BIM News

BIM for Infrastructure – Implications for the Process Industry


For many involved in today’s complex infrastructure projects, whether you are an engineer, designer, architect, or maintenance technician, BIM has been positioned principally around software used to create a multi-discipline 3D model. In some industry sectors, people still equate BIM as a software tool used only to design a physical building! Regardless, one of the key aspects of BIM is the creation and management of the underlying information (and associated information model) describing the physical asset taken across the entire lifecycle. So in fairness to those equating BIM to software, yes, significant aspects of BIM do rely on software applications to create the 3D model. But BIM is much more than just engineering modeling software. It embraces underlying, collaborative business processes and a project delivery execution model aimed at reducing capital cost and the carbon burden from the construction and operation of the built asset by 20 percent. 

The introduction of the UK Government’s four-year program aims at modernizing the way public sector projects are executed. A central theme in the its strategy is the adoption of information-rich building information modeling (BIM) technologies, delivery process, and collaborative behaviors that will unlock new and more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project lifecycle—for all stakeholders. As an architecture and engineering (AE) firm or construction contractor, being able to demonstrate compliance with the latest UK BIM standards (BS 1192) means your organization can bid for UK public sector projects with clear implications. Moreover, related engineering and construction information is created and shared well beyond the more traditional boundaries of final handover once the project has achieved agreed acceptance testing.

Going Beyond Digital Modeling to the Broader Lifecycle View of Projects 

So with this in mind, we can start to consider the implications of creating a lifecycle-based information model regardless of the physical asset. Yes, we can have a building information model, but we can also have a bridge information model or a road information model or, in the case of the oil, gas, and chemical sectors, a plant information model. In other words, regardless of asset type, I can now ‘build’ an information model for any of these asset types. More to the point, can aspects of the UK Government’s strategy for public sector projects be directly applied and adopted by the broader engineering and construction industry regardless of the asset? 

Implications for the Process/ Process Manufacturing Industries 

For the process industries, the ‘building’ of an information model for an offshore platform, oil refinery, or chemical plant has been an established part of project delivery for well over 30 years with the use of 3D plant design and modeling systems. As a leading provider of plant design and analysis software, Bentley has long recognized the value of the underlying standards-based information model used across all phases of the assets lifecycle. With this in mind, the Oil, Gas and Chemical Forum session entitled BIM for the Process Industries – Myth or Reality? will explore opportunities to extend beyond the traditional engineering, procurement, and construction phases of a capital project by taking a more holistic lifecycle view of the information needed to support operations, production, and maintenance phases of the asset. 

Two of the UK’s most prominent proponents of BIM, David Philp and Ian Bush, will reflect and share their collective experience on outcome-based engineering and the synergies offered in applying BIM principles in the oil, gas, and chemical markets.