Using BIM on public works projects

Using BIM on public works projects

Govt pressing ahead with trial use

With Building Information Modelling (BIM) seemingly in vogue at present, the government is jumping on the bandwagon as it looks to save time, cost and disputes on public works contracts.

A number of projects have been subjected to the BIM treatment already on trial basis.

Highways Department was the first to use BIM on the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link followed in 2009 followed by a traffic improvement project at Tuen Mun Road Town Centre section.

“We observe that the application of BIM technology may enhance coordination and planning of construction activities,” a department spokeswoman said.

Architectural Services Department has also used BIM in a partial manner on some building projects.

BIM is the digital representation of a building or construction project to allow decision making during the whole life cycle of a project.

For example, it can visualise a construction process in three-dimensions in order to brief workers on the exact sequence of work and highlight areas of high risk.

“The benefits of BIM technology are more apparent when it is applied in complex projects,” a spokeswoman for Development Bureau said in response to enquiries by Construction Post.

As such the bureau will select projects from all works departments, including those at the design and construction stages, as pilots to assess the cost-effectiveness of the technology in public works projects.

In-house department staff would carry out design and construction management using the technology in order to make an assessment which would include the merits of BIM technology in terms of design quality, works safety and coordination between the different parties in a project.

“In the light of the assessment results and the technology’s latest developments, we will further consider the strategies for applying BIM technology in public works projects, “the spokesperson said.

Other contracts in the BIM pipeline include Highways Department’s Central Kowloon Route which is under planning and an ASD project New Broadcasting House for Radio Television Hong Kong which is still under tender.

In May last year, ASD held a prequalification exercise for the design and build contract for the studio complex at Tseung Kwan O Area 85.

The spokesperson said BIM would be used for four studios in the project.

Highways Department has been using Building Information Modelling on the Central-Wan Chai Bypass project since 2009  (Danny Chung)

Highways Department has been using Building Information Modelling on the Central-Wan Chai Bypass project since 2009 (Danny Chung)

While the government is still dipping its toes in BIM, its 77-percent owned railway operator, MTR Corporation (0066) appears to have gone for total immersion.

“The Shatin to Central Link is implemented with a complete BIM environment that all contractors are required to adopt BIM models,” a company spokeswoman said.

The Homantin Station on the Kwun Tong Extension served as the pilot project for BIM adoption during detailed design stage to cover architectural, structural and building services modelling.

In MTR projects, BIM was used for coordination between different disciplines, spatial visualization and clash analysis.

“This contributes to the verification of design completeness, minimizes errors and hence abortive works and waste,” the MTR spokeswoman said.

The contractor’s proposed programme could also be verified by BIM as it allowed much easier visualization of a programme’s logic and completeness compared with looking at numerous time bars, the spokeswoman added.

The company is also looking to extend use of BIM into post-completion stage such as in asset management as BIM provided a detailed as-built record and data for the company’s operations division.

“They can then utilize the BIM models to plan for future asset maintenance and replacement,” the spokeswoman said.

One local contractor has been an enthusiastic standard bearer for the adoption of BIM technology.

Speaking to the press last month, Gammon Construction said the first project to use BIM was the One Island East office project in 2008 for Swire Properties (1972) where over 6,000 problem areas were identified during construction.

Danny Chung


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