The implementation of geotechnical data Into the BIM process

Liam Tawelian, Slobodan Mickovski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
301 Downloads (Pure)


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a relatively new concept to the UK construction industry. With its inception in recent years, the industry is still coming to grips with its utilisation, with around 54% of projects utilising BIM as of 2014. Due to this, BIM has become an extremely relevant topic within the UK infrastructure and the government has instilled an initiative for all centrally-funded projects to utilise BIM as a design tool. However, an optimal BIM strategy has not yet been developed or utilised for transport infrastructure projects which was the primary rationale for this research project. This paper reviews the current BIM process and the limitations it has and how they can be mitigated and, in turn, the process ameliorated in terms of project cost and time. Geotechnical data integration has the potential to improve the BIM process since most projects do not take below-ground data into account. As a result the primary purpose of this study is specifically concerned with investigating how the integration of geotechnical data into the BIM strategy will be possible and how it can influence the process in a cost- and time-saving manner. A number of methods of integrating geotechnical data into the BIM process were considered and critically reviewed, and the potential application of an optimal method focusing on transportation geotechnics was carried out. The research was carried out using a mixed-method approach utilising both positivist and interpretivist strategies. Specifically, a quantitative analysis of a questionnaire survey on qualified UK engineers with industrial experience was analysed together with an analysis of a geotechnical design and construction case study. The results showed that the geotechnical engineers fully support the integration of geotechnical data into the BIM process, while the majority of them consider that this would provide significant cost and time savings in major infrastructure projects as demonstrated in the case study of design and construction of landslip prevention measures for a failed trunk road embankment in Scotland. Utilisation of current data formats through integration with the above-ground data is recommended for a holistic building information model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734–741
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Engineering
Early online date13 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
EventXVI ECSMGE Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sept 201518 Sept 2015


  • geotechnical engineering; transportation; building information modelling; earthworks; buried services


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