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It’s Game Time for Norconsult AS

AEC Excellence Awards 2017 // Infrastructure

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Image courtesy of Bane NOR, Norconsult AS, Baezeni

Norconsult AS chose BIM for not only coordination and collaboration with design and construction of the new Arna-Bergen, Ulriken Tunnel in Norway, but also to create a fully immersive game and virtual reality experience.

As Northern Europe’s most-trafficked, single-track tunnel, the Norwegian railway between Fløen and Arna required increased capacity and safety. This meant boring through Mount Ulriken to build a new, parallel 7.8 kilometer tunnel and upgrading existing stations that are already tight on space within two city centers. And this all had to be done without disrupting any of the current railway traffic.

Accessible gaming environment

The Arna-Bergen, Ulriken Tunnel is the first use of a tunnel boring machine in Norway. When Bane NOR’s new parallel tunnel is finished, double tracks will run between Arna and Bergen, providing more frequent departures between the cities and updated stations to accommodate the new trains. The route will be safer with the creation of 16 evacuation cross passages every 500 meters between the tunnel tubes. Ten technical rooms will also be built throughout the tunnel.

With this massive project, Norconsult AS took a decidedly different route. Design validation, maintainability, and training could be easily achieved through the innovative use of immersive technology and interactive virtual reality. The virtual environment also enabled the firm to execute signal and sign placement verification and simulations of emergency scenarios in a new way.

Image courtesy of Bane NOR, Norconsult AS, Baezeni

Image courtesy of Bane NOR, Norconsult AS, Baezeni

Disrupting the status quo

Creating this purpose-built environment served as a platform for real-time, immersive design evaluation and communication. By virtually designing the tunnel before it’s built, Norconsult AS could minimize the necessity of changes and adjustments after the construction work is complete and in operation.

“Delivering an interactive virtual-reality experience with our BIM models truly disrupts the status quo in a traditionally conservative industry,” said Thomas Angeltveit, BIM coordinator, Norconsult AS. “BIM improved coordination and phase planning by enabling us to visualize, and we found a significant reduction in the amount of time for approvals, stakeholder buy-in, and review cycles. Through an intuitive experience, the design was fully understandable for even non-professionals. In the end, we can help to deliver a better, safer tunnel and stations than ever before.”

Accessible gaming environment

Laser scanning was also key for the BIM models and transferring the data into the gaming engine. Robust, real-time virtual reality gave all of the stakeholders deeper insights and enabled them to make better decisions earlier in the design processes. Those involved ran the gamut from the project owners to actual train operators who could virtually drive trains in the tunnel and provide the feedback necessary for a better design and use once constructed.

“The use of BIM for construction and design alone has saved us half the time,” says Angeltveit. “The virtual reality experience transformed the way we approached the projects and how we can communicate with clients and stakeholders moving forward. It’s truly a game changer.”

Image courtesy of Bane NOR, Norconsult AS, Baezeni

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