Using Bim Models for the Design of Large Rail Infrastructure Projects: Key Factors for a Successful Implementation

Using Bim Models for the Design of Large Rail Infrastructure Projects: Key Factors for a Successful Implementation

Timothy Nuttens Vincent De Breuck Robby Cattoor Kurt Decock Isabelle Hemeryck

TUC RAIL NV, Department Design, Unit Design Lines & Track, Belgium

Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium

INFRABEL, Data Governance & Project, Belgium


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As already widely acknowledged in the construction industry, the use of a BIM model as single-point-of-truth during the design and construction phase of the project’s lifecycle improves efficiency and reduces rework and extra costs. However, implementing the coordination and integration of different technical designs holds a lot of challenges. Combining different technical designs in one model in such a way that analyses, interface management and clash detection are possible, requires not only clear task descriptions and responsibilities for every stakeholder, but also a detailed workflow describing the required input, expected output of every technique and the intermediate deadlines during the design. Moreover, changes in the way the designs are made and specific configurations of the software tools are often needed to guarantee an optimal integration with the other parts of the design and to meet the firm’s specific processes. This paper describes our experience gathered the last few years with the implementation of a BIM methodology supporting the design integration of different technical disciplines in large rail infrastructure projects. The focus lies on the implementation of available technical solutions to support our methodology, to improve design efficiency and to deliver high-quality integrated study designs. So far, our results show a successful implementation of BIM in our design department, integrating the design of all technical disciplines allowing us to follow the progress of the design, improve the communication within the project team and detect and solve clashes earlier in the design process. Key factors contributing to a successful BIM implementation are further explained and illustrated with practical examples.


BIM implementation, collaborative practices, design coordination, integrated model, multidisciplinary projects, rail infrastructure

1. Introduction
2. BIM Implementation
3. Key Factors for a Successful BIM Implementation
4. Conclusions

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