Article | July 14, 2021
When the Tamina Bridge in the Swiss Alps was first proposed, the engineers were uncertain how they would create a bridge that spanned two different heights at each end of the valley, at a height of 220m (772 feet) above ground. Yet despite these challenges, the bridge was completed a year ahead of schedule in just four years – mainly due to the efficiencies that Building Information Modelling (BIM) provided. While the name may inadvertently imply that only buildings can benefit, BIM offers a host of advantages when designing and building bridges as well.
Article | August 4, 2021
In amongst the chatter about how we can 'do' infrastructure better, there's now a growing consensus that we need to improve the way we design our interventions - 'design' in the broader sense of the word, rather than the narrow sense we tend to use as engineers.
My front-end principles for better infrastructure
Over the course of my career, the following front-end principles have served well to ensure we think through, before we rush in where angels fear to tread.
Be clear about the purpose and the expected outcomes, and engage communities in decision-making through an effective communication strategy.
Prioritise the user, aiming to offer services that are modern, effective and affordable.
Seek to improve people's quality of life and support the transition to a more sustainable future, while also facilitating the functioning of the economy, enhancing productivity and accommodating growth (to the extent possible, given other competing objectives).
Extract greatest value from existing infrastructure through timely maintenance, repurposing, renewal and upgrading. Seek to remove constraints and bottlenecks.
Aim to make best use of data, automation, innovation and technology (including for future asset management), recognising the complexity and risks this may introduce.
Recognise, analyse, mitigate and manage technical, environmental and climate risks, and complete any surveys necessary to support this.
Improve governance, with robust, timely and transparent decision-making, supported by strong evidence-based planning, clear prioritisation, and best practice technical design and delivery.
Seek an appropriate funding balance between 'user pays' and general taxation which incentivises behaviours in the best long-term social, economic and environmental interests.
Complete well-evidenced business cases and risk assessments of proposed initiatives before embarking on projects, including financing proposals. Aim to allocate the risks identified to those best able to carry them.
Facilitate collaboration between the government and business to promote delivery of the broader social, economic and environmental benefits.
Clearly, there are many other issues to consider as a project develops, and the above principles may seem obvious to some, and a counsel of perfection to others, but it's surprising how many are overlooked in the rush to build.
Article | May 14, 2021
As part of a Digipro project, ALLPLAN is working with three partners to research a system for automatic performance measurement using IoT and BIM. DigiPro focuses on the digitalisation of products, processes and business models in companies.
As part of the German-Dutch INTERREG program Digipro, a project is currently underway that aims to automate performance recording on the construction site using IoT (Internet of Things) and BIM (Building Information Modelling). A consortium of four companies - BuildersMind, mangineers, Nijhuis Bouw B.V. and ALLPLAN - is working on a solution for automated construction site monitoring that documents construction progress in near real time. Promising results have already been achieved in an alpha test phase on two construction sites of Nijhuis Bouw in Enschede 2020.
Article | May 26, 2021
Construction projects are currently facing numerous challenges: increasing time pressure, changes at short notice, cost efficiency, rising complexity, higher demands on architectural design and a larger number of participants characterize precast design today.