6D designs and digital twins

The added value of 'virtual construction’ is increasingly being recognised in the infrastructure sector. The building planning can be visualised by linking planning and the BIM model. This provides builders and designers with a better understanding of the manufacturability of the design. The risk of failure (and therefore accidents) is highest when switching between phases. Virtual construction contributes to structural safety in every phasing step. By going through the entire construction process virtually, it can be tested whether the phasing is feasible within the available space. It also ensures better interface management. By combining our knowledge of design, execution, BIM modelling and automation, Witteveen+Bos can provide a whole new service with great added value for its clients.  

Currently, virtual construction is mainly used by contractors in large-scale infrastructure projects. This is not justified. Virtual construction adds value to projects of any size and certainly for public clients (municipalities, provinces and Rijkswaterstaat) in the preparation of projects. Especially for smaller inner-city projects, properly preparing for many activities in a small space plays an important role in preventing accidents. Project boundaries and contractual milestones are often set in the preparatory phase. By studying the impact thereof at an early stage, we can take more conscious choices. Providing insight into the implementation work in relation to the local community also provides an opportunity to discuss this at an early stage and create support.

Connection between disciplines

Providing insight into the construction process strengthens communication between the 3D modellers and the planners. If this is properly organised at the front end of each phase, the links between the BIM model and planning can be easily made. This keeps costs under control and ensures that the right goals are served for each phase.

To link 3D model and planning, we use the programme Synchro 4D. This software links directly to all common planning programmes, eliminating the need for time-consuming and error-prone post-processing. Synchro can also be used for planning. The direct link between construction planning and the BIM model immediately visualises every phase update. This allows for laying several variants side by side and comparing them. The impact can be visualised early on through a 4D scenario analysis.​​​​​​​

The use of virtual construction (4D) therefore adds value to any project we work on. If you have any specific questions following this article or you see any opportunities for your own project(s), please feel free to contact us or post your question below this article.

Examples from our projects

The project examples below clearly show that the level of development varies by project phase: the further along the project timeline, the more detailed the phasing model becomes.

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