Transforming the design and delivery of transportation projects into intelligent, paperless 3D electronic delivery presents significant challenges that will take years to overcome. Yet the urgency is clear; the need for improvements in transport infrastructure increases while public funding decreases, forcing states and agencies to “do more with less”. Innovation is a potential answer.

Most construction companies have heard of Building Information Modeling or BIM. BIM is known as an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architectural, engineering and construction professionals the information and tools to plan, design, construct and manage buildings and buildings more efficiently. infrastructure.

While there are many success stories of using BIM for the vertical environment (think buildings, bridges, structures, etc.), there are far fewer use cases of BIM in this than one. calls the horizontal environment of our roads. To this day (with a few exceptions in the United States), BIM implementations are done largely because an offer demanded it, and not because an entrepreneur saw value in its use. Early adopters tend to adopt a “lonely BIM,” where processes are isolated without a BIM execution plan or consistent strategy throughout the life of the project.

However, in order to advance our current way of building roads, we need to improve innovation, reduce construction risks, and map the entire asset lifecycle and BIM can help.

BIM for roads can:

  • Provide a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of an infrastructure asset
  • Help in the process of drawing up a precise. Data-rich virtual 3D representation of existing and proposed elements belonging to planned construction projects
  • Serve as a shared knowledge resource for obtaining information about the infrastructure asset
  • Provides collaboration for various stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle of an infrastructure asset

“Communication is even more crucial today than it ever was, but unfortunately most engineers are bad at it,” says Tony Nieves, a construction engineer with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). “All these new technologies provide tons of data, but unfortunately at the project management level, this creates data cycles that do not speak to each other. BIM creates a seamless transition for data by breaking down silos between teams. “

With BIM, you can virtually visualize the project and build the pavement in a 3D environment. The whole team sees the same model and sees the same project that you see at the same time. Having a digital platform that securely connects different data sources can benefit all project members in finding information and mapping all of their assets. Digital platforms are accessed using different authorization levels to perform maintenance and planning activities, including in emergency situations where real-time data is needed to make informed decisions.

“BIM provides more precise designs with reduced risk,” says Nieves. “For designers, builders and owners to succeed with a positive ROI from BIM, they must move from the traditional siled approach to a more collaborative project management practice.”

BIM improves project development

Identifying long-term goals for using BIM on your project is extremely important and using BIM can help you plan your project from start to finish by:

  1. Project planning assistance
  2. Creation of a conceptual design
  3. Work through a detailed design
  4. Procurement assistance
  5. Identification of assets as built
  6. Evaluate operational and management requirements

“Take a look at your project, make sure all the practices you have in place are there to improve building efficiency and efficiency using BIM,” says Nieves. “BIM gives your project major technological credibility in terms of performance, transparency, planning, operation and maintenance. It means you can better stage your projects, you can have more vision, you can actually monitor your fuel consumption and equipment failure, etc. “

The use of BIM is causing owners and practitioners to rethink the life cycle of project delivery, from planning to survey, design and construction to operation and maintenance. Disconnection occurs when project leaders do not see this as a good thing. However, appeal to their profitability and there is a higher chance that they will adopt.

BIM & Profitability

Code compliance is a priority for engineers, followed by concern for constructability. However, misinterpreting design documents is a long-standing on-site challenge. This results in delayed schedules, tons of RFIs and change orders.

Let’s say $ 100 million is budgeted for a new highway construction project with bridges and interchanges. Usually about 7-8% of the funds will be spent on the development of the design. However, if you can reduce that design expense by 35% with, say, a productive process like BIM, your project could save $ 2.6 million. In addition, if you reduce the construction part by 15% by considering constructability during the design phase, you will save nearly $ 14 million.

BIM for road and highway design works with the creation of coordinated and consistent design data on projects, thus creating an intelligent 3D model. The basics of designs are not only related to points, facades and locations, but also related information and elements, which helps to avoid such mistakes if the project is designed for constructability.

For example, if midway through the project of a pavement, if the design project requires adjustments to vertical curves and slopes, adjusting the profile allows designers to immediately see the impact.

This is how BIM facilitates design assessment. Civil engineers, who are an integral part of the design process, can use the information model to improve the design in terms of constructability, durability and road safety by performing simulations and analyzes.

Besides competence and productivity, BIM assists in the optimization of roads through various aspects such as visualization, mock-up and analysis as an integral part of the design phase. Other criteria such as constructability, road safety and durability can also be assessed to achieve optimal road design.

With the growing recognition of the importance of BIM by the trades, a better understanding of their business and greater collaboration with them is essential to extend the benefits of BIM for road construction projects. BIM should only be part of the larger technology strategy of your construction companies, with the aim of improving the flow of information between members of the project team and between the site and the office.


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