Bentley’s Connected Data Environment Improves Collaboration on Thames Tideway Project


The London sewerage system was designed in the Victorian era to serve a population of 4 million people. There are now more than 8 million people in London, and this growth has put significant strain on the system, causing it to spill millions of tons of sewage into the tidal section of the River Thames each year. This happens about 50 times during a year. The Thames Tideway Project will reduce these occurrences to about four a year. The project has been divided into three contracts, East, Central, and West with a total value exceeding GBP 4 billion. There are many challenges facing a project of this scale, from marine construction works in the River Thames, creating a new profile to the river walls, to solving design issues where large gas mains are present in proximity to the existing rivers walls. Therefore, it is critical that such services are protected during construction works.

AECOM, part of a joint venture consisting of Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke (‘Flo’), is the main designer on the Central Contract to the Main Works Contractor. AECOM undertook to host the Central Contract on behalf of Flo using Bentley Systems’ Connected Data Environment based on ProjectWise for its ability to manage engineering data and its scalability from small to large projects. Using workflows, defined document coding, and managed workspaces, AECOM has delivered a controlled and secure CDE to manage this highly complex project. ProjectWise, as the hub of the CDE and leveraging the established project standards, provides a central repository for all project data produced by each stakeholder involved on this contract. This ensures that they are working to a common standard, including temporary and permanent works.

MicroStation and OpenBuildings Designer act as the deliverables format for drawings and models, as defined by the main client. AECOM adopted these applications because of their compatibility with each other and with ProjectWise. AECOM also used Bentley Rebar, Navigator, Pointools, Descartes, gINT, Bentley Facilities Manager, and ContextCapture. Using these interoperable applications ensured limited risk and avoided the need for additional processes.

AECOM has already realized numerous benefits and savings through the adoption of a digital twin and a CDE. iModels were produced from the Design Master Model on a weekly and monthly basis and available for all stakeholders to see the development of each site as it progressed. The project team used the iModels to carry out multidiscipline clash checks that were sent to the design and modeling teams to resolve. The project team also used iModels during the internal design review process. Using the project digital twin and CDE also resulted in “non-engineering” savings, including increased IT security and reliability, better access and editing control, improved automatic PDF generation, and reduced travel costs for project members by enabling real-time access anywhere, at any time.

Barry Jones, associate director and BIM manager with AECOM, said, “Bentley ProjectWise provided the controlled environment in which to build a virtual representation of the assets of eight individual sites, comprising multiple disciplines, producing more than 140,000 documents from more than 40 stakeholders, consisting of more than 1,000 users in a coordinated fashion through the design phase and into construction and as-constructed in preparation for a handback to the client.”