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  • Leo Vidal

BIM IN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS: THE NEW DIGITAL ENGINEERING WORKFLOWS.

 

BIM revolutionizes infrastructure projects, reshaping how engineers approach design and execution. This article explores BIM's technical intricacies and practical applications, spotlighting software platforms and methodologies tailored to complex engineering projects, alongside real-world case studies demonstrating successful BIM implementations.

 

BIM's Role in Digital Engineering

 

Beyond a mere 3D modelling tool, BIM acts as a comprehensive digital repository integrating spatial and non-spatial data related to infrastructure assets. It enables advanced parametric modeling, creating intelligent models simulating real-world behavior for detailed analysis and informed decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.

 

 

Choosing the Right BIM Software

 

Selection of BIM software significantly impacts project success. Platforms like Autodesk's InfraWorks, Bentley's OpenRoads, and Trimble's Tekla Structures offer specialized capabilities for various infrastructure projects, facilitating visualization, structural analysis, and construction optimization with unparalleled accuracy.

 

 

Case Study: The North West Metro in Sydney, Australia


Sydney's Metro Northwest project is a testament to the transformative power of BIM in large-scale infrastructure projects. Using BIM methodologies and software platforms such as Bentley's OpenRail, the project team accelerated the design and construction of Australia's first fully automated metro system. By leveraging BIM for conflict detection, 4D construction sequencing, and asset management, the project achieved significant cost savings and accelerated lead times, setting a new standard for rail infrastructure development.



Efficient collaboration thanks to interoperability


Interdisciplinary collaboration is at the heart of BIM implementation in infrastructure projects. For effective data exchange and workflow integration, it is critical to achieve proper interoperability between different software applications. Industry standards, such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and openBIM protocols, facilitate interoperability, allowing stakeholders to share BIM data across different platforms without loss of information. In addition, cloud-based collaboration platforms such as BIM 360, Aconex, and ProjectWise streamline communication and document management, fostering efficient collaboration between distributed project teams.

 

 

Case Study: Crossrail (Elizabeth Line), London


The Crossrail project, now known as the Elizabeth Line, exemplifies the power of BIM-based collaboration in the realisation of complex urban infrastructures. With more than 100 kilometers of new railways, 42 of them underground, the project used BIM to coordinate stakeholders, manage interfaces and optimize the construction sequence. By implementing BIM-based asset information management systems, Crossrail established a digital twin of the entire rail network, facilitating maintenance and operations for decades.


Image 1. Digital Engineering in Infrastructure Projects. 


Harnessing the power of data-driven design and analysis.


BIM's analytical capabilities go beyond traditional design tasks, enabling engineers to perform sophisticated analyses that optimize performance and mitigate risk. Using computational design and finite element analysis (FEA) techniques, engineers can explore alternative design scenarios, optimize structural configurations, and assess the resilience of infrastructure assets under various load conditions. In addition, simulation tools integrated into BIM facilitate energy performance analysis, daylighting studies, and environmental impact assessments, enabling engineers to design more sustainable and resilient infrastructure solutions.


In this field, BuildBIM is developing Digital Engineering and BIM Management services for the Penlink Alliance team in the Ō Mahurangi Penlink Project, consisting of an investment of NZD 830 million, 7 km of roads from SH 01 to the Whangaparāoa Peninsula.

 

In conclusion, information modeling for construction represents a paradigm shift in the way engineers conceive, design, and execute infrastructure projects. By leveraging the technical depth of BIM software platforms, fostering seamless collaboration through interoperability, and leveraging data-driven design and analysis techniques, engineers can unlock new possibilities for innovation and efficiency in infrastructure engineering.

 

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