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BIM - IN INFRASTRUCTURE Exploring the reach and value of BIM in the infrastructure sectors




Nathan Hudson DESIGN:

Stacey Beardsley CONTRIBUTORS:

Santanu Das, SVP Design & Modelling, Bentley Systems Philip Isgar, Senior Director, Sunbeam Management Solutions Ltd David Lowery, Project Director, Carillion (courtesy of ICE) David Philp, Global BIM/IM Consultancy Director, AECOM (courtesy of ICE) Romy Hughes, Director, Brightman Business Solutions (courtesy of ICE) Ben McAlinden (courtesy of ICE)

BIM Journal is published by: BIM Journal Ltd, Upper Floor, Turnbridge Mills, Quay Street Huddersfield, HD1 6QT 01484 437318




Welcome to Issue 3 of BIM Journal, a themed publication that deep dives into a pertinent topic of the day from within the BIM/ Digital AEC realm.

BIM Journal seeks to discuss and present example projects and thought leadership from leading professionals around the world.

In the prior edition, we looked at the emerging job roles and what this means for recruits young and old. In this issue, we discuss the impact and adoption of BIM in the Infrastructure sector, together with the evolution of the overall market in line with BIM adoption wholesale.

Within the greater topic of Infrastructure we will focus on key sectors such as Highways, Rail, Water, Utilities and Nuclear and we will do this by working closely with a number of expert individuals and organisations operating at all levels of the industry in order to highlight their opinions, contributions and wider concerns regarding the evolution of BIM overall. Complete with illuminating case studies and a good old fashioned look at COBie too.

It is hoped that you find this publication appealing, and that you glean confidence when discussing and understanding the topic going forward.stantial confidence discussing and

BIM refers to the virtual 3D building information model or models which are then brought together “as one” at key intervals.


“ BIM also refers to the potentially agonising process of getting project participants to interact with the model collaboratively, when they should, in the agreed format, using the available standards, on time (aka the BIM process).





















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As a sector it is here where we enter a murky realm that is notoriously difficult for outsiders to pin down. Indeed a good while ago the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) ran a ‘man in the street’ type survey asking people to define what a Civil Engineer did and the responses were as wild as you can imagine[1]. From one lady citing “somebody that stands there holding a clipboard” to others really mixing it up “they implement government policy?” the best that we could hope for ended up being “building and land matters” which is both a reply and a statement. So there really is everything to play for when it comes to enlightening the public in this regard. Otherwise, we could well be walking into some sort of skills crisis. On the flip side, to the learned of course the distinction between a Civil Engineer and a Mechanical Engineer is simple, as the old joke shows: one builds weapons while the other builds targets. But crude analogies aside an overwhelming chunk of the built environment falls under the Civil Engineer’s remit. Yet herein lies the problem of why it is perhaps so glossed over when it comes to school careers day; is it simply too big and too complex to define? Worse still, not only is the sector rather large and complex, but so too are the many roles and duties within. And the architect is nowhere to be seen. What is telling, really, is that nobody ever left school with the ambition of becoming a Careers Advisor, yet these people are now in a position to guide and advise young and impressionable others. This might be the real problem there but I digress. To the less initiated, Construction as a sector is split fairly clearly into the realms of Building and Civil Engineering or “civils” and it is to the latter where we must look to find our Infrastructure projects. Sure there are crossover situations and many projects depend upon techniques and approaches from both camps; railways will always need stations, airports will always need runways, but the general gist is clear. There is an awful lot going on today, much of which is pretty exciting when it comes to the use of technology, which we will look at over the course of the publication. Smart Infrastructure after all is the foundation by which we will construct our Smart Cities and our future growth depends on it. Something that we will also examine in greater detail in a future issue. The above distinction is something of a crude split however. Not least because there are different contractual relationships applied to both realms and, to complicate matters further, funding for one versus the other is somewhat distinct (indeed how some quarters define infrastructure in the first place) so the scope of the articles will focus on traditional “economic infrastructure” rather than “social infrastructure” which tends to include Schools and Hospitals and the like.[6]





State of Play

In a post Brexit reality (did “Brentry” kick up this hoopla? It is worth looking at the headlines) the whole infrastructure world has been shaken up in terms of the government’s commitment to spending after the sort of recent general election. In the UK the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) head Lord Adonis went on record to urge investors to ignore the political undercurrent in play and to take the subsequent headlines with a pinch of salt when it comes to looking at longer term plans[5]. The concern being that coalition governments can spend too much time focussing on short term thinking and knee jerk strategies rather than focussing on longer term initiatives that make real economic sense. Time will tell in this regard but there is hope, and lots of it, if the cards are played right - as captured well in the ICE State of the Nation Report earlier this year. Quite recently however, the UK government launched a transport investment plan for Britain. Essentially a multi-billion pound fund to assist and supplement the proposed creation of a major road network. Funded by Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) also known as a road and emissions tax the strategy, kickstarted by George Osbourne in 2015, it nowadays sets out the need for future projects to show how they contribute to creating a more balanced economy.[3] This features the proposed creation of a new major road network, which would see a share of the funds then given to local authorities to improve or replace the most important A roads under their management[2]. The plans aim to improve the productivity and the connectivity of towns and cities across the country by tackling bottlenecks and traffic jams while taking away the misery of lorries and through-traffic impacting upon rural villages and main roads. This of course also ties into the Smart Motorway initiative, which we will introduce in the next section.



Connected Towns and Cities - The First Step

This is exactly what is meant by “balancing the economy” and the above is driven by an effort to help people get to work or school far better by connecting towns and cities, unlocking land for new homes and improving business links. Each of which forms a critical strand of the government’s strategy to rebalance the economy by ensuring that wealth is spread across the UK. It also supports the government’s modern industrial strategy and key schemes such as HS2 and Heathrow, which are merely aspects of a far larger national initiative. Indeed investment will support every part of the country and, where needed, smaller schemes that are proven solutions with real passenger and drivers benefits will be fast tracked.[2] So it is all go.

Transport Investment Strategy

How chancellor Philip Hammond (and crucially the Office for Budget Responsibility) respond over the coming months and years is the real acid test, but industry and “sensitive schemes” in particular will be scrutinised even more closely going forward. In the wake of the deluge of social spending that needs to happen there will always be uncertainty. HS2, Crossrail 2, the Northern Powerhouse (Road, Rail, Schools, Innovation etc) and the Heathrow expansion could fall foul to petty interpersonal political rivalries[5] and worry-mongering. Although at the time of going to press it seems that Crossrail 2 has managed to get the go ahead. Going forward however, regardless of however a person voted, as Brexit negotiations take place solidarity is surely the order of the day. Politicians can then get back back to their paper waving and bewilderment when the dust settles. Everybody is watching the UK at the moment and a lot more needs to be going on behind closed doors. To say the least.

Approach to the Publication

So, delicate funding obstacles aside, there are a myriad superb projects happening at the moment with many exciting endeavours in the pipeline. What better way to begin this edition of BIM Journal then with a look at the impact of digital trends and initiatives on Civil Engineering so far, before looking at smart motorway initiatives, rail, water and utilities, and nuclear and industrial. Each supported by choice interviews and case studies from the UK and around the world. In further association with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), we will also hear more from key practitioners as well, before concluding with a look at the role of COBie.

Ultimately an entire IT infrastructure is needed to support the real infrastructure - which costs a lot more. When do you see governments using these modern methods day in day out? When is the sea-change? Most new infrastructure projects, especially those in Norway, Singapore, and Denmark, already have this IT infrastructure built in. So they can then determine when, for example, roads need to be widened or improved for example. Utility companies are also implementing this technology to find leaks before they happen. This is a critical thing for these companies to be able to do, and this technology offers a 90 percent certainty of where a leak would occur in the next few months. As more and more forward thinking initiatives take off, it really is a matter of time. SANTANU DAS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT DESIGN & MODELING, BENTLEY SYSTEMS[4]



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HAS DIGITAL’S IMPACT ON CIVIL ENGINEERING REALLY HIT US YET? In this guest article from the ICE we consider the following: if digital is going to transform the civil engineering industry then just how is it going to look in 5, 10 or 20 years time? Over to ICE’s Ben McAlinden to tell us more. Behaviours and skills are central themes of ICE’s Digital Transformation campaign, which will be further explored on the 13th of October this year Shaping A Digital World. Through the programme of events, conferences and knowledge content we look for answers to questions such as: • • • • • •

What behaviours are needed to facilitate digital transformation and from whom? Is the technology moving too fast, leaving engineers’ skillsets behind? What new skills are needed to work with automated decision-making? How should we drive innovation through to get full impact? How can technology itself offer new solutions, for example avoiding hitting pipes when digging up roads?

But before we do this, let’s spend a moment looking at the emerging trends so far...




Defining New Digital Technologies

Two stand-out areas where digital is changing the way we work are collaboration and information management. Emergent new technologies are redefining engineering practice and in turn the behaviours and skills that make up the engineer’s profile. Such as:

Building Information Management

BIM Level 2 has reached early adopters but not yet filtered down the entire supply chain. BIM unlocks the true value of the data asset but attitudes and experiences vary. An innovative, collaborative, information-focused mindset is important for realising the full benefits.

Augmented Reality

AR offers a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment where elements are augmented (or supplemented) by virtual computer-generated sensory input (sound, video, graphics or GPS data). Users can visualise site limitations, detect clashes, and overlay time (from 4D-BIM platforms) and cost information (from 5D-BIM platforms) to experience a real time dry run of a project before real construction begins.

Mixed Reality

A mix of reality and virtual reality. For example, using AR and video chat to teleconference live with someone in another country to both explore and discuss a hard-to-access place (e.g. a sub-sea tunnel), with information overlaid on your view.

Mobile Technology

Use of phones, tablets and apps offer live and more efficient communication and collaboration on project sites. They make access to information far easier and more widespread.

Smart Sensors

Advanced monitoring technology can relay real-time information about the condition of infrastructure to inform asset management (i.e. ‘intelligent assets’).


Used increasingly in the construction sector to inspect sites and assets. The right kinds of skills are needed to generate the right kinds of data to be fed into, say, BIM or analysis processes.


