Integrating BIM, Laser Scanning and GIS to Transform Civil Construction

Civil construction is being transformed by the integration of GIS, laser scanning and BIM for infrastructure. For example, for Ron Singh, Chief of Surveys at the Oregon Department of Transportation (DoT), the integration of BIM for infrastructure and geospatial data and technology including laser scanning is fundamental for achieving his vision of intelligent highways. At the first GeoBIM conference in Amsterdam, Jothijs van Gaalen of Royal BAM Group nv presented real world examples where BIM+laser scanning+GIS is already transforming highway construction in the Netherlands.

Jothijs is Manager of the (civil) BIM Programme and Head of the Structural Modelling department at the Royal BAM Group nv / BAM Infraconsult. The Royal BAM Group nv is a large infrastructure engineering consulting firm with 23,500 employees operating in over 40 countries, primarily in Europe. Its goal is to be among the top 10 companies in its market segment. To achieve this it has targeted supply chain integration focused on a sustainable built environment. One of the key areas of integration in GIS+BIM and to support this initiative Royal BAM has BIM/GIS modelling departments in Amsterdam, The Hague, Gouda, Singapore, and Jakarta.

Full Lifecycle Construction Projects

BAM’s motivation for investing in BIM+GIS are market developments including more complex construction assignments and an increasing demand from customers for service provision throughout the entire lifecycle of a project. The other major drivers are internal business needs especially being able to control safety, quality, costs, planning, and sustainability through the lifetime of a project.

A civil construction project at BAM starts with 2D geographic data that is visualized through a GIS web portal. The web portal gives everyone on the team an early perspective on the project site including underground utilities and above ground structures before design begins. During the tender process the geospatial data is combined with 3D data including 3D representations of nearby natural and man-made features as well as proposed designs to create a 3D environment for assessing alternative designs. The 3D environment improves collaboration among the team members as well as enabling better communication with the client through 3D visualization of proposed designs. After award, the first step is conducting LiDAR scans of the site/proposed route. At completion of construction, the data collected during design and construction is migrated to an integrated GIS + asset management system to support maintenance activities.

Level of development (LoD) is critical for full lifecycle construction projects at BAM because it specifies the level of detail for both graphical and non-graphical data that is required at each phase of a project’s lifetime; roughly tender (LOD100), design (LOD200), construction (LOD300), and operate and maintain (LOD400).

Design, Build, Finance and Maintainproject

The N33 highway project in the Netherlands is an example of a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) project. In a DBFM contract, the contractor is not only fully responsible for designing and building the project, but also handles the administration and all maintenance. In a DBFM contract the government buys a service: the provision of an available national road. BAM is responsible for design and construction,which occurred during 2012 2014, and for 20 years of maintenance.

During design and construction BAM used a BIM for infrastructure process based around a geospatially-enabled database. At completion of construction, the data collected during design and construction was migrated to an integrated GIS + Maximo system designed to support maintenance activities during the 20 year period that BAM is responsible for highway maintenance. (Maximo is IBM’s enterprise asset management (EAM) software product.)

Best practices

Jothijs discussed some of the best practices that BAM has developed during the N33 and other projects. These include integrated BIM + GIS with time (4D), and financial (5D), training of multi-disciplinary teams, standardizing LoD for graphical and non-graphical data and involving suppliers as early as possible in the project.

A BAM best practice that is transformational is BAM’s application of laser scanning to collect accurate geometrical data (reality capture) at the beginning of the project before design. It is important to note that at BAM the point cloud data is collected by BAM’s surveyors. Since laser scanning is not normally part of a surveyor’s skill set, this was accomplished by another of BAM’s best practices, training multi-disciplinary teams, in this case training surveyors in laser scanning.

About the Author

Geoff Zeiss, Ph.D

Geoff Zeiss, Ph.D... has more than 20 years experience in the geospatial software industry and 15 years experience working with utilities, communications, and public works in enterprise geospatial IT around the world. Previously Geoff was responsible for thought leadership and industry messaging for the utility industry program at Autodesk. Over the past five years Geoff has spoken at conferences and trade shows around the world including Geospatial World Forum, Where 2.0, Location Intelligence, India Geospatial Forum and Distributech. Principal, Between the Poles
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