Case Study Published: 22/02/2018

Ideate BIMLink - bridging the gap between the Revit model and asset management

“With Ideate BIMLink we now have a tool for importing all types of information into a Revit model. This opens up an area of project potential that we could not have considered before, adding another capability to our service proposition.” Atticus Borrie, BIM Manager, Consultancy and Design Team, Aspin Group

Meet Aspin Group

Established in 2000, Aspin is a leader in the provision of high quality foundation, civil, geotechnical and structural engineering products and services for the rail, highways and infrastructure sectors. 

Aspin’s team of multi-disciplined specialists delivers end to end results, attending to every detail from investigation through to design, delivery and ongoing monitoring. For clients, it brings the reassurance of experience and safe hands for all size and durations of projects.

The work embraces four key areas: engineered solutions, consulting and design, foundations and piling as well as inspections and investigations that provide accurate data for planning works.

The company’s comprehensive inspection and methodical testing regimes enables it to provide clients with accurate and meaningful assessments of the condition of their bridge stock.

When they were called in to jointly assist with a major engineering and project management consultancy on a bridge inspection project, part of Aspin’s remit was to provide an information-rich BIM model for future support of the end client’s asset management team. 

The challenge: in search of the missing link

“The nature of our work – driving piles into the ground, and building foundations for high integrity support of above ground structures – means that we do not often call upon Revit in our projects, although we are familiar with it and can use it for graphical modelling and non-graphical information modelling as required” explains Atticus Borrie, BIM Manager on the Consultancy and Design Team at Aspin Group. “We mostly use Bentley software but this time we needed a different specialist solution for linking the model to support data in Revit, and needed to quickly solve a client request.”

The project was initiated by Hampshire County Council and concerned the Redbridge Causeway. This structure spans the River Test close to Southampton and is made up of two 3-span bridges, one 1-span bridge, and a 20-span viaduct. The main contractor asked Aspin’s Structural Investigations team to undertake a structural inspection of the bridge and to deliver a BIM model that could be used in the future by the Council’s asset management team.

Based on point cloud laser scan data provided by another specialist contractor, it was Aspin’s role to provide a different set of foundations to those traditionally used. The Council wanted a definitive model for reparations and support for its team, into the future. The intentions were to use this model for condition assessments and remedial works planning in addition to its core function as an Asset Information Model (AIM).

The solution: informing and populating the Asset Information Model with Ideate BIMLink 

The AIM is an integral feature of PAS 1192-3 which will commonly include information about the original design intent and the necessary 3D models. Although in this case the scope was limited to including information related to the structural investigations (see image below), the type of information associated with these models typically records ownership, rights and restrictions, surveys, work that has been carried out, operational performance information, condition information and other critical data. 
It doesn’t all necessarily have to be within the model but can be accessed via hyperlinks to external data sources, usually in the form of Excel spreadsheets. The incorporation of these links is where Ideate BIMLink comes in: offering a quick and easy solution for importing data into a Revit project, such as updating hyperlink information on specific elements.

Atticus and his team had looked at various free software options for importing data into a Revit model but established that there was no free solution that would enable links to be built into the model. This was an essential prerequisite for the Council and is also a core requirement for BIM compatible models.

“This was the first project of its type that we had undertaken,” explains Atticus. “It involved several thousands of records and links that had to be captured and begin their life as elements within the AIM. Although we use predominantly Revit within the AEC collection, we asked Excitech to recommend the best solution. They recommended Ideate BIMLink and we haven’t looked back.”

The results: limitless depth of information

In the resulting models that Atticus and his team have supplied for this project, the records and links that they had anticipated being incorporated in the model, have now been included. Ideate BIMLink enabled Aspin to deliver on a relatively complex requirement in an efficient and user-friendly way.  

Aspin Group - Ideate BIMLink case study - Bridge Asset Information Model

The model now offers an extremely intuitive entry point of data exploration for the client. Users simply click on a defect, highlighted with a red icon, to reveal the information that backs it up; from PI/NDT information to images, reports, data, sheets accessed via hyperlinks, to dimensions and schedules; all there as and when required to drive efficient asset management actions and interventions.

Closer to the asset

Ideate BIMLink delivers the perfect solution for making a 3D model completely accessible to users who might not necessarily be too familiar with Revit. Data can be imported from Excel and back out again whenever the information is required. 

“Tools like this are always of use where massive amounts of data are involved and where users might come to a model for all sorts of different reasons,” says Atticus. “It helps to bring owners closer to their assets, and makes it easier for them to understand and manage those assets. It was perfect for our needs on this project and is a very useful new skill for our team to have acquired.”

To explore the benefits of Ideate BIMLink for your company, please visit this page

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