The Government has been encouraging the works departments to better utilise innovation and technology to boost productivity, improve built quality and enhance site safety. As early as 2015, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) started applying Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to works projects to enhance the design and construction process. In 2018, the DSD set up the BiM@D Technology and Training Centre to further promote digital technology. This time, I have invited an engineer of the DSD to introduce how the centre facilities can help review and improve project planning and design so as to deliver higher-quality wastewater treatment and stormwater drainage services to the public.
Introducing BIM technology
In recent years, the DSD has proactively promoted and employed BIM technology and related information technology for the planning, design and implementation of works projects. Electrical and Mechanical Engineer of the DSD, Mr Ian LEUNG, says that when compared with hand-drawn or computer-aided two-dimensional (2-D) plans, the BIM technology can present the design of the whole project in a three-dimensional (3-D) format, which is particularly important to drainage facilities that generally involve the design of more complex building structures and mechanical and electrical installations, enabling the project team to grasp every project detail more accurately.
Overcoming graphical limitations and time-space constraints
Besides, BIM technology can accurately present the construction methods and workflows in a sequential order, giving project staff a better understanding of the construction plans. Currently, several sewage treatment plants of the DSD are undergoing in-situ expansion. Colleagues are adopting BIM technology to examine various structures of the buildings to check if there are any incompatibilities in the construction processes, monitor if the projects are implemented as scheduled and change the construction sequence if needed. Various professionals – architects, engineers and construction workers can overcome graphical limitations and time-space constraints by coming together in the same virtual space to discuss project design and construction details in a coordinated manner, so as to achieve an early resolution of all types of issues, and raise the construction quality and efficiency.
Advanced Virtual Reality CAVE
Located in the Revenue Tower in Wan Chai, the DSD’s BiM@D is equipped with a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) system. The system, together with BIM technology, can present project design and construction site environment in a 3-D format, providing a highly realistic and vivid 3-D visual space that takes users virtually to the site. More importantly, the system allows the project team to grasp all sorts of information of the works project and surrounding environment more easily and accurately. Furthermore, as multiple users are allowed to “enter” the virtual environment at the same time, communication with the stakeholders can be enhanced.
Point Cloud Technology for 3-D Scanning and Surveying
Mr Ian LEUNG also introduces to us the use of the innovative Point Cloud technology to help with the planning and design of drainage projects. According to him, the Point Cloud data acquired by colleagues of the Survey Section with 3-D laser equipment for scanning and photogrammetric surveying seem like a group of white dots at first glance when presented in CAVE. However, with specially made eyeglasses and the use of BIM model, the site and its surroundings can be reproduced in detail accurately, which can help the project team plan the locations and alignment of the drainage pipes. This technology is vital to the planning of the village sewerage system. Since some areas in villages are rather narrow and the construction sites are very close to the residential areas, the application of Point Cloud technology can reduce the need for surveying and speed up construction progress.
Application of the Internet of Things
In recent years, the DSD has also adopted the technology of Internet of Things (IoT). In 2019, the Flood Control Section of the DSD and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) jointly launched a trial scheme to develop a Smart Drainage – Flood Monitoring System in Sha Tin and Tai Po with the application of the Government-wide Internet of Things (IOT) Network (GWIN). The result has been very good. The department has decided to further extend the system to 10 locations which are susceptible to storm surges and overtopping waves.
Innovation and technology will continue to develop and make progress in the future. The works departments will continue to proactively explore the application of innovation and technology at different levels and works stages, so as to help colleagues grasp real-time data of the construction sites and related facilities more accurately to enhance construction quality, and manage works projects more effectively, thereby benefiting members of the public.
24 January, 2021Back