OpenAire designs indoor water parks including pool enclosures, retractable and operable roofs, and skylights. The firm uses AutoCAD as their primary drafting software program to quickly address changes both internally and externally with project partners. OpenAire worked with the architectural firm Black River Design on the Jay Peak project and AutoCAD helped them collaborate by sharing files and being able to modify each other’s files. As a universal software program, AutoCAD, provides OpenAire with the flexibility to work with various project partners on the same platform, and to quickly and easily retrieve and modify project files.
In the case of the Jay Peak water park in Jay, Vermont, there are a myriad of features and components that play a role in the design and build of a retractable roof and operable skylight system such as waterslides. With all of these moving parts, OpenAire is able to work with project partners to manage and ensure alignment. The company develops their 3D drawings which are then combined with the water park designer’s 3D drawings to ensure points at which their elements are aligned. The program allows both parties to review the combined file, assess any changes/modifications, and make informed and calculated decisions to correct the issues.
As a result of using this system, the margin of error is reduced as opposed to pre-CAD days that relied on manual labor. OpenAire estimates that its number of errors is reduced by 10%. In addition, the DWG files allow designers to share files, make them available for download, and integrate them as required with other software programs.
OpenAire also uses S-Frame, a powerful 2D/3D/4D structural analysis software. The product helps OpenAire’s engineering staff model the aluminum structure, apply different load criteria, and analyze the results. It is the primary tool for generating job estimates and eventually to design and engineer its projects such as Jay Peak.
Using the software, OpenAire designers develop a library of extrusion profiles. They add profiles to the library as new aluminum extrusions are designed to meet load requirements of current projects. They can quickly select an extrusion as they are working on a project and to save a newly designed extrusion and later recall it as needed.
OpenAire is able to import their AutoCAD files which allow them to essentially trace their AutoCAD file in S-Frame and call up aluminum extrusions from their library. While designing Jay Peak’s retractable roof, snow load was a significant challenge. By tracing an AutoCAD file in S-Frame, the program can identify parts that may be overstressed due to snow load changes as a result of wind, the way the snow falls, etc. Using S-Frame, OpenAire designers were able to account for and address every potential snow load situation by inputting criteria and variables specific to Jay Peak. If areas are determined to be overstressed, for example, snow load could be an issue. Designers can then assess how to best solve that situation such as thickening the aluminum. S-Frame allows OpenAire to track, assess, and address specific compliance challenges for each project.
By using S-Frame, OpenAire drastically reduced the time and staff involved in analyzing a drawing, calculating extrusions, and correcting snow load and other building code requirements.