Advances in 3D photo image recording can build real-time information about asset condition, informing decision making.


Artificial Intelligence

AI is becoming increasingly relevant to engineering, especially machine learning i.e. algorithms that, through a set of training data, allow computer programs to learn something they were not explicitly programmed for. AI is often based on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are modelled on the neurons in the human brain and consist of a network of nodes (analogous to neurons) connected with varying degrees of correlation (analogous to synapses).

Behaviours and Skills

As this mass emergence of new technology takes place we should not lose sight of the role of people – the engineers and professionals who work in our core world and increasingly, beyond it. Clearly there is a balance to be struck between the benefits of automated decision-making, standardised design and human expertise. As our engineering environment evolves it is crucial that humans adapt too. As Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” In an engineering context this means that our behaviours and skills need to evolve to continue to find new and ingenious solutions to engineering challenges. There’s been much debate about future skills while behaviours are perhaps less considered. So what are the skills and behaviours that can facilitate the transformation to digital? Here are some:


i) Leadership Strong, aligned leadership is crucial for enacting organisational change to facilitate uptake of digital. This may include linking business objectives to the right digital solutions, developing culture change within the organisation and forward planning to secure new skills. ii) Collaboration Digital allows us to work together in a host of new ways throughout planning, design, construction and operation. It can also enable better integration with supply chains and more efficient procurement processes. An open approach to sharing is important for realising full benefits and developing a collaborative culture within organisations and communities. iii) Analytics ‘Big data’ is upon us but the next trick is turning this into ‘useful data’ – interpreting and using data to make decisions that maximise asset performance. Data analysis is becoming a core civil engineering discipline but also a skillset we may need to supplement from outside of our traditional spheres. iv) Creativity True innovation often comes from deep within the supply chain or organisation. Practitioners should be empowered to commit time and resource to exploring new approaches and leaders have a role to play to help us move away from a risk averse culture. v) Security Digitally enabled infrastructure can deliver many benefits but also creates new security vulnerabilities. Security-minded behaviour should be mainstreamed within industry with the onus on every individual as well as the board.

WHAT THE DIGITAL EXPERTS ARE SAYING The ICE 2017 State of the Nation: Digital Transformation report set out key actions for industry on the topic of behaviours and skills for digital (as well as on how digital can boost productivity and how to operate securely in a digital world). The follow up knowledge campaign delves deeper into those recommendations to support practitioners and help drive change through industry. Event and content programmes will feature the latest expert views from both inside and outside of our industry. A cross-section of industry gathered for the Future Engineers seminar at One Great George Street earlier this year. Here is a snapshot of what occurred: Civil engineers will need to understand digital tools – whether that’s surveying tools, BIM tools, planning tools, virtual reality, or the associated control systems that support the civil engineering. Understanding how they all come together as a system to solve a problem is the most important thing.” STUART CALVERT, HEAD OF EARLY CONTRACTOR INVOLVEMENT (ECI) PROGRAMME, DIGITAL RAILWAY Organisations have to be thinking about the breadth and scale of the talent that they draw upon and nurture to fill different roles. The diverse challenges that businesses are faced with require insight, perspectives and qualities that don’t all come from the same traditional background.” SUSAN BOWEN, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER EMEA, COGECO PEER 1 Civil engineers should always be ready to reinvent themselves as there’s always people out there that will do it faster and quicker. Make sure you keep up to date.” MAT KELLETT, MOBILE MAPPING, UAV & OEM SALES MANAGER, TOPCON Organisations shouldn’t rely just on engineers – traditional engineers – to look after digital tools because it’s too big an ask. Get people in who can help them.” BRIAN HIGGINS, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER EMEA,(ISC)2 INC:

The digital debate continues at the forthcoming digital conference Follow the “Digital Transformation” campaign for more events, conferences, content and expert insights, wherever you are on the journey towards digital. The Shaping a Digital World conference (formerly ICE BIM) on 13 October will explore the following areas in depth: Productivity Fostering changes in behaviours Security mindedness Embracing technology & innovation See you there!




Before we look at our Q&A and progress with the rest of the issue it is worthwhile reminding ourselves of the wider remit of the UK Smart Motorway initiative and the major players involved. Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is the Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT) that is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the country’s motorways and main A roads[7]. As part of £1.5 billion investment to build ten “smart motorways”, Highways England had previously appointed six joint-venture companies to take the programme of work forward. The smart motorway scheme is part of a £15 billion government investment that Highways England is delivering between now and 2021, which will see almost three hundred extra lane miles added to motorways. The hard shoulder will be converted into a traffic lane and signing and technology will tell drivers what speed to drive at or if the lanes are blocked or closed, as well ad advising of incidents that may lay up ahead.[2] On the back of this, other projects and initiatives seek to provide road users with a benefit of shorter journey times, reduced congestion and increased capacity, creating better local connections and improved passenger journeys. At the time of going to press these are the companies involved in the Smart Motorway schemes so far:

Balfour Beatty / Vinci JV

CH2M / Hyder

M4, M5 and M6

Carillion / Kier JV

Jacobs / Atkins

M6, M20, M23

Costain / Galliford Try JV

Amey / Arup


Mott MacDonald / Sweco

M27, M3


Atkins / Jacobs

M60, M56



M6, M62

Balfour Beatty (M3), Pending M27



What Exactly is a Smart Motorway?

In the words of Highways England, smart motor­ways are a technology-driven approach to the use of our motor­ ways that increase capac­ity and relieve con­ges­tion while main­tain­ing safety. Smart motor­ways help to make jour­ney times more reliable as the hard shoul­der is used for traf­fic either per­ma­nently or at peak times. Tech­nol­ ogy is used to mon­i­tor con­ges­tion lev­els and to change the speed limit when needed, to smooth the traf­fic flow.[9] Smart motor­ways increase road capac­ity faster and at less of a cost than tra­di­tional road widen­ing schemes and they are just as safe – often safer. The hard shoul­der is con­verted to become a nor­mal lane, or can be opened to traf­fic when things get congested.[9]

Tried and Tested

As a result of the first smart motor­way scheme, the M42 motor­way in 2006, there is already evi­dence of the ben­e­fits that these initiatives can bring. Indeed the analy­sis of data gath­ered since has found that jour­ney reli­a­bil­ity improved by 22 per cent, per­sonal injury acci­dents reduced by more than half and where acci­ dents did occur, sever­ity was much lower over­all with zero fatal­i­ties and fewer seri­ously injured.[9] Each scheme has its own project web page that can be accessed here.

Next steps

There are a swathe of initiatives kicking off around the world when it comes to smart highways of course, not least in the USA with the Solar Roadways initiative, think automatic melting of snow and ice. Together with Electric Roads (the first one opened last year in Sweden[26]) with wireless charging also coming into effect as a currently trialled solution by many governments. Plus pollution tunnels, smart tolling, glow in the dark paint, temperature reactive markings, dynamic lines and other ideas are all offshoots of the wider smart highways initiatives the world over. Each of which are projects that we will look at in detail in future issues of BIM Journal of course (notably Smart Cities). As for the recent announcements by some Dubai media sources of the autonomous flying car then we really do have a rich technological future ahead of us. In the meantime back to the here and now with a project Q&A courtesy of the ICE.




Q& At the prior ICE BIM event we hear from speaker David Lowery, Project Director at Carillion, to talk more about about the A1 Leeming to Barton project.

and improve performance. My worst experience is generic as opposed to specific. I find it frustrating to hear certain parts of the sector and the industry still challenging its value.

Q: Please introduce the project and the overall BIM experience?

Q: In your view what are the benefits of using BIM?

A: The A1 Leeming to Barton Improvement scheme saw BIM being used extensively as part of our overall approach. The scheme replaces the existing dual carriageway with a new three lane motorway and includes major civil engineering and technical challenges. My experience has been positive overall and BIM has been a fundamental aspect of the projects delivery strategy and success.

Q: What was your best BIM experience? And, the worst? A: My best BIM experience is actually the journey that we are currently on. We have tried to push the boundaries in the highways sector and demonstrate the value of BIM. The journey has been exciting and fluid, and we have continued to enhance our ability to continually improve, enhance collaboration

A: The value of BIM is extensive and demonstrable across the life-cycle of projects. There is no doubt in my mind that BIM adds value to any scheme from inception through to completion. Implementation of BIM will improve deliverability at the optioneering stage through visualisation and creating “what if” scenarios; design stage via solution and product selection and clash detection; construction phase through visual construction and real time planning and delivery and the operational phase via asset management and data collection. BIM adds value to all facets of business, as well as the obvious technical benefits, the real value is also improved health and safety capability, improved performance and the ability to build seamless and collaborative teams to ensure success.

The greatest single benefit to be gained by implementing BIM on a highways project is in the area of design development, so early adoption is essential. The 3D model is an ideal medium for examining the interaction between the various elements of a project and assessing their compatibility with the local topography. This process can be taken down into the detailing of each component, so the efficiency continues throughout the design process.

Q: What was/is your biggest BIM challenge? A: Although the challenge of BIM implementation is often associated with hardware and software, the major challenge we have experienced is a shift in culture with respect to the way we operate. BIM is a relatively new concept in terms of intelligent design and delivery and therefore for me the biggest challenge is to demonstrate and create a culture where BIM is the norm and is how we operate.

Q: What is your vision for BIM Level 3? A: I strongly believe that collaboration is the key success factor

to any project. My vision for level 3 is that traditional boundaries of client, designer and contractor are broken down and we deliver projects as a single cohesive team. We will truly share performance data allowing benefits to be gained across the board, most importantly becoming smarter and delivering true value.

Q: What did the ICE BIM audience learn from your presentation? A: How BIM has been applied with added value on a major highways improvement project. The presentation outlined our approach, technical aspects and the all-round business improvement experienced by having BIM as an integral part of approach to delivering success. Attending ICE BIM enabled extensive networking opportunities to take place as well. It also demonstrated the importance of BIM and allowed the leaders and instrumental figures across the industry to share best practise and to ensure that we are best placed to shape the future of the civil engineering arena. Details about this year’s ICE BIM event “Shaping a Digital World” can be found here.






