The U.S. can now claim to host to one of the world's most innovative wind-energy research centers, thanks to a global undertaking that made Clemson University's SCE&G Energy Innovation Center a reality.

With the building positioned on a mucky brownfield site that holds the potential for hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding, dynamic loads generated by the facility's 500-plus-ton pieces of equipment posed challenges for consultant AEC Engineering. Working from offices in Bilbao, Spain, and Minneapolis, AEC coordinated with German manufacturer RENK and contractor Choate Construction Co. to design deep foundation systems—built to 30/1000-in. tolerances in all directions—to support mass and vibration requirements of the building's first-of-a-kind machines.

The teamwork of contractors and designers was tested early on, when initial design review of the test-rig foundation identified more than 8,500 conflicts. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the project team used a shared BIM model to work out the conflicts in real time. According to one judge, "Flawless international team coordination and collaboration" made the outcome a success.


Project Team

Owner: Clemson University Restoration Institute

Lead Design Firm: AEC Engineering

General Contractor: Choate Construction Co.

Architect, MEP Engineer: Davis & Floyd