BAA Airports Limited: Airport Owner-Operator
BAA uses AutoCAD Map 3D Enterprise and Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server as well as Autodesk Consulting to provide more accurate information to help run London Heathrow.
BAA uses Autodesk Consulting and software for better communication management at Heathrow Airport.
"As an 'intelligent client,' we always make sure our requirements are clear and comprehensive. The use of Autodesk technology has been a huge help in getting the information we need, as well as for ensuring up-front that our supply chain can actually deliver what we need."
—Nigel Stroud, Geometry Information Manager, BAA Airports Limited
It was the mid-1960s when the British Airports Authority was formed to take over the day-to-day operations and administration of commercial aviation in the United Kingdom. Today known simply as BAA, the company is one of the largest and most successful airport owner-operators in the world, in charge of such heavily visited airports as London Heathrow and London Stansted, among others.
To say BAA is in a complex and demanding business would be the rankest of understatements. At Heathrow alone, BAA currently has 180 projects on the go, all delivering large amounts of data.
The company’s work touches on every aspect of its airports in a time when air travel has never been so popular, or so regulated. Recently, with help from Autodesk® Consulting and Autodesk’s geospatial tools, AutoCAD® Map 3D Enterprise and Autodesk® Infrastructure Map Server, BAA is transforming itself from a traditional construction manager approach to an intelligent client.
“As an ‘intelligent client’, we always make sure our requirements are clear and comprehensive” says Nigel Stroud, geometry information manager at BAA. “Our objective is to make every journey better for every passenger. Where we used to leave much more of the delivery to our suppliers, we are now insisting on a much more complete collaborative process with our supply chain. We are determining and setting a rigorous set of requirements, and the use of Autodesk technology has been a key enabler in this process, helping us get the information we need, as well as for ensuring up-front that our supply chain can actually deliver what we need.”
When Stroud joined BAA in 2000, the company had already noticed a need for better communication and collaboration between its numerous departments. “When I started, there were many different departments within BAA,” says Stroud. “The problem was that they had great trouble accurately communicating and effectively collaborating with one another. As a result, nobody ever seemed to get what they wanted or really needed.”
A still bigger challenge involved BAA’s rapidly aging systems for storing and accessing its most important data, particularly information on Heathrow’s infrastructure.”
“The Full Service Management (FSM) system we were working with was 15 years old,” says Stroud. “It simply wasn’t working well, especially when it came to GIS (geographical information systems), which are absolutely essential. Much of that old system was focused on our underground services, and using old technology was a key risk that potentially had a major impact on safety. We have 180 projects currently progressing and, if somebody is digging out there, they need to have an accurate picture of what is under the ground.”
Although the challenge was daunting, Stroud and his team also saw a significant opportunity. With help from Autodesk Consulting, BAA has instituted Heathrow Map Live, a new GIS system that provides more accurate, complete, and accessible information needed to run London Heathrow efficiently and support their Capital Investment Programme. This technology has enabled BAA to improve the coordination of its infrastructure works and the safety for workers and passengers.
“After a lot of research and planning, and with the crucial help of Autodesk technology and Autodesk Consulting, we’ve integrated all those diverse departments,” says Stroud.” We have set the data requirements and selected Autodesk technology to fit. We work in a Common Data Environment as a result our geometry information is in one place and easily disseminated throughout the organization. We are really raising the bar.”
The solution has also provided some unexpected benefits to BAA: “We’ve already been able to enhance the system in many ways,” says Stroud. “We are capturing environmental impact information, for instance, as well as more complete planning and survey information. We have also been able to fully integrate our floorplans. When a non-AutoCAD user can easily call up the latest Terminal 5 floorplan, in context and with the complete apron layout, that is just a fantastic improvement. The system has really given us more than what we expected, and it is a massive stepping stone for the way we deliver information.”
While BAA is proud of the fact it has now taken full control of geometry, Stroud is quick to credit Autodesk Consulting for its significant contribution to the implementation’s success.
“Autodesk Consulting has consistently gone out of its way to provide us with what we need,” says Stroud. “The team has been incredibly refreshing to work with, because it was immediately apparent that they wanted a great result just as much as we did.”