ALL ABOARD THE DIGITAL EXPRESS In terms of BIM and the rail sector it would be criminal to not include a project of the size, scale and complexity of Crossrail when it comes to information and data handling on such a large scale. So let us once again blow the lid off this astounding project that really does cement BIM as a modern day pioneering digital approach that is truly worth shouting about.[11] Cataloguing the remains of 3000 skeletons, nudging substations across the street and conducting a workforce of over 60 nationalities aren’t typical concerns for many projects these days. And then there’s Crossrail. A project so complex yet so triumphant - it seemed to take some time to capture the hearts and minds of mega-project fans outside of the capital and for good reason. Lack of disaster, lack of catastrophe, little unplanned disruption, strong health and safety, innovative technology use and early (and continued) stakeholder engagement has seen far too little doom and gloom for the mainstream media to exploit. Yet as any project goes, it certainly hasn’t been without conflict. For all that’s wrong with the UK at present Crossrail is something that’s right. During a recent tour of the works and an excellent one day seminar

(organised by Northumbria University) I’m incredibly proud of the project already - yet I’ve had nothing to do with it. It just makes you feel that way when you know what’s involved. So what does £15.9 billion get you? Well, £14.8 billion for a start. How so? Timely cost reviews continually capture the innovative techniques used on the project so much so that costs are kept down whilst still exceeding project quality wholesale. Crossrail is firmly on the world stage and something of a legacy for the UK (and then some) so quality in all it’s shapes and sizes is something that will never be compromised. Meanwhile innovation elsewhere sees meaningful value being added continuously, and the budget gets adjusted to reflect this. Especially important when you’re delivering an additional 200 million passenger journeys per year. Here’s that figure again:

An additional 200 000 000 passenger journeys per year, plus

40 Stations (10 of which are brand new)

42km of new track (including suspended concrete)

• • •

8 million tons of removed spoil 40 main works contracts ...and much more

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In light of this, it’s worth clarifying now that it’s slightly misleading to describe Crossrail as a project, at least in it’s own right. Crossrail Ltd is the client organisation that oversees the delivery of dozens of sub projects that range spectacularly in value. The principal backers in terms of funding (the customers) are Transport for London (TfL) and the Department of Transport (DoT) together with contributions from public and private industries alike. Resulting in a business plan that was initially so scrutinised that it needed to go around the houses twice before getting approval to go through parliament. But leaving the business interests aside, the devil is always in the detail so let’s delve a little deeper. The stations alone are nearly twice the length of the existing underground stations (and substantially wider) but what is more impressive is just how well they’re integrated. At Tottenham Court Road the tunnels come within just a few hundred millimetres of the Northern line. As for other obstacles, the lake at the Barbican is directly above the new (Elizabeth) line, as are parts of the Thames so risk management is paramount too. But technical innovation is only one thing (we’ll come back to this later) as a catalogue of bureaucratic setbacks had also occurred, which we’ll examine further in the words of the key personnel in attendance on the day.




Stakeholder Engagement

Simon Bennett is the Head of Learning Legacy at Crossrail. A title that alone conveys the prestige of the project. In a fast and sympathetic overview Simon elaborated on the complexity of having as many as three separate local authorities with three separate ways of doing things at just one location (Farringdon) and the need to nurture these relationships from the start. A hybrid Act of Parliament helped (granted for Crossrail in 2008 - effectively removing some powers from Local Authorities) but this type of legislation change is vital to avoid the situation of hundreds of planning applications being in place with dozens of different authorities at the same time. The thought of which doesn’t bear thinking about. However, as stakeholder consultations capture the thoughts, needs and opinions of all persons affected by the project, then of the 631 petitions raised only 204 made it to a hearing in parliament. This was because many were either duplicates already, or assurances were already given (the project was changed) to accommodate the stakeholders’ needs. Significant other issues were legal commitments to make sure that tunnelling didn’t occur during school exam times and the like. Those kinds of detail. Even re-housing had to take place and many properties were acquired before the works progressed. Unsurprisingly a lot of negotiating had to take place and this was skilfully dealt with by Simon and the team and it continues to this day (politicians, media, general public).

Risk Management

Vital work really as risk itself is of course a colossal factor here, given a project of this scope and size bang in the heart of London. Thankfully Rob Halstead (Head of Risk Management) and the team stepped up to the mantle. An astounding array of qualitative and quantitative means of risk analysis and mitigation tools were employed to help to describe the various potential project outcomes at all stages of development. These systems then require adoption by the supply chain too (monte-carlo simulations and the like) as simple RAG systems are all well and good, but they are of little use when comparing one (sub) project to another. When asked “which risks have been both over and underestimated?” Rob admitted that the tunnelling process had been a significant concern from day one, quite naturally, but it had gone astoundingly well. Yet “designing to cost” had been underestimated somewhat and Rob and the team still battle with conflicting, or at least unsympathetic statistics and expectations a lot of the time. Important work indeed and the lessons learned here will subsequently feed into Thameslink and HS2.


Rob Little (Head of Planning at Crossrail) spoke with a gusto and authority that his many years at Crossrail will bring. Being in charge of 50 planners is an incredible challenge and this has been approached from a viewpoint of “plan well and keep the cost analysis out of it” in the spirit of “take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”. A constant juggle of course was the dichotomy between the client’s schedule versus that of the contractor’s but healthy progress continues to be made. In terms of specifics, then large planning challenges so far have been the implementation of the concreting train (yes, a portable batching plant) as well as some sections of the suspended concrete track slabs too (near the Barbican, in order to further reduce vibration). The programme was duly affected but it was also sensibly designed in the first place to at least partially mitigate for these concerns. Contingency isn’t a dirty word on a project like this.


For fellow BIM enthusiasts out there then strap yourselves in. Malcolm Taylor took to the stage (Head of Technical Information) and it was Malcolm’s talk that really scratched the itch of many an inner nerd. The complexity of the construction sequences that the BIM tools easily conveyed were something to behold (largely thanks to Bentley’s ProjectWise) and even now I don’t know how you’d describe them even to experienced contractors in 2D. But this was a small part of Malcolm’s speech and becoming a true champion of project information was the real driver here. Information needs to be curated, handled, catalogued and cherished at all times. “Become data centric” Malcolm espoused and above all else “examine what you actually need” as “big IT and software vendors will merely try to sell you a system”. Reinforcing the importance of making sure you “bottom out exactly what you want, to get exactly what you need”. Crossrail have made enormous strides here particularly in terms of


developing a meaningful and reliable Common Data Environment. The introduction and involvement of the PAS1192 legislation has been critical which has helped enormously too. As has having such a dedicated commitment to innovation and progress from the start (but more of this later). Indeed as the management of data through all stages of the project is crucial, these processes were mapped out in advance such that each participant has clarity as to where they are receiving data from and where they are posting information to. This is vital as Crossrail owns all of the project data and approaches like this significantly reduces information loss between contracts and project stages and gives greater visibility into the design and construction processes. The associated Crossrail Academy being set up with Bentley to both educate and inform contractors and other project participants in relation to data value and importance.[12]


Crossrail’s Sustainability Manager Dr Mike De Silva (from Bechtel Ltd) then gave an impassioned speech about the application of BREEAM credentials for the stations and CEEQUAL credentials for everything else. He then provided a wonderful overview of the sustainability aspirations already in place. Not least the construction of the Wallasea Island nature reserve using the excavated clay spoil from the tunnel boring machines (TBM’s). “The stations are also destinations in their own right” Mike said, and a huge effort had been made to ensure that each station had something of appeal in it’s own right. Not just shops and offices but gardens and galleries too, a wonderful touch. As for economic sustainability then it’s worth pointing out that over two thirds of the contracts so far have been issued to companies outside of London, and over 12000 people have been trained (including over 500 new apprentices overall).

you need, and this hands on approach to solving problems of course garnered buy-in quite easily. Although some clearly innovative practices did take the project team’s longer to adopt than anticipated (red-lining on screen) whereas others enjoyed swifter traction (Bluetooth beacons, HD drones (Pix4D) as well as real-world AR solutions - largely through technologies from Daqri and Soluis).


Last then, but by no means least Neil Murray - an amply capable Project Manager - gave an impassioned talk about managing Mega-Projects in general, drawing on his hard won years of experience. The facets of “culture” were explored in depth as were the important attributes of having: •


As for innovation then Crossrail’s approach cannot be ignored. Maggie Brown ably champions this initiative via the Innovate18 movement; a commitment of time and money by the main construction companies to look seriously into innovative improvements that can be made throughout the build of the project. Maggie made a good job of explaining the differences between true innovation and general business improvements and noted that the real key to success here had been meaningful dialogue from one party to the next. But what exactly does that mean? If one project participant is having a specific issue then a team is in place to communicate this concern around the other projects and find a solution. Direct knowledge sharing from site to site. Alternatively, a new solution can be proposed by pooling all project expertise together in the monthly Tier 1 innovation meetings before developing a solution further. Resources are then in place to act on these initiatives and feasibility studies can be carried out. It’s almost like having a science lab on demand to research whatever


A clear vision right from the start, one that is upheld and frequently communicated too. Know your end game! The right structure, and taking time to get the reporting right on day one (especially with the myriad stakeholders involved in a project like this). A relentless improvement drive. Keeping project parties on the straight and narrow whilst using tools and incentives to promote peer to peer competition and the like. A regimen to ensure that success is celebrated - especially by the people that earned it.

Neil’s contribution was considerate and heartfelt and concluded what was a spectacular day. Attendees learned a great deal, especially given the volume of coverage that the speakers presented. So much so that this write-up barely does it justice, but it does provide a thoughtful introduction to this wonderful project on the whole, I hope. In the meantime we can all look forward to watching the project conclude shortly, relatively speaking. Details of the overall crossrail BIM Principles can be found here. As for other schemes such as Crossrail 2, HS2 and HS3 then rest assured we will be visiting these projects in far greater depth in the near future.




As part of the London Bridge Train Station redevelopment, Waldeck were contracted to provide the detailed pre-cast reinforced concrete design and deliverables for almost 4000 individual concrete elements across 15 new platforms (9 through and 6 terminating). The new station is being transformed into a vision of the future creating new platforms for more trains, building a new concourse and creating a bigger, better station for passengers in the fourth busiest station in the country. The project is being funded by the Thameslink programme – a £6bn Government investment in rail. The redevelopment works is being carried out by Costain and Hyder/WSP on behalf of Network Rail, with the pre-cast platforms being supplied by FP McCann Ltd.

