Male workers at Copenhagen Airport
During the extensive expansion of Copenhagen Airport.

Digital innovative thinking finds faults and saves time in the development of Copenhagen Airport

During the extensive expansion of Copenhagen Airport, a combination of 3D models and digital rules ensures compliance in relation to fire protection, electrical installations, drainage, heat and ventilation regulations. This reduced time spent fault finding, thereby freeing up resources to optimize the project.

14. Dec 2018

By 2040, the capacity of Copenhagen Airport will expand to handle 40 million travelers per year, up from  25 million today. With the many requirements for drainage and electrical installations, there are a wide array of items for the airport's asset managers to keep track. Currently, asset managers have to review  drawings covering several thousand square meters. However, by translating the airport's design manuals into digital rules and using 3D models of the project, the airport’s asset manager can, with only a few clicks, easily find the location of none complying elements. In this way, errors are easily detected, providing increased time to optimize the project.

Quick and efficient check of requirements

Copenhagen Airport has a number of design manuals describing technical requirements and guidelines for design and construction. There are many details to consider ranging from, the requirement for drainage pipework penetrations to floor decks to be not less than Ø75 mm, floor drains to all toilet anterooms and  switchgear not to be placed lower than 40 cm from the floor.

The digital rulesets allow the airport to quickly and efficiently check if requirements are met.

Once the rules are loaded together with the 3D model, the airport's employees will be guided to the position in the virtual building where, for example, switchgear has to be moved or a step altered in order to comply with the requirements.

There are multiple possibilities for drafting a set of rule. This is illustrated by an example of a staircase that exceeds the maximum allowable step riser height (rise of 0.18 m), an accessibility requirement in BR18, §57. Therefore, in addition to checking Copenhagen Airport's own building requirements, it is also easy to check that the project is in compliance with Danish Building Regulations.

More time to optimize the project

NIRAS’ solution means that the asset managers at Copenhagen Airport, who are responsible for fire, electricity, heating and ventilation, will be able to find errors that need to be corrected quickly.

"The quality of the finished building requires that the right solutions are utilized from the start of the project. Automation frees up time for our asset managers, so they can focus on solving the real challenges and find the best solutions. It gives peace of mind knowing that quality control is more than just systematic random sampling, but allows us to review the entire project material. Findings are recorded, to ensure solutions are implemented throughout the project. Our long term goal is to distribute these rulesets to consultants, enabling them to review their own material, and thus deliver projects of an even higher quality”, says Head of department Michael Ørsted, Technical Knowledge Center, CPH.

"Automatic reviews allow our consultants, in a relatively simple and efficient way, to test their project against a number of requirements detailed in our design manual. This will result in high quality projects which will ensure our demands met. In this way, we can focus more on the design of the specific project, rather than on errors and shortcomings in the material, "adds Kasper Moisgaard Poulsen, Asset Manager HVAC, Asset Planning CPH.

"This digital solution can scrutinize the entire project in a few seconds, significantly reducing the number of errors before construction starts. This also means that the developer, to a greater extent, will get the project he wanted”, says Consulting engineer Morten Stig Baden from NIRAS.

NIRAS' work with the development of the digital solution also comprises of a conversion of the design manual into measurable requirements. Part of the work has therefore focused on identifying the measurable requirements and converting the more elastic requirements into measurement units that can be used in the 3D model.

Great potential in digital solutions

Today, it is common practice to use digital rulesets to check if, for example, a ventilation duct and a bearing beam collide in a 3D model. It is a new practice that clients use these digital solutions proactively, investigating whether their own quality requirements are met in the project. This development may result in the construction industry realizing that digital rulesets can also be used to check other conditions, for example, if projects comply with Building Regulations.