Digital Twin development for next-generation network infrastructures: An Open BIM Approach
Design and implementation of an information management system that represents the virtual replica (Digital Twin)
of interconnected construction sites.
MMA Consulting Engineers
a leading Irish engineering firm, was contracted by an international technology company to implement a
Building Information Management (BIM) system. This system is designed to support a wide range of applications,
from the design, delivery, and maintenance of production engineering activities to updating as-built BIMs
and construction monitoring.
Corballis' contribution to this project was the implementation of a multi-platform information system
compliant with Open Building Information Modelling (Open BIM), Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and BIM
Collaboration Format (BCF) standards.
We built a software solution to support the full digitalisation of the client’s asset lifecycle management process.
The solution included the following capabilities:
- 3D visualisation using open standards
- Project and issue management
- Model validation - Point cloud processing
- Product Library validation
- Mobile field client
3D visualisation using open formats
The project selected the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes - ISO 16739-1:2018) format for our 3D drawings
and E57 (ASTM E2807) standard format for point clouds to ensure a vendor-neutrality, enabling seamless
collaboration among engineers regardless of their CAD software choice.
The 3D visualisation component has the following features:
- Multi-model: Swiftly and seamlessly renders multiple 3D drawings and point clouds concurrently.
- Navigation controls: Zooming, Panning, Camera rotation, Component recolouring, Toggling models'
- Base Layers: used OpenStreetMap for better 2D GIS context
- BIM repository: Querying metadata of models
- Point Clouds: Point clouds that have been uploaded to the Repository can be visualised in the
3D Viewer alongside the IFC models, base layers and 3D Tile-sets.
Project and issue management
We used the BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) for organising projects and issues within our system.
BCF streamlines collaboration between project members (electrical engineers, architects, mechanical
engineers, etc.) by capturing and exchanging comments, issues, or tasks associated with BIM elements in
a standard way. The implementation of BCF within our solution allowed different engineering departments
to use different CAD software to maintain their drawings. While maintaining a common issue format for all.
Model validation – Point cloud processing
To support the model validation, we integrated our client’s product AutoCorr.
BIM & Scan AutoCorr™ automatically highlights any variations between a point cloud and IFC model using
a specified tolerance.
This allows engineers and project managers to detect the deviations between the actual constructed buildings
and the design drawings. Ensuring design - construction compliance at all stages of the build.
Product Library validation
System supports a model Review and Approval process where:
- Component modellers can submit new BIM models to the system.
- Component supervisors validate component models (accepted or rejected)
- Site design engineers can reuse the approved products from the library when designing the
Mobile field client
We have developed a native mobile application for Android to support field engineers on location.
This application supports the field engineers by providing the followings:
- Access to design drawings
- 3D visualisation of sites
- Support the carrying out site surveys
- Supports offline mode, when Internet is not available
- Issue management
Through the digitization of sites and the development of digital twins, engineers can precisely and predictably
access sites remotely for measurements and informed engineering choices. This detailed and accurate data not
only reduces operational support expenses but also streamlines planning and upcoming network enhancements.