Saturday, February 16, 2019

CH2M (Jacobs) Pioneers the Use of a Digital Twin on the Thames Estuary Flood Management 2100 Project

The Thames Estuary 2100 is a comprehensive 10-year action plan by the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency to manage flood risk along the Tidal Thames for the next 100 years. Climate change-induced increases in sea level and river flows are estimated to put 1.25 million people and GBP 200 billion worth of property at risk. The Environment Agency plans to refurbish and replace tidal flood defenses in London and the Thames Estuary, including the Thames Barrier and 350 kilometers of walls, embankments, and other flood defense assets. The project team, led by CH2M (now Jacobs), successfully established a digital twin of the entire Tidal Thames flood defense infrastructure. With the digital twin, the project team is effectively focusing on flood risk reduction for London and the outer estuary, protecting lives, critical infrastructure, and private property.

The project team initially faced the challenge of managing a large dataset of information, primarily in the form of physical drawings and documents developed through decades of work dating back to the 1950s. Understanding the development of the flood defense asset through the as-designed, as-built, and as-maintained records is critical to understanding any subsequent movement or deterioration of the asset. The team selected ProjectWise as the basis for its connected data environment (CDE) and collated over 10,000 documents relating to 4,000 assets to establish the digital DNA of the flood defense infrastructure. The CH2M team augmented the digitized historical records with information on the current condition of assets gathered through field assessments executed with the cooperation of private landowners along the river.

CH2M configured its CDE to align with the BS 1192 national standard and to manage data of a higher classification with robust security protocols. Now, employees in over 30 office locations, and over 10 organizations across Europe are connected through the CDE and can access information with minimal transmission delays by using the caching and delta file transfer capabilities of ProjectWise. With ProjectWise’s spatially enabled search interface, users graphically select a region of interest and quickly discover all relevant drawings, pictures, and documents for assets in that area. The team is utilizing ProjectWise Deliverables Management to control the transmission of purchase orders and receipt of data. This data is synchronized to ProjectWise and accessible by external suppliers via a web portal. ProjectWise virtually connects offices to accurate and current information and connects office and field staff during inspection and construction.

CH2M estimates that the digital twin enabled by ProjectWise has already saved the project approximately 500 hours, at a cost savings of approximately GBP 25,000. They estimate that the effort to retrieve current and historical data was reduced by 25 percent. With ProjectWise, the team can quickly search, collate, and send information. CH2M is effectively leveraging the digital DNA of their project to achieve the Environment Agency’s long-term vision of managing flood risk for the Tidal Thames over the next 100 years.

Hinesh Mistry, global technology leader at CH2M, said, “Bentley’s ProjectWise is the only application to deliver seamless integration of multiple BIM authoring tools, offering a truly global ability to collaborate in a security-enhanced environment across multiple disciplines and geographies. The management of over 20,000 documents in 200-plus projects and multiple organizations with [BIM Level 3-compliant interoperability] would not be possible without ProjectWise.The application enables true lifecycle asset management to deliver world-class management in the reduction of flood risk for the Thames Estuary and GBP 200 billion of assets.”

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