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Development Project Spotlight: Iowa Events Center Hotel

Iowa Events Center Hotel in DSM USA

May 22, 2017

In April 2018, the Hilton Des Moines Downtown will open its doors, ushering in people from all over the world. So what does it take to efficiently build a $101 million, 330-room, 316,000-square-foot hotel in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)? A combination of teamwork, talent and the latest, best practices in technology. Here are some of the key components The Weitz Company is using to optimize quality and streamline construction.

Hilton DSM Plans

To eliminate installation clashes and ultimately save time and money, major building components of the hotel were modeled in 3D according to the designers’ drawings by the project team. This ensures the right number of components are installed and accurately placed into the project. VDC covers everything relating to the building’s structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, pool and furniture components.

Furthermore, multiple software platforms and tools integrate daily to digitally construct the building and accurately translate the digital model physically to the building site. To do this, Weitz uses the GPS version of what is called a Robotic Total Station by Trimble. First, a 3D model of the building is connected to the computer program, which is then connected to the robotic station onsite. The robotic station then shoots coordinated points onsite that are referenced from the 3D digital model. View the Robotic Total Station in action here.


Drones in DSM USADrones have become integral to accurately tracking project site activity and progress. Weitz project engineers who are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration periodically fly a drone around the project site to capture images and video that enable the team to review parts of the project that are not typically possible without this technology. This is critical to the quality control of the exterior building envelope as it makes hard- to-see construction details more accessible to review through the lens of the drone.


Prefabrication in DSM USAThe construction team is working with subcontractors and prefabricators to build some elements of the project offsite. This is to maximize construction quality, remain on schedule and reduce safety hazards. For example, bathrooms are small spaces that require the expertise of multiple building trades to achieve the end product. To improve the efficiency of their construction, 300 of the hotel’s bathrooms were prefabricated into PODs. The PODs are then shipped to the site for installation in one modular unit.

Other key prefabricated pieces are the mechanical and electrical components for each hotel room. Subcontractors have used the coordinated 3D model to create complete drain assemblies and electrical kits for each room. The electrical kits contain the exact amount of parts needed for the rooms, including wire cut to size, so that everything is at the installers’ fingertips to wire the rooms.

"Nothing Hits the Floor"

This means the Hilton Des Moines Downtown project site is 100 percent clean – free of debris, tools and other items that may cause safety hazards, all hours of the day. This principle is part of the Lean Last Planner ® system that aims to maximize project value and minimize waste. It allows each building trade to actively participate in the scheduling of day-to- day construction activities and allows the team to anticipate any potential bumps in the construction process. A clean jobsite also means the project team can most accurately track the project’s Plan Percent Complete, which compares the day’s actual construction progress to the planned progress for that particular day.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality in DSM USAA virtual, 3D model of the building has been created as a sales tool to allow potential customers to experience the building through Oculus virtual reality goggles and Google Cardboard. Through this tour, they can see the finishes inside the hotel even before the interior spaces are constructed. For this model, Weitz’s 3D construction model was integrated with the architect’s 3D design model, then rendered in virtual reality for use with the Oculus goggles.

Thanks to these technological innovations and the entire project team, including the designers, financial team, Polk County and DSM Convention Hotel, LLC, the Hilton Des Moines Downtown will open its doors in April 2018 as a state-of- the-art hotel in Downtown Des Moines. The building will proudly reflect the global design standards of a world-class hotel residing Greater Des Moines (DSM) and will be ready to welcome visitors from near and far. Intrigued by this development project?

Learn more about Downtown DSM development, as well as about recent regional development projects.

Ben Bunge

Ben is the project manager overseeing construction of the Hilton Des Moines Downtown. With 12 years of industry experience in construction management, he is responsible for ensuring project success, starting with preconstruction services through onsite construction operations. He received his Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University.