World’s first cross-sea transportation cluster project

Guest Author October 18, 2017

4 min read

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority’s Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project includes artificial islands, bridges and tunnels.  With help of Engineering firm, China Railway Construction Electrification Bureau Group, LTD., they used BIM for structural design, sub-surface design and construction of this  enormous project of more than ten sub-systems.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Janghai direct waterway bridge. This is one of the three navigable bridges. Image courtesy of The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority
For the main project, the team adopted a bridges-tunnels combination scheme.  The tunnels section is approximately 6.7 km, the bridge section is approximately 22.9 km, and it includes two artificial islands. This massive project is to be completed in December 2017.

One of the biggest challenges of the project was that the major structure is located in a weak stratum, with large differences of stratum and high seismic fortification criteria. In addition, the teams needed to work with more than one government entity – Guangdong, HK and Macau.  Finally, the construction timeline was aggressive.  With all of these challenges, the team needed to address cross-disciplinary, cross-platform and cross-stakeholder communication and coordination throughout the project lifecycle.

Project components of bridges, tunnels and islands. Image courtesy of The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority

The team completed the BIM model of all bridges, tunnels and artificial islands using Revit.  This project is a successful example of Revit application in the infrastructure field by using the parameterization technology to solve the technical problem of plane and vertical curves in complex bridge design and can serve as a model for BIM application on bridges and roads.

The usage that extended to the operation and maintenance stage from the design and construction stage is a breakthrough of BIM application and can also be used as the reference for the application of BIM in operation and maintenance of this other infrastructure industries. The lightweight application of HZMB proves that Autodesk’s lightweight format is fully able to support such a complex and large-scale engineering application and the secondary development function proves that data and system of the BIM need to have sufficient openness, versatility and flexibility.

Purpose of BIM

  1. Optimize the procedure of making drawings, guaranteeing the construction drawing quality and reducing design conflict incidents and changes
  2. Restore a 3D visualized model for the project, presenting project profile, supplementary plans
  3. 4D progress management and simulation based on BIM Platform is to both optimize the construction processes and ensure the actual construction progress by site supervision of 4D BIM model over construction.
  4. 3D monitoring and management of traffic engineering devices achieved with BIM data as a carrier to help with quick information inquiry, device positioning, cable information inquiry and device control routing inquiry and overturn the process and theory of traditional devices regarding monitoring and management.

Introduction HZMB profiles, project objectives, as well as changes in the use of BIM by project team and owner. Video courtesy of The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority

Benefits of BIM

BIM was employed across the entire project lifecycle including joint design, construction as well as operation and system maintenance.

The team improved planning by simulating potential options at a detailed level. For instance, canopy signal lamps at toll gates and various other signaling were shown and discussed at a very early stage allowing them to make decisions about details much earlier than previously possible.

Detailed design workflows, with cross disciplinary collaboration, helped improve design phase all the way through to construction.  For example, the comprehensive pipeline layout in the original design of the wastewater pumping station would have created a serious shortage of safe evacuation space and line space. With BIM, the spatial relations among architectural, structural and MEP designs could be visualized and discussed. Three best practices were optimized based on the Revit platform and assisted owners in making the best decisions.

Improvements in quality and risk mitigation–coordination of each professional is a complicated and time-consuming job, and any mistake will always cause a repetitive change in the construction. However, the conflict between structure and equipment may stand out while the design is combined in to a shared construction information model.  The engineers can check 3D models at any moment, and find possible problems and adjust their designs on time.  As a result, the consumption would be reduced as much as possible during the construction.

Operations–The 3D display of system operation and real-time control shows in the team’s operation and management platform helping the maintenance and management system provide data and information support for the rapid response of maintenance services.  The operations team was given a lightweight operation and maintenance model that allowed them to browse BIM models.

Historically these teams would communicate via mail, telephone and meetings.  But with the quick results of 3D visualization communication efficiency improved more than 30%. 

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