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Auckland Airport Digital Twin Maps Course For International Award

Auckland Airport’s development of Building Information Models (BIM) – or digital replicas of buildings – to support the design and management of key infrastructure assets, has been celebrated with a prestigious international award.

Auckland Airport was recently announced the winner of the Asset Owners category in the BuildingSMART International 2020 Awards. BuildingSMART is the worldwide industry body driving the digital transformation of the built-asset industry, through the creation and adoption of open, international standards and solutions for infrastructure and buildings.

Karl Fitzpatrick, Auckland Airport’s BIM Manager, said a “digital twin” of the organisation’s current and future built assets is being created using a range of applications that allow the sharing of information using open standards.

“All of our key assets are being developed to eventually become digital twins, meaning we’re building a complete 3D digital picture of our international and domestic terminals – right down to the furniture – to be available anywhere and anytime for staff needing to gain a better understanding of our buildings.”

The approach is used in designing complex infrastructure projects, and to create baseline data that is used to manage and maintain the asset throughout its lifecycle. It pulls together data and information that might otherwise have been held within different teams across the business.

Auckland Airport worked with survey partners to utilise the latest laser-scanning processes capturing the airport’s existing terminal infrastructure to piece together a complex puzzle.

“This important work provides us with a much greater understanding of our built assets meaning we can share more accurate information with our design and engineering consultants,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “They might otherwise have been left to work with often outdated and historical 2D plans.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said the scale of Auckland Airport’s infrastructure projects meant it made sense to make better use of data.

“While it’s common for designers and project teams to use BIM, very few asset owners in the world have gone as far with it as Auckland Airport has,” he said.

The judges feedback particularly commended Auckland Airport on the way models have been developed – incrementally adding and benefiting from small gains rather than over-reaching and becoming bogged down in complexity.

“With this approach, we’re not working with one single software application, instead we encourage designers, consultants and construction teams to use whatever tool suits their industry needs,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

This ensures Auckland Airport’s consultants and contractors can innovate or try new applications and keep pace with the rapid development taking place within this relatively new industry.

“In order for us to stay ahead of the game as a client, we want to avoid the trap of telling people they must use one specific tool. Our infrastructure types are so diverse, that no single tool does it all.”

To find out more about the awards, go to www.buildingsmart.org/bsi-awards-2020/.

To see the video presentation that featured in Auckland Airport’s entry, go to https://vimeo.com/user7933951/download/474915367/21b4e558f2.

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