How can BIM enhance road construction?

How can BIM enhance road construction
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Roads are perhaps one of the largest systems that are built by man. They are the very lifeline of any city and their history can be traced back to 4,000 BC during the Roman empire. With time both the methods and the materials used in its construction have evolved. For instance, the construction materials have changed from stone and timber to concrete and asphalt to perhaps plastic and solar panels in the future. With the changing requirements like fast growing population, heavy vehicles and more traffic it is imperative that better roads should be built fast. It means that change needs to occur during all stages of road construction from topographical data collection to planning to onsite construction and management. Today, perhaps the answer lies in Building Information technology which can provide the road construction companies all the tools which could facilitate a quicker and enhanced construction of roads. In the current article, we will be looking at the four stages of road construction and how at each stage BIM can be utilized.

1. Data Capturing and Detailed Modeling:

Before the design phase begins the first thing the road construction company needs to do is to capture the topographical data from the physical world to make detailed 3D models. Today it is possible to use new laser scanning technologies to directly capture the spatial information about the physical world, for instance, there is LiDAR technology which uses laser lights that bounce off objects and return details in the form of “point clouds”, with each point representing a surface that the light bounced back from.  This point cloud provides detailed ground-surface measurement including data regarding objects on the roads such as lamps, post, overpass or underpass clearance as well as vegetation. Mobile LiDAR can be mounted on vehicles, helicopters, UAVs etc. to gather information quickly and efficiently. Finally, Point Cloud to BIM Services can be used to create Virtual 3D models which are essential for planning, scheduling, facility management etc.

2. Better planning and construction:

BIM was originally meant for buildings but it can today be used for much more. BIM could help improve all the aspects of traffic engineering like utilities, drainage, road, rail, etc. Traffic planning, along with extensive map-based analysis, also requires proper permits from the state or central government.  The intelligent 3D model provides all the data that would be required to make extensive presentations. With 4D scheduling it is also possible to gain an exact timeline right in the initial stages of the project from material ordering to road closure dates. Moreover, there are many players involved in road construction and BIM also provides better coordination tools making it possible for all of them to stay updated and on the same page.

3. Financial Advantages:

The bottom line, when it comes to such projects, is about saving money. 5D BIM provides the ability the better calculate quantities across the entire project and get quantity take-offs and determine cost. Any changes made in the quantities are instantly reflected in the cost making sure that there are no inaccuracies. Moreover, the very model of BIM is extremely cost-effective. With better collaboration and coordination, the number of errors drastically reduces. Clash Detection Services also ensure that there are no interferences in the design which all ultimately translates into no unnecessary costs and higher profit margins.

4. Facility Management:

Finally, it is not just during the planning and onsite construction that BIM can be useful. Even after the construction of the road is completed, Facility Management can be used for its effective management. As-built BIM models can help with load calculations, traffic management and can also be used to keep track of updates. Finally, whenever any reconstruction or renovation is required 3D laser scanning can be used to gain an accurate understanding of the as-is road conditions and create precise BIM models that can be used for renovation and reconstruction.


Looking at the advantages of BIM it is gradually becoming popular in infrastructural projects. With BIM it is possible to ensure that the project is delivered on-time and on-budget. It also enhances a proper  collaboration between all the involved parties in order to reduce rework and diliver a final output is accurate.  

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