New South Wales Government mandate BIM on Sydney Metro Northwest project

Credit: North West Rail Link
Credit: Sydney Metro Northwest

Building Information Modelling is to play a crucial part in the construction of Australia‘s first fully automated transit rail service set to revolutionise Sydney.

The client, the New South Wales Government, has mandated the use of BIM for Sydney Metro Northwest, formerly known as the North West Rail Link.

The colossal AU$8.3 billion project that will see the creation of eight new stations across 36km. The octet of new platforms will link with five existing stations, with five of the new additions (Bella Vista, Cherrybrook, Cudgegong Road, Kellyville and Showground) providing parking for 4,000 commuters. A further two stations – Castle Hill and Rouse Hill – will also connect passengers to major bus interchanges.

Infrastructure professional service experts SMEC have been tasked with design work for major elements of the development, including operations, trains and systems, and civil work relating to surfacing and viaducts.

“The client wanted to realise the time, cost, and quality benefits you see with a model-based process,” explained SMEC’s Director of Strategy and New Business, Neil Evans. “SMEC was already on the path to BIM. We see BIM helping us to streamline our workflows and improve efficiency. The North West Rail Link project inspired us to accelerate the pace of our BIM adoption— and BIM is proving to be an invaluable asset on the project.”

“Going from manual drafting to 2D design tools was a huge step, and moving from 2D to BIM is just as important. People sometimes equate BIM with 3D visualisation, and it’s more than that. You generate a body of knowledge in BIM that can be used from conception to decommissioning. As the building changes, you add to the intelligence within the model. There’s an opportunity to add quality and save time and money at very stage.”

SMEC are utilising Autodesk‘s Navisworks and Revit software platforms to carry out their modelling work, hailing Navisworks for its clash detection capabilities.

“BIM connects the team in ways that are impossible with 2D design,” stated Steve Macbeth, SMEC’s CAD Manager. “You have an immediate view into what the other disciplines are doing. Even the client can give more and better input earlier because the direction of the design is clearer.”

Chris Steer, SMEC’s BIM Manager for Australia also commented: “Clashes are far more obvious in a BIM process. We’re resolving issues in minutes that would have been easy to miss in a 2D process. It’s going to deliver both cost and timesaving during construction along with maintenance advantages over the life of the asset.”

Following an initial announcement in 1998 and cancellation in 2008, it appears that the efficiencies relating to cost and time will enable the project to final be completed following the infrastructure’s re-announcement in 2010. Work is expected to be completed in early 2019.

Click here for more information over at Architecture And Design AU.

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