BIM implementation in the Dam Engineering Division of EDP: application to hydroelectric power plant design

Alexandre Marques

University of Minho

Engineering Division of EDP (Energies of Portugal)


The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry is progressively opting for modernized and automated solutions, namely through the increasing application of information technologies in their processes. Thereby, relevant changes can be seen at the level of collaboration, representation, analysis and manufacturing, with the proliferation of Building Information Modeling (BIM), which has been transforming the methodologies for design and construction of buildings. While the industry has come to see the benefits that accrue from the adoption of BIM, its implementation follows a slow process when compared to the incorporation of information technologies from other industries. The main constraints to this adoption are related to technical issues, together with the need for a cultural change.

This work, developed in the department of Foundations and Structures of the Dam Engineering Division of EDP (Energies of Portugal), aimed to assess the main challenges to the implementation of BIM in the design phase of hydroelectric developments (including power plants). Thereby, prototype BIM models of such type of projects were made, namely components of the hydroelectric developments of Venda Nova III and Fridão. For Venda Nova III the developed BIM models included the powerhouse, the intake and the headrace tunnel. For Fridão, only the outlet was modelled. The synergy between the visual programming language Dynamo and the BIM platform Revit was used for the modelling of complex solid bodies. The created models were explored for different ‘BIM uses’, namely: to obtain design drawings, quantity take-offs, rebar modelling (preparation and constructability issues), production of multimedia content.

In addition to developing and operating models, a specific BIM Execution Plan is proposed, which aims to promote and facilitate the implementation of BIM methodologies in the department (within EDP), which is supported by several additional documents that are meant to assist in several practical concerns.

With the development of virtual models and the BIM Execution Plan, as well as the several lessons learned in the process, it is considered that the BIM methodology proved to be advantageous in the design phase of projects related to hydroelectric developments, and its implementation is feasible.

See the Master thesis here -> http://repositorium.sdum.uminho.pt/handle/1822/40600

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