BIM in Turkey: Using BIM on Istanbul Grand Airport

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Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) is the world’s largest airport project, and BIM is critical for its construction. The IGA Company was founded in 2013 with the purpose of constructing and operating the new airport. Irish building spoke to Yusuf Akcayoglu, CEO of IGA and Dr Ozan Köseoglu, Director of BIM for IGA.

Yusuf Akcayoglu has managed many airport projects, such as the New Doha International Airport, the Muscat International Airport, Midfield Terminal Building at the Abu Dhabi International Airport and King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh. He has completed various prestigious projects in the Middle East and Russia. Since the beginning of the Istanbul Airport project, Yusuf has been the CEO of IGA, which has fast evolved into an extensive airport construction company. Yusuf told us about the project scope, budget, and Key Performance Indicators.

Please tell us about the Airport project scope and budget?

Being the world’s largest airport project, the project scope encompasses 4 phases. The first phase includes the construction of 3 runways, a terminal including 5 piers with an area of 1.3 million m2, a carpark with an area of 700,000 m2 and other site facilities. In project scope, the critical assets of the main terminal building, runways and related emergency runway / taxiway systems will be achieved. At the end of the completion of all phases, a visionary project will come to life providing 76 million m2 of airport with 6 runways, supporting 3,500 take-offs and landings per day, 200 million passengers a year, and access to 350 worldwide destinations. The project is one of the largest investments in modern Turkish history and the Turkish economy will generate billions of additional euros per year together with providing so many employment opportunities for thousands of people.

What are the Key Performance Indicators?

It is essential for us to track our progress in accomplishing predetermined strategic and operational goals in terms of time and value management. 2018 is the start date of commissioning of the airport and this is our most important KPI, our project progress relative to milestones. Since the aviation sector develops rapidly nowadays, efficiency in developing outstanding standards according to our baseline schedule compared to other projects worldwide is critical for us. Furthermore, in this project, we do not create just an airport, but also value for people.

That is why we are aware of the fact that investment in people is the key point for our performance. Accordingly, to sustain the level of efficiency in our performance – as the first issue – Health and Safety has top priority for us. We have a comprehensive strategic plan which includes worksite analysis, standard and external training, hazard prevention and control. Extensive practice of training given by the Department of Health & Safety has reached a total of 90,268 employees to date. In like manner, engineering, QA/QC and use of technology are also very critical for us so that from the very beginning of the project, a collaborative environment with our subcontractors has been created and this has been very well delivered by mobile tablets on site. Since all of our engineers are fully equipped with technology, they can reach the current project models on a cloud platform which makes a significant contribution to improved engineering quality. Lastly, there is also an environmental management plan that serves for the “Green Airport” Scheme which includes biodiversity action plan activities, application of afforestation protocol, a wildlife management programme and usage of a bird monitoring and bird radar system. It is not only aimed to decrease the environmental effects during construction but also during the operational stage, so accordingly an energy model of the terminal building was created and it was entitled to LEED accreditation, and accreditation will be fully completed at the operational phase. Further, special tools are integrated into the BIM processes to achieve our sustainability agenda.

Dr Ozan Köseoglu has a PhD in Construction Innovation and Technology Management from England’s Loughborough University. He has worked in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. Following experience in Europe, he managed and delivered Integrated BIM Solutions to major airport, retail, residential and commercial sector projects in the Middle East as design, programme and facilities manager. Since September 2015 he has been IGA’s Director of BIM. Ozan told us about his work, BIM on the project and BIM in Turkey.

Could you tell us about your work as Director of BIM at Istanbul Grand Airport?

As Director of BIM, my key role is to develop and execute the implementation of BIM at all stages starting from design, and proceeding with construction and operation while managing the utilization of the right technological processes and people transformation. Together with this, I manage the coordination and engineering of all the disciplines –structure, architecture, MEP, baggage handling systems etc of the airport within the virtual platform. When we consider the project size, complexity, and challenging duration; it is quite extraordinary. BIM has a strategic role in executing engineering and design to accelerate the efficiency of design and construction which is a key driver for us to be on time and even ahead of the production on site.

