How dashboards are connecting BIM and ICT in complex building projects

Salman Ser I Pc

The construction of Denmark's first high-rise waterworks got flipped around when the heavy process plants had to adapt to the building – contrary to the other way around. This required a BIM-dashboard that signalled red at any risk of error.

October 5, 2020

Usually, waterworks are built where there is plenty of space – e.g. on an empty field outside a city. This was by no measure the case with Denmark's first high-rise waterworks, which is scheduled to be complete in 2022 in the attractive Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen. The building stretches upward, not outward, in order to fit.

ICT stands for Information and Communications Technology, meaning technology, which enables its users to access, edit, transfer, and sage information.

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, and refers to a collective digital model of a building. The purpose is to clarify terms, definitions, and connections between objects in a construction case or a building.

This has resulted in a reverse workflow, whereby the subconsultant water specialist Krüger was only able to commence the design and comprehensive process plant execution after NIRAS and Gottlieb Paludan Architects had designed the entire building.

To ensure the best solutions for the building, the client Frederiksberg Waterworks had high demands for the project from the very beginning in terms of digital models and data to illustrate and describe the deliverance.

Read more: Denmark's first high-rise waterworks is climate friendly and flexible

The project challenged us in a constructive way. The client fostered good discussions with us, which created the best framework for the project - e.g. for the chosen modelling processes, interdisciplinary coordination, and classification.

We consequently prioritised to do as much of the project preparation as possible together with the other team members.

Digitalisation is more about people than tools

The preparation among other things consisted of a workshop, during which Krüger, GPA, Arkil, and NIRAS went through the requirements and formal agreements, and the two companies got to know each other's ways of working, their software-tools, and the wishes and expectations they each had for the project.

It is important to support and effectuate the project team's work processes with digital tools. There are many interfaces between process and construction in installation-heavy buildings, such as a high-rise waterworks. It was thus crucial to frame our collaboration so we were able to create good synergies.

Dashboard analyses data across all projects

The high ICT-requirements, many 3D-models, 2D-sketches, and documents constituted a large connected web of elements. This necessitated the ability to connect the project material across the board, and that an object - e.g. a particular wall - always had the same code.

To always be able to follow the project live and conduct quality assurance and monitor the many data, NIRAS has developed an internal tool consisting of a dashboard, which can visualise data and create an overview for the project team.

The challenge is often that errors are found late relative to the completion of the project. This means that the error grows more and more and eventually becomes a significant problem close to the delivery. With this dashboard, we have found a way to effectively monitor our models live, so we basically have a red light blinking if challenges require our attention.

The dashboard illustrates the quality of the model.
The dashboard illustrates the quality of the model.

Additional benefits of the dashboard include our ability to learn more from our project data over time and trace tendencies, which can affect the quality of our projects.

The perspective for the dashboard is to develop an equivalent for our clients, enabling them to also monitor their data from models, time schedules, and budget on their projects live.

"NIRAS’ BIM/ICT concept is definitely a tool that reduces design errors and thereby saves the client technical and time consuming challenges in the construction phase, as well as the appertaining economic consequences thereof."

Project Director Steen Horskær, Arkil

Aside from Frederiksberg High-Rise Waterworks, NIRAS also has experience with dashboards from other complex buildings, such as the Children’s Hospital Copenhagen.

Here we among other things found causes that slowed down our models, and were thus able to optimize them, so we could complete the design process quicker.

Saves the contractor technical and time-consuming challenges

While Krüger designs and executes the process plants, GPA and NIRAS design all the constructions, after which the general contractor, Arkil, establishes the constructions and town hall building on the ground.

Arkil made great use of NIRAS’ BIM/ICT-concept when we devised the execution project for the design-build contract. Through the entire process, the digital setup was a solid tool to coordinate all the professional disciplines, illustrate collisions and subsequently adapt so the project continuously remained well-coordinated both internally in the project team, and for the client in the individual phases.


Salman Pey

Salman Pey

Expertise Director

Allerød, Denmark

+45 6020 9725