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BIM Brings in New Era in Airport Design and Sustainable Construction in Turkey

The Istanbul Grand Airport’s (IGA’s) use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) facilitated intricate collaboration and coordination among all engineering disciplines in the construction of the airport – saving the project up to 50 percent in costs.

The Istanbul Grand Airport on the Black Sea coast, 35 km outside Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the world’s largest airport projects. Sprawling lounges, greenery, beautiful architecture and elements reminiscent of Turkey’s history are the highlights of this airport. The airport, which opened in October 2019, is a major international hub connecting flights to more than 350 destinations around the world.

Built over an area of 76.5 million square meters (terminal is 1.4 million square meters), the Istanbul Grand Airport is the largest infrastructure project in the history of Turkey. The terminal currently has a maximum annual capacity of 90 million passengers, which will increase to 200 million once the entire construction is complete, including four terminals and six runways.

BIM Adoption to Construct The 21st Century Airport

The Istanbul Grand Airport was commissioned in 2013 to the IGA Company to plan, design, construct, and operate the new airport. The project scope was expansive and extensive, so it was essential for the IGA Company to accomplish every strategic and operational goal in terms of management of teams, time, costs and value. To construct the Istanbul Grand Airport rapidly, and to keep up with the baseline schedules, the IGA Company used Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions as part of a comprehensive strategic plan.

BIM solutions were used across the project lifecycle from plan and design, fabrication and construction to operations and maintenance. Using BIM, the IGA Company was able to supervise and manage the coordination of all engineering disciplines – architecture, structure, mechanical, electrical and plumbing – on a Cloud platform. The coordination of all these disciplines took place on Autodesk’s 360 Field Platform where 2D, 3D and 4D models were created to have dynamic control over the progress of the project. The 3D model was reviewed by all participants and the 4D model integrated 30,000 activities and was used by executive directors to monitor the progress of the project.

BIM Plan: To initiate the use of BIM in the design and construction of the Istanbul Grand Airport, the IGA Company developed a BIM Plan, mandating the use of BIM solutions by architects, engineers and contractors on the project field. The plan was developed for 30 months and covered the entire lifecycle of the construction project to produce fast and safe models, minimize human errors and deliver the project ahead of time. For this purpose, and to integrate BIM in a coordinated fashion, the IGA Company also created an integrated virtual room, also called the BIM Room. 

BIM Room: The BIM Room was used to coordinate, collaborate and improve decision-making. In the BIM Room, 30,000 stakeholders came together in a virtual collaborative environment to interact with the designers and contractors in real-time. As part of the process, 150 site engineers were provided with mobile tablets (iPads) through which they were able to share real-time data with designers sitting in the office. The stakeholders were able to access real-time on-site data and compare it with the designed project models on the Cloud platform and take decisions to improve engineering quality. 

Further, using BIM, all stakeholders could see others’ concerns, check clashes, and also check for inaccurate and missing design elements. Clash detection was one of the critical parts of the quality control process and using BIM, stakeholders were able to identify more than 320,500 clashes and solve them on time, avoiding any rework on the site. Thus, clash detection at the right time also helped the IGA Company avoid any unexpected claims and time and budget overruns. 

After construction, since the airport was going to be in use for 25 years or more, the stakeholders began using the sixth and the seventh dimension of BIM (6D-BIM and 7D-BIM). 6D-BIM was used with energy analysis software during the operations and maintenance phase to create energy models of the terminal building, entitling it to the LEED accreditation and helping it achieve the company’s sustainability agenda. The team is now working on the seventh dimension of BIM (7D-BIM) model for facilities management to be applied throughout the lifecycle of the airport, post-construction. 

BIM Implementation for Sustainable Design and Construction

Value-Proposition of Using BIM

The Istanbul Grand Airport project has set the benchmark in the AEC industry and in digital construction. For this reason, the airport was selected as a finalist in the Autodesk 2016 AEC Excellence Awards. The use of BIM in the construction of the Istanbul Grand Airport project sets an example for the Turkish Construction Industry to fully implement BIM in the construction environment.

Using BIM, the IGA Company team was able to meet the complex demands of time, cost and quality and increase project profitability. Using structural BIM, the project cost was reduced by more than 50 percent. The use of 3D, 4D, 5D and 6D BIM truly facilitated intricate collaboration among all stakeholders of the construction project. Autodesk’s BIM 360 provided the stakeholders with a single platform for project management, connecting construction information and operational data, providing access of right data at the right time to all the stakeholders. BIM also enabled the assessment of different design alternatives, deliver fully automated code-based design and 3D/4D models and facilitate coordination, collaboration and integration within the project design teams.

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