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"Digital tools have enabled a quick response to client’s comments and requirements"

  • "Digital tools have enabled quick response to client’s comments and requirements"
    Khatan Group of Villages Water Supply Scheme (Surface Water Treatment), Uttar Pradesh, India. Credit: L&T Construction

Every year, Bentley Systems’ Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure recognize the work of Bentley software users across the world towards the advancement of infrastructure design, construction and operations. At Smart Water Magazine we want to bring you the projects that have won and have been finalists in the water categories: Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants and Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Networks. 

As part of our series of interviews, this time we hear about the winning project in the Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants category, Khatan Group of Villages Water Supply Scheme, by L&T Construction. This outstanding project was initiated by the Government of Uttar Pradesh (India), to provide drinking water to a rural area including 388 villages and more than 14 million people. 

L&T Construction faced the challenge of designing and constructing a water treatment plant with a capacity of 160 million litres per day, together with 200 different structures and 3,500 kilometres of pipeline in six months. The feat was possible thanks to the use of Bentley’s software for hydraulic modelling and structural analysis, including OpenFlows WaterGEMS, PLAXIS and STAAD. A connected data environment streamlined and automated workflow processes.

Question: To what extent can digital tools help improve water infrastructure projects’ design, construction and operations?

Answer: Water infrastructure projects can be enabled digitally end-to-end, from the planning to the execution stage, in the following ways:

  • Design automation using options like open STAAD modelling for civil structural analysis & design and parametric modelling using coding to generate 3D BIM models using the latest software will help to reduce significant design and modelling man-hours. This will also help to take up future design and drawings revisions quickly.
  • The vast pipe network analysis can also be carried out with the help of networking software like WaterGems, etc., which will facilitate working on multiple options simultaneously to arrive at the most optimized and economical pipe sizing. A manual analysis would be time-consuming, with more approximation.
  • The design and drawing transfer to the construction site can be done through digital tools like BIM 360, Engineering Database Management System and similar platforms, for efficient submission, resubmission, and document management.
  • The review of 3D BIM models for all the treatment plant units and their associated structures can be done through augmented reality and virtual reality technology for clash checking, to identify and eliminate the interdisciplinary mismatches and generate error-free drawings. The 3D models can also be shared with the site so that the construction manager can understand the structural details in a more efficient way to avoid construction errors. 
  • Generally, water supply projects cover a water distribution area of several square kilometres, involving a few thousand kilometres of pipe laying. Hence the survey can be done through lidar technology, using vehicle-mounted or drone-mounted equipment to quickly complete the survey with more precise engineering data.
  • BIM 4D & 5D can be used in the project execution to have better control over the project time and cost. 
  • The plants, equipment and machinery in our projects are geotagged for easy tracking and efficiency monitoring and better utilization.
  • The safety of the workers is ensured with the help of in-house developed View EHS software. Any safety and quality issues shall be captured as a photograph and uploaded with geo reference coordinates. The issue will be escalated to all the stakeholders and will be addressed immediately. This will help to ensure smooth construction and operations without any safety accidents. 

Q: What capabilities of Bentley’s tools do you think have been key for the success of your project?

A: A few years ago, we had used EPANET software for network analysis and hydraulics. EPANET software is more dependent on human interaction, time-consuming and error-prone, as it depends on human skill. The Khatan water supply project is directly monitored by the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh and has a stringent time frame for completion. In such a scenario, Bentley’s WaterGems software, which requires much less human interface and is less error-prone, has helped us to complete the pipeline network design ahead of schedule. Also, WaterGems software allows to upload the drawing files, and automatically creates the checkpoints for analysis thereby simplifying engineers’ work and reducing the time required.

Bentley’s WaterGems software, which requires much less human interface and is less error-prone, has helped us to complete the pipeline network design ahead of schedule

For structural analysis and design, we initially used some of our in-house analysis and design software; it was time-consuming, and we had to generate manual calculation back-ups to convince our customers of the accuracy of the results to obtain approval. With STAAD, being a proven software and widely used across the world, the approval process is simplified. Also, the open STAAD model options helped us to automate our analysis files for repetitive structures like elevated storage reservoir and booster pumping stations. 

The enabling structures for the construction of intake wells inside the river and deep excavation for pipe laying were analysed and designed using the PLAXIS software of Bentley. This helped to check the stability of slopes to ensure the safety of workmen working inside trenches and deep excavation. 

Q: Could you briefly explain what have been the social, economic and environmental impacts of your project?

A: Water is the elixir of life. This water supply project will provide water to 15 Lakh people across rural India in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The women in rural India spend most of their time fetching water and it is pathetic that girls are also taken along with their mothers neglecting their school education. This water supply project will save a lot of time for the villagers and will help them to spend their time improving their livelihoods instead, thereby enhancing the quality of their life.

A few villages covered under this project are using untreated groundwater as a source for drinking water. The groundwater used in these villages has a level of fluoride and arsenic well above the allowable limits, thus leading to health hazards in the past; this threat for the villagers will be eliminated through this project. 

In rural India, people are consuming contaminated untreated surface and groundwater leading to water-borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, etc.; this is a continuous challenge for health officials. This project will significantly support efforts to eliminate such diseases in the future across the Banda district of the Uttar Pradesh state.

Q: What benefits would you highlight from the use of digital tools in terms of collaboration between the different teams and the clients?

A: We have completely modelled all the structures in BIM & have a separate “Prati BIM lab” with Virtual Reality Technology installed in it. Before releasing, all the structures were reviewed in the presence of engineers from different disciplines and clash checks minimized the errors leading to fewer client and consultant’s comments. These 3D models were submitted to the client. The real-time BIM Models were presented to clients for better visualization and understanding, which in turn helped us with quicker approval of design and drawings.

These digital tools have enabled us to have a quick response to the client’s comments and requirements

The client’s structural comments were incorporated in the STAAD model quickly, in front of them, during approval meetings, and the results were sent to them immediately. These digital tools have enabled us to have a quick response to the client’s comments and requirements. The time required for the revision of the structural analysis and design is drastically reduced due to the digital tools.

WaterGems helped us to analyse network design with alternative pipe routes and enabled us to compare the design with multiple pipe material combinations like wrought-iron pipes, galvanized iron pipes, mild steel pipes, HDPE pipes etc., as sought by the client during approval discussions. This also helped us to manage the cost impact due to any changes or modifications that arise due to unforeseen issues. 

Q: Can you comment on the overall cost-effectiveness of using Bentley’s tools in the project?

A: Bentley tools have contributed to indirect cost benefits as listed below:

  • Working simultaneously on multiple options and combinations for the pipe network, in less time.
  • Reduction in manpower, which has been utilized effectively for other projects.
  • Civil structural member design can be optimized by trying various member sizes while designing.
  • Appropriate slopes were attained based on actual soil properties, which helped us to reduce the materials needed for cofferdam enabling structures and also reduced unnecessary excavation, backfill and disposal.
  • The structure soil interaction design of Bentley, by assigning subgrade modulus, has helped us to arrive at the best possible foundation sizes, taking advantage of the actual soil profile.

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