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Passengers going in and out of Sydney Metro Pitt Street Station

Moving Sydney Metro forward

Sydney Metro is a huge step forward for digital engineering on major infrastructure projects.

Our role on the underground stations design and technical services contract for the 30km Sydney Metro City & Southwest section builds on our digital delivery of metros.

We are also detail designers in a joint venture for stage one, Sydney Metro Northwest. Sydney Metro City & Southwest, from Chatswood to Bankstown, passes under Sydney Harbour and through the city’s central business district. It is due to open 2024.

We are part of the Metron joint venture with Arcadis. As digital lead, our objectives include applying sound information management principles, creating a best practice virtual environment, and dramatically improving use of technology by the client, principal contractors and suppliers. Potential benefits from making the project digital by default include significant programme and cost savings from using a coordinated 3D model across all subcontracts and with the client, eliminating the need for unnecessary drawings.

Global collaboration

Collaboration has reached a new high on Sydney Metro. We have established a BS 1192-compliant common data environment (CDE) with groundbreaking ProjectWise functionality, accessible by every member of the project team. BS 1192 is a code of practice for the development, organisation and management of production information for the construction industry.

On Sydney Metro, more than 300 people have been trained in BS 1192 processes. All 24 organisations working on the contract use the CDE to coordinate design inputs in 3D. Reviews of intermediate designs are model only, eliminating the need for about 900 drawings – at around AU$1500 each that’s an overall saving of AU$1.35M.

Model exchange

Models are exchanged weekly with other contracts to ensure continuous coordination across the whole metro, and updates to the design are imported directly to cost schedules to provide ‘live’ cost forecasting.

The federated or single complete model is the central focus for collaboration. Comments by client reviewers feed directly into the design CDE, although the number comments at each design review phase is much lower than on previous comparable projects because the client has a better understanding of the ongoing design. Federation and clash detection is automated. This saves about 40 staff hours a week compared with previous projects.

No time difference

Sydney has a truly global network of people working on the design. Synchronised dual data-sources are being used across five countries – Australia, the UK, France, Singapore and the Philippines – to minimise lag, while streamlined workflows, including digital approval of all documents, is pushing the boundaries for a CDE.

The management information delivery plan is simply a dashboard of live project data. Rigorous model requirements have been set for Uniclass 2015, the universal classification system for the construction sector, and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) asset data deliverables.

In reality

Models are used as evidence of compliance and to justify deviations from the design. End-user engagement was through virtual reality.

The technology has been used to put 100 volunteer Sydneysiders in a virtual station, with their insights on wayfinding and safety, for example, feeding early into the design process.

The aim is to improve the connection between the structure and its end users, and save costs by eliminating the need for future changes. Virtual reality is also being used by the client and project staff to visualise the stations.

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