BIM for Infrastructure

What is BIM?
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is widely recognised as
a mature design methodology in the building and manufacturing industries. The
application of BIM is rapidly accelerating as owners and engineering service
providers are increasingly recognising the benefits of the intelligent data
that can be used within 3D modelling.

A common perception of BIM is that it is one element or one
product, this is not necessarily true. It is a process and a way to manage information
efficiently. It is a way for information to be collated, shared and stored
using 3D modeling, this information becomes intelligent data which can be used
to consult, design, build and maintain assets.
BIM models not only contain 3D geometry, they are rich in
data which are:
  • Intelligent
    – dynamic engines help define relationships between
    objects and keep changes consistent and coordinated
  • Knowledge based – can
    be constrained by things like regional design codes and criteria as well as company
  • Scalable – able to
    aggregate huge amounts of data from multiple sources
  • Visual – enable better
    analysis, simulation and communication

The benefits of BIM are being recognised globally as
governing bodies are beginning to implement regulations and standards to
encourage the use of BIM on building and civil infrastructure projects.

How does BIM fit into
Civil Infrastructure?
For any Infrastructure project be it existing or new there
are a lot of factors that are incorporated during the progression of the
project. Such as:
  • Existing
    – ground surveys, utilities and services, geotechnical
    investigations, property surveys.
  • Analyisis
    – watersheds, drainage, structural, utilities, estimates, traffic, sight lines,
    clash detection.
  • Standards
    – NZTA, Austroads, regional authorities, company, drainage, lighting, etc.
  • Planning
    & Consultation
    – multiple concept designs.
  • Design
    – 3D design model and calculations
  • Cost
    – materials, time management, staging, quantities, etc.
  • Document
    – reports, drawings, revisions, etc.
  • Construction
    – on-site changes, as-built surveys, etc.
  • Maintain
    – asset management.

These factors can be difficult to manage and collaborate on
especially when clients, consultants and contractors are in different offices
or on site. BIM is designed to make these factors manageable and collaboration
becomes a constant throughout the lifecycle of the project. This makes the ability
to spot design problems at the early stages of a project easier and allows
changes to be made in the office rather than on-site.

A large amount of hardcopies are produced at each stage of a project
and all this information is located in various places within an office or in
several offices, sometimes that information can be lost or hard to locate. BIM has the ability to store, record and issue all the
information as a 3D model and with data management tools such as Vault.
Even at the end of a project BIM can still be used to
maintain the assets, as long all the information has been entered correctly
throughout the project. Bad data in = bad data out. Autodesk has various cloud
based tools that can be used for site inspections. Analysis and simulations can
be run using information such as traffic data to show potential future needs.
BIM Processes and
To implement BIM effectively, you’ll want to create a
project execution plan. For smaller projects, such a plan might be fairly
simple. On a large project with many stakeholders, a highly detailed plan may
be necessary to keep everyone pointed in the same direction. Why do you always
need a plan? With BIM, you design with intelligent objects. You need to know
what intelligence the objects should have from the start of the project. Also,
when you share designs that are based on intelligent objects, a change can
ripple through the whole design.
A basic project execution plan should:
  • Outline
    how much intelligence to add to key model objects; for instance, a grading
    plan that will be used for GPS-guided grading will require a higher degree
    of precision
  • Define
    how and what data will be used over the life of the asset
  • Delineate
    how and when data will be transferred between project participants
The model should be detailed enough to support all intended
uses over the life of the infrastructure asset. Because the data can be used
for so much more than traditional 2D or 3D CAD data, you may find yourself
asking new questions at the beginning of projects. For instance:
  • Will
    the model be used for fabrication in addition to documentation?
  • How
    will the model be used in construction?
  • What
    else can I use the model for? Analysis, simulation, optimization? What
    have I always wanted to do that I couldn’t with
    2D or 3D CAD-based design approaches?
  • When
    and how will we share data with other disciplines on the project? Daily?
    Weekly? Monthly?
  • How
    frequently should we coordinate models contributing to the project?
Having a well-defined plan will help keep your team on track
as they master BIM. Consider enhancing your project plan with a process for
capturing and sharing milestones in the BIM implementation process. When your
team sees and shares the benefits of BIM, it will be easier for them to appreciate
the work they put into defining standards and processes up front. For instance,
the first time an engineer moves a profile and the related model elements and
subsequent documentation updates automatically can be a transformative moment.
No matter how much you understand and read about BIM, it’s those “aha moments”
that drive home why the industry is moving to using intelligent models.
Extract taken from: Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure
implementation white paper.
Follow a clear plan, this will help you implement BIM for
infrastructure successfully. The steps to help you should include:
  • Plan to educate staff on BIM; implementing BIM
    will require a new way of thinking, as it differs significantly from a traditional
    CAD-based process
  • Identify the standards and rules that need to be
  • Account for software and hardware needs; to make
    the most of a move to BIM, consider technology that allows you to move project
    information from planning to preliminary design to detailed design to construction
    without rework or redundancy
  • Establish a project plan for each BIM
    infrastructure project that outlines lifecycle data needs and processes for
    sharing the model
  • Document and refine processes

Extract taken from: Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure implementation
white paper.

As operators become accustomed to integrating models into their
operations and maintenance plans, they are beginning to specifically ask for
BIM deliverables.

Please contact CADPRO if you have any queries about BIM.

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