The road project in the Finnish town of Laihia, launched in autumn 2015 to improve the traffic arrangements and safety in the centre, is unique in many ways: no drawings or diagrams printed on paper are used for reviewing and commenting on the plans.
‘The Finnish Transport Agency, which commissioned the work, required extensive use of information modelling. For example, at the worksite meetings we work with a digital information model alone. For us as the contractor it is easier to see how the plans fit in with the existing structures. It’s a great experience to be involved in a project like this,’ explains Sami Immonen, Skanska Infra Oy’s project manager.
According to him, analysing the impact of the existing structures on construction work is easier with an information model than a paper plan.
‘For example, presenting the rebaring for a complex corner structure is almost impossible with adequate precision and detail in 2D, and some of the design work must be carried out on-site. Information modelling eliminates this problem. This is particularly evident in the on-site work as no time is wasted on sorting out the design details, and we can get cracking with the actual construction work. This saves both time and money,’ says Immonen.
‘When it comes to the digitalisation of construction sites, Skanska Infra is one of the frontrunners in Finland. As the information model was available to all parties and no paper copies were required, our designers could make the most of their expertise. With information modelling, you can produce extremely detailed plans. And precision has been of the essence in the project as some areas were particularly tricky to design. Using information modelling as a tool, we could achieve sufficient precision and ensure feasibility,’ explains Markus Ventola, head of AINS Group’s infrastructure engineering unit.
‘AINS Group has carried out most of their design work with the help of information modelling for a long time, and now we adopted the same approach in our construction operations.’ – Sami Immonen, Skanska Infra
Laihia’s road project was realised as a design/build delivery, a method that requires open and direct communications between the participants. The use of information modelling in design can provide a response to many of the challenges presented by this delivery type. For the Laihia project, the work processes and progress were planned as collaboration between the parties involved, enabling great flexibility in design solutions, which could be adapted to achieve the best possible outcome. Editing the model accordingly was also quick and easy.
‘This working method requires patience from the designers. As a contractor, we impose certain restrictions to ensure that the project fits in with our production,’ explains Immonen.
Laihia’s road project involves the construction of about two kilometres of new main road and the renovation of around 2.5 kilometres of an existing road. In addition, three interchanges, seven bridges and new, safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians will be built, along with about two kilometres of new noise barrier. The three operators participating in the project have access to the same design tools: Tekla Civil for road engineering and Tekla Structures for bridge engineering. Also, various construction stages have been evaluated at joint meetings. In design work, the goals have included seamless work processes and the cost-efficient use of high-quality construction materials and methods.
‘A large project is always a learning curve. In this project, all participants have enjoyed the opportunity to use their expertise to influence the progress at each stage. That brings additional precision to the project and ensures appropriate quality management processes on every level.’
Building success together: Finnish Transport Agency, Skanska Infra Oy, AINS Group Suunnittelu Oy
Accomplishments: Whereas the conventional process would have involved preparing a construction plan with a single realisation method, in this project various parties joined forces to identify the ideal solutions. All parties shared a vision of a project where information modelling is utilised extensively and seamless work processes are prioritised, which helped save time and money.
The construction design is now finished, and the process went well. The design process has progressed in a different manner than before as information models were utilised and approved by the commissioner.