Collaboration led to Innovation on Wellington’s Trentham to Upper Hutt Project
Context & challenges
Trentham to Upper Hutt (T2UH) involved double tracking of 2.7 km of the Hutt Valley line between Trentham and Upper Hutt stations to enable trains to travel in both directions at the same time and deliver more frequent and reliable services. The project also included level crossing improvements and upgrades at Trentham and Wallaceville stations, including new platforms and shelters, and a new pedestrian underpass at Trentham.
The project is part of the $300M Wellington Metro Upgrade Programme (WMUP), a long-term programme of rail renewal works being delivered by KiwiRail and Metlink. It is KiwiRail’s first BIM enabled project and part of a wider BIM pilot to support KiwiRail's focus on digital connectivity and innovation.
- The project team sought to think and solve problems in a 3D environment, with the goal of eliminating risks during construction. The BIM-forward approach helped KiwiRail to realise its digital connectivity goal by developing a common data environment (CDE) where design models, survey data, and other digital engineering outputs could be hosted. Having the BIM model as the basis of design encouraged a collaborative process at each stage of the project lifecycle (procurement, design, construction, and asset management), with a real willingness for all partners on the project to engage and learn together on the digital transformation journey.
- Machine control and avoidance technology: the team created a solution that has kept workers safe and trains running, while providing great productivity benefits. The tool involves the use of digital shields to prevent machines from hitting hazards. Digital engineers send a 3D avoidance model to the machine’s computer to create virtual “no go” zones. Using GPS, the machine knows when it is close to the shield. If the machine touches the shield it will shut down, and the operator cannot go further. This ensures the machine operates in accordance with any issued permit.
- Clash and Service Strike Avoidance: Another objective on the project was to use 3D models to reduce the occurrence of re-work (due to coordination issues or service strikes during construction) and provide an accurate as built record of the services and constructed works.
The integration of 3D design information with point cloud information during design and construction has been a breakthrough benefit. Using point clouds enabled us to design in a way that ties into the environment and improve clash avoidance.
- Up-front As-builting: A key area KiwiRail was seeking performance improvement in was the capturing as-built data. Accurate and timely capture of as-built records is critical to optimise maintenance and operation of assets and ultimately, grow revenue. The earthworks detail captured during construction is significant (cut depths / layers) and greater than on any other project KiwiRail has delivered. This data will enable KiwiRail to identify the root cause of any issues with assets in the future, supporting resilient infrastructure.
- Breakthrough innovations & game-changing safety and productivity benefits: delivered under a collaborative ECI model, T2UH demonstrates a new bold way of working with industry for KiwiRail that aligns with the values promoted by the Construction Sector Accord. Through the intentional creation of a collaborative, high-performing team, KiwiRail, along with partners, Downer and Aurecon, have achieved breakthrough innovations on T2UH, which have provided game changing safety and productivity benefits for working in the rail corridor.
- Raising capability: The lessons learnt on this project have subsequently led to the deployment of new digital tools and training to allow drawings to be embedded into the 3D model.
- Legacy outcomes: Digital tools developed on T2UH will contribute to a more resilient, productive rail sector, and have the potential to enhance outcomes on other infrastructure projects in New Zealand.
Check out more details on the case study done by the Construction Sector Accord detailing how we were able to help reduce construction risks and improve productivity, working with KiwiRail and Aurecon.
“Without the partnership and the right behaviours and right attitudes from the Downer team, we wouldn’t be walking away from this project with the innovations that we have” Andy Lyon, Programme Director – Digital Engineering |KiwiRail