Furthermore, BIM controls the subcontractors and eliminates any unforeseen cost overruns while reducing waste on site as cost, time and quality have an utmost importance for our success. Herein, it is also crucial to be aware of the fact that we gain success in BIM not because of only technological advantages it provides, but because of how we bring people together within a virtual collaborative environment. That is why the key things for us are people and processes followed by technology.

Can you tell us about developing the BIM Plan from the project concept stage?

IGA as the client, also 25-years operator, develops a strategy for utilizing designers, subcontractors, and any other relevant parties, and hosting all disciplines in a virtual collaborative work environment. BIM strategy gives us the power of having authority on our subcontractors while we are managing the work and delivering it on site as the client.

Accordingly, our key subcontractors have strict obligations to follow and utilize BIM process into their work processes because it is pre-set clearly that our BIM Plan should lead our programme, cost plan, quantities, and construction methodology while improving safety and reducing waste. That is why when we first started generating our BIM Plan, we carried out a precise work to analyse the capabilities of the designers who had been not familiar with BIM before and following this we consolidated them into the process.

In a holistic manner, we have begun integrating our BIM Plan with the project designers via using interface management procedure. We have developed a 30-month plan covering a lifecycle which includes our strategy declaring design development, construction documentation, and construction stages respectively.

Can you tell us about how BIM is being applied at Istanbul Grand Airport?

Leading the project individuals which consist of our designers and subcontractors to get familiarized with using the products of BIM in a very coordinated fashion is one of the most important key points in this process of applying BIM in construction. Another important key is designating integrated project delivery in a virtual room, also called BIM Room, that we provide for coordination, collaborative work, and also taking decisions with our subcontractors and designers.

The most outstanding part of this application is the way we reflect these key points and it is done by 150 iPads including all coordinated BIM models being used by the site engineers. Apart from 3D Models, via cloud system approved 2D shop drawings are also provided for the field. Along with the production on site, QA/QC is also integrated into a cloud system our engineers of both superstructure and infrastructure reach with their iPads. All of these applications take place on the Autodesk 360 Field platform. Furthermore, we have generated the biggest 4D model in the world and integrated more than 30,000 activities into the model to know our progress in every day and month to have dynamic control over the progress of the project.

How will BIM be used over the lifecycle of the airport?

Since the airport will be operated for 25 years after its completion, not only through the design and construction stages but also during the operation stage, usage of BIM plays a crucial role. Efficiently reaching all the necessary information and resolving of future operational problems related to airport systems during pre-commissioning, commissioning and maintenance stages will be possible with the usage of BIM. Additionally, it is aimed to apply BIM at all dimensions so that 6D of BIM which includes facility management/lifecycle management stage is planned to be started after the completion of the first phase resulting in the provision of sustainability.

Who are BIM leaders in Turkey?

When we think of the pre-set project duration and the size of work scope we have created change in, one can easily say that IGA has already started to lead and set the benchmarks in the AEC industry and digital construction. This is why the İstanbul Grand Airport project was selected as a finalist in the large infrastructure category of the Autodesk 2016 AEC Excellence Awards among 162 competitors from nearly 30 countries all around the world.

How is BIM adoption progressing and what problems has the construction industry faced?

The BIM adoption process has already accelerated in Turkey as the İstanbul Grand Airport project has become a key learning hub in the Turkish Construction Industry in which enormous numbers of subcontractors and designers are managed and fully implemented in the BIM environment. Besides, this has already overcome the limits the Turkish Construction Industry has been facing. Furthermore, replacing conventional methods of construction adopted by the Turkish Construction Industry for years with introducing a developing complex know-how is the most challenging part in the adoption process. I think that creation of a cultural change can only be possible with vision; strategy and decent execution. That is why only having a grasp of the theoretical background of BIM is not enough, but defining the clear vision, outlining the right strategy and seamless execution are crucial and essential.

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