OpenRoads ConceptStation software has a lot of tools to facilitate the development of a concept design for roads and bridges. However, as Fernando Borges, Senior Airport Infrastructure Manager and Alumni of the Master's in Global BIM Management for Infrastructure Projects explains, for airport infrastructure projects there are no properly specific tools, mainly templates with specific approach. For this reason, and as he will show below, it is necessary to use existing templates for roads and to modify them in order to obtain a specific template wanted.
Concept Design Process
Regarding the conceptualization of road projects, whether for new accesses or its expansions, there will be questionings, and in most cases, the questions will be regarding the kind of solution adopted, and of course its costs, it is inevitable. The process of organizing the ideas, thinking on alternatives that would be feasible and less expensive, considering the varieties of solutions that would match properly the requirements established by the client, and finally, a concise presentation, all these tasks and processes of development are challenging and require a virtuous range of skills in order to have the work properly done.
The possibility of demonstrating all the knowledge of the assignment, providing sufficient information for the process of decisions is not an easy task. Likewise, the ability to deliver what is expected, on the time planned and in accordance with the budget. I do admit that this is stressful, but at the same time, it is amazing.
Although fascinating, this process of conceptualization, putting all ideas on paper is not easy. Also, the time spent delivering the first sketch showing the general idea of the concept design, including its costs, is very time-consuming. However, Bentley Systems, the infrastructure engineering software company, since 2018 has developed specific software for this purpose. It is called OpenRoads ConceptStation. The main objective of this software is to start a project from the chosen area and rapidly, using the tools previously set out, create conceptual designs.
There are a few templates for roads and bridges, with references of manuals and pre-configured standards that can easily be applied for the vertical and the horizontal alignment of the road. There are innumerous design capabilities to help road and land development engineers to create intelligent conceptual design alternatives including its cost analysis.
There is no doubt about the facility of the concept process and the deliverables provided by the software. They’re extremely powerful in the improvement of the project results and the decision-making process.
Although the power of the software OpenRoads ConceptStation design, this software is oriented for road designs, and not for the airport infrastructures. There are no specific tools for the airport’s conceptualization. However, the existing templates can be managed to a set of different objects that can be used correctly on its procedure for the design conceptualization of the airport infrastructure projects. It is possible to modify the existing templates or create a new one in conformity with the requirements which are intended to follow.
Below are some of road templates modified to an airport infrastructure projects:
Source: OpenRoad ConceptStation – Final Master Thesis.
The process for changing road templates for a specific airport infrastructure, for example for the runway, shall follow a workflow, in this case following the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standard regulations.
ROI (returns) to the construction industry
The use of specific software, in our case the OpenRoads ConceptStation, is already known its benefits in terms of concept design and its facility to visualize the entire project, and also to determine its costs before even being built. However, this does not apply to the airport, due to not having this specific tool for the airport’s infrastructures.
In this process of design, currently, we must have a complete team of designers. Normally an engineer is required to define the runway geometry and its alignment. After this definition, a designer using CAD or similar software will work on the terrain for the longitudinal and transversal profiles. This process sometimes requires a minimum of 2 or 3 designers. However, based on the specific knowledge in airports, this process can be easily performed by an engineer using OpenRoads ConceptStation. The engineer can determine and design the geometry and at the same time analyze the respective profiles, also, for various alternatives, quickly and trustworthy, including the analysis of quantities and costs applied.
The reduction in the time spent for the various alternatives, added to the reduction on the team necessary for this design process, is the key for the return of investment not just concerning the software acquisition, but more in terms of deliverables and efficiency on providing various studies easily and quickly.
The use of specific software, mainly the OpenRoads ConceptStation, for the process of creation and design for the Airports infrastructures is a real necessity for the current stage of development and growing demand for this market. The airports shall be designed properly in order to provide the best model for construction, operation, maintenance, and for the best passenger experience.
The process of the design and the decision-making is sometimes frustrating, due to the number of varieties involved, which is difficult to demonstrate in a proper way for the “key actors”. The definition of a runway, for example, its alignment in reference to the wind conditions, the geometry for the better approach for landing and takeoff, its width including shoulders, the level of thresholds, the total length for the use of the specific aircraft mix determined for the airport; the taxiways and its connections to the taxilanes and aprons, all these points together must be defined properly, and for this process to be well understood for the various stakeholders, the appropriate tool is vital. For the airport's design it was necessary to edit all the templates in order to meet the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standard regulations.
Although the current process of editing the templates does not permit the perfect edition, as an example, the runway still represents horizontal markings as if it was a roadway. There is no way to change this to the specific mark for a runway.
It is important to mention that, even though this edition issue applies to all the templates edited, this inconvenience does not affect the design in terms of quantification. Only the presentation is not in compliance with the ICAO. As shown below, in my opinion, the overall concept design for an airport can be done and looks great.
Source: Lumenrt Designer – Final Master Thesis
Author: Fernando Borges, Senior Airport Infrastructure Manager and Alumni of the Master's in Global BIM Management for Infrastructure Projects.