#BIMfor Civil and Infrastructure Engineers

In continuing our #BIMfor series, where we highlight the benefits of BIM to particular specialists, we now focus on Civil and Infrastructure Engineers. These experts are involved with roads, bridges, waterworks, etc, Projects with far-reaching societal, environmental and financial impact. As such, the need for this to be carried out as efficiently and sustainably as possible is imperative, with even very small changes bringing big results. With BIM, though, the benefits are immense, with 7 of these highlighted below.

1. Quick Change Implementation

Incorporating BIM into infrastructure projects enables changes to be made quickly to design data and results. For example, In an Erosion control project, survey data taken at the beginning of the design stage may become obsolete by its end due to surface changes brought about by continuous runoff on the site. With BIM, when newer survey data is obtained, this can easily be put into the model and used in making changes to the project design, giving project stakeholders greater certainty in terms of cost and preventing unbudgeted expenses. This focus in BIM on shifting most of the effort in an Infrastructure project back into the detailed design phase works better as the ability to improve project performance is high and the impact of change is low.


2. Constructability

Typically, Civil Engineers design for code compliance, constructability hardly being a consideration. Because of this, incorrect design interpretations may be made in the field because of ambiguous documentation, which can lead to change orders and delayed schedules after construction begins. With BIM, more effort can be put in to ensure that the project is constructable, as the 3D model can be used for checking what can/cannot be done and how/why.


3. Improved Road Safety

The 3D BIM model can be used for designing better roads. Considerations for safe stopping and passing sight distances is a key factor driving design decisions. Typical Analysis for these is based on mathematical equations applied to straight-line distances. This approach, though, fails to take into account factors such as horizontal layout, road curvature and visual obstructions. Interactive visualisation of the 3D model allows the Civil Engineer to  quickly identify whether the road geometry meets critical safety parameters related to sight distances including grades and curvatures as well as design obstructions such as barriers.

Photo Courtesy of CE News

4. More Information for Infrastructure Operation

This is a very significant advantage of BIM over a 2D based process as the model and all the information contained in it can be used in the operations phase of the building after construction. Transportation agencies are increasingly using the 3D model for operating construction equipment with GPS machine guidance. Benefits include increased productivity and accuracy as well as lower equipment operating costs.

5. Optimized Design through Iterative Analysis

The value of a BIM process, where many types of analysis and simulations will take place as part of the design process, allows engineers to quickly cycle through iterations, get instant feedback on project performance and optimize the design for objectives such as cost effectiveness, constructability and sustainability. Traffic capacity, noise, lighting, drainage and signage analysis could all be done earlier in a project as part of the design process, well before much of the construction documentation is done. In this way, BIM opens up the possibilities of different design alternatives, so that the best possible design is used. With BIM, engineers can spend more time evaluating What-If scenarios to optimize the design and less time generating construction documentation. Without BIM, this evaluation of What-If scenarios is inefficient and cost prohibitive. BIM also optimizes roadway design by including visualisation, simulation and analysis as part of the design process. 

6. Improved Project Performance Measurements

With BIM, cheaper and more sustainable projects can be delivered on time, with savings as high as 20% and 45% on costs and carbon respectively on infrastructure projects, providing value in terms of finances and functionality.
Increased efficiency and productivity are also immediate benefits of BIM for road and highway design. Since design and construction documentation are dynamically linked, the time needed to evaluate more alternatives, execute design changes and produce construction documentation  is reduced significantly. This is particularly important for transportation agencies because it can shorten the time to contract letting, resulting in projects being completed sooner and within more predictable timetables.

7. Better Coordination with other design team members

With other design team members such as Architects, Surveyors and Structural Engineers using BIM, Infrastructure and Civil Engineers have to use it as it helps them to coordinate better with other design team members during the course of their work, thereby maximizing the BIM potential to minimize conflict.

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#BIMfor Civil and Infrastructure Engineers #BIMfor Civil and Infrastructure Engineers Reviewed by Izu Obi on 08:12:00 Rating: 5

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