University of Twente Student Theses


Non-graphical operations and maintenance data modelling : a case study of a port terminal reconstruction in Tallinn, Estonia

Suurorg, S. (2020) Non-graphical operations and maintenance data modelling : a case study of a port terminal reconstruction in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Abstract:Non-graphical data modelling is a significant part of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Non-graphical data plays an important role in the O&M phases of a building’s life cycle but is often used in the construction phases as well. To get non-graphical BIM data into the as-built BIM Model in a correct and complete form stated in the BIM requirements, designers and general contractors work on non-graphical data modelling from the preliminary design until the handover. Therefore, it is a long process that needs great collaboration, communication, technological solutions, and coordination. Prior literature states that clients, general contractors, and designers perceive problems with the process of adding non-graphical data to BIM. For example, clients struggle when defining and prescribing non-graphical data requirements and this could result in a need to change non-graphical data requirements over the course of a project which then brings modelling problems. Second, some of the modelling efforts do not comply with BIM requirements stated by the client and therefore corrections are needed. Clearly, this results in inefficiency, higher labour costs and longer model delivery time. Designers and general contractors lack scientific recommendations and guidelines for non-graphical BIM data modelling. These guidelines could be about the choice of BIM technology; what formats should be used; who is responsible for different parts of modelling process and provision of non-graphical data; when should non-graphical data be linked to the BI model; etc. Non-graphical BIM data modelling process has been given limited scientific attention in literature, and the goal of this research was to identify the problems and bottlenecks in the process of adding non-graphical data and to provide possible solution directions for these problems. The research question in this thesis asked what problems occur in the process of adding non-graphical BIM data and which solution directions could improve non-graphical BIM data adding? The thesis is a case study of the non-graphical information modelling process that took place in the D Passenger Terminal of the Port of Tallinn reconstruction project in Tallinn, Estonia. The design process of the reconstruction started in 2015, the construction works started 2018, and the project is scheduled to be completed by June 2020. It was one of the first large-scale projects completed with structured and extensive BIM requirements where the client required a large amount of non-graphical data in the as-built model. The research consists of three main parts: reconstructed process of linking non-graphical data in the port reconstruction case, identification of problems in the modelling process of non-graphical data in the port reconstruction case, and proposal of solution directions. The research data is collected from interviews with the client, the general contractor, and the designer; project BIM requirements; process reflection webinar; observations from process meetings. In the case-specific process reconstruction, the process of modelling non-graphical data is developed in a chronological sequence. This process model can be used as a reference to contextualise the problems and to determine the origin of some problems. The problem identification was done based on BIM implementation risk factors defined by Chien, Huang & Wu (2014). In prior literature, there was no framework provided to assess the implementation of non-graphical data and therefore aforementioned BIM implementation risk factors were chosen and modified, so they would fit the process of non-graphical data adding. There were 16 problems identified in the process of adding non-graphical data based on BIM implementation risk factors defined by Chien, Huang & Wu (2014). There were 5 Technical problems,5 Management problems, 1 Project Environment problem, and 5 Legal problems identified in this study. The general contractor and the designer argued that the most impactful problem in this project was the change of BIM requirements which was done by the client three times in this project. It was impactful because it caused many other problems (i.e. restructured data is prone for interoperability problems in future; new requirements needed negotiations; etc) in the process of adding non-graphical data. Due to this, significant amount of non-graphical data in the model had to be restructured. Most of the restructuring was manual, time-consuming, and therefore costly. After the problems were identified, five solution directions were proposed for identified problems. These were proposed by the interviewees and thesis author. Solution directions provided here are broad and should be worked into more detailed suggestions, so that these could be implemented in BIM guidelines in future. These solution directions are: • Educated and thorough development process of non-graphical BIM data requirements which is completed before the project execution • Need to develop Estonian non-graphical BIM data requirements standard • Need to develop automated technological solutions to discard manual processes in the non-graphical data modelling • Clients need to have their Operations and Maintenance software selected before defining BI Model data requirements • Need to educate industry actors on BIM by means of discussions panels, courses, educational material, and standards These directions provide possible solutions to 14 of the 16 problems identified. These solutions should then be tested in terms of their efficiency in project environments, as this was not done in this thesis. For that, there is need for more research into this topic and generally to non-graphical data as a part of BIM. The project that was studied might seem very problematic, as 17 problems were found in the process of adding non-graphical data. However, all the interviewees assessed the modelling process as overall positive and considered this project as a great learning environment. One limitation of the study is its predominating perception of the client causing many problems. It should be emphasised that the client was not directly involved in the process, especially in the technical side of it, and for the client it is difficult to defend their position. So, future research could study projects where the client is more involved in the process of modelling non-graphical data. To conclude, this thesis points on the problems and bottlenecks in the process of modelling non-graphical BIM data. This is an important step towards giving better guidelines for non-graphical data modelling and moving towards an Estonian non-graphical BIM data standard. Hopefully, this thesis contributes to taking this step and moves the construction industry closer towards the standardisation, that is desired by many actors in the field.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
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