For the first time in over 35 years, a new rail network is being constructed throughout Sydney. Part of this project was the design of the Chatswood Quad, a 1.2km rail corridor linking the north-west rail metro into the main interchange at Chatswood from the lower north shore component of the Sydney Metro Program.
While the corridor was short in length, the works were extremely complex, requiring the integration of historic brownfield elements. The project involved all major civil disciplines including rail alignment, combined services routes, civil structures and bridges, signalling, electrical, mechanical and power. The project showcased innovative design processes using modern digital engineering tools and included significant investment in transforming our people, processes and technology.
AECOM provided TfNSW with solutions that not only met their digital engineering interim controls framework — which AECOM co-authored — but also provided additional requirements for the project construction team, Laing O’Rourke (LOR). This resulted in creation of a ‘fully federated BIM model’, a combined digital model showing each discipline in relation to one another across the entire project alignment. This federated model was provided weekly to LOR, as well as at nominated project milestones. Specific drawings were derived directly from the relevant models to ensure design information was correctly communicated to all project stakeholders throughout the design phase.
The project used gaming engine technology to encourage deeper discussion of core design thinking, in what was essentially a 3D digital prototype of the physical works. We subsequently created scenes that allowed stakeholders to navigate through this digital model, stop and pivot around, providing a quick visibility of issues and encouraged faster, smarter and better decision-making than usually possible. This approach allowed more agile design, decision-making and aided in quickly resolving issues.
Through the 3D model, we were able to easily check each element of the design for potential clashes, enabling us to quickly identify design flaws and develop resolutions. This reduced project risk, and improved efficiency of project time and cost.
The model has subsequently been used to aid in the procurement of long-lead items for construction and to guide the critical on-site sequencing of construction activities in this highly constrained project corridor. Attributed data (specific data about each of the project elements) was added, which provided information for ongoing operations and maintenance of Chatswood Quad into the future.
As this was one of the first projects to align with the new TfNSW Digital Engineering Framework, there was positive dialogue between all project stakeholders, resulting in a high level of model detail and coordination. The standard of digital delivery achieved was commended by all involved and was attributed the ‘gold standard’ in digital engineering for lineal infrastructure.
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