BIM processes for infrastructure projects

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Egis now have some experience and practice in BIM processes for infrastructure projects especially in facilities constructed on the ground or under the ground for human activities development inside the territories1

Compared to the buildings, the scope is larger, in terms of scales to be covered, systems to be developed and type of works to be constructed.

If the development of the BIM for Infrastructure must avoid  “re-inventing the wheel”, the items of interoperability of data, tools and processes need to be re-visited in order to stay relevant and to provide some real added value.

Level of BIM maturity In Infrastructure

The Building Information Modelling European Task Group, is agreed  that the average level of maturity possible is Level 2 with the objectives to deliver  for the year 2016. To simplify the concept, the BIM maturity Level 2 means: “Objects and models in 3 dimensions delivered in using the available standards and collaborative processes (for instance, Workflow, libraries…)

Two schemas compare how Egis evaluates the Level 2 maturity for a construction to be considered in a building, like a metro station, and for a construction like a motorway, based on the experience of delivered projects in France or in Middle East.

The processes for building are very much oriented by the 3D objects, natively managed by the authoring tools, using IFC standard, but losing maturity with the collaborative processes due to the usual collaborative tools: they are mainly dedicated for files management.

The infrastructure processes are more oriented models than objects which are not natively managed by the authoring tools. Nevertheless, because the collaborative tools are oriented files management, they appear relevant to manage the models files (workflow, versioning, etc.). It has to be mentioned, that the level of maturity cannot be homogenized for all of the works included in the infrastructure project and the extension of the standards are in progress with BSI and OGC.

Data Drop or Concurrent Engineering (C.E.)

Two approaches are possible for the BIM management:

  • The data drop approach is mainly oriented on the deliverables to be produced by the BIM models for each phases. The goal is to deliver digital information for procurement.
  • Another approach is possible with the goal to organize the approval management under a concurrent engineering process by the workflow management. BIM is used for the approval process, prior to the usual submission of deliverables (drawings, reports and models). The expected impact is to decrease the number of deliverables issuances.

In case of developing the C.E. approach, the collaborative tools and the processes become the center point, the node of the BIM. The BIM benefits are not oriented to the Client only, but also to the information producers, improving their acceptance of the BIM implementation.

The Building Information Modelling execution plan

The “BIM execution plan” has to be considered not only as a key document but a key moment to clarify with all of the stakeholders, the BIM expectations.

Three aspects of the BEP:

  • The “BIM execution plan” or the “BIM protocol” (NEC Contract) can be required by the Client in the “Terms of Reference”. In this case, it is a contractual obligation to proceed through the design plan and the design schedule.
  • For the C.E. process, the BEP is additional to the Project Management Plan. The QA/QC system is impacted.
  • But the BEP is also a communication’s documentation: to develop with the design team or the construction team how to save some benefits from the BIM, and to define with the Client what is the added value expected. Usually, the time to spend for the BEP creation, is largely underestimated.

In C.E., the BEP becomes the comprehensive way and tools of the project management. Model Review and Project review

An Infrastructure project combines a large number of heterogenic models and tools to be associated and integrated. The Model review and the Technical Project review must be considered as two very different steps, in a process of C.E.

The model review is integrated within the QA/QC process, and resolves in one time, the design quality and the models integration quality. For C.E.,it can be done in any time, to check each design progress. For an infrastructure project, to have a view of the project integration, it is needed to proceed to a dedicated 3D model integration in a specific tool, which is no more an authoring tool. The BIM Coordinator proceeds to this integration and activates the QA/QC processes.

The Project review must be prepared in a very different way, even if it is based on the same 3D models and the same integration tool. A BIM project review must be focused not on the 3D aspects but on Contractual issues and constructability. The BIM manager role is to associate any issues detected during the Model Review to a contractual information or requirement, in creating metadata and monitoring relating to the Contract. The BIM navigation needs to be organised by contractual issues allocated by the 3D model viewer.

Metadata and standardisation

The Perspective of the BIM level 3 for Infrastructure projects requires solving at least two main issues:

  • A full modeling of the infrastructure, including the underground with interoperability between the various domains, including geographical information.
  • The possibility to have a full integrated meta data management, (versioning and status) at any stage of the project.

This last issue seems a realistic perspective in the shorter term than the full 3D objects integration. But the cost saving for all the stakeholders could be very profitable.

GOLD LINE in DOHA

With the current construction boom in Qatar, Egis Rail teamed up with Louis Berger in the Project Management of the Qatar Integrated Railways Project. This will be a very challenging role for EGIS Rail since the Qatar Rail has initiated the use of BIM Building Information Modelling in all its current and future projects.

With experienced BIM Coordinators, Egis Rail is assisting Qatar Rail in implementing BIM Plan as per the Employers’ requirements. Checking and validation of the BIM models as submitted by the Contractor, making sure that BIM uses are strictly adhered to and follow the Standard, Methods and Procedures as mandated the Client.

1 MINnD: “Modelling the INfrastructures INteroperable Information in n Dimensions” is a French National Research Project, sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEDDE) http://www.minnd.fr/

Christophe Castaing

Director of the corporate project: BIM by Egis

Co-director of the National Research Project MINnD

Chairman of the Building Smart International Infrastructure Room BIM manager for several projects of Infrastructure EGIS

christophe.castaing@egis.fr

www.egis.fr

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