BIM was frequently applied with commercial and residential buildings. But in recent years BIM (Building Information Modeling) process and technology is utilized in major infrastructure projects ranging from roads & highway, bridges, dams, water treatment facilities, power plants, transportation facilities, transit, airport projects, utilities (such as gas, electric, water and wastewater) etc. As for example , the design and construction of the Harbour Way Port Talbot project in Wales, that contains rail and roadwork to join the M4 into Port Talbot and the docks.
Within 2014 the application of BIM for infrastructure projects is going to increase more than 50% as BIM with its digitally-based internal and external collaborative processes offers greater productivity as well as improve efficiency and costs.
67% of current users of BIM for infrastructure experience a positive ROI on their BIM investments whereas over 40% of the users identified as experts in BIM application for infrastructure experience an ROI of 50% or greater.
BIM contains an intelligent, model-based process in which all the data or information is integrated in a workable model. City planners, GIS professionals, and civil engineers get the project insights instantly and create cost effective infrastructure projects. Besides, the users can generate 3D model of entire infrastructure including urban environment, ground infrastructure from accessible BIM data & import detailed models and create 3D thematic maps.
Data within a BIM model can provide information on utility lines, direction of waterflow, pipe materials, elevations and slopes, connectivity. The model can also contain the date of pipe installation and inspection. This will facilitate to find out the possible trouble areas and improvement areas in a more convenient ways.
3D modeling plays an important role for infrastructure project from planning through lifecycle management. A variety types of data is accumulated and incorporated in layers as well as X,Y, and Z coordinates, geographic information system (GIS) data, parcel boundaries, and aerial photographs. Obtainable roads and buildings and utilities are placed into the model. Detailed analysis is achieved with the formation of the model. Analysis happens simultaneously with design, not post-design. Additionally, data and relationships are predictable for the future.
BIM is also being utilized to examine geometry, spatial relationships and geographic information, quantities and properties of construction components. Besides, the project team employs sensor measurement and control signals to further evaluate the operation and maintenance of infrastructure.
BIM also provide great benefits for infrastructure projects toward prefabrication and modularization by improving productivity factors ranging from schedule, cost, quality, sustainability and safety.
BIM also assist to minimize inconsistencies and changes, enhance project quality, reduce project risk, better predictability of project outcomes for infrastructure projects.
Latest innovation in Laser scanning technology with aerial Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) can capture data, geometry, and characteristics precisely and rapidly from infrastructure assets. This data can be incorporated with a BIM model or workflow to produce rich data sources producing an as-built model of existing infrastructure to be useful for designers to visualize & simulate the performance, appearance and cost of renovations. Project stake holders can formulate informed decision to walk around design alternatives, associated structural performance analyses, seismic audits, and cost and schedule visualizations.
BIM based digital model comprises of data components symbolizing infrastructure elements like materials, weight, loading resistance, and other physical properties that lead to seismic performance and cost or schedule parameters. Utilizing BIM in infrastructure projects the users get the ability to evaluate and study the performance of individual components and assess, compare, and grade the environmental and financial impact of anticipated renovations for an total system.
BIM features 3D visualization, simulation and analysis to examine numerous design alternatives in advance in the process and deliver more durable infrastructure in future.
BIM empower all the project team members to watch the model of the project from different angle enhancing the communication among the entire project team.
Some useful software for infrastructure modeling :-
Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2012
AutoCAD Utility Design 2012
Autodesk Civil 3D