The Hong Kong Institute of Utility Specialists, Hong Kong
Ir. C K Ng is a Civil and Information Engineer, Utility Specialist and BIM Consultant. After graduation from the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Hong Kong in 1980, Ir. Ng started his engineering career with various engineering departments of the Government of HKSAR. He obtained an MSc in Geo-information Systems from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with Distinction in 1998. He is a visiting lecturer on BIM for Chu Hai College of Higher Education. He is currently working for a construction IT company providing BIM services and developing a big data system for storing bore logs and generating bore hole BIM models. As the President of the Hong Kong Institute of Utility Specialists, he acts as a member of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Council Committee on BIM. He is working on the BIM Standards of Underground Utilities and promoting digital construction from the ground up.
From Underground BIM to Digital Construction
Digital Twin has become one of the hottest terms in information technology. The original meaning of digital twin is the virtual representation of a real object. For AEC, Digital Twins refers to the use of BIM and GIS (Geographical Information System) for planning of AEC projects or for asset management when geographical reference is required or helpful. Whenever we need to plan any projects in urban area, the key information below ground, as concluded in practical projects stated below, are utilities and boreholes. So, utilities and borehole information are sometimes called the Digital Twins of Underground BIM. The understanding of the Digital Twins of Underground BIM is of paramount importance to the development of Urban Underground Space.
The most recent, relevant and thorough study on the Digital Twins of Underground BIM should be the Project Iceberg (2016-17). The Project was initiated in 2015 by the British Geological Survey (BGS), Ordnance Survey (OS) and Future Cities Catapult. The project was proposed because of the lack of information about underground, difficulties relating to data capture and the need of sharing of information about subsurface. Land authority, road administrator, project client, geologist and utility undertakers concern about the underground information. Many cities such as London, Manchester, Glasgow have tried to collect the information of underground BIM in a systematic way. There are many projects such as Map the Underworld, Innovate UK, Assessing Subsurface Knowledge (ASK), Digital Built Britain. Most of them are not quite successful due to poor data quality, data interoperability, low speed of access and limited data coverage. Glasgow City Council has successful created the ASK Network which is a data and knowledge exchange network between the public and private sectors. Heathrow Airport has shared its successful experience in creating a Common Data Environment for information sharing. The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) first published the digital format of storing borehole data in 1992. Now, it becomes the de facto format of borehole records.
Hong Kong Government just released the Construction 2.0 (HKC2) which lists out three pillars, namely, innovation, professionalism and revitalisation. For innovation, HKC2 stated that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is one of the key technologies required. Others relevant terms on digital and contractual aspects mentioned are project management information system, digitisation of site management, Construction Project Information Committee (UK), New Engineering Contract (NEC). The author will discuss the relevance of Underground BIM to Digital Construction.