Our Solution:

Waldeck were involved at the very beginning of the project during the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) phase, assisting the pre-planning of the offsite manufacture activities by undertaking concept and scenario analysis within our range of 3D design and visualisation tools. This early stage engagement enabled the Waldeck team to develop innovative solutions to benefit the offsite manufacture and site based handling and placement of the platform units in the most efficient way, whilst keeping to strict site carriage limits and adhering to a tight programme of works. During the ECI phase, the Waldeck project team utilised an array of analysis and scenario planning toolsets to pre-plan and review designs for the optimal solution of platform configuration and erection. The final output being designed and developed as table and kerb solution to allow a 2.8m long section of platform to being constructed in only 6 individual pieces of concrete. Each section comprised of two tables which sat on two kerb units at the track face to retain ballast, and two slabs spanning between tables to infill. The 3D design optioneering proved fundamental to the overall success of the process and ensured constructability and fit around the steel canopy framework for the roof. This solution however was only suitable for the widest sections of the platforms, the Waldeck project team therefore undertook further iteration analysis within 3D visualisation and coordination toolsets to produce workable solutions for the entire platform configuration, saving time and maximising the standardisation of units overall. A unique feature of London Bridge Station is the open concourse beneath the live track and platforms. The track and platforms are suspended on a series of large steel frame bridges providing a new challenge to Waldeck. As well as designing precast units to fit into the steel framework, we also had to ensure the solution was able to withstand the impact of a train derailment, punching shear

from the physical connection to the steel frame and help insulate the concourse from the noise of 15 live tracks. To address the many constraining factors, Waldeck undertook detailed 3D spatial analysis within the federated model environment to facilitate the bespoke design of an acoustic wall with a ‘joggle’ joint and upstand to form solid connections between the steel frame which were physically bolted to each wall, and the pre-cast slabs overhead. Whilst standardisation of units were achieved wherever possible, the particular consideration the Waldeck project team had to take into account during the 3D design and analysis stage was the shape of each platform. The unique curves and level changes required to suit the track layouts, meant the majority of all pre-cast concrete slabs were uniquely shaped which posed further coordination implications, all of which were successfully addressed by the effective use of integrated 3D toolsets. A major function of the Waldeck project team’s role on the project was to work in a collaborative 3D environment, enabling all project stakeholders to effectively and efficiently coordinate their designs to maximise overall project success. Each work stage entailed the approval and release of a package of Microstation DGN 3D models from various stakeholders within the overall design team. The project collaboration management process in-line with BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 was adhered to by all stakeholders and ensured all parties were always working with the latest version of approved project information at all times and was therefore pivotal to the success of the overall project. Due to the size of the project and number of 2D cast unit drawings required to support the manufacture process, Waldeck developed a 3D design plan to maximise efficiency. The Waldeck project team utilised in-house specialist toolsets to pre-plan and design each unit type (walls, slabs, tables etc.).

To further facilitate and enhance overall project coordination, at defined BIM project milestones points during the modelling stage of each work package, the Waldeck team was required to issue globally coordinated BIM models comprising of all pre-cast elements to the projects Common Data Environment. The main contractors BIM Coordinator was then able to undertake clash detection reviews within an overall federated project information model, providing clash reports to all stakeholders and enable the progressive monitoring and rectification of clash resolution across the entire project. As the Waldeck team also had responsibility of designing and modelling all of the fixtures and fittings required for each pre-cast unit, the BIM coordinator was able to check all of the M&E systems had the necessary supports in the correct locations on top of checking for physical clashes. This was a great benefit to the smooth running of the project by mitigating the need to post fix support systems to the pre-cast units on site. By working collaboratively with all project stakeholders utilising the project Common Data Environment (CDE), any issues raised during clash detection was assigned as an action to the appropriate party and swiftly rectified before any concrete had been cast, eliminating on-site delays. Without working collaboratively in this manner, adhering to project BIM workflows and processes it would have been hugely time and resource intensive to ensure that all precast elements would fit the unique curves, falls and levels of each of the platforms, as well as the remainder of the stations structure and services. Accordingly, the Waldeck BIM for the scheme was utilised as a base for all designs and was a key element in Costain winning a national award for the use of BIM from Building magazine. Once clash detection had been completed and all members of the design team were satisfied the work stage was fit for construction, Waldeck carried out a Category 2 design check and formally issued the work stage for construction.



CASE STUDY CROSSRAIL: DURWARD STAIR SHAFT BY WALDECK CONSULTING Adopting Tekla Structures allowed Waldeck to model reinforcement within the 3D environment directly into each unit, automatically generating bar bending schedules. Modelling reinforcement directly into each unit also had the added benefit of allowing us to perform 3D coordination reviews detecting reinforcement clashing with cast in fixtures and fittings immediately and make adjustments to bar shape or spacing, mitigating the factory discovering a clash with the reinforcement cage and impacting on the casting schedule. General arrangement drawings and reinforcing drawings where applicable could then be automated for each unit directly from the modelled geometry, allowing a single BIM technician to produce an average of 50 cast unit drawings a week, a huge increase over traditional 2D methods where a 2D pre-cast detailer could only achieve 20-25 drawings a week. Generating the deliverables in this manner along with a thorough two stage checking procedure on every drawing and schedule produced, allowed Waldeck to provide a constant supply of drawings to the pre-cast factory and greatly reduce the number of factory queries and errors. The single biggest challenge faced by Waldeck during the project were design changes post approval for construction. The Waldeck project team were provided with the fully federated models of each work package, this allowed any changes which would impact the pre-cast platforms to be quickly identified when undertaking our discipline 3D coordination reviews. As changes were made to the Waldeck models, output deliverables were automatically updated to suit the new geometry allowing for a quick turnaround of revised information to the factory. In a large proportion of cases, changes would be made to units before leaving the factory, and in some cases even before a unit had been cast, vastly improving on site delays.

Project Overview:

The Durward Stair Shaft project involved the integrated design, coordination, detailing, manufacture and erection of pre-cast concrete external and internal cladding panels to the new Durward stair shaft to the Whitechapel Crossrail project. The cladding panels took the form of 125mm & 150mm thick pre-cast concrete panels supported both vertically and laterally by the main structural steelwork frame.

Our Solution:

With an experienced and energetic design team establishing a reputation for delivering innovative designs across a vast range of projects, Waldeck provided consultancy services for Crossrail’s Durward Stair Shaft project. Waldeck provided the design and detailing of the specialist structures developing an innovative pre-cast concrete panel and fixing system which both addressed and mitigated the many transportation, handling and erection constraints faced on the project. From the outset, the Waldeck project team utilised their in-house suite of specialist 3D design and visualisation tools to develop a panel system which maximised the potential for modularisation, benefiting the manufacture process whilst also ensuring that each panel could be individually assessed and coordinated with the main structure. The complexity of the main structure presented many challenges for the project team, with internal areas of the structure such as new staircases, escalators and lifts for passengers to access the platforms in the new Crossrail station all receiving the cladding panel facades. The adoption of 3D design tools allowed the Waldeck project team to design, detail and implement innovative fixing solutions to areas of the structure where tolerance adherence was a limiting factor. The fixing solutions were analysed against the panel specifics, where our team identified the centre of gravity point within each unit through automated 3D analysis routines, from this we were able to optimally place fixings and lifting systems to suit. In order to meet the particular project requirements, the Waldeck project team also made use of their specialist in-house software toolsets and technical expertise to incorporate the Crossrail project native Microstation DGN 3D Model files to facilitate the creation of a federated BIM model of the project. By overcom-

ing the interoperability issues created by multiple authoring tools in this manner, our project team were able to function akin to a project where open BIM standards facilitated information exchange, collaboration and coordination. The secure project Common Data Environment (CDE) was utilised to facilitate the collaboration management processes as outlined in BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 and provided the project teams with a single source of truth for the project information ensuring all stakeholders had access to the latest information at all times, an absolute must for the effective delivery of a complex BIM project. The Federated BIM allowed the team to visualise and interrogate the intricate and highly complex overall structure which comprised of multiple floor levels, linking to the London underground system. 3D clash detection and coordination reviews were regularly undertaken by the Waldeck project team to ensure our designs and solutions remained in-line with the remainder of the evolving structure, this proved vital where our teams were able to liaise and coordinate with project stakeholders to resolve issues during the design stage prior to them becoming an issue on site at the construction stage. An added challenge to this particular project was a pattern to be cast into the face of the majority of panels which visually formed and represented the sound wave generated from a bell when viewed across the completed façade. This requirement exasperated the modularisation constraints and was especially complex to incorporate around the corners of the building due to the unique shape of the project. The Waldeck in-house project team demonstrated further innovation to resolve those issues, creating bespoke jointing details and parameter based modularisation methods which enabled the team to maximise standardisation from a panel geometry viewpoint whilst still accommodating the complex individual panel pattern constraints, this is something which would have been virtually impossible and hugely time / resource intensive without the use of BIM. The Waldeck team derived further BIM based benefits and advantages, with the seamless linking and integration of reinforcement, fixing and unit schedules which totally eliminated double handling of information and ensured item pick lists for the manufacture / fabrication team were always current and in-line with the latest project design.



Five: WATERTIGHT BIM Indeed there is much more going on in the water and utilities sector in a BIM and digital capacity than meets the eye. So here we look at an unsung hero of technological development and implementation in the sector at large. As the exemplary case studies show, it is clear to see the reach and significance that “smart” technology and digital workflows now play in this field. As Santanu Das (Bentley) quickly identifies “utility companies are im-

plementing this technology to find leaks before they happen. This is a critical thing for these companies to be able to do, and this technology offers a 90% certainty of where a leak would occur”. So with the ability for specialist BIM tools to offer watertight management features (pun intended) it is easy to see how vendors have matured their offerings to fit these rapidly emerging needs. Great progress indeed.

