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Title: Building information modelling technologies for intelligent road engineering design, construction and digital twinning
Authors: Yunos, Shuaib 
Keywords: Roads;Civil infrastructure
Issue Date: Sep-2023
Roads form an integral part of civil infrastructure, providing safe and reliable access
from a point of origin to a destination. With the rapid growth in population, urbanisation,
and the pursuit of smart cities, the pressure on effective road design, construction, and
maintenance is ever-increasing, with sustainability and innovation being at the focal
point to derive better and more intelligent ways to accomplish this infrastructure
requirement. With this influx of demand, traditional processes are put under strain,
resulting in roads being designed inadequately, impacting the safety and service,
exploration of minimal alternative routes due to time pressure or lack of information,
material wastage affecting design sustainability and construction cost, and poor
maintenance affecting safety and design life.
With the progression in technology, building information modelling (BIM) is an
intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and
construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to plan, design, construct and
manage buildings and infrastructure more efficiently. BIM has been implemented,
adopted, and mandated by many countries across the world, seen as an intelligent,
innovative necessity for enhanced civil infrastructure design, construction, and
maintenance. This leads to the question of BIM on civil infrastructure projects, with the
focus being roads, and how would it compare to the traditional way of accomplishing
road projects.
In this regard, an in-depth investigation into the application and impact of BIM
technologies across a typical road project had been conducted. This was achieved by
describing the processes associated with a typical project when employing a traditional
and BIM approach across 9 stages of the project lifecycle. This methodology
effectively allowed for a detailed comparison between the two approaches, with the
findings collated. The dissertation also expands on what is BIM, its levels, dimensions,
benefits, its application on projects across various continents, its role in digital twinning
and smart cities, its presence and development globally, its presence and
development in Africa, as well as the hurdles experienced in its adoption and
implementation and recommendations on how to overcome them. The conclusion arrived at was that BIM provides a plethora of advantages across the
road project lifecycle, resulting in innovative, economical, and sustainable civil
infrastructure, paving the way to enhanced operations and maintenance and digital
twinning in the pursuit of smart cities, correlating with BIM being mandated by
countries across the globe and various literature confirming its positive impact. The
BIM approach outperformed the traditional approach across all stages of a typical road
project lifecycle, conforming to the MacLeamy curve. The BIM technologies applied to
derive and illustrate this conclusion were BIM technologies developed by Autodesk
and the Devotech Group of Companies.
It was also observed that whilst BIM has been around since the 1970s, BIM is still
seen as a new concept, particularly in the civil infrastructure industry, and whilst
professionals acknowledge its advantages, they are resistant to change, overwhelmed
by how to become BIM ready, or do not know where to turn to for guidance, particularly
in South Africa, Africa, and other developing countries. Other main challenges
observed were those of education, training and upskilling, upfront cost, and the
absence of a BIM mandate, as well as challenges specific to Africa were unpacked
such as infrastructure gaps, skill gaps, digital division, and digital transformation.
Submitted in fulfillment of the academic requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2023.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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