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Sydney Harbor is known for its natural beauty. It features hundreds of kilometers of waterway, and it is flanked by some of the world’s most famous sights, like the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. But, surprisingly, the harbor is not uniformly beautiful. In 2012, the Barangaroo Reserve redevelopment initiative was launched to change an ugly, largely derelict section of Sydney’s harbor foreshore into an easily accessible public domain that would embody world-class design excellence and demonstrate maximum sustainability. Through the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), Aurecon transformed this once-unpleasant spot into an inviting environmental and economic success story.
Barangaroo Reserve features the largest amount of sandstone used on a project in Sydney in more than 100 years. The construction of the 1.4-kilometer sandstone foreshore alone involved extracting, processing, and placing 6,600 sandstone blocks that weighed up to 15 tons each and were placed as deep as 3 meters under the harbor.
As if this were not difficult enough, the design called for a naturalistic finish, which meant 60 unique cross sections with a variety of heights. In all, there were 300 different sizes of blocks to be produced, tracked, stored, and placed. The development of a project-specific app enabled the sandstone blocks to be uniquely identified and tracked using GPS technology. The team then combined the capacity of this app with the BIM data collected from 4D rehearsals to optimize the blocks’ processing and placement.
The efficient placement of the sandstone blocks was not the only construction win on the Barangaroo Reserve project. The team used BIM to document, plan, and track the progress of the Cutaway, a 75,000-cubic-meter subterranean cultural space—one of the largest subterranean spaces in Australia. BIM played a particularly important role in developing the deep design plan for the temporary works involved in the construction of the precast roof of the Cutaway. As a result of the detailed planning and design of the complex temporary works systems, the project team achieved seamless installation of more than 300 precast roof structure elements in 15 days, compared to 5 months had the team used traditional methodologies.
When all was said and done, the Barangaroo Reserve featured a combination of cultural and environmental space that included not just the foreshore and the Cutaway, but 6 hectares of naturalistic bushland with 84 animal and bird species and 70,000 native plants, shrubs, and trees. The project even preserved heritage items, including the adaptive reuse of an early 20th-century sewer pumping station. Perhaps most impressive? A savings of AUD$40 million across the entire undertaking. “The use of BIM on this project resulted in many exemplary engineering feats being done more efficiently and less expensively,” says John Hainsworth of Aurecon. “People who live in or visit Sydney may not know what went on behind the scenes—but the fact that BIM was utilized on a project that gives so much enjoyment to so many makes it all the better.”
With BIM workflows as the foundation, Aurecon used out-of-the-box techniques on Sydney’s harbor redevelopment, saving AUD$40 million on the project.