Indeed as IoT makes its way into the sector more and more, buoyed by ever increasing partnerships between vendors and sensor manufacturers, the BIM process itself is influencing how things are done and genuinely helping to shape the future of what might be. To examine at the technology and the process aspects that underpin this evolution further, with some confidence we can turn to the following case studies courtesy of Bentley, to learn a whole lot more.


Embracing BIM for Capital Project Delivery Privatization of the United Kingdom’s (UK) water industry 25 years ago required providers to implement asset management programs (AMP) whereby water boards tendered contracts to construction firms to update the industry’s antiquated assets and help keep infrastructure properly maintained. Each AMP lasts for a five-year period, and in 2015, the industry moved into AMP6. Consistent with industry standard, United Utilities released its AMP6 program, investing GBP 6 billion for the five-year period ending 2020, with GBP 2.9 billion dedicated to delivering over 200 capital projects. As the UK’s largest listed water company managing regulated water and wastewater treatment plants and networks for 3 million households and 200,000 businesses, United Utilities’ investment will improve its massive water infrastructure to deliver better quality potable and bathing water, provide a cleaner environment, and lower customer bills over the next five years. To ensure efficient implementation of its AMP6 program and improve delivery on capital projects, United Utilities recognized the need for a better data structure and optimal asset management. In an industry that delivers essential customer service through longterm operation and management of assets, United Utilities embraced a collaborative BIM approach to link operations with asset creation and

capital maintenance. “United Utilities adopted BIM trying to leverage the efficiencies that BIM would deliver in project delivery,” commented United Utilities lead BIM technologist (CDE), Gregg Yarnold.

Digital Data Delivers Savings

With numerous construction delivery and engineering services partners working on a multitude of projects, varying in complexity and affecting many water infrastructure assets, United Utilities required collaborative, comprehensive project management tools. Using ProjectWise, United Utilities configured the BS 1192 module to align with its business requirements in accordance with AMP6. The organization developed a structured data naming convention in a connected data environment for the dispersed project teams to develop, share, and coordinate their design information. Working in this setting, every team member has access to all approved data, removing the need to transmit data from one system to another, saving time and reducing risk by ensuring all team members are working on the most accurate and up-to-date information at all times. ProjectWise allowed United Utilities to extract digital data about its assets from delivered projects and import it into corporate systems with minimal effort for complete data ownership. Owning the data from design concep-

26 tion through to commissioning combined with the ability to customize the system to enforce a data structure tailored to its business, United Utilities can more efficiently integrate new assets and soft land its projects – which is estimated to save GBP40 million on the capital delivery program. In addition, a collaborative, uniform system for managing digital data allows for more efficient operation of its water infrastructure assets that potentially could dwarf the estimated savings on project delivery, yielding substantially more savings over the lifecycle of the asset.

ProjectWise Enhances Data Security

With AMP6 focusing on asset resilience and prioritizing asset investment, the program has moved from being document centric in the past, to being dependent upon using the latest and best data. In a technology-driven age where information is susceptible to being compromised, optimizing data security has become a priority for the industry. A collaborative BIM approach not only streamlines information management – aligning digital data with the physical asset and allowing new project data to be incorporated into existing asset information models – it also enhances data security. “As we move into the collaborative digital world, we have the opportunity to actually tighten the security around our asset data,” stated Yarnold. Compared to previous models where contractors were working in their own environments with traditional methods of data sharing, ProjectWise provides a single source of truth accessible to all team members, eliminating the need to transmit


outside United Utilities’ system increasing the security around the digital asset data. With assets of critical national infrastructure, United Utilities relies on the flexibility of ProjectWise to store its data on premises, behind company firewalls, while still making it accessible to appropriate team members. Says Yarnold, “If you consider the impact of a successful terrorist attack, this data security is priceless!”

understand in advance where each activity fits within the flow of the whole project. When used in conjunction with ProjectWise, all project participants at all levels of complexity have access to this critical information. The interoperability and information mobility of Bentley applications offer United Utilities quicker, cheaper, and safer construction methods, ultimately reducing time and costs delivering capital projects.

Information Mobility Reinforces Design Confidence

A BIM Model for the UK Water Industry

Integrating design, clash resolution, and construction sequencing helps give confidence to United Utilities’ digital asset data. Working in a federated BIM design environment, using Bentley Navigator to perform clash detection provides designers surety that the design can be constructed with minimal onsite changes. Project teams can test their design and construction methods in a connected digital world reducing cost, time, and waste, minimizing environmental impact, while facilitating confident engagement with the supply chain for more reliable off-site design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA). The increased use of DfMA allows for the production of more project elements in a controlled factory environment, reducing rework onsite, as well as noise pollution and impact to the local communities by minimizing construction vehicles needed to make site deliveries. Using Bentley Navigator for construction simulation and sequencing not only facilitated construction efficiency but also helped optimize workflow processes enabling team members to

With all four of its construction delivery partners adopting a BIM strategy for construction delivery projects under the AMP6 program, United Utilities is focusing its efforts on expanding the BIM approach to obtain buy-in from asset maintenance to further facilitate efficient delivery of capital projects. By creating its own BIM Academy, the utility intends to inform and educate all project participants on its BIM process to increase buy-in and cooperation across all project teams. Using ProjectWise as the foundation for its strategy, United Utilities already expects to reap significant savings and efficiencies on capital delivery projects, providing a truly collaborative environment to manage all digital data in a shared asset information model. Integrating Bentley design and simulation technology further increases benefits, delivering a reliable and secure asset data system and a consistent approach that puts the company at the forefront of BIM in the UK water sector, with the hope that its AMP6 program will become a model for the industry.



CASE STUDY AQUA+ INCREASES PLANT CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN SPEED BY 50 PERCENT COURTESY OF BENTLEY SYSTEMS How one utility firm delivered water treatment plant project documentation two months ahead of schedule and with 70% greater quality. Underground Water Treatment Leader

Khabarovsk Municipal Unitary Enterprise “Vodocanal” (Khabarovsk Vodocanal) provides water supply and sewerage facilities for the city of Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East Federal District. As part of a program to shift from surface to under- ground water sources, Khabarovsk Vodocanal constructed the RUB 10 billion Tunguska Groundwater Intake Facilities to deliver 106,000 cubic meters per day (m3/d) of water to the city of Khabarovsk. Aqua+ performed design, construction, installation, and commissioning of the intake facility’s automated water quality monitoring and control system, which reduced facility staffing requirements tenfold. Bentley’s electrical system design software, allowed Aqua+ to complete the design work quickly and accurately deliver approximately 6,000 pages of high-quality project documentation in just 10 months – two months sooner than planned.

Automating Quality Control

As one of the largest water and sewer service providers in the Far East, Khabarovsk Vodocanal has more than 1,200 kilometers of municipal networks, 47 water and 33 sewer pump stations, and the capacity to treat 374,000 m3/d of potable water and 220,000 m3/d of wastewater. Khabarovsk Vodocanal’s shift to underground water sources can be attributed, in part, to the utility’s early adoption of intraformational water treatment technology, where groundwater is treated within the geologic formation. This innovative treatment process costs 2.5 times less than conventional treatment methods, requires less infrastructure than surface water treatment, uses no chemical reagents and requires no solid waste disposal. The Tunguska Groundwater Intake Facilities are one of the most noteworthy projects of the past decade and comprise 12 wells, five sections for water treatment, and two pumping stations. Construction of the intake facilities began in

2006, and the first phase was commissioned in 2012 with a capacity of 25,000 m3/d. As part of the second phase of the project, completed in 2015, Khabarovsk Vodocanal implemented advanced monitoring and control technology to automate operation of the intake facilities, reduce staffing requirements, and eliminate human error. Challenges during design of this complex system included the purposeful selection, connection, and programming of precision instrumentation for reliable supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).

Promis.e Streamlines Collaboration

Khabarovsk Vodocanal retained Aqua+ to design, construct, install, and commission the works for the automated water quality monitoring and control system at the Tunguska Groundwater Intake Facilities. The Moscow-based specialist in SCADA for water supply was uniquely qualified to design a system capable of providing direct control of the groundwater wells and treatment process. Moreover, Aqua+ was charged with integrating the local automation facilities with Khabarovsk Vodocanal’s existing water utility management system to provide a single, automated enterprise management system for the city of Khabarovsk.

Aqua+ selected Promis.e to provide a collaborative design environment for the project team. Development of the industrial-grade control system (ICS) required Aqua+ to generate more than 6,000 diagrams, drawings, and reports. Promis.e streamlined the workflow among the various specialists, who were able to simultaneously work on different types of documents. The software’s intelligent design capabilities allowed the transfer of product information from one document to another, ensuring the accuracy of project data. Bentley ’s Promis.e enabled Aqua+ to store all project information in a connected data environment , giving professionals access to the most current version of documentation, whether they were working locally or remotely. The software’s deeply integrated electrical design process facilitated the selection and positioning of the most reliable and accurate equipment. The process ensured constructive and purposeful use of space – from placing equipment in the large pumping stations to locating terminals and devices in control cabinets.

Generating Quality Documentation

Aqua+ used Promis.e to produce 29 volumes of project and design documentation, with each volume comprising 220 pages of diagrams, drawings, and reports. Promis.e provided significant time savings in several areas, allowing the project team to complete the design work quickly and accurately. In about half the usual time, Promis.e automatically generated some 2,000 documents specifying equipment, cables, connections, and other items. Using the flexibility of Bentley’s electrical system design software, Aqua+ also developed a fully open API to input data from Excel tables into the PLC generator, enabling the software to produce programmable logic controller (PLC) schematics in 40 percent less time than conventional methods. Cabinet specification and labelling took 30 percent less time using Promis.e, while the navigator function simplified item placement. Bentley technology allowed Aqua+ specialists to concentrate on core tasks without being distracted by routine operations. Automated functionality such as built in error-checking helped avoid more than 30 types of mistakes, elevating the design quality. The localization module ensured design documentation was in full compliance with local standards. By preventing the divergence of project and design documentation, Promis.e contributed to significant savings during assembly and installation.

