BIM for Construction: Tender and Mobilisation
The Joint Venture (JV) of CCC, Arabtec and TAV was awarded the $3billion construction contract for Abu Dhabi Airport’s 700,000-sqm Midfield Terminal Building in April 2012. The pre-award preparations of the JV played an essential role in convincing the Jury of their ability to deliver this impressive BIM-integrated project and assisted them in gaining a robust head-start for commencing the BIM activities on site.
A Resourcing Strategy
The pre-tender objective was to have a team with an in-depth understanding of the project’s BIM requirements and the JV’s unique BIM processes ready to be mobilised on site immediately upon project award. CCC’s past experience had proven that a successful BIM implementation depends mainly on the deployment of competent engineers who are fluent in BIM processes. This knowledge was the impetus for CCC to assemble and prepare forty competent BIM engineers available for immediate deployment on site. In addition to the new recruits, the team was support by existing professional and experienced BIM engineers who have been working in CCC’s BIM centres or other CCC projects for a range of years (ranging from 2 to 15 years’ experience).
This mix of expertise and broad range of knowledge among the team members gave the team the confidence and capabilities to develop new and innovative BIM practices and apply these on a scale and complexity that was previously unachievable.
The management and senior staff in this team were selected carefully and precisely to fit in the organization. Their knowledge and unique skills in BIM, engineering, construction, IT, Systems, project controls, automation, interaction, team building and education was a key factor in having them in this project as BIM management team.
Interface Management and Coordination
Systems, Standards, Procedures and Workflows
A major challenge of the BIM process was to structure and share information in an efficient and transparent manner. To achieve this, the project was supported by a powerful and secure collaborative BIM Platform with integrated web capabilities. The Platform included software packages for modelling, collecting, managing and synthesizing project data. It also embedded workflows for quality control, review and approval processes.
Standards, procedures and workflows were developed carefully to harmonize, unify and streamline the BIM production and operations and guarantee complete, accurate and integratable results.
It is worth highlighting that a BIM platform that can provide 4D and 5D functionalities expands beyond authoring solutions to include and couple with project controls systems and databases such as EDMS (electronic document management system), cost, time, quality, material management, progress and others. CCC had recognised this many years prior, and had developed an in-house business oriented 3D based applications that can host, integrate, manage and report 3D, 4D and 5D information. The below figure illustrates this integrated platform and highlights the contributing applications.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI):
Interoperability is a known major challenge among industry stakeholders. As a unique approach for overcoming this challenge the EDI concept was introduced in the project in order to meet the requirement of information exchange between different systems in a prearranged format.
The aim of EDI is to arrange the transformation of BIM/CAD files and information created by the Subcontractors to the Contractor’s (TCAJV) BIM systems. EDI is aligned with the project BIM specifications, the client requirements and the TCAJV relevant procedures and workflows.
The components that are addressed in the EDI procedure are:
• Project Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
• CAD / Model naming convention and exchange procedure
• Object Tagging standards and asset management
• Object attributes and database requirements
• Collaboration and integration of workflows
Material Take-off Extraction and Scope Management
Object Tags are of high importance as they constitute additional user defined attributes assigned to BIM elements within the BIM authoring platforms. Each object can be assigned as many tags as needed. For MTB-ADIA project, tags are introduced to add valuable information to the BIM elements. The unique tagging scheme adopted by CCC BIM team plays the major role in having the TCAJV BIM platform integrated with other project controls, engineering, and facility management systems.
The EDI provides a common language for graphical and textual data exchange among all stakeholders; thus addressing and solving the major concern of interoperability. The enforcement of this procedure, by setting a unified platform for data exchange among the subcontractors, enabled the integration of all BIM information from all disciplines. The utilisation of unified object tagging procedures served the data integrity and lifecycle management of the facility. These two key factors were crucial and valuable for the success of the BIM implementation in MTB project; the cost and time benefits are, although immeasurable, quite obvious.
BIM Software Solutions
The CCC BIM department has been utilising BIM solutions for the last 17 years. This extensive experience allowed them to absorb the capacities of the different software platforms and develop efficient processes that integrate with their platforms. The major features of the selected project BIM platform were:
- Being robust and capable of managing mega projects
- Customisable and flexible to adopt to CCC workflows
- Capacity for integration with CCC in-house systems and project controls applications
- Availability of API’s and Toolkits that facilitate non-conventional implementations
- Interoperability and availability of the model data format that facilitated cooperation with various BIM solutions
- Availability of CAD / BIM files management and collaboration solutions
- Variety of engineering oriented solutions that cover most of the project needs
- Strong quantification engine for capturing and managing the project scope (material take-off)
Facility Management and GIS Integration
The project has now been running for one year and will continue for another three to four years. Site preparation and foundation works were finished in 2010 and 2011, while construction commenced in August 2012. BIM has truly become the driving force in the construction operations. All the project processes from design coordination to procurement, subcontracting agreements, cost control, payment certificates and quality control are integrated within the BIM platform.
The success of the ongoing integration allowed for better management and coordination as modifications could be tracked by time; usage and accuracy of 3D submissions were assured. Real-time clash detection also resolved many problems in advance of construction while construction sequence and on-site layout planning were optimized.
BIM provided a plan for accurate temporary works through explicit 3D modelling of works, cranes and installation sequencing.
Specialty fabrication was facilitated as well through the extraction of precise mechanical and geometric information.
The MTB-ADIA Project is still in the beginning and more challenges are expected to come, however, with the outstanding level of BIM resources and expertise offered by CCC coupled by unique IT construction oriented solutions, those challenges can be overcome and contained to reach the target of an effective utilization of BIM for a successful and more efficient project delivery.
BIM Journal and The BIM Hub would like to thank Issam El-Absi, Manager IT & Engineering (BIM, GIS & Civil), MTB Project BIM Manager at Consolidated Construction Company (CCC) as the author of this article.
BuildingSMART ME, BIM advisory team developed the BIM Specification for Abu Dhabi International Airport (MTB-ADIA).
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