How Autodesk Build Enables EuroAirport to Manage its Assets Digitally

580 hectares of land, two long runways lined with endless fences, hundreds of kilometres of buried networks, 160 buildings with a total surface of 530,000 square metres, a terminal through which over seven million passengers and 6,200 staff members transit every day. The stats for EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg are dizzying.

And managing the operational maintenance programme of a facility of this size and scope is challenging. By using Autodesk Build, an Autodesk Construction Cloud solution, the French-Swiss airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg has improved coordination between team members leading to significant time savings.

© EuroAirport

Scale and size

In the face of this enormity, the professionals using the technology to input building and infrastructure-related data no longer speak about Building Information Modelling (BIM) but rather City Information Modelling (CIM). A city, just like an airport, must ensure the maintenance of its installations both cityside and airside, and as far as the quality and security processes are concerned, there is no room for imprecision.

One central repository

EuroAirport has established Autodesk Build as its Common Data Environment (CDE) to better categorise its needs and unify and centralise this information. As a long-time user of the products in Autodesk’s AEC collection for the project design phase, EuroAirport adopted Autodesk Build to improve the project management process, eliminate communication problems, and provide teams with authenticated and updated information.

“In an airport, runway maintenance work is carried out at night. In an environment as secure as ours, it is vital that the professionals in charge of airplane movements know exactly where work is taking place and that the risk limitation procedures are respected at all times. Previously, this information was primarily circulated in paper, with all the risks that involves”, says Grégory Zatka.

Reduce risks

The team is now using the checklist feature to ensure they can access the site safely and record key information about maintenance upgrades. Using their smartphones, team members can input this information directly on site. Previously they had to manually complete paper documents which could be damaged by rain or bad weather conditions, and after each maintenance activity the documents had to be digitalised and then filed and/or sent by email.

“The time required to upload this data to our systems is reduced considerably by using Autodesk Build, as the information is instantly available”, explains Grégory. By establishing standardised digital control sheets for the return to service after work has been carried out, the handover between night and day teams, before transmission to the control tower, is more reliable.

What about the adoption of these tools, which are radically changing work habits?

“The best feedback we’ve had is from people who are not digital natives. We thought they would need more time, but the tool is intuitive, making the process much smoother, " recalls Grégory. 

Partnering for success

In partnership with the Autodesk team, EuroAirport set up online training. Through the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learn ACC platform, training is provided through two-to-three-minute videos.

“We share the necessary links to the people we train. It appears easy to get started, as we generally only receive one request for clarification after explaining the tool. And this is often a technical question. It’s often a matter of the team member needing reassurance about the workflow", explains Stéphane Jean-François, draughtsman and BIM project coordinator for EuroAirport.

“For any more in-depth questions, the other advantage is the ability to work with our dedicated Autodesk Customer Success Manager who understands our specific issues, and with our RMR Industries partner who supports us in our BIM deployment and implementation”, adds Grégory.

© EuroAirport

Time savings in abundance

EuroAirport began using the issues functionality in Autodesk Build as part of a pilot project involving the maintenance checks of 80 sanitary blocks in the airport, to improve the quality of service for passengers. Each area is composed of several toilet and sink units. Previously, the EuroAirport team inspected each individual asset in pairs: one team member used paper forms to record the inspection and the other team member took photos.

The traditional method of on site toilet block inspections required the team members' presence for half a day, followed by another day of manual inputting in the office. This process was essential for linking maps and photos, and for the creation of intervention requests in the maintenance programme. It also involved uploading photos from devices to the server and then exchanging emails for actions and follow-up stages with the maintenance operators. Let’s not forget that any data re-entry errors increased processing times for this task.

In all, this project could take six months for a full-time employee. However, by using Autodesk Build, one employee can now inspect a toilet block in just four hours. This means that the team has saved over 900 working hours for this key activity.

© EuroAirport

For Euroairport, Autodesk Build took less than three months to prove its efficiency. “From taking two people four days to characterise a toilet block, we have reduced this time to two or three hours!” insists Grégory who also points out the ease of storing and managing all project data from design to completion in a shared environment.

“If you think about it, this optimisation has not only reduced inspection times, it has also made considerable improvements to our operational efficiency!” he concludes.

The 3D digital models of buildings can be accessed by everyone. Each element, from doors to lightbulbs, and from tiles to taps, is characterised by a technical data sheet. The work of location and maintenance teams is greatly simplified by this interactive location tool, as location and understanding are achieved through visualisation.

“With an integrated platform like this one, there is no need for import-export solutions. It is not necessary to install Navisworks on each user workstation. We can even use Autodesk Build offline”, indicates Stéphane Jean-François, whose library documents are updated in real-time.

From a practical perspective, the tool enables users to position a coloured sticker to identify “issues” associated with a photo in the 3D or 2D model. This has become the most used feature by the audit teams in charge of establishing maintenance batches.

“With these points of reference, maintenance requirements are immediately characterised. This is important for the cost and efficiency of maintenance team interventions”, specifies Grégory.

Managing all project data, from design to completion, in a shared environment has transformed the way in which EuroAirport realises maintenance projects. “While we are still in the adoption phase of Autodesk Build, there is no way I would go back to our old working methods”, emphasises Grégory.

Regis Foriez

Customer Success Manager, EMEA, Autodesk