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MWH Global (MWH) has adopted Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the design of large hydropower and civil infrastructure projects. For more than four years, the firm has relied on Autodesk® BIM solutions for infrastructure design, team collaboration and project coordination. Currently, MWH is using BIM on the Third Set of Locks project of the Panama Canal Expansion, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world today.
With this award, Autodesk recognizes MWH for using BIM to help:
MWH provides strategic management, technical engineering and construction services for wet infrastructure projects. The wet infrastructure sector encompasses a full range of water-related projects and programs, including water supply, treatment and storage, water resources management, hydropower and renewable energy, and natural resources. The company was founded in 1844 and is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado with operations in the North and South America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
MWH employs a BIM process for the site design of its infrastructure projects and for structural, architectural, and utility design. In addition, the firm uses Autodesk BIM software to support conceptual design, visualization, and decision-making for improved cross-discipline design and coordination.
MWH typically utilizes the following products for its BIM workflow:
MWH is using Autodesk BIM solutions for the design of the Third Set of Locks project of the Panama Canal Expansion. The Panama Canal was originally completed in 1914, and the third set of locks will be able to accommodate larger container cargo and tanker ships, capable of carrying twice as much cargo as ships that currently pass through the Canal. In 2009, the Panama Canal Authority, the autonomous agency that manages the waterway, awarded a $3.12 billion contract to international consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC). MWH leads the design team in a joint venture called CICP Consultores Internacionales LLC (CICP).
The third set of locks will expand the Canal’s capacity through integrated components including two lock facilities—one on the Atlantic Side and another on the Pacific—to accommodate these larger ships, known as Post-Panamax ships. Construction on the third set of locks—the most significant part of the expansion project—began in Fall 2009 and is scheduled for completion in 2014, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the original Canal.
Design plans for the project call for some innovative design aspects, including water saving basins that save and reuse 60 percent of the fresh water used in the lock system and state-of-the-art seismic impact analysis.
During the project’s conceptual design phase, MWH benefitted from the use of 3ds Max Design. The team produced design visualizations to facilitate the client’s understanding of the several design options proposed for this massive project. Now MWH relies on the Revit family of products for the detailed design of the canal’s new lock structures, buildings, control towers, and myriad of supporting utilities.
Intelligent 3D models give the team better insight into the design of this complex project and are instrumental for keeping the project design and documentation better coordinated, helping to save both time and money. For example, as the team receives updated geotechnical information, the parametric modeling capabilities of the Revit software products help the team quickly modify the structural design of the massive concrete lock structures. The related documentation is in turn automatically updated.
The dynamic characteristics of the Civil 3D software have helped MWH create a more efficient and accurate site design.
MWH employs Navisworks Manage software to improve cross-discipline coordination and help resolve design conflicts prior to construction, increasing the quality of the project and helping to prevent costly field changes. MWH aggregates numerous multidiscipline design models from an extended design team spread across North and South America, Europe, and Asia to better manage project design data. Using the Navisworks software for clash detection, the team can improve the coordination of the building systems and structure, as well as the miles of conduits, pipes, and control wiring that snake through the lock’s channels and passageways.
MWH is capturing asset information such as equipment identification tags for inclusion in operations manuals that incorporate project models and data.
Autodesk Consulting assisted MWH in its transition from a predominantly 2D-design-workflow to the use of intelligent 3D model–based processes for the Panama Canal Expansion project. Autodesk Consulting also provided MWH with initial product implementation and training services, and continues to provide product support and mentoring.
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