Building Information Modelling for local government*

Local Governments have a significant opportunity to reduce the whole of life costs of asset ownership by improving infrastructure project delivery, and the management of infrastructure asset information with the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

John Taylor, Senior Director (Government) at Bentley Systems, says that adopting best practice BIM processes at the local government level offers significant advantages to achieving better ‘Whole of Life’ asset management outcomes.

“Building Information Modelling (BIM) has variously been described as a software or a technology, but is commonly identified as a system involving the coordination of people, process, data and technology, where the emphasis is on both people and process.”
Drawing on the UK Government experience, where the use of collaborative 3D modelling has been mandated for public sector infrastructure projects from January 2016 onwards, he notes that

“Current UK projects applying these approaches have delivered significant cost benefits in the infrastructure delivery phases, and that by improving the way infrastructure information is handed over to support operations and maintenance, even greater cost benefits are starting to be realised. Early projects in the UK applying the mandated approach delivered GBP 840 million in construction savings in 2013/14.”

“Best practise collaborative BIM focuses on improving project delivery and management of infrastructure asset information. Consideration should also be given to the procurement strategy implemented for the project to ensure that information requirements for operations and maintenance are clearly defined as deliverables, as well as standards for information and data content to be submitted. At completion of any collaborative BIM enabled project, government clients should be requiring an as-built 3D view of the asset with embedded data and materials for use across the asset life cycle stored as part of a common data environment.”

“While primarily used for the delivery of buildings, the BIM approach is being more widely adopted for use in roads, and rail, and makes use of approaches that have been in use for over two decades in the delivery of process plant infrastructure.”

This approach is currently in use internationally and was applied to the Crossrail project in London, a 10-year £14 billion project to deliver new rail infrastructure above and below ground in an environment already congested with two millennia’s worth of buildings, transport and utilities infrastructure.

Crossrail identified, established and pioneered a common data environment; based on Bentley’s BIM Level 2 technology, across the various groups and stakeholders for enhanced information mobility, including their delivery supply chain. This environment enables a single source of truth for their project information to persist throughout the life of the project. This single source improves safety, reduces the risk of schedule and cost overruns and reduces information loss between project phases. The project’s objectives were also enhanced by a joint Crossrail/Bentley BIM Academy that enabled training across all stakeholders, while supporting innovation and continuous improvement to the processes to be refined and tested.

The UK National Audit Office confirmed that the project represents great value for money to taxpayers, estimating in January 2014 that the project was on track to deliver £1.97 for every $1 spent. Most importantly, the application of the collaborative 3D modelling approach has ensured that at the half waypoint of delivery, the project schedule was being maintained and project expenditure was significantly below the original estimated budget.

Mr Taylor says that Local Governments can learn from the successes of this approach, and that delivery savings of up to 20 percent can be achieved by mandating a collaborative BIM approach.

“The advancement of BIM for local government is becoming a reality. It is no longer a case of “if” but of “when”.

“The demand for better information services to the citizens of the city has coincided with the exponential rise in mobile technology and the ability for citizens to directly input into public
infrastructure discussions.

“They want to be informed about the state of the city: roads that are going to be closed for maintenance, new developments, etc. In essence, each and every phase of the infrastructure lifecycle creates and changes information about those assets, so that management of information is of paramount importance to understanding how best to manage that asset to deliver the services expected,”

“Establishing information standards to meet the whole of life management of the infrastructure and provisioning a common data environment to support information interoperability, collaboration and ultimately, be a repository for authoritative and current information is an essential step in the overall BIM process.”

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*Copy supplied by Bentley