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Costain uses BIM on Port Talbot highway

17 Aug 11 With the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for highway schemes yet to become mainstream, Costain is already using the technology on its £107m Harbour Way Port Talbot contract.

Harbour Way is the largest transport project in Wales since the construction of the M4. Due to open in autumn 2013, it will provide a 4.8km link to the M4 near Junction 38 (Margam) into Port Talbot and the docks.

Costain says that BIM, a three-dimensional computer programme, will help save time and money for its client, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

Working with project consultant Arup, Costain is using BIM to generate and manage the data during the project’s construction. The programme analyses geometry, spatial relationships and geographic information, as well as quantities and the properties of construction components.

“The starting point for this initiative is to build up the design model in three dimensions. This has the immediate benefit of being able to view drawings in 3D, which allows for a quicker and better understanding of what we are building,” said project chief engineer Charlie Sleep.

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Costain project manager John Skentelbery added: “The project is in the early stages but we are excited by the potential of BIM, and it will be interesting to see how much of this potential we can realise for the benefit of the project."

“Whilst this adds significant value compared to using two dimensional drawings, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential applications of BIM. By attaching other information to elements of the design model, it can be used in a whole variety of ways that brings value to the construction process and ultimately our clients,” Mr Sleep said.

BIM has been widely used in the construction of buildings for a number of years but is still relatively new to highways infrastructure. However, it will soon be more widely used.

Arup project manager Dan Griffith said: “By 2016 all publicly funded projects will have to be BIM compliant and it will feature heavily in procurement marking. Therefore, if we can demonstrate, through a live project, how it works then it should score well in future tendering.”

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