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IGA builds the world’s largest airport from scratch with BIM

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IGA turns to BIM for construction of Istanbul New Airport

Building a major infrastructure project such as a new airport terminal is an incredible endeavor to say the least. But how about the world’s largest airport built completely from scratch? That’s a whole other level—and it’s what the Turkish company İGA is currently doing with the help of building information modeling (BIM).

Image courtesy of IGA

On-time arrival for construction

Located north of Istanbul 35 km distance to the city center, the İstanbul New Airport is a bold project covering 76.5 million square meters. The construction will be carried out in four phases.  İGA is set to complete the first phase in 2018 with one terminal, three runways, a stunning air traffic control tower designed by Pininfarina (of Ferrari fame) and AECOM, and an annual passenger capacity of 90 million. Once complete, the airport will serve up to 200 million annual travelers with six runways supporting 3500 takeoffs and landings as well as access to more than 350 destinations.

“With an aggressive timeline, it is essential for us to track our progress in accomplishing predetermined strategic and operational goals in terms of value and time management,” says Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA Airports Construction. “Since the aviation sector develops rapidly nowadays, efficiency in developing outstanding standards according to our baseline schedule and compared to other projects worldwide is critical for us. We aren’t just creating an airport, but also value for people. BIM is an essential tool for us to deliver this super megaproject.”

Image courtesy of IGA

Taking off with BIM

Building this new airport for the 21st century requires the technology to match its ambitious goals. The İGA team is depending on BIM to make it happen, covering the whole project lifecycle from design, fabrication, and construction to operations and maintenance. Only with BIM can they lower costs and increase the collaboration that is vital to this massive undertaking.

With 30,000 people working on the site each day, communication at scale is key. By reviewing the master model, all of the parties can see each other’s concerns; clashing elements; inaccurate or missing design elements; and critical zones both for coordination and installation.

“Clash detection is an important part of the quality control process,” says Dr. Ozan Koseoglu, Director of BIM, İGA. “Clash reports are issued and assigned to relevant parties with BIM; design teams from each discipline are involved in the solution to ensure the model is fully coordinated and clash-free. More than 320,500 clashes have been solved so far, saving time and money and preventing rework on site. Any unexpected claims, time extensions, and cost overruns are also prevented by using BIM.”

Image courtesy of IGA

Runway for 3D to 7D

IGA’s BIM team ensures that information in all dimensions is available to the various stakeholders and for different purposes. The 3D model is reviewed by all of the participants for necessary revisions and installation information, while the 4D model is mainly used with executive directors for the project’s current status as it relates to the planning.

“IGA has created one of the largest 4D models in the world,” Koseoglu says. “We’ve integrated more than 30,000 activities into the model to see our progress each day and month in order to have dynamic control over the entire project.”

5D information is extracted from the model to help anticipate the construction schedules impact on costs. A 6D model is also being created for sustainability goals. Finally, the team is building a 7D model for facilities management throughout the lifecycle of the airport post-construction.

Image courtesy of IGA

Communication in the Cloud

On such a large site, easy access to data and information anywhere and at any time is critical to keeping everything on track—and truly facilitating the intricate collaboration with a wide number of project owners and workers.

More than 150 tablets are actively used by site engineers and chiefs to share the 3D model, shop drawings, and Quality Assurance and Quality Control checklists (QA/QC) with the entire team. The QA/QC checklists are applied to all of the different disciplines, including superstructure, infrastructure, special airport systems, and MEP-IT.

Above all, IGA’s goal for effective collaboration can only happen with all of the information in the cloud throughout the design and construction phases.

“Using BIM in the cloud has had a major impact on project efficiency,” Koseoglu says. “The site team has a completely correct model in hand, even before construction starts.  It’s crucial to recognize that we are finding success in BIM not only because of the technological advantages it provides, but because of how we bring people together within a virtual collaborative environment.”