Walker Lee Evey, Program Manager for the Pentagon Renovation Office, gave a moving and informative overview of the disaster recovery and renovation efforts at the Pentagon to the Bentley International User Conference Monday morning. He described how the renovation efforts underway before the events of September 11, 2001 saved lives and helped speed rescue and recovery efforts, and how the ongoing renovation will protect the building and its occupants in the future. He also brought a special “thank you” to the developers at Bentley, telling them how critical the use of MicroStation and other Bentley software products were to the disaster relief efforts in the first hours and days following the tragedy.
The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building, covering more than 34 acres with 17.5 miles of corridors. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the first of five Pentagon “wedges” to be renovated under a 14-year plan was five days from completion. The crash went through a corner of that wedge before ending up in a second, un-renovated wedge. More than 2,600 workers were in the disaster area, but there were only 125 casualties, thanks in large part to such additions as steel matrix outer walls, blast resistant windows and a modern fire suppression system.
The reinforcements in the first wedge saved lives, Evey said. But the ability of his team to quickly gather design and construction data was also critical. Pentagon Renovation Office employees were on-site almost immediately with detailed drawings of the very complicated Pentagon layout. Evey was able to generate 25 charts for a media presentation for which he received many compliments. “We could never have done it without your software,” Evey said to the Bentley employees in attendance at the User Conference.
Plans for the reconstruction started almost immediately after the disaster. “In renovation, one must understand what is already there before proceeding,” Evey told the attentive audience. “The extensive data available to us [in Bentley products] made our work possible. Design work started even before the demolition ended.” Evey described the process in the weeks and months as “design on the fly,” something he said would have been impossible without the use of Bentley software.