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25 JUN 2018

A game-changing expansion for Malaysia

With traffic jams adding approximately 158 hours to the average driver's commute per year in Kuala Lumpur, any option to reduce travel time is a welcome one. An estimated 1.1 million people choose to travel by train or bus each day, and this is set to increase with the expansion of the Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya (SSP) Line, a corridor that could reduce congestion on roads by up to 1.2 million people.

Mr Poh Seng Tiok is the Director of Planning & Design for the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC), the developer and asset owner behind Malaysia’s Mass Rapid Transit Project. He explains why this expansion is important for Kuala Lumpur and how technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), have helped ensure the development’s success.

Why is the Klang Valley MRT expansion important for Malaysia?

The Klang Valley MRT project involves the construction of a rail-based public transport network which, together with the existing light rail transit (LRT), monorail, KTM Komuter, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit systems, will form the backbone of the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley region’s public transport system.

The first line, the Sungai Buloh–Kajang (SBK) Line begins from Sungai Buloh, located to the north-west of Kuala Lumpur, and runs through the city centre before ending in Kajang, a fast-developing town to the south-east of the city.

Spanning over 51km, the SBK Line comprises an underground line of 9.5km and a total of 31 stations, of which seven will be underground. It is expected to serve an estimated population of 1.2 million.

The Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya (SSP) Line is the second KVMRT line; it is currently under construction, which will begin after the completion of the SBK Line. The SSP will serve a corridor occupied by around two million people from Sungai Buloh, through the centre of Kuala Lumpur and its southern suburbs, to Putrajaya, Malaysia’s federal administrative centre. A total of 37 stations, 11 of them underground, will be built.

The SBK Line commenced full operation in July 2017; the SSP Line should follow in July 2022.

This is perhaps the first metro project in Asia to mandate the use of BIM Level 2. What impact has this had on the SSP line’s construction?

Mandating the use of BIM Level 2 throughout the design, construction and asset management, and operation stages for the SSP Line, allowed MRTC to improve the design coordination and management of construction work for the SSP line.

We aimed to increase the precision of construction, reduce instances of having to rework designs, and improve safety standards by enabling seamless synchronisation and information exchange between external vendors. BIM Level 2 has enabled all project disciplines to work dynamically using a federated model for coordinated design, despite the participation of numerous external vendors and a lot of decentralised information.

What benefits do newer technologies offer the project’s design and construction processes?

Conventional design and build processes involve an extensive information exchange right after the architect “freezes” a layout. This “frozen” layout is used by professionals from the various disciplines working on the project itself. While the electrical and mechanical (E&M) building services and system contractors use this layout to proceed with their Individual Service Drawing (ISD), the architect is working on a revision of the layout in preparation for the next milestone.

Because of this staggered design, there is a risk that data will be mismatched as new drawings are produced that may be based on outdated information. This process continues through subsequent stages until the design submission is finalised. Introducing BIM to processes allows all disciplines to work in a linear way. This is achieved by getting all disciplines to develop designs using a federated model so that design coordination is carried out in an integrated and dynamic way.

To achieve this integration, stakeholders must all refer to the same “live” model. This can only be achieved if the model is being kept in a common data environment, which provides visibility of drawing revisions, and allows architectural, civil and structural (C&S), tunnel, building services and E&M teams to exchange in the same environment.

So, how have you ensured that all disciplines are working collaboratively throughout the project?

To bring users from different locations together within the same design platform, MRTC has set up a Common Data Environment (CDE) platform, which allows multi-disciplinary working throughout the whole project lifecycle. The aim of the CDE is to support all the design consultants and help them carry out their design in a collaborative way using common processes and standards. Systems such as Bentley System’s ProjectWise and AssetWise and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, allow information can to be shared across various parties, which reduces the risk of data loss and rework due to misinterpretation. This has enabled over 1,500 users on the CDE to collaborate on more than 45,000 documents, corresponding to 750GB of design files.

What are the best practices when applying BIM Level 2 to a project?

BIM Management and governance frameworks are one of the key criteria in achieving the BS1192 workflow for BIM compliance. MRTC has mandated that the SSP Line project achieves Level 2 BIM by:

  • specifying requirements
  • setting out the framework for collaborative working on BIM-enabled projects
  • providing specific guidance for the information management requirements associated with projects delivered using BIM

In the SSP line project, to carry out an integrated design workflow, a common standard for BIM execution and delivery have been established to avoid miscommunication between disciplines when they start to share design models for coordination.

Hear more at the RICS BIM Conference 2018

Mr Poh Seng Tiok will go into more detail about the expansion at the third annual RICS BIM Conference 2018, on 25 July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The conference will take a closer look at Malaysia's Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP) 2016–2020 and discuss how the country's construction projects could benefit from the implementation of BIM.

Spaces are limited, but tickets are still available.