BIM and How it Benefits Underground Construction Solutions

Construction Tech Review | Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The subsurface space in urban areas is a crucial asset; however, the information available on this environment is comparatively weak compared to the above-ground information.

FREMONT, CA: Building Information Model (BIM) can bridge the information gap, and this creation and progressive update ensure that the data on the structures is available and can be used throughout its lifetime. A BIM for underground applications inculcates data on surface structures, like buildings, and subsurface infrastructures, like pipes, the details of the surrounding ground, the associated soil and rock properties, and groundwater regime in a single framework. This approach is shown by applying it to trenchless construction operations, consisting of a micro tunneling project for a new sewer. The data received from this extended BIM concept can be interactively used with analysis packages to conduct the risk assessments for new construction activities. It also displays how BIM for the Underground can be used in the planning, construction, and post-construction stages of a project. Most importantly, it can be available for future projects.

Top 10 BIM Consulting/Services Companies - 2020Many new buildings have an as-built model detailing all their structural and construction information. However, most BIMs do not consist of any data on the subsurface ground conditions or buried infrastructure in the buildings nearby area. Thus, a BIM for underground applications that comprises information on both above and below-ground infrastructure would enable better planning and engineering risk assessment. The proposed modeling environment might overcome the lack of detailed 3D representations provided by BIM and issues associated with tools like GIS that are mainly used for large-scale spatial applications. The proposed model would also complement specific advanced modeling environments that are at present being developed.

The buried data information obtained from mapping surveys can be included to the building models to build a 3D overview of all surface and subsurface physical infrastructure. However, to develop a complete BIM that consists of underground information, geological and ground conditions should also be added to the model.

This geological information can be gathered from ground investigations of the site and its locality. Borehole information can be changed into a 3D geological model. However, 3D geological models interpret the discrete location data, and experienced geologists and geotechnical engineers are often needed to produce the final model. Hence, it is essential to understand these characteristics of the model and not perceive it as absolute truth. This judgment and experience captured in geological ground models or BIMs into which they are integrated would be advantageous if the models are to be used by future engineers. Nevertheless, this integration is not currently performed.

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