October 14, 2013

BIM Workflow for Roads and Highways

This year, Ideate is offering a new class based on the BIM for Road and Highway design to go along with Autodesk’s new BIM Specialist: Roads and Highways certification. 

Although the concept of BIM or Building Information Modeling has been around for years, its integration into the world of Road and Highway design has been relatively slow when compared to that of Building design. The 2014 Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite provides users with core products for use in BIM modeling for Roads and Highways. In this article, we’ll talk about the products involved, and some the roles they play in the BIM Workflow process.

When looking at the list of products in the Infrastructure Design suite – Ultimate version, we’ll find applications for many stages of the project lifecycle. For the purpose of our blog, we’ll break this down into three main areas.

Stage 1: Planning and Preliminary Design
Stage 2: Detailed Design and Documentation
Stage 3: Construction Simulation/Management

For Stage 1, Autodesk InfraWorks is available to combine both existing and proposed data sources and create a virtual 3D model of a planned development. Autodesk InfraWorks is compatible with GIS, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Revit, Point Cloud and other data types and also includes tools for creating proposed features and cloud-based profile optimization for road design. 

Once models are created, Autodesk InfraWorks also includes tools for creating storyboards, virtual fly-throughs, and scenarios for communicating design concepts. Finally, Autodesk InfraWorks models can easily be exported and imported into Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D for continuing on to the next stage of the design process.

The Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D modeling tools provide civil engineers with the ability to add large amounts of information to the models for use in the BIM process. Built-in analysis tools like Storm and Sanitary Analysis and Hydraflow, along with  plan production tools to automatically cut Plan and Profile and Section Sheets make AutoCAD Civil 3D an excellent program to use for Stage 2 of our workflow. Additional tools for Quantity Take-offs, earthwork, and material volume calculations also provide the necessary data for construction cost estimates based on the information contained in our models.

Once designs are finalized, we can move on to Stage 3 of our BIM Workflow.  Model components can be exported back to Autodesk InfraWorks for high quality visualizations of the final design, and imported into Navisworks Manage for construction management and simulation. Both applications are also compatible with files from Autodesk Revit as well as other software packages, giving us the ability to create realistic composite models using data received from all parties involved in a project.

Within Navisworks Manage, the Timeliner tool can be used for creating 4D and 5D construction simulations by linking model components to timelines created in project scheduling software like Microsoft Project or Primavera.

Along with the Timeliner, Navisworks Manage also includes Clash Detection for detecting clearance violations and hard clashes between model components.  Simulated construction sequencing and virtual clash detection help save time and money through early detection of issues that could lead to costly redesigns and change orders if found during construction.

So there you have it, Autodesk InfraWorks for preliminary planning stage design, Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D for detailed design and construction documentation, then back to Autodesk InfraWorks or into Autodesk Navisworks Manage for advanced visualizations, construction simulation, clash detection and construction management. A BIM Workflow for Road and Highway design using applications included in the 2014 Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suites.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our website for the next open enrollment class on BIM Workflow for Roads & Highways and to find out more about Autodesk’s BIM Specialist: Roads & Highways certification.

Matt Miyamoto, P.E.
Ideate AEC Application Specialist

Matt is an Application Specialist at Ideate, Inc. and is a licensed Civil Engineer with over 10 years of industry experience. He has successfully completed the BIM Specialist: Roads & Highways certification and helps to provide training, consulting and technical support services for our customers at Ideate, Inc. @MattM_PE

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