The why and how of BIM for infrastructure

Civil 3D

By John Lastname

BIM is being applied broadly across the globe for a variety of infrastructure projects, and this is providing distinct advantages over traditional practices.

The level of advantage you have over your competition often has to do with the ability to streamline workflows across all disciplines of a project.  Adopting a model centric delivery proces is a perfect way to achieve such results.  Here’s one example of the application of BIM by Kelprojektas. This is a construction project for the Lithuanian Road Administration under the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania. This is a road stretch from marker 183.90 to 187.90 km of the highway A12 Riga–Šiauliai–Tauragė–Kaliningrad, also known as Eastern bypass of Panemunė town, with a bridge across the Nemunas River.

Image courtesy Kelprojektas, Lithuania.

The project includes a bridge over the river and an overpass. The project is in the territory of flooded Nemunas River – the road is designed at a 9.25 m height above the floodway. 3D parametric modeling helped the team to find the optimal solution quickly, share data between project members working as a cohesive team, and helped them to collaborate and hand off the correct information to construction crews as well as for machine control activities. All of this lead to greater efficiency and improved quality. Watch a video of the project here.

As in this roadway example here, the model makes it much easier to calculate material quantities and estimate project costs. This happens at the touch of a button even as designs change, making old, time-consuming and inaccurate calculation methods obsolete. The model can be used throughout construction, to the point of driving machines for grading on through the precise application of the road surface. The resulting increase in precision and automation translates to cost savings and improved quality control.

BIM and infrastructure isn’t just about roadways and bridges, but crosses many segments and projects from rail and transit, to ports and airports, to land and site, and more. Here are a few more examples of the types of projects taking advantage of BIM as well as a short detail of the benefits gained:

  • BRIDGES: A model-based design approach allows for seamless testing of bridge design strength and performance with integrated analysis. The model can be extended with the addition of time for construction sequencing, which is helping to advance the growing movement for rapid project delivery and minimal closures for the least amount of traffic and commerce disruption. The number of Design Issue Notices (DIN), which are changes to the design that become necessary due to conflicts or issues identified during construction, are also reduced when BIM is used to model general structures and bridges, resulting in significant cost savings.
  • WATER AND SEWER NETWORKS: The tools within the model for pipes and pipe placement can apply established design standards that include the characteristics of the pipe (e.g. size, thickness, material, etc.) to make sure they align and that the design will perform to the plan. This automation includes entire pipe-network modeling to monitor and improve performance.
  • STORMWATER: The ability to model stormwater networks and whole watersheds affords the opportunity to analyze existing conditions, determine where major crossing structures need to be placed, as well as, try and test different retention and infiltration options for today’s trend toward green infrastructure.
  • AIRPORTS AND PORTS: Increasingly, these highly managed hubs are turning to BIM for project work as well as enterprise operations and maintenance. The lifecycle-management approach improves on today’s reactive facility management, allowing for predictive maintenance.

There are more instances of BIM and infrastructure projects, see them in this customer showcase.

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