Applying BIM – CIM Technology to Technical Infrastructure Projects

Currently, BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology is increasingly interested and applied in the construction field due to the benefits it brings to the project as well as the participants.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is not a product or a software. It is a process of creating, using, and managing a building information model for the entire life of a project. BIM technology with the starting point is for the field of industrial and civil construction, but it can be applied to all construction fields, including infrastructure projects such as traffic, irrigation, hydropower, seaports, etc.

Besides the term BIM, there are new terms such as CIM (Civil Information Modeling) used to define the application of BIM technology for infrastructure projects only.

In principle, BIM and CIM are essentially one. However, the additional use of the term CIM helps to clearly distinguish the application of BIM technology for the infrastructure sector with BIM technology for the industrial and civil construction sector.

The application of CIM technology brings many benefits to the project: it helps to detect errors that arise early before proceeding with construction work. Thereby reducing time and costs for arising items. In addition, CIM helps to enhance cooperation and coordination between project parties and 3D models make designs easier to visualize, detect intersections early, and ensure design quality.
In addition, drawings and information are automatically linked and integrated into the model to save time updating drawings when changing designs and easily look up information from the model, as well as calculate, extract volume quickly and accurately.

Applying CIM technology helps to detect errors that arise early before starting construction work, saving time and ensuring project progress. For infrastructure projects with many different types of underground works, this technology early detects intersections for handling right in the design phase.

Project participants will also improve coordination, increase productivity as well as design quality, contributing to ensuring project quality. Drawings are automatically linked to the model, avoiding errors as well as reducing the time to update drawings when changing designs.

With the field of industrial and civil construction, BIM has become a popular term. Particularly for the infrastructure sector, the application of BIM technology is slower due to many reasons. Infrastructure projects are usually public investment projects, while industrial and civil construction projects have many private projects (such as real estate developers) so they are less likely to apply use new technology for fear of encountering risks when applying.

Infrastructure projects span many fields such as traffic, irrigation, seaports, hydropower, etc. Each project can include many different items, so it is difficult to automate the design work and cause difficulties for the application of CIM technology.

Infrastructure projects often have to apply the design – bid – build method, thus making it difficult to connect the parties to collaborate in a common information model. Infrastructure projects rely heavily on inputs such as topographic, geological, hydrological, resulting in more time consuming building information modeling as well as increased risk of design changes than in the industrial and civil construction sector.

Nowaday, the application of CIM technology in Vietnam is just the first steps. However, CIM technology has begun to receive attention and focus. Some large projects have applied CIM technology such as Tran Thi Ly bridge (Da Nang), Thu Thiem II bridge (HCMC), Huong Highway 2 bridge (HCMC), Rao II bridge (Hai Phong), Cao Lanh Bridge (Dong Thap)…, bringing practical efficiency, contributing to improving the quality of works from the design to construction stage, ensuring the project progress… In the coming time, the trend of applying CIM technology will have a significant increase with the large-scale and complex infrastructure projects.

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