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Aecom uses Rapid Model Prototyping for Lee Tunnel enabling works

Aecom has delivered a physical model of historic structures at Beckton Sewage Treatment Works as part of enabling works for the Lee Tunnel.

The consultant used Rapid Model Prototyping (RMP) technology − a method that produces a physical print from 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) data − to build layers upon existing layers, and create the physical model for Thames Water.

The innovative use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology helped preserve the actual structures by revealing critical design and engineering aspects that would have been undetected through historical drawings.

“To have produced the CAD model by traditional methods would have been extremely time consuming; however, by using our BIM tools, we were able to generate all elements of the model in an effective and efficient manner,” said Aecom technical director Chris Abdee.

The work enabled the Old Sewage treatment works site to receive the Lee Tunnel’s drive shaft, which is now under construction.

The new shaft required the surface structures, including the Old Engine House, to be demolished, with the underground structures being filled in with lightweight foam concrete.

To ensure the accurate planning of the sludge removal and concrete infilling process and for discussion with external stakeholders, Thames Water commissioned Aecom to provide a physical model of the historic structures.

“The RMP process provided an opportunity for the client and stakeholders to make informed decisions during the design process regarding the finished project,” said Abdee.

Building Information Modelling produces a concrete and realistic product that reflects the finished building or design element with minimal cost prior to site activity.

Work on the 6.4km Lee Tunnel drive will commence during 2011. The project is due for completion during early 2015.

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