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How BIM was utilized in the Panama Canal development project

The Panama Canal is considered as the most vital water ways in the globe. It facilitates running of 5% of global trade. The Panama Canal development project is undertaken to increase that volume significantly within 2016.


The Panama Canal contains two lock lanes at both the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the canal. The Panama Canal Expansion Third Set of Locks project comprises the building of two new sets of locks - one on the Pacific and one on the Atlantic side of the canal.


Each lock will encompass three chambers and each chamber will include three water reutilisation basins. The new locks will be attached with the existent canal system.


MWH Global has been performing for more than 10 years, as it advanced from a concept to a project in progress. MWH presently acts as the principal technical designer in the design together with CICP Consultores Internacionales, LLC, on the Third Set of Locks. This is the biggest fraction of the projected $5.25 billion project.


MWH Global has integrated building information modelling (BIM) into the design delivery to complete the project successfully.


How BIM was applied in the project successfully


BIM facilitates the project team members to go with the most excellent convenient practices on many parts of the project.


Usefulness of BIM for the project:


  • Design quality gets better.
  • Competently deal with design modifications and enhance productivity.
  • Make communication superior between clients and builders with excellent visualizations.


BIM modeling processes was utilized in diversified methods on this project by the designer team:


  • Formation of intelligent databases regarding primary project components and systems.
  • Superimpose of electrical, mechanical, architectural and civil/structural elements for conflicts detection & resolution.
  • Creation of civil/structural backgrounds for the sake of electrical and mechanical designers to outline their systems.

Virtual conflict detection reduces field construction modifications which seem to be costly and challenging to project schedules. Two-dimensional construction drawings can be taken out from the BIM model, which is built up involving all these aspects and utilized by the contractor.


MWH Global co-operates with design teams in five offices all over the globe. BIM generates intelligent 3D models which facilitated this multifarious team comprising of engineers to collaborate in an efficient manner as well as allowing them to settle design clashes prior to set up of actual construction. This also aids in synchronizing the project that saved significant time and money.


MWH is designing several elements simultaneously, and BIM aided the team to incorporate modifications instantly and more assertively. With BIM, the contractors and designers got the ability to visualize and supervise the layout of complex electrical and mechanical systems efficiently.


Using Autodesk BIM: MWH applied Autodesk BIM solutions for the following purposes-


  • Autodesk 3ds Max Design It is utilized for conceptual and detailed design as well as creating design visualizations to facilitate the client verifying numerous design options.
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Revit Structure and Autodesk Revit MEP - Useful for in depth design of the canal's new lock structures and a multitude of supporting facilities.
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D Aid in generating more authentic & precise site designs.
  • Autodesk Navisworks Manage - Allowed superior interdisciplinary coordination and collaboration which solve design clashes prior to formation of actual construction and improve the quality of the project. It also facilitated minimizing costly field changes.
  • AutoCAD Electrical Offered huge benefits to the electrical designers for producing layouts for the electrical schematics and panel.
  • Maintenance Data Before surrendering the project to the Panama Canal Authority, the project team members used BIM workflow to obtain asset information that contained equipment identification tags for adding in a master maintenance manual with the integration of project models and data.


Throughout the tender design, MWH modeled various design options with Autodesk 3ds Max Design and created design visualizations which were useful for recognizing these designs and undertaking more informed decisions.


In final design, Autodesk Revit products were applied to generate detailed designs of the canal's new lock and dam structures, site features, and supporting utilities. AutoCAD Civil 3D was also used for creating the site design.


With Intelligent 3D models, the design team got a brief overview of the large and complicated designs. They were helpful in coordinating design and documentation, saving both time and money. The team consolidated the design models to enhance the cross-discipline coordination and get rid of design clashes prior to actual construction begins.


With progression of the design-build project regarding the Third Set of Locks of the Panama Canal Expansion project, the design team had developed many design elements in parallel. BIM offered the system to combine essential design modifications to keep the project going successfully.


Conclusion: BIM can also be a crucial tool after surrender of project to the owner. The owners can get help through a powerful operations and maintenance tool to address the facility's long-term requirements. BIM will become the vital resource for asset formation and asset management. It will allow the facility to be well-organized, and also demonstrate how resources utilized to address significant infrastructure needs all over the world to be utilized in an efficient manner.


How BIM was utilized in the Panama Canal development project
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