Case Studies

Real stories from real BIM people

BIM at IFC RAIL, the international railway project


Published by:
Company: BuildingSMART International
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The decision to transform the traditional railway infrastructure into a digital foundation began in 2017 with the proposal of the IFC Rail project. CRBIM and 7 European Rail Infrastructure Managers decided to develop this project under the care of buildingSMART International and taking references from the BIM processes.

The team, made up of around 150 employees from 7 countries and divided into organizational units where the leaders from China and Europe were located, began their work by defining a railway model that would be included in international regulations. From there, their objective was to develop an open and international standard for railway infrastructure that would serve the entire industry and also expand SMART construction systems. The Steering Committee was also defined, comprising SBB, CRBIM, Trafikverket, FTIA, MINnD, SNCF, RFI, ÖBB-Infrastruktur, followed by Bane Nor and BaneDanmark for Phase 2. A group with clear guidelines that aimed and intends to establish a global standard for designing, building, operating and maintaining the railway line.

Effort and commitment has been devoted over the past two years by the project team to the implementation of the IFC Railway Standard. It was successfully delivered to Candidate Standard status under the BSI Process by the end of 2019. In March 2020, the project was able to complete phase 1 and start phase 2 in April.

Phase 1 IFC RAIL

There is a chronogram that explains how the work team carried out the entire phase 1. Some phases are determined about how the project was concluded and what was its determination process:

  1. Industrial needs and basic requirements: the lack of adoption and use of digital technologies in the railway infrastructure aroused the interest of the first business parties. The problems came from low productivity in the industry and the need to encourage assets to work better.
  2. IFC Rail Phase 1 project configuration: the first stakeholders designed a roadmap and established a professional team putting open standards at the centre. The goal was to better design, build and operate the rail infrastructure.
  3. Summary of products to be delivered: IFC Rail Phase 1: The first delivery of IFC RAIL was in 2015. In this initial phase, open standards were put at the centre and work began on how to extend the value of the BIM to provide an overview of railway assets. For the first phase, therefore, it was proposed to deliver an open BIM vision and develop a set of deliverables from the BSI Process.
  4. IFC 4.3: consists of a single candidate standard containing various infrastructure extensions such as roads, railways, tunnels, bridges and ports and waterways.
  5. IFC Rail in IFC 4.3: The IFC Rail team developed and delivered requirements for the IFC 4.3 Candidate Standard including: cant alignment, linear placement (such as geometry and positioning), spatial structure (such as breakdown structures), constructed elements, physical elements (such as track, signalling, telecommunications, energy) and functional aspects.

Phase 2 IFC RAIL

In April, Phase 2 of the project was launched with the objective of implementing and validating the format named IFC Candidate Standard 4.3 and moving it to Final Standard status. Once completed, it is intended to be passed to ISO for further publication. The basis for these tests are defined in the so-called history lines that focus on the infrastructure. 

The website contains a series of PDFs describing the process and the templates being used in this second phase. It also contains specific information such as the organization and other more detailed aspects. The workflow describes the implementation and validation process and the deliverables exchanged between the different roles. A process that was designed to enable some more effective collaboration between software vendors and project working groups. The team therefore offers support to the Software Providers that will implement the IFC 4.3 standard with the requirements that have been previously established by the project participants.

Image Source:BuildingSMART International IFC RAIL 

Type of Work
  • Building
How was the BIM Experience in the project?
Reality Simulation: Does it help to get an idea of the final product?
Waste reduction, labor costs and deviations
Greater control of the construction process
Improves collaboration between agents
Conflict resolution and clash detection
Correction and error handling
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