50 Percent Increase in Design Speed

Bentley’s collaborative, interoperable applications streamlined workflows, enabling Aqua+ to issue project documentation for the automation of the water intake facilities in just 10 months. Using Promis.e increased project design speed by 50 percent and improved documentation quality by 70 percent. The minimization of errors and quick correction of inaccuracies significantly reduced the time spent on installation and commissioning of the SCADA system, which contributed to overall project cost savings.

The automated water quality monitoring and control system proved to be extremely reliable and accurate, helping to minimize facility operating costs and deliver better water for the city of Khabarovsk. The project team’s attention to details, such as proper specification of equipment for sample selection and preparation, helped to ensure Khabarovsk Vodocanal achieved its water quality goals – all while reducing the facilities’ staffing requirements tenfold. Khabarovsk Vodocanal plans to repurpose the unique engineering of the Tunguska groundwater Intake Facilities for use at underground water treatment facilities in other areas, ensuring the benefits of advanced technology and engineering are realized throughout the region.

“Bentley’s Promis.e enabled Aqua+ to store all project information in a connected data environment, giving professionals access to the most current version of documentation, whether they were working locally or remotely”



Bentley is Advancing Infrastructure

Advancing infrastructure is now a world priority. We need high performance infrastructure that can meet the demands of a global population while preserving a vital and healthy environment for generations to come. Bentley provides innovative innovative software and services for the enterprises and professionals who design, build and operate the world’s infrastructure — advancing the global economy and environment, for improved quality of life.

Find out more at: © 2017 Bentley Systems, Incorporated. Bentley and the “B” Bentley logo are either registered or unregistered trademarks or service marks of Bentley Systems, Incorporated or one of its direct or indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries. Other brands and product names are trademarks of their respective owners.





In terms of the Nuclear sector then when it comes to all things BIM and strategy we should look no further than Philip Isgar (Sunbeam Management Solutions). Chair of the Nuclear Institute Digital Community Special Interest Group, an organisation that embraces his previous work with the BIM Delivery Team and BIM Task Group, set up specifically to fully engage with the nuclear sector. Keenly contributing to many strategic documents, as well as working with Innovate UK and being a key player when it comes to the nurturing and fostering of Knowledge Transfer Networks, Philip is also a member of the Construction Industry Council (Council and Project Panel) representing APM as well as being a member of the Constructing Excellence Nuclear Theme Group and Manchester Executive, North West Nuclear Forum and the immediate past chair of the ICE Manchester Branch Committee.

What is the most exciting thing about working in the sector?[25] The nuclear sector is over seventy years old. Clash detection was used over thirty five years ago so it has been around a long time. I joined the BIM Task Group in 2013, the vision was in a sector that was spending over £3bn a year already on decommissioning, with the potential of a new build market in 2016 embracing conventional reactors and the Small Modular Reactors (SMR’s). This was a sector to be encouraging with passion. On a personal level I joined the nuclear industry as a student in 1975 (a period in railway project management) and my journey has been fantastic. The government of the day in the mid 1990’s said “no more nuclear for a generation” well I am still here, along with many others.

How would you describe BIM in the Nuclear sector today? On a journey from a standing start toward a fully Digital Nuclear Community embracing Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction and Operations. I currently Chair the Nuclear Institute Digital Community - Special Interest Group. The membership are the major client organisations such as Innovate UK / KTN’s, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear AMRC and the New Build promoters along with consulting, manufacturing and construction organisations. Cabinet Office and BEIS are also supportive, so I would say that the sector is fairly healthy at the moment.

Have companies yet to engage with BIM made a mistake, or have they been sensible to wait? Some are watching what happens, others are looking to work collaboratively, most are understanding of the government’s mandate on centrally funded projects. When tenders / contracts start to show a clear requirement for an understanding of Asset Information Requirements and Employer Information Requirements then the supply chain will respond.



What would your advice be to all companies large and small seeking to implement BIM in their business operations today? Take the time to look at what you do already, 3D Modelling isn’t new, work out with your people a structured way ahead. Always communicate your intentions both internally and tell your clients and supply chain, it’s amazing how much feedback and support you will get. There are positive examples of early adopters at Sellafield Ltd, and Edf are already embracing the principles at Hinkley.

Many clients, even public sector, are reported to be either wary of BIM adoption or not fully understanding of its benefits. Do you agree with this/ why do you think this is?

see the development of the Construction Leadership Council. Well done! There are many senior organisations that are already supporting government, plus there is tremendous talent in the world of SME’s that can support as well. By way of example, Waldeck Engineering are already working on Enterprise Management Initiatives and the development of a Digital Twin strategy for the industry.

What do you say to people that insist COBie doesn’t pair naturally well with infrastructure assets?

There is excellent work being done by the UK BIM Alliance Group to get organisations along to Level 2, the aspiration to move to Digital Built Britain and Digital Level 3 is to be applauded, nuclear is very much on that journey.

In Nuclear the key is to develop the most informative 3D models as as soon as practicable. The 3D model developed along with 4D programming and 5D cost is also heavily reliant on the operator being positive up front with the Asset Information Requirements (AIR) and Employer Information Requirements (EIR). This is an absolute must. If the models are consistently used and approved, BS1192-4 becomes a model pass through, archived at handover, with an operations lead on using the same model for the life of the asset through to disposal. Governance throughout the entire process is really the key.

What do you feel would help improve and encourage greater collaboration in the built environment?

Where can people go to learn more and what events are on the horizon?

Innovative forms of contracting - where cost isn’t the main issue, but with more reliance on delivering world class solutions as a single team where people are at the heart of it. Teams that have clearly defined roles and responsibilities across client and supply chains will benefit the most.

The Nuclear Institute has a list of Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) and Digital Community is one of them. Take a look at the website and register your interest, there are others which have an alignment and absolute relevance to the journey ahead. The next Digital SIG (DigSig) will be in Bristol around September. Also, I am sitting on a panel at Salford University on the 14th of September for the 4th Annual Construction Summit North and I will also be speaking at Digital Construction Week in October in London. I’ve also been invited by the University of Bolton to share a number of Master Class lectures, and Digital / BIM in the Nuclear Industry will be one of them. Also in early 2018 I will be presenting with the ICE NW - Cheshire Branch.

What have been the biggest disappointments or frustrations, personally and publicly, on the journey to BIM implementation? Too much reliance on the supply chain grasping the initiative. Leadership can come from a number of directions, it is out there and it is fantastic to





Soyuzhimpromproekt Implements BIM Strategy on Russia’s First Methylchlorosilane Production Facility Bentley’s Interoperable Software Reduces Design Time by 25 Percent COURTESY OF BENTLEY SYSTEMS

A First of Its Kind

The Complex for Industrial Production project sought to meet Russia’s domestic demands for methylchlorosilane, a key raw material for space, aviation, and hi-tech mechanical engineering complexes operating in Russian and CIS countries. Situated within the city limits of Kazan, Russia, a RUB 9.8 billion complex is being built to be the first of its kind for the Russian Federation. Comprising 18 new buildings, the project involves renovating an obsolete

Project Summary

Organization: Soyuzhimpromproekt Solution: Process Manufacturing Location: Kazan, Russia Project Objective: • Transform an obsolete synthetic rubber plant into a RUB 9.8 billion, first-of-its-kind methylchlorosilane production facility. • Maximize compatibility with existing auxiliary systems for the provision of new resources within the complex.

Products used: ProjectWise, AutoPLANT, OpenPlant, Bentley Navigator, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, Promis.e, and ProStructures

rubber plant as well as connecting to existing utility and auxiliary energy networks. Soyuzhimpromproekt, a provider of complex design and engineering services for chemical and petrochemical facility construction, was retained to design the entire facility to be fully operational within a three-year period. This unique, complex project required multi-disciplined engineering processes to meet the tight deadlines, and demanded the highest standards of environmental sustainability. Soyuzhimpromproekt relied on Bentley’s modeling

and analysis applications to implement an integrated design approach.

BIM Workflow Accelerates Design

“Different project elements such as processing, piping, mechanical equipment, steel structures, cabling, and electrical equipment were collected into one informative model using i-model Composition Server,” explained Sergei Krashakov, head of design at Soyuzhimpromproekt. The project workflow was



structured through ProjectWise. Soyuzhimpromproekt used AutoPLANT as the foundation for modeling the piping and equipment, and ProStructures to accommodate civil design. Integrating other Bentley applications, including OpenPlant, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, and Promis.e, helped the project team develop a unified database of materials and equipment, and automated the generation of specifications and estimates. Using AutoPLANT and OpenPlant, the team designed and located over 400 new and existing equipment units and managed more than 800 pieces of piping extending 15 kilometers. ProStructures, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, and Promis.e enabled the modeling and analysis of numerous reinforced concrete buildings, steel structures, cable trays, and electrical lighting. More than 15 piping and equipment specialists alone worked simultaneously with the other disciplines to develop 3D models and incorporate their various parts into the original model using a federated BIM approach. Bentley Navigator was used to reveal collisions and to analyze solutions made by the different specialists. The interoperability of Bentley applications provided a common design platform, allowing the different disciplines to work in parallel on a single information model, accelerating the design process while improving efficiency, decision making, and design quality.

ProjectWise Optimizes Multi-discipline Collaboration

Given the tremendous amount of different materials, the complexity of implementing the piping and electrical connections, and the short construction time occurring in tandem, the project required all engineering disciplines to work together simultaneously to make informed decisions. “ProjectWise was used extensively during the project to coordinate hundreds of schedules across multi-disciplined teams,” stated Krashakov. Bentley’s collaboration and content management software streamlined workflows and optimized information mobility, simplifying the correlation of the different solutions for the various parts of the project. The software enabled the secure exchange of information so that any member of the project could see the most current information at any time. Version control was automated, eliminating concerns of using outdated documents and data. Working in a connected data environment improved accurate information sharing and the quality of design decisions. Integrating ProjectWise with OpenPlant and other Bentley applications provided a collaborative, comprehensive solution through federated information access, crucial to the successful delivery of the project.

