each level of the building has shortened, at any point during or after the construction process.
A case study is presented, where this embedded fibre optic monitoring system was used, for the first time ever, at Principal Tower, a 50-storey residential building in the heart of London. The data obtained automatically from the monitoring system throughout the 20-month construction period guided the setting of floor slab levels and the installation of the façade cladding, thus enabling a smarter construction process through the use of measured data that the building itself was providing.

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Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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