University of Twente Student Theses


BIM-based environmental impact assessment for infrastructure design projects

M.A., Eldik van (2019) BIM-based environmental impact assessment for infrastructure design projects.

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Abstract:Sustainability is becoming a key factor in the decision-making process of infrastructure projects throughout their lifecycles. In particular, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the design phase is becoming a matter of significant importance, for both public and private sectors, given the long-term impacts of design decisions on the environmental performance of infrastructure projects. Nowadays, clients frequently demand EIA of new designs and designers/contractors are compelled to indicate how sustainability concerns are incorporated in their design choices. However, in the current highly fragmented design processes, the EIA is normally conducted as an isolated step at the end of the design loop by sustainability experts. This fragmented process creates a disconnect between the EIA and other aspects of design evaluation which renders the improvement from the sustainability perspective cumbersome and challenging. Also, this fragmented process necessitates a feedback loop between sustainability experts and other members of the design team. This dynamic is not conducive to raising the global sustainability consciousness in the entire design team, especially in the designers. An integrated approach towards the EIA allows designers to strive for improved sustainability in every step of the design process. In recent years, Building Information Modelling (BIM) provides the basis for such an integrated approach towards design evaluation. However, numerous studies have shown that the EIA is not yet fully integrated in the current BIM-based design process of infrastructure. This research aims to develop a framework for performing real-time EIA during the design process. The framework allows designers to run an automated EIA at any point of the design stage and immediately assess the Environmental Impact Score (EIS) of their design choices. A prototype is developed and tested on a case study to indicate the feasibility of the proposed framework. The framework is assessed in terms of functionality, ease of use, scalability and contribution to raising sustainability consciousness through a workshop with experts. It is shown that the framework is able to quickly provide designers with accurate information about the environmental impact of all objects in infrastructure design projects. The workshop with experts showed that the tool clearly makes it easier to perform the EIS assessment compared to the existing, highly fragmented, process. This allows the design team to use this assessment on the same level as other design parameters in the decision-making process. Moreover, the framework helps to (1) raise the sustainability consciousness of the entire design team and (2) facilitate the implementation of EIA for infrastructure projects. Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment, BIM, Infrastructure
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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