Completed in 2017, the Queensferry Crossing bridge in Scotland represents one of the largest infrastructure projects ever constructed in Europe. It required sophisticated reinforcement, with a main span width of about 0.4 miles and three pylons rising to nearly 700 feet tall to accommodate the shipping channels below it on the Firth of Forth. Complicating the construction of the Queensferry Crossing bridge was the presence of two other bridges located in the immediate vicinity of the estuary, one used for rail traffic and the other for remaining traffic. In order to ensure success, virtual design and construction (VDC) methodology was utilized for the bridge’s reinforcement and execution plans.
WHAT IS VDC?
As a concept, VDC focuses on the entire lifecycle of the bridge to be constructed. It is a system of enhanced information-sharing and workflows encompassing the entire process of building a model straight through to utilizing it for design and construction applications, including detailing, virtual fit-up, quantities, bar lists, schedules and conflict checking. “What it means in practice is that you’re able to use building information modeling (BIM), 4D staging tools, embedded information, and terrain models, all combined in a way that enables you to put a project through a virtual construction process before you actually build it,” says David Loughery, Business Development Manager for Allplan.