Construction Lifecycle, Cost Management
Infrastructure Summit for Owners – Webinar: State of Digital Transformation
by Matthew Sprague | August 16, 2022
Increased federal funding for infrastructure projects has owners taking a deeper look at digital transformation of project data. Digital transformation is helping owners to ensure their compliance with stricter reporting standards imposed by funding agencies and is improving efficiency in the life cycle of infrastructure projects.
In the recent Infrastructure Summit for Owners, Trimble discussed how owners are gaining value from model-based projects, and how policy has helped to enact these changes.
“Trimble and our customers are making digital transformations happen and demonstrating areas of new efficiency that many did not know were even possible.”
- Matt Sprague, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Trimble
Current Policy Surrounding Digital Delivery of Infrastructure Projects
Brian McInnis, Vice President, Public Sector Trimble, indicates that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plays a critical role in the digital transformation of infrastructure projects. By founding the Every Day Counts (EDC) Program, the FHWA encourages the use of advanced technology in construction projects. Two of those initiatives, namely EDC-6 and EDC-7, include the use of Digital As-Builts (DAB), which require digital transformation of project data in all phases of the project life cycle.
Supporting these initiatives, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, previously called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), provides funding for advanced digital transformation tools for infrastructure owners.
EDC-6 migrates paper-based construction data into digital information to “enhance the value of contract documents and the future usability of the as-built plans for operations, maintenance, and asset management” and “increase project safety and quality through efficient data gathering and sharing” (ref). In practice, EDC-6 would ensure that the DABs reflect the final constructed project. FHWA defines DABs as an accumulation of the data used during digital project delivery that provides a living record of as-constructed infrastructure for agencies’ future business needs.
The EDC-7 initiative expands that digital “twin” of the as-built project, and leverages that data in an integrated workflow to manage the asset, reflect future maintenance cycles, and support decision-making. Owners and maintenance managers who are responsible for the assets benefit by having the correct information on-hand to properly define ongoing maintenance schedules, therefore increasing efficiency and recognizing cost savings with proper maintenance.
“So as we see, the model then will permeate the entirety of the design, build, operate life cycle or workflow and actually translate into enormous cost savings.”
- Brian McInnis, Vice President, Public Sector Trimble
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding
The BIL includes money for an advanced digital construction management system and related technologies, funded at $20 million per year for a total of $100 million over five years.
Digital As-Builts and digital project delivery technology are directly applicable to digital construction management systems funding, and will allow owners to boost productivity, manage complexity, maximize interoperability, reduce project delays and cost overruns, and enhance safety and quality.
Digital Delivery and Connected Construction in Action
Norwegian Public Road Authority
Ed Shappell, Director of Trimble Consulting from Trimble, gives insight into the digital transformation of the Norwegian Public Road Authority. The Norwegian Public Road Authority gives incentives and ranks bids where model-based construction and design is ranked above drawings, which increases the data quality from the beginning of the project. They also require 3D modeling of every discipline, clash detection in modeling, and DABs to be adjusted for operation and maintenance purposes.
Watch: Norwegian Road Authority Success
Using digital transformation and modeling, the Norwegian Road Authority has realized cost and schedule benefits and enhanced records management. Change orders between projects were reduced from 18.9% to 9.8% of the overall budget. In the most recent example, the infrastructure project came in 20% below the original project estimate, and change order costs were less than 2% of the overall project budget.
Watch: Norwegian Road Authority Sustainability Success
Sustainability efforts involved in Digital Transformation
By moving to a digital delivery and digital twin approach, the Norwegian Road Authority was able to reduce greenhouse gasses by 25%. This was accomplished by optimizing the asphalt design prior to project start, which not only minimizes material usage, it also reduces fuel consumption on the machines laying the asphalt. Accurate models provided concrete quantities and properly defined vegetation areas, also supporting sustainability efforts and reduction in CO2 emissions.
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT)
Minnesota was a pilot state required by federal law to create its own transportation asset management plans. For the MnDOT, this involved digital transformation and digital delivery of as-built projects.
Trisha Stefanski, MnDOT Asset Management, says, “we want to get this data because we want to know what's happening to our assets and we want to utilize the data throughout the whole life cycle”... [we] “need to know those things so that we can predict what to do, at the right time, when, and how much it's going to cost”.
By implementing connected construction and digital transformation of information, MnDOT was able to:
- Document a savings of $15 million on a project with a $130 million guaranteed maximum price
- Realize a 30% cost savings utilizing asset data for design
- Meet federal and state asset management requirements
Watch: Using 3d design saved the Elk River project $15 million.
An owner’s perspective on the importance of digital transformation
With digital transformation of project data and digital delivery of as-builts, owners can create a better picture of project health by having a thorough understanding and model of schedule, cost, sustainability, and maintenance throughout the asset’s life cycle. Owners can benefit from change order reductions, improved sustainability, and improved asset management by embracing digital transformation and connected construction.
Key Topics Covered: asset management, digital transformation, infrastructure