Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 6 Number 1 Contents 10 futurebuilding Volume 6 Number 1
Using new and existing technologies, Coffey
can help address this issue, saving time and
money on new infrastructure projects. In this
new world of digital disruption, organisations
that put their georeferenced data to best use
are getting results.
Building it twice; first virtually, then
physically -- what does it mean?
Spatial data solutions are fast emerging as
new standards in infrastructure development.
Building information modelling (BIM) is now
an accepted part of many projects, while
visualisation using simple graphics, maps,
web maps or more sophisticated 3D maps
and prints are enhancing decision-making.
Virtual reality and augmented reality --
already extensively used in the resources
sector -- are increasingly being applied to
These technologies, used individually
or together, bring data to life. They're
allowing a wide range of stakeholders,
including community members,
regulators, asset owners and constructors,
to see and understand the project from
their unique perspective. This works to
address traditional project challenges
in new ways, and facilitates more
These conversations start long before
the project begins, with the 'virtual build'.
Using hard-copy or digital format files in the
past has been highly limiting when trying
to choose a preferred route for a new rail
line, to understand a tunnel's impact on
existing buildings, or to see the real visual
impact of a new skyscraper. Stakeholders
who wanted to explain their points of view
couldn't manipulate the material to support
their comments. Without suitable visual aids,
there was potential for misunderstandings to
occur, leading to overly lengthy debate that
failed to achieve adequate resolution.
But with a visual model that can
incorporate all relevant technical designs --
environmental, geotechnical or engineering
-- the ambiguities and uncertainties
disappear. Everyone can 'see' everyone
else's point of view in a scaled, visual, or
even virtual model. It's a common and
familiar interface that accurately replicates
the invisible (underground) or future
(planned) world. All of this can be done well
in advance of any design or construction,
enabling more confident and informed
decision-making during the planning and
These 3D and visualisation tools are
valuable. Building it once virtually allows
everyone to see and understand a project,
and this means fewer surprises during the
construction phase. But successful planning
relies on the validity of the data informing
The right data with the right expertise
Informed data management is where
owners, designers and constructors can
make a significant impact on the success
of a project. The success of a visual model
depends on two key factors: the quality
of data used, and the technical expertise
to manage it effectively.
During the planning and design phase,
it's not about lots of data. It's about the
right data. Well organised and basic data-
management tools and practices can deliver
savings through better planning, and, in
many cases, can lead to less work through
the more efficient use of information.
This data, combined with the right
technical expertise to analyse and interpret
it, allows a complete and accurate virtual
model to be built up-front -- where the most
valuable decisions can be made.
It doesn't start with good data
management. It's about understanding what
information is needed from the outset -- and
driving efficiency and good decision-making
from that point.
It's then about building efficiency on
With everything accurately georeferenced,
up-to-date and readily visualised in a
familiar 3D world, organisations can
more fully appreciate the broader project
design, bringing different models together
for improved stakeholder engagement and
clash detection, as well as optimised design,
planning and risk management.
This will result in a more clearly defined
project -- one whose chance of being
delivered smoothly, on time and on budget
is vastly improved.
REDUCING UNCERTAINTY ON
It's estimated that about 80 per cent of unnecessary project expenditure on infrastructure projects
results from defects identified during the construction phase. Uncoordinated planning and design
creates unforeseen challenges, causing project delays and cost blowouts.
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