“BIM-style software” being used to monitor health of bridges

Credit: Sourceable
Credit: Sourceable

Building Information Modelling is not just for use on buildings as infrastructure construction projects can also be erected using our favourite technological process method. Just like buildings, BIM can also be used to assess a piece of infrastructure after its development.

A new online report from Sourceable has looked at how a “BIM-style software” is currently being used to measure the state of health of bridges.

Inspired by a tragic, fatal bridge collapse in Mississippi in 2007, Professor Zhigang Shen of the University of Nebraska’s School of Architectural Engineering and Construction wanted to develop a tool with “the express purpose of monitoring the condition of bridges”. Combining his Ph.D. in construction management and a Master’s degree in computer science, he was able to make his vision become reality.

The bridge healthcare solution is so far unnamed, due to the fact it is a new product only thus far tested in Nebraska, yet Shen hopes that he can collaborate with federal authorities elsewhere in the United States to soon expand it’s amount of usage.

The prototype program creates a 3d model of a bridge based on data collected on a real-life site. Shen explained that BIM allows for the vast amount of data contained within the plethora of components in a bridge to come together in a single simulation, creating an “easy-to-access” solution to a normally “daunting task”.

“An enormous amount of data was being generated by bridge inspectors over the years, especially for complex steel bridges,” Shen explained. “But you can imagine how difficult [it] is to track conditions in small, individual, structural critical pieces of each bridge. Even if reports are in the form of electronic PDF’s, it’s a daunting task.”

Click here to read the entire report surround Prof. Zhigang Shen’s project.

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