Nagpur Metro Rail Project’s Use of Drone, and 5D BIM Helps with Efficient Project Delivery

The Nagpur Metro Rail project stands apart as a differentiator in the Indian construction sector with the implementation of geospatial and 5D BIM technology to enhance efficiency and productivity.

The problem: Traditional surveying tools vs modern tools

The Nagpur Metro Rail Project spans 38-km of route, covering two corridors, North South and East-West, respectively. The $1.4-billion mega project, operated and implemented under the leadership of the special purpose vehicle Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited, has 40 stations – one every kilometer. The rapid transit system is being developed to tackle issues like traffic congestion and road accidents in city, and provide citizens with an easy and affordable daily commute.

The Challenge – Cost Overruns and Delays

The Nagpur Metro, like most Indian construction projects, was expected to face cost overruns, and delays, coupled with quality and safety concerns. Others such as land/site handover, coordination between stakeholders, weak documentation, connectivity of projectivity issues were discussed before the commencement of the plan/design and construction of the project. Additionally, it was foreseen, if the above-mentioned issues were not dealt with in the beginning, it would trickle down to the operations and maintenance phase of the project affecting efficiency and return on investments considerably.

To ensure that all interdependent disciplines and stakeholders collaborated and worked as a team, Nagpur Metro built a digital innovation solution for time and cost efficiency using geospatial and BIM solution. For the project, 22 design consultants and 15 contractors were deployed to ensure project stays on time and on budget.

The Process – 5D BIM Simulations for Project Management

In the initial phase of the project, drones was used to carry out survey along the alignment of the corridor. The data was used for geometric measurement in all directions and in spatial planning of the various stations and viaduct for checking probable clashes. Further the data was used to create the 3D models in the BIM model – in this case a 5D BIM model.

A 5D BIM model includes two additional dimensions on top of the 3D BIM model i.e. of time and cost. In the Nagpur project, after the collection of the drone data, the 5D BIM Digital Project Management Platform was created and implemented. The platform, iTWO was the central platform wherein the 5D BIM software was integrated with other software such as GIS and drone output data to see all data in a single platform.  The model was used for architectural modeling, structural modeling, MEP modeling, quantity estimation, 4D/5D simulation, and construction project tracking.

The platform also integrates an ERP software like SAP with construction design software and project management software, allowing for a 5-Dimensional view of the project in real-time. A 23-digit asset code was used to link the 3D models developed using Bentley BIM tools with SAP financial management making it possible to track assets right from design through to operation and maintenance. The architects, and engineers were able to generate models which helped them visualize key design and construction elements – layouts, materials, etc. Data was fed in real-time to the 5D BIM model as the project matures to render a more methodical project scope. The platform provided for an integrated view of the project by providing visualization to the 5D BIM simulations (linking 3D models, schedule and cost). The stakeholders were able to collaborate in real-time, in a ‘war room’ and constantly monitor the project progress and identify probable bottlenecks in construction sequencing or schedule by contractors. The NMRCL, in particular, was able to foresee variations and control the costs of the project in case of overshoot. Final deliverables of the project were Bentley iModels which helped digitize the operations and maintenance phase of the project as well.

The value proposition

It is estimated that use of 5D BIM enabled savings of up to $1.5 million in terms of project delivery, while maintenance savings could touch $222 million for 25 years. The other savings of using BIM included:

In addition to cost savings, the combination of drone data output layered on the single 5D digital project management platform plays a decisive role in delivering the Phase-I of the project i.e. 13km on time. The digital platform also helped Nagpur Metro to achieve enhanced construction quality, develop comprehensive understanding of the project design, and optimize operational efficiencies.