• Bringing engineering to life with 3D

    Bringing engineering to life with 3D

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Published 29 de May de 2018

Digital transformation has now well and truly arrived in engineering. In the age of Industry 4.0, nobody wants infrastructures to get left behind, and a new model for creating and managing construction project life cycles is about to take the sector into the world of 3D. This model is called BIM.

Digital transformation has now well and truly arrived in engineering. In the age of Industry 4.0, nobody wants infrastructures to get left behind, and a new model for creating and managing construction project life cycles is about to take the sector into the world of 3D. This model is called BIM.

Ayesa has been one of the first Spanish companies to incorporate this methodology into its projects and has spent years working hard to integrate BIM into its work processes. Fidel San Emeterio, Head of Technology and Processes in Civil Engineering and Architecture, points out that more than 160 of the company’s staff have been trained in BIM during the past year, receiving over 2,000 hours of training.

This has been driven by company’s international presence, since in some countries BIM is now required in tenders for public sector projects (such as in the United Kingdom, where it has been mandatory since 2011).

Some of the main projects undertaken by Ayesa outside of Spain have already been carried out using this working method, such as the design of Follo Line in Norway, the high-speed train line which includes the Ski railway station; project management and site supervision for the Amador Convention, Event and Exhibition Centre in Panama; and construction engineering for lines 4 and 6 of the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia.  

“These international projects have enabled us to gain considerable experience in using BIM and have marked us out as a leader in this area; a position which we must now consolidate,” says San Emeterio.

But what is BIM, exactly? Building Information Modelling is more than just a tool; it is a concept, a work model that originated in the building industry in the USA and seen its use extended into infrastructure. It enables us to design everything in 3D – where traditionally this would have been done in 2D – with the aim of being able to better control and supervise the project and work site, thereby also making operation and maintenance easier.

Other advantages of the new system include the option to work collaboratively, and improvements in project coordination and quality.   

In 2014, the Ministry for Internal Development [Ministerio de Fomento] created a steering committee for the implementation of BIM in the Spanish construction industry, with objectives including the adoption of this method in tenders for public sector building projects by the end of 2018, and civil infrastructure systems in 2019.

In order to adapt to these changes, Ayesa created an internal BIM technical forum with the aim of implementing the method in-house. “Significant investments have been made into training our staff, updating our IT systems and acquiring new software licences. We have also made a considerable effort to adjust our work processes and profiles to reflect the new methodology. The changes we have seen have been even more substantial than those of the Nineties, when the very first design programmes replaced drawing by hand. Something which we ought to be very proud of is the fantastic way in which our staff have responded to the challenge of incorporating BIM into our work. We have a large group of specialists who are even involved in advising other companies and public institutions on how to adapt to this new technology, in addition to facing up to new challenges such as incorporating virtual reality into our designs; a service which we are already offering to our clients,” says San Emeterio.     

Although the initial expenditure on equipment, software and training is significant, the benefits are obvious, as clients will be able to make the right decisions at the right time. This will naturally lead to a reduction in costs, especially during the construction phase, as we be able to identify potential flaws more easily during earlier stages.

BIM is linked to Big Data. All the information which was previously scattered in a variety of places is now consolidated in a single file. It is also linked to other emerging technologies which are becoming more and more prominent, such as the IoT (Internet of Things).

An increasing number of RFPs also require this technology, which can be used for virtual construction and hyper-efficient simulations.

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