23 Oct 2019

[Guest Blog] BIM-enabled Digital Transformation for airports

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This is a guest blog, submitted by Basak Keskin from Syracuse University. Basak and her team will be at Forge DevCon this year - come find them at the Education Zone in the Village. Forge DevCon will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, November 18. Get tickets here!

The new era of smart infrastructure has started to be recognized by both academia and industry, as the demand for infrastructure upgrade continues at a fast pace. Accordingly, as one of the most important economic engines, design-build-operate life cycle of airports should be digitized to meet ever evolving demands and needs of today’s modern societies.

Airports are highly complex and fragmented systems in terms of incorporating design, construction and operation of varying mix of infrastructure systems including terminals, piers, runways, taxiways, aprons, car parks, railways, roads, cargo areas, encapsulating many different types of construction. They are also asset intensive business systems that need to be designed and constructed in a way to meet the operational requirements for successful asset, and business management.  

BIM as a digital innovation

The dynamic competitive landscape of the AEC sector requires more innovative and digitally transformative solutions that require certain advancements in the information technology (IT) in the construction. BIM can be associated with the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in construction sector for streamlining the project phases to increase productivity and efficiency. BIM offers a holistic approach to construction management by integrating, visualizing, storing, updating, managing all necessary project data in a digital environment and their reuse by responsible parties any time during a construction project’s life cycle. Thus, it introduces a collaborative interdisciplinary team experience to seamlessly manage the whole project life cycle in a highly fragmented industry setting (Koseoglu et al., 2019). 

Realizing the power of "Connecting the Unconnected"

Value creation is a recurring issue in airport projects, and fast realization of technology implementation is dependent on creating synergies between digital technologies by breaking the information siloes. Connecting already existing digital technologies to streamline information flow is very important. Map out the digital resources and come up with a digital strategy to oversee those resources for their more effective and mission-oriented use.  

How Forge Helps?

Autodesk Forge played a crucial role in development of a Proof-of-Concept (POC) for my FAA-funded Airport Cooperative Research Program Graduate Research on Airport BIM for Smart Airports by offering a Responsive Connected Database (RCDB) for creating a connected working environment for major airport stakeholders in the Operations and Maintenance phase. The developed responsive react based application uses Forge APIs of Viewer, Data Management, Model Derivative, and BIM 360. The technical details of the project product are given below:  

The Owner accesses the airport BIM model that includes the critical asset property (e.g. Critical HVAC, Critical BHS, Critical Plumbing) as one of the project parameters and the manufacturer data. BIM360 API is used for access to any federated BIM model that is of interest to the Owner. Accordingly, the Owner can define and visualize the critical asset and get the baseline data coming from the manufacturer’s data, and also cost data over time. The Owner requires tracking of airport critical assets via sensors and maintaining the sensor data associated with unique asset tags on legacy FM (e.g. CMMS, BAS, BMS) database/s. The Owner also runs the documented-oriented NoSQL database which communicates the legacy FM database/s to connect the sensor data, and the unique asset tags. End-user (i.e., operation team on site) can access to the critical asset groups, their criticalities, real-time sensor data with respect to the baseline value, functional location of the asset, and the asset tag as the unique identifier of the asset. The interface with the listed functionalities is shown in the figures given below.  

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Koseoglu, O., Keskin, B., Ozorhon, B., Koseoglu, O., Keskin, B., & Ozorhon, B. (2019). Challenges and Enablers in BIM-Enabled Digital Transformation in Mega Projects: The Istanbul New Airport Project Case Study. Buildings, 9(5), 115. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9050115 


I would like to thank my dear friend Zachary Eager, and Jaime Rosales Duque from Forge Team for their continuous support, significant technical contribution and guidance. This work would not be possible without Zack and Jaime. Also, many thanks to Eric Wing for his BIM modelling expertise and providing Syracuse Airport design model.  

Upcoming Events

Basak and her team will be at Forge DevCon in Las Vegas this year! Get your pass today and come learn more about this project first-hand.

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