Bentley Solutions Promote Environmental Sustainability

Environmental considerations were a top priority throughout project and facility development. Bentley software enabled the team to safely integrate the new facilities with the existing auxiliary, and to simultaneously improve the efficiency and reliability of the existing equipment. Moreover, the project cleaned up the site of the existing synthetic rubber plant and improved overall ecological conditions. The new plant also integrates modern waste-free Russian technology into the framework of the project allowing Soyuzhimpromproekt to minimize the amount of waste products to be disposed of or recycled, and to reduce the discharge of wastewater and atmospheric emissions by processing them into finished products. The production process is designed to minimize the amount of raw material used and ensure high quality production at every stage, reducing overall transport costs—which is ultimately reflected in a lower price for the finished products. Specialized, automated analysis processes constantly monitor for contamination have helped reduce poor quality incidents within the plant. Stated Krashakov, “These solutions provided an opportunity to reduce the quantity of contaminants to the minimum level.”

Interoperability Delivers Optimal Results

Faced with the complex challenges of not only integrating the numerous engineering disciplines to design Russia’s first methylchlorosilane production facility, Soyuzhimpromproekt also had to analyze and determine environmentally sustainable methods for renovating and connecting to existing systems from an obsolete rubber plant. The project team relied on the interoperability and information mobility of Bentley applications. They helped engineering specialists in various fields carry out the design of the new plant in parallel, resulting in a 25 percent savings in design time, and reducing time and resources coordinating adjacent sections of the project. Added Krashakov, “Bentley software allows the organization of parallel teamwork on a project by practically any number of specialists in various fields.” Additionally, the team

used a single, federated information model, accelerating information exchange, minimizing conflicts, and eliminating errors during materials selection, to reduce overall risk. Using Bentley technology to facilitate electronic information exchange not only enhanced collaboration but also reduced the costs of producing documentation by 50 percent and cut the travel budget by 30 percent. Bentley’s integrated and interoperable software solutions enabled Soyuzhimpromproekt to coordinate and share data across multiple disciplines and the infrastructure lifecycle for successful delivery of an environmentally friendly, unprecedented Russian methylchlorosilane production complex.

Fast Facts

• ProjectWise, OpenPlant, and a host of Bentley applications collectively facilitated a collaborative design process allowing multiple disciplines to work in parallel, cutting design time and project costs. • Bentley technology enabled Soyuzhimpromproekt to reduce the amount of environmental contaminants and minimize waste products to be disposed or recycled.


• Design time was cut by 25 percent, documentation production costs by 50 percent, and the project travel budget by 30 percent. • The RUB 9.8 billion project modernized an existing synthetic rubber plant, provided more than 700 jobs, and added tax revenue for the city of Kazan. • The new, unparalleled production complex will significantly reduce Russia’s dependence on imports of methylchlorosilane and meet the demands for silicon products used in domestic aerospace, aviation, machinery, electronics, and other industries.









As part of the Institution of Civil Engineers Digital Transformation initiative, it is now time to consider two guest items from the ICE, the first one presented below looks at Change Management courtesy of Romy Hughes from Brightman. Making a Success of Change Management

Every forward-looking organisation is looking to digitise in one form or another. Digital transformation or “digitisation” is a tremendous undertaking since it touches on all aspects of the business, from every customer interaction, to sales and fulfilment, to operations. Yet despite its all-encompassing nature and implications for the business as a whole, digital transformation delivery is often left under the domain of the IT department. This is a mistake. Digital transformation is not an IT project; it is an operational change that goes to the very heart of the business.

When coercion leads to mutiny

The biggest challenge with any major transformation project – whether digital or not – is the acceptance of the change by those who will be affected by it. Change that is imposed from the top without inviting feedback from those below is destined to failure. Coercion might work for a while, but it will soon lead to resentment and eventually mutiny, and the project will fail. Cultural and people change activities need to take place in parallel with the technical change activities (e.g. looking at potential systems and services that could benefit from digitisation, the solutions and the delivery planning). This must not be an afterthought. Any transfor-

mation plan must incorporate four elements if it is to be successful; Process, Organisation, Technology and Information. Notice that technology is only one of four components. Only when all four elements are considered can an organisation achieve the expected benefits of digital transformation.

Strategy and organisational alignment

CEOs “telling” an organisation is not sufficient to bring about the necessary cultural and people change required for digital transformation. People at the coal-face need to have meaningful engagements with their day-to-day leadership. They need to feel that their views are heard and they are not powerless in the face of the change. Their feedback should be addressed at Team Lead level and outstanding points passed back to senior level for assessment and action. As planning is underway, this engagement enables leaders to bring the organisation along with the delivery of technology and provides a greater likelihood of the organisation deriving the expected benefits.

Feedback and championing success

Feedback enables targeted activities to be put in place and helps inform senior leaders where the organisation is along their change journey. The role of the Team Leader in collating feedback from the coal-face is paramount to assess progress and identify required intervention.

Interest groups and communities of practices should be formed during the transformation to increase participation, and empower individuals to help shape the change. Publicly congratulating and publicising these initiatives and their importance promotes positive behaviours within the organisation.

shape it, to those most resistant, who (for various reasons) do not share in the desire for change. All staff need to be engaged to air their views or concerns, so they can be supportively managed and given what they need to bring them along with the change.

Employee engagement at all levels

In conclusion, we strongly advocate the benefits that digital transformation provides to individuals, teams, organisations, and their customers and partners. However, we understand first-hand that the journey is not an easy one. Often, the implementation of the technology itself is the easiest part when compared to the true challenge of an organisation accepting and using the technology in a way that delivers the expected benefits and provides a better service to its customers (and we’re not saying the technology is easy either).

Senior management needs to provide active sponsorship and drive the change. This will include communicating with the organisation about the purpose of the transformation strategy, the compelling need for change and the benefits. Senior leaders need to work closely with Team Leaders to help them craft directed messages to their people and gather feedback about progress, issues and concerns in their areas. Team Leaders have a crucial role to translate the high-level strategy to help their people understand what it means to them. They must be able to help them understand what the future operating state will look like for them and the benefits of operating in it. Team Leads must collate valuable feedback from the coal-face. Operational staff must be engaged in the change at every step. Staff will span the spectrum from advocates that desire the change, and should be empowered to help

It’s not just about the technology!

The only way to ensure acceptance of the change is to align the organisational culture with it, and engage individuals to bring them along with the delivery of the technological solution. Digital transformation is not an IT project but an organisational transformation, and to not treat it as such can be fraught with peril. Don’t make that mistake. This article was created as part of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Digital Transformation campaign. Learn more at the Shaping a Digital World conference (formerly ICE BIM) on the 13th of October.






As part of the ICE Digital Transformation initiative, in this second guest piece the ICE sat down with David Philp to get his thoughts on how digital changes can deliver improvements. Is the infrastructure industry investing enough in talent development and/or emerging technologies such as cognitive analytics, crowdsourcing and digital reporting? Industry has, especially over the last half decade, made significant progress in moving towards a digital built environment and is shifting towards a thriving digital economy. Accelerating this adoption will need improvement on several themes: upskilling of work-force in data analytics and queries, advancement of cognitive technologies for the construction sector and new forms of contracts and procurement routes that will liberate the value. Meaningful engagement between industry, academia and the technology providers will be pivotal. Industry will need to re-chip to harness these innovative opportunities not just in technology but process and cultural change.

Are procurement teams within the construction industry ready to embrace digital procurement challenges? Is there a skill issue and a need for cultural shift in order to embrace a clear digital procurement strategy? How do you see this being tackled at industry level? New technologies and big data in the construction sector are leading to new business needs, which will need reflecting in how we procure our contracts, services and materials. Undoubtedly procurement teams will need to build new skills, capabilities and also - more importantly - new ways of thinking and behaving. There is also work to be done to ensure that digital transactions and new distributed ledgers are undertaken in a safe, validated and encrypted manner. There is a risk of a skills shortage and unless further education can start to embed these dig-

ital themes into their built environment courses we will likely need to start importing candidates from other more digitised non-engineering sectors such as retail - as demand outstrips supply. Some of these issues need to be tackled at an international level, as digitalization will increase globalization it is imperative that data exchange formats and standards are considered in a global context.

Do you foresee a sharp increase in the usage of artificial intelligence in the industry which will greatly improve accuracy and speed of execution? If so, when could the industry see an increased intake on robotic process automation? Concurrent advances in computer power and computational science is seeing AI techniques becoming an essential part of the construction industry and is undoubtedly set to grow sharply over the coming years. AI is already helping to solve many challenging problems in a sector that is awash with data to be leveraged. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to intelligently analyse huge amounts of information from existing engineering and performance data to inform future designs and to continuously refine, optimise asset strategy.

Will advances in AI increase robotics process automation? Well firstly the term “robot�, like artificial intelligence, is hard to define. It is unlikely in the near future we will see conscious robots on our construction projects. That said, human robot collaboration on construction projects will certainly happen - especially in the area of the

tech-augmented human worker where safety and productivity can be drastically improved with straightforward enhancements such as robotic exoskeletons. This article was created as part of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Digital Transformation campaign. Learn more at the Shaping a Digital World conference (formerly ICE BIM) on the 13th of October.





The relevance of COBie when it comes to infrastructure has been hotly discussed, debated and poured over for years. This article seeks to capture the journey so far and to shed some light on the whole thing while hopefully dispelling one or two myths. First things first and COBie as a “schema” should really be relegated to something that developers and vendors need to worry about when it comes to its technological implementation. For the rest of us, in practical term, COBie generally means that “of all of the IFC information that has been captured, just shown me the information that relates to facilities management (FM)”. A glorified filter of sorts that allows owners to ensure that they have been provided with the information that they have asked for (should have asked for) in order to run the facility. As a result of this, object geometry is not part of the COBie output/ deliverables. The reason being that you can full well see what an object looks like once it is installed. What owners really need is the warranty information and the installation date and other things like that. Importantly, COBie does not specify which items or information to include either. For want of a better explanation it is merely the format that this information has to be in, so to speak. Subsequently all of this information can then be accessed through any interface fit for human consumption. However, the spreadsheet has largely been adopted to be the most appropriate vehicle in this regard, so far, as it is spectacularly easy to navigate and does not subject untrained personnel to navigating around models or having to get to grips with modelling software. This is why COBie is most often shown as a spreadsheet with a lot of tabs - such is the richness of the data format needed. Indeed a COBie file or workbook (collection of many spreadsheets)

contains information about one single facility only, to keep it nice and ordered and simple, relatively speaking. What is telling, is that a spreadsheet has its own limitations when applied in this manner as well, but more of this later.

