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From a surfeit of paper to clear digital communication

Skyscraper Gallileo with PKM

New glass tower of the Dresdner Bank added to the skyline in the Frankfurt train station neighbourhood. In the heart of Frankfurt, on an area of only 100 m², architecture enthusiasts can now admire four generations of bank buildings, all currently used by the Dresdner Bank.

The Fürstenhof (ducal residence) dating from the early 1870's, the first skyscraper built in the 1970's, and the executive building from the 1990's are joined by the new "Gallileo". The opening ceremony took place on June 5th 2003. The project involved a total investment of 190 million Euro. 1,550 work in the 38 stories / 30,000 m² office space. On the ground floor is the English Theatre with 300 seats. The skyscraper consists mainly of glass. More than 4,000 individual windows form a roughly 22,000 m² transparent skin which, a technical first in the world, provides 20 percent better heat insulation than anything built into skyscrapers up to this time. The Chairman of the Board of the Dresdner Bank AG, Herbert Walter, stated on the opening ceremony: "Our new Gallileo Tower is a symbol for the ability of our bank to perform, to innovate and to face the future.”

The Project Management

Project management was assured by Drees & Sommer AG. Drees & Sommer AG has been market leader among Germany's project management companies for many years. After 30 years in the construction business Drees & Sommer AG is able to ensure total management and consulting services for a smooth implementation and return on investment to builders and investors alike.

The Task

The planning team for Gallileo was a multitude of diverse third party professions covering a wide array of disciplines who worked together for several years. The smooth cooperation of all participants and the efficient execution of the Gallileo project were to a great degree dependent on the information flow and the coordination within the entire team. All project participants were based at different locations, used different programs with their own data structures, and often pursued different interests. Rapid and accurate coordination processes were of vital importance because the quality of information exchange has a direct impact on the economic viability of the entire project. A system that makes information available quickly, smoothly, reliably, and that can be used immediately by all users with little training was needed.

Dresdner Bank requested that this system ensure the quality and up-to-date status of plan basics, transfer information during the planning and construction phase, and facilitate the transfer of all data for the later operation of the building.

The Solution

PKM was selected as the internet based project communications management platform. The system was in place just-in-time for the beginning of the implementation planning. After defining the project structure, about 100 user Ids were issued and after a three-hour training all participants were ready to use the PKM. The networking of all project participants allowed the exchange of messages, documents and information within the shortest timeframe. Costly and inefficient information exchange via fax or courier was dispensed with almost entirely. "Our day-to-day work has shown that the PKM was developed with solid construction know-how and it has been tailored to our project”.

Without purchasing any software we are able to exchange and compare CAD plans with all professional planners quickly and smoothly", said Bele Hornung of the architectural firm Novotny Mähner Assoziierte. Data and plans were centrally archived in the PKM. Depending on access rights the participants were able to download specific data via the integrated search function. During the project more than 18,000 plans accumulated. If done on paper, this would have filled several file cabinets and would have made any search process very lengthy indeed. The press release of the Dresdner Bank states: "A conscious effort was made to reduce the volume of routine daily work processes. Architects, planners, engineers and others communicated primarily digitally in the Gallileo project, otherwise the pile of plans would have been higher than the skyscraper itself."

PKM was used not only to optimize the daily work processes. It also allowed Dresdner Bank to access up-to-date project information at all times, monitor costs, deadlines and decisions. The striking visualization of required actions in PKM made possible a zero-delay reaction to any situation. In addition, the clear data structures facilitated compatibility with the subsequent facility management system. Transparent data structures ensured the involvement of the facility managers user during the planning phase.