BIM & Digital

Raising rebar QA at Hinkley

Laing O’Rourke turned to Trimble and Viewpoint to help refine its QA processes for rebar on Hinkley Point C
A rebar cage being lifted into Unit 2 Nuclear Island.

On a nuclear construction project, achieving live continuous visualisation of QA is no easy task.

With rebar, Laing O’Rourke’s workflow to get models to the field previously involved exporting an IFC 3D file from Tekla software into Simplebim, where meta-data and component coding was added. This was then exported as an IFC into Trimble Connect for model annotations. However, the process of applying model annotations on such a large project as Hinkley leads to some dizzying numbers and a huge problem, as Dr Scott McGovern, Laing O’Rourke’s head of digital engineering explains.

“It takes 1.5 to two days to annotate each drawing; there are an average of 40 drawings per model, five models per building and 50 buildings – the task would take 15,000 to 20,000 person days,” he says.

Dr Scott McGovern, Laing O’Rourke

“We’ve got some continuous concrete pours that last up to three days – the ability to know where you’re at with that pour is incredibly important”

Scott McGovern, Laing O’Rourke

This is where Trimble Connect came in. The software company created a specification for changes to 3D model views. “This enabled the addition of dimensions, such as rebar start and end coordinates, colour, ID for traceability,” Steven Jackson, technical manager at Trimble Solutions UK, explains.

The scripting means workflows can be automated with significant time savings. McGovern estimates that around half a day is saved on annotating each drawing, meaning a saving of between 10,000 and 15,000 person days.

The next challenge was how to connect QA reports to 3D model data. This brought in Viewpoint and its Field View cloud-based mobile access platform for quality assurance.

Typically, QA inspectors take their tablets out on site all day, gather data in Field View and sync the tablets when they get back to the office. As there is so much data to upload, it is typically 24 hours old by the time it can be viewed.

However, McGovern notes: “There are instances where we’d like to see live data. For example, because of the size of the project, we’ve got some continuous concrete pours that last up to three days – the ability to know where you’re at with that pour is incredibly important.”

Viewpoint’s development work has allowed Laing O’Rourke to visualise live QA data on the model by location, pulling key data such as completion status back to the model, with the added ability to raise forms from the model.

“This will allow us to set up some interesting workflows to manage all the inspections that need to be undertaken,” says McGovern.

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