The Debate

Other than street lighting and signage it is hard for people to see just what needs to be maintained in a similar fashion to a building when it comes to (economic) infrastructure. After all, a “standalone” asset is not delivered. Rather a long continuous meandering entity that frequently occupies several miles is produced instead. But COBie is still mandated by clients, not least the UK government and certification bodies. So let us look in more depth at what has gone on over the years and what has happened since.


Originating in the USA COBie is an information exchange specification for the life-cycle capture and delivery of information needed by facility managers.[14] Other “ie” information exchanges exist but these have nothing like the prominence of COBie[19]. As the UK BIM Task Group then identified in their 2013 study “COBie for All” the expectation is that the spreadsheets themselves would be written and read by software, as spreadsheets are easy to read by humans.[13] The report does goes on to qualify that all of this is somewhat relative however, as COBie spreadsheets are not especially easy to read, not least for the novice. But even so.



It is generally accepted that COBie has two main purposes, a data exchange format and a checking tool in the design process. Data is exchanged by extracting information from a native BIM model or IFC and placing it into a standard COBie schema ready for import into another product.[15] Typically then, COBie information exchanges or “data drops” are required at five defined stages in the project, to enable progress checks and to facilitate the next stage; » Data Drop 1: Model represents REQUIREMENTS and CONSTRAINTS » Data Drop 2: Model represents OUTLINE SOLUTION » Data Drop 3: Model represents CONSTRUCTION INFORMATION » Data Drop 4: Model represents OPERATIONS and MAINTENANCE INFORMATION » Data Drop 5 (and subsequent drops): Model represents » POST OCCUPANCY VALIDATION INFORMATION and ONGOING O&M[16] In a collaborative BIM project the output from all participants’ models must be merged. The resultant single model then populates as much of the COBie spreadsheet as possible automatically, to save on manual entry. As each stage progresses more of the fields and tabs are filled in ready for operation and maintenance.[15] A closer look at this by way of example can be found here. Above all, it is to be acknowledged that this “information delivery approach” will effectively insulate public clients from the complexity of the process, technology change and competitive issues that will remain in the supply chain[17] where they belong.


Within each spreadsheet the columns are pre-defined and color-coded to signify whether any content is required or if a reference to another sheet or pick list or external reference is needed. It is possible to add columns for other product specific data to the right of the standard template but this information is not checked by everyday quality assurance programs.[13] The devil really is in the honouring of the standards and the conventions here, as different project participants will need to add information as the project progresses (as ever, the model and its associated information is a baton in a relay race). Yes, different tools are used to do this along the way; the designer adds their required information in their authoring software, the contractor and client using field applications or spreadsheets or the like and on it goes. You get the picture. Manufacturer’s Product Data Sheets (and PAS 1192-7) will greatly assist this because the information needed by other parties will already be known. As will AD4’s, the Asset Data Dictionary Document - essentially an infrastructure based database that captures the functional aspects that any particular item needs to honour. Effectively setting out the “questions asked” of an item, which the manufacture PDS information will then “answer”.[18] This is to aid clients when looking at what characteristics are needed, such that the selection of a product from many differing manufacturers may be considered. So, the general gist of the COBie format can be felt when we look at the FACILITY tab of the spreadsheet for example. This can only contain a single row because multiple facilities must each have their own workbooks. When we look at a FLOOR however, this can contain multiple SPACES, but each SPACE can only exist on a single FLOOR.[13] That kind of thing. There is rhyme as well as reason.


Software (free) exists to check/audit COBie delivered information as well, which is critical as well. People forget that information verification and validation is just as important as geographic validation - of which great strides have been made over the years.

Spread-too-thin Sheets By spreadsheets I of course mean Excel, Calc, Sheets, Gnumeric, Calligra (there are more) and due to their overall similarities they also share overall limitations. As a result of the sheer amount of data involved, many of the spreadsheets may be too wide and too long to be readable on screen or in print, unless columns and rows are filtered or hidden. Furthermore, related information may be spread out across multiple spreadsheets. So to find all of the information relevant to a single COMPONENT for example, it may be necessary to visit up to ten other sheets: CONTACT, SPACE, TYPE, SYSTEM, ASSEMBLY, CONNECTION, IMPACT, DOCUMENT, ATTRIBUTE, and ISSUE[13]. Which is a necessary evil when it comes to the spreadsheet format here. Not an impossible mountain to climb, but not essentially “swift” and other COBie favourable tools exist which you should spend time to investigate. Indeed, as different kinds of data may need to be entered in multiple places, and if human data entry and review is to be supported, then a more intuitive user-friendly front end is important. After all COBie is a model view definition based on IFC and it should be treated as such. In the same way that accounting departments tend to use dedicated accounting software, even though a spreadsheet could be used, it is not always the most appropriate. Also, as noted on the Bond Bryan BIM blog, it should be acknowledged that not every component is required within COBie. Even though more data on the face of it sounds good, if that data will not be used, then this simply introduces waste - which is something that BIM is striving to remove of course.[20]

“COBie for All” Going forward, and making sense of how this is implemented the UK BIM Task Group report duly identified that, where possible, COBie content should be generated by the contractor’s software and then read by the owner’s software with minimal direct human intervention. Before the report discusses the use of XML and COBieLite and other issues[13]. Critically, in relation to this article, the report presents and discusses the following key points when it comes to COBie and its application in relation to infrastructure: Problem 1: COBie Spreadsheet Format - the issues above as discussed. Problem 2: COBie Schema - adjustments regarding certain naming and mapping conventions. Problem 3: COBie Versions - from COBie 2.26 to 2.40 Problem 4: COMPONENT Geospatial Location - GIS/location considerations. Problem 5: COMPONENT Linear Location - linear referencing considerations. Problem 6: Continuous Objects - how/ where to split them. Problem 7: Variable Asset Values - attributes can change along any given length, speed limits can change etc. Problem 8: IFCs - missing Civil/ Infrastructure specific IFCs Problem 9: Classifications - missing standardized classification taxonomies. Problem 10: Schedules - pavements and the like based on line drawings are neither scheduled nor easily discernible from models. Problem 11: Stakeholder Requirements - discussions of other issues identified by key stakeholders in the report. Problem 12: Software Products - software support (of the above) and associated testing procedures needed.[13] The full report can be downloaded here.



BS 1192-4:2014

As a result of the substantial work undertaken, the creation of BS 1192-4:2014 “Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employers information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice” was completed. So established to define the expectations for the exchange of information through the lifecycle of a facility. The stated goals being that the use of COBie ensures that information can be prepared and used without the need for knowledge of the sending and receiving applications or databases. It also ensures that the information exchange can be reviewed and validated for compliance, continuity and completeness[21]. Putting this into context, COBie is the UK Government’s chosen information exchange schema for federated building information management, alongside BIM models and PDF documents, with the aim of integrating commercially valuable information with other parts of the employer’s business. As a result, it can be used within less structured projects (UK level 1) and may have a role within integrated BIM (UK level 3) alongside a fuller building information model. [21] So it is future-proofed, somewhat, and anybody uninformed or unsure should make the time to get up to speed. The code of practice then goes on to express in detail how it assists the demand side, including employers with portfolio managers, asset managers and facility managers, to specify their expectations while helping information providers, including the lead designers and contractors to prepare concise, unambiguous and accessible information. A copy of PAS1192-4:2014 can be obtained here.

Conclusion It has already been said that if everybody uses COBie and every piece of software understands how to read and write to it then we are starting down the road of interoperability. Also, that COBie really can deal with infrastructure and linear assets, which had been proven through the user case studies conducted as part of the overall BS1192-4 initiative[22]. It is also acknowledged that BIM level 2 and COBie drops are a stepping-stone to a more elegant solution.[15] Indeed the use of BIM for new construction is becoming more common but it is not yet an established industry practice. Also the use of BIM for maintenance and engineering departments is in the very early stages of industry adoption as well. But it firmly holds the promise of helping to increase organisational effectiveness while reducing cost[23] and then some. Is COBie too difficult to embrace? A mature and accurate industry that is moving into a data-rich era understands that COBie is 100% convertible with IFC, and is entirely usable on every computer and every smart device[24]. While there are other disadvantages to COBie captured here, it will seemingly be around for quite a while yet and for infrastructure too. Although it has been a rocky road for some so far.




1. ICE “What is Civil Engineering?”

14. Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie)

2. Government launches transport investment plan for Britain

15. The Problem with COBie

3. Car tax: everything you need to know about Vehicle Excise Duty 4. BIM Journal Interview with Santanu Das, Bentley. 5. Lord Adonis highlights continued need to invest in infrastructure 6. Building Magazine (2 June 2017) - Peter Hibberd “What’s in a Name?” 7. Highways England - About Us highways-england/about 8. Government publishes £6.1 billion programme of upgrades to major roads and motorways 9. Smart motorways programme 10. BIM Journal Interview with David Lowery, Carillion 11. The BIM Hub “All Aboard the Digital Express” WV-poNBie00 12. Crossrail Bentley Information Academy crossrail-bentley-information-academy 13. Cobie for All COBie-for-all.pdf

16. COBie Data Drops 17. Crossrail BIM Principles 18. Asset Information Requirements 19. COBie is not what you think it is 20. COBie 2.4, BS 1192-4:2014 and ARCHICAD 18/19 – Part 3: Component 21. BS 1192-4: 2014 “fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements” 22. BIM & COBie 23. Focus COBie Benefits for Effective Use of CMMS 24. Coping with COBie - think “well appointed suitcase” to underpin BIM data sharing 25. BIM Journal Interview with Philip Isgar 26. World’s first electric road opens in Sweden



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BIM Journal Issue #3  

Interested in BIM in the Infrastructure sector? You're not alone. Welcome to Issue 3 of BIM Journal; a themed publication that identifies a...

BIM Journal Issue #3  

Interested in BIM in the Infrastructure sector? You're not alone. Welcome to Issue 3 of BIM Journal; a themed publication that identifies a...