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Regal uses CAD to plan a fundraising gala

Project Briefs | April 1, 2008 | By:

Regal Tent Productions uses 3D AutoCAD® technology to win a job and solve site challenges.

International Special Events Society Esprit award winner Regal Tent Productions Ltd. met challenges with innovation in 2007 when it was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to install tent structures for a fundraising gala.

The first challenge for the Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, event company was pitching an idea that organizers would favor over the event’s previous tent supplier and other well-known rental companies. The client wanted 100,000 square feet of tenting on the Ivy League university grounds that would allow 1,800 guests to enjoy breathtaking views of the Schuylkill River. “Winning this business would require impact, creativity and innovated thinking,” Regal marketing director Lara McCulloch says.

Site snags

Regal discovered two obstacles with the site: the 7-inch difference between the lowest and highest levels of ground, and a freshly finished landscaping job including a concrete path, lined with permanent benches and lanterns, that ran directly through the site.

To address these challenges and help the client experience the event from the eyes of a guest, Regal hired Byrne Engineering Inc. of Burlington, Ontario, to create animated 3D AutoCAD® files. Regal provided Byrne with topographical CAD layouts of the site and CAD drawings for the structures and Byrne created the animated movie.

The proposed solution involved a scaffolding system that would enable adjustable legs to fit in the various points of terrain and support a level floor. The floor would be built over the benches and around the lanterns with the lanterns used as décor. The final AutoCAD animation contributed to a comprehensive and detailed presentation that allowed the 17 meeting attendees to both hear and see how each individual concern would be addressed.

“The 3D AutoCAD video showcased the challenges of the location and highlighted how complex and costly the setup could be,” McCulloch says. In response, the client decided to change the site’s location to offer space for larger tents.

The night before the gala, a storm hit Philadelphia. “The large storm brought high winds and heavy rain, which made water rise so high it went over the floor’s edges,” McCulloch says. A 12-person crew spent the following day using large vacuums to dry the floor, and was on site until 2 a.m. fixing gutters and tightening walls. By nightfall, the team had successfully installed eight tent structures.

By Dionne Cordell in an IFAI editorial intern.

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