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BIM Plus

Manuel Davila aims to leverage Building Information Modelling (BIM) to aid infrastructure asset owners and managers with data interpretation and analysis. BIM is an information technology approach to generate and maintain digital representations of information related to a built-asset during its entire life cycle; from its planning, design, and construction till its operation and decommission. It intends to further advance the implementation of BIM during the operational phase of infrastructure assets. The operational phase consists of daily operations, maintenance, renovation, and alterations. It is widely acknowledged that the implementation of BIM during planning, design, and construction phases increases productivity and reduces cost. However, greater reduction in cost can be achieved by implementing BIM during the operational phase of the infrastructure asset, because it represents the largest share of the total life cycle cost. Depending on several variables it can amount up to 70% of the total cost. 

One of the objectives of this research project is to extend existing open data standards to enable the exchange of semantically rich as-built BIM models, which are models that represent the actual conditions of an existing infrastructure asset. These as-built models should be able to represent information about structural performance, loading, deterioration and damage, environmental conditions, etc. An extension to the IFC specification has been developed that enables to fully describe complex monitoring systems and visualise sensor data directly on the BIM model.

Monitoring systems are being increasingly used to monitor the structural performance of infrastructure assets. Nevertheless, the large amount of collected data becomes of little use if it is difficult to access or it lacks contextual information. For that reason, standard data models, guidelines, and visualisation tools for data management and exchange are required and are being developed. The data models prescribe how the data collected by sensors should be related with other information of the infrastructure asset. The guidelines will prescribe ways to manage and access the large amount of collected data in relational databases using linked data protocols. The visualisation tools will ensure that the sensor data is presented in a way that simplifies the understanding of the actual conditions of the infrastructure asset and facilitates decision making.

Considering that the global construction market is forecasted to increase over 70% for 2025 and that the UK government has developed a strategy to advance the productivity of the UK's construction industry for 2025. This research is vital to help achieve the aspirations of the UK government, which can be summarised as follows: 33% reduction in the initial cost of construction and in the entire life cost of infrastructure assets, 50% faster delivery from inception to completion, 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and 50% reduction in trade gap between total exports and imports for construction materials (UK government strategy: Construction 2025, July 2013).