Skyon – a kaleidoscope of light in the sky

Electrification design & BIM model by Melior Projekt OÜ and low voltage design and BIM model by Itelec Consult OÜ with CADMATIC Electrical

The eye-catching 26-story Skyon office building in Tallinn, Estonia has strikingly changed the Tallinn cityscape, and locals say for the better. The 898 triangular and colorful glass panels with 4.5 km of LED lights strips around the 95-meter-tall building light up the city dramatically at night. Melior Projekt OÜ used CADMATIC Electrical for the building’s electrification design that included all electrical project deliverables and BIM models. Itelec Consult OÜ was similarly responsible for all electrical project deliverables and BIM models for the design of low voltage systems.

Skyon is home to Coop Pank, which is headquartered on the 10th floor. It is only the sixth building in Estonia to achieve Platinum LEED certification. LEED is the world’s most widely used green building rating system, which provides a framework for highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

According to Dmitri Gridin, Head Engineer at Melior Projekt OÜ, electrical installations are gaining prominence with the increase of smart systems and the need to operate at maximum energy efficiency. He adds that it is demanding to provide electrical solutions for systems that need to be monitored separately or can be reconnected and reused in different ways to accommodate the needs of tenants.

“Tenants change over time, so you need to be flexible and keep future requirements in mind as much as possible. As with all high-rise buildings, space is extremely limited for technical shafts, so you need to squeeze all the ventilation and electrical risers into very tight areas,” says Dmitri.
Skyon office building in Talinn

The acute space constraints mean that all systems need to be optimized. He says, for example, that they made use of a busbar riser system for the main electrical risers to conserve space.

“The busbar system has many advantages over traditional cabling. It takes up much less space than cabling and cable trays and is also much faster to install. You only need only one circuit whereas with cabling you’d need one circuit for every floor, 26 in the case of Skyon. It not only uses less space, but is also more flexible. You can change the main circuit breaker to higher or lower current as needed and manage other changes easily later.”

An interesting challenge on the project was that Coop Pank on the 10th floor required an electrical installation with generator support to ensure electrical supply 24/7 in the event of a loss of main grid power.

Dmitri says that the regulations require backup power for the sprinkler and smoke extraction systems. The generator also ensures greater energy security, as clients have the option to use either the main electrical supply or the generator. This was particularly important for Coop Pank, as the building houses their servers and employees.

Skyon building at night

Project/building technical details

  • 26 floors above ground
  • 2 underground floors
  • Height: 95.1 m
  • Volume: 52814 m3
  • Closed net area: 11540 m
  • 116 floor plans
  • 52 diagrams
  • 221 switchboards
  • 3314 switches and sockets
  • 5794 other electrical devices
  • 3800 m of cable trays and ladders
  • 3200 km of power supply cables
  • 3 designers in electrical and 1 in low voltage design team

Image source: Wikipedia

Skyon 3D model

Database-driven electrical design keeps the focus on design work

Dmitri says that CADMATIC Electrical’s database-driven design system is invaluable in complex projects like the Skyon building. Central data management means that when changes are made, designers can trust that the changes are reflected in all documents automatically.

“It helps us to stay focused on actual design challenges and requirements, without being distracted by data management issues. Time is always of the essence in these projects, while quality is non-negotiable, so you really don’t need distractions. We just focus on delivering the best and most efficient electrical designs and the software automatically takes care of the project data.

The sentiment is shared by Dmitri Vavilov from Itelec Consult OÜ, who was responsible for the BIM models, 2D arrangement drawings, and system diagrams of the fire, telecommunications, and security systems of the building.

He says that the database function in CADMATIC Electrical is essential to manage large projects like Skyon and that he primarily focuses on the database during design to ensure that the data is correct and that everything is connected as it should be.

“We had to produce more than 100 drawings alone for the three systems. When some attribute like the height of a card reader changes, you can imagine how much work that would involve if you had change it manually in all the drawings. With CADMATIC Electrical’s database, I just update the object in the database and all the project drawings are automatically updated.

Interestingly, Dmitri has taken the already high level of automation offered by CADMATIC Electrical to new levels by writing his own scripts that, for example, automate the generation and labeling of system diagrams. He indicates that this has reduced the design time required for such tasks by 50%.

Skyon 3D model

IFC as reference models a real time saver

The Skyon design project was governed by strict BIM requirements. Dimitri Gridin indicates that recent improvements in the quality of external IFC models mean that they can be used with confidence as reference models for electrical modeling to meet the BIM requirements.

“The quality improvements mean that we can use IFC reference models within CADMATIC Electrical. We do everything inside one software solution and don’t need to export IFC to third-party software to check and control the model quality just to raise or lower a cable tray by 5cm. We just continue designing with the reference models, which saves a lot of time,” says Dmitri.