Aconex Limited, provider of the #1 global platform connecting teams on construction and engineering projects, helped Sembol Construction, a leading construction firm in Central Asia and the Middle East, manage the design and construction of the National Pavilion of Kazakhstan, the core structure of Expo 2017.
Expo, formerly known as the World’s Fair, is the third largest organization in the world, after FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, for economic and cultural impact, attracting tens of millions of visitors. The theme of Expo 2017 is “Future Energy,” and the event, running from June 10 to September 10, showcases innovative and practical energy solutions and their far-reaching effects.
Delivery of the Expo’s central pavilion, a three-year, US$1-billion project, had no room for error and a hard deadline, necessitating that Sembol find a reliable, secure construction management system.
Delivering Customer Value
“I have been working with Aconex for more than two years now as IT manager of the Expo 2017 project, and I can state simply that I have never worked with a system that is so effective and easy to manage,” said Sembol Business Applications Specialist Salim Canpolat. “We are focused on partnering with experts in their fields to provide the best methods and the most innovative solutions to complicated construction problems. In this regard, Aconex has proved to be a perfect partner for us.”
Istanbul-based Sembol, ranked at 157 in ENR’s 2016 Top 250 International Contractors, has built five-star hotel and resort projects, shopping and entertainment centers, large sports venues, iconic cultural and educational urban structures, business and media towers, convention and conference centers, residential buildings, and mixed-use assets in Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Croatia, the United Arab Emirates, and Libya. In Kazakhstan alone, the company has delivered projects exceeding 1.3 million square meters of closed building area with an aggregate value of more than US$2.3 billion.
Accelerating Data Flows
Close collaboration and timely responses across the supply chain of contractors and suppliers were critical to ensure that the Kazakhstan Pavilion was ready for opening day of Expo 2017. Project data had to move seamlessly through design and construction so that workflows and other processes were completed on schedule.
“We could not afford any delays,” said Mr. Canpolat. “The Aconex platform’s intuitive user interface and purpose-built functionality meant that we were able to get up and running quickly without a lot of training. Our partners appreciated the platform’s secure data access to protect their information and document version control to keep us all on the same page. With the searchable project database, we could continue execution without interruption while we looked for the right document or communication. Sembol is dedicated to delivering the utmost in excellence, and Aconex played an integral role in our achieving that goal for the Kazakhstan Pavilion.”
The two-square-kilometer Expo 2017 site is built around a giant globe, which is designed as an economic and sustainable grid shell structure. The exterior shell of the Kazakhstan Pavilion measures approximately 80 meters in diameter and is supported by a central core split into two parts for additional lateral rigidity. In the globe structure’s interior, floor slabs span from the core to the shell.
Overcoming IT and Construction Challenges
In addition to the structural complexities of the pavilion, the local environment presented multiple challenges for Sembol and its project team. The climate of Kazakhstan is severe, with daytime temperatures staying below 0°C (32°F) for six months of the year. Hosting physical servers to securely handle the volume of project data and communications would have posed significant IT challenges as well.
“This is a difficult environment for both IT and construction,” explained Mr. Canpolat. “Managing the project on a world-class cloud-based platform saved us a lot of headaches. Aconex meets or exceeds all major enterprise security standards, and the cost savings on hardware and software were substantial.”
“We appreciated the opportunity to partner with Sembol on this symbolic project,” said Yuval Attias, general manager of Europe and Africa commercial operations at Aconex. “They have a growing reputation as one of the major construction firms in the region. We look forward to building a long-term relationship and delivering increasing value to Sembol and its project network over time.”
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