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City-level BIM could transform engineering

bim picture

New Civil Engineer asked Peter Madden, chief executive at urban consultant Future Cities Catapult, how he would invest £1M in a technology relevant to civil engineering.

Madden said his focus would be on building information modelling (BIM) implemented at a city level, including retrospective and sub-surface.

“This is one of the cornerstones of having a truly integrated built environment and associated infrastructure. It will allow safe construction, maintenance and operation with increased surety of outcome and unleash new opportunities and business models we have yet to uncover,” he added.

But Madden acknowledged that BIM is also a technology that carries risks. 

“The level of information collected used for positive outcomes will be of great social and commercial value. However, if this information is not carefully stored, shared and used, it could be used for destructive purposes. We need to be mindful of this, not scared of it and ensure the necessary safeguards are implemented,” added Madden. 

And although BIM will be important, there are other technological developments that should not be forgotten, he said. 

“There is a plethora of data in the built environment, this data is often flat, in silos and seldom shared. If we are to maximise the equity of the existing data landscape we will need to develop the data ‘babel fish’ to allow these disparate data sources to be combined, cleansed and used to give deeper insight and create new business models,” explained Madden. 

To find out more about Madden’s views on how the civils sector will change with technological advances, hear him speak at the upcoming Future Tech Forum, which takes place on 14 and 15 September, at the Crystal in London.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • And who takes the legal responsibility for it? What happens when something is incorrectly recorded? Who maintains it?
    It's a good idea but fraught with legal difficulties - especially when buildings and service ownership can change easily.

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