7.1.4 Integrating Asset Information Across the Life Cycle


Integrating Asset Information Across the Life Cycle

As assets are designed, created, maintained, restored, and replaced, different systems are typically used to keep records of asset characteristics, conditions and work. Ideally, information created at one stage of the asset life cycle is made available for use at the next stage. Techniques, tools and processes are available to manage data for an asset over its entire life cycle from construction or acquisition to disposal.

Integrating information across the transportation infrastructure life cycle is an area of significant interest in the transportation industry. Several terms have been used to describe the collection of processes, standards and technologies for accomplishing such integration – including Civil Integrated Management (CIM) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Infrastructure. In 2019 ISO issued its first BIM standard, ISO Standard 19650. This builds on an earlier standard published by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

Traditionally, information created at one phase of the life cycle is archived and not made available to downstream processes. There are substantial opportunities for cost savings by using a shared, electronic model of the infrastructure, defining information needs at each life cycle phase, and establishing procedures for information handoffs across the life cycle. For example, information about assets included in a construction project can be compiled during design and linked to the model representations of the assets. This information can be confirmed and corrected during construction and made available to asset management systems when the project is completed and turned over to maintenance and operation.

Such integration can reduce duplicative data collection efforts, and speed the time required to make decisions and perform work. Implementing these techniques requires much more than adoption of technology supporting 2D and 3D models. A commitment to common standards and processes is needed. Recognizing that this scale of change takes time, maturity models and levels of implementation have been defined to guide agencies in developing roadmaps for enhancing life cycle information integration over time. See the references at the end of this chapter for further information.

Figure 7.3 Integrated Workflow Model for Sharing Information Across the Life Cycle Components

Transportation Research Board. 2016. Civil Integrated Management (CIM) for Departments of Transportation, Volume 1: Guidebook. https://www.nap.edu/read/23697/chapter/5#16


Crossrail is a major design-build project to construct a new railway line across central London (UK). It includes 42 km of track and 10 new underground stations. Project construction began in 2009. The project is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL), currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL). Once the project is complete it will be operated by TfL as the Elizabeth Line. The Crossrail project provides a good example of the application of several BIM elements. Early on, CRL established the following objective:

To set a world-class standard in creating and managing data for constructing, operating and maintaining railways by:

  • Exploiting the use of BIM by Crossrail, contractors and suppliers
  • Adoption of Crossrail information into future infrastructure management (IM) and operator systems

CRL established a Common Data Environment (CDE) with integrated information about the project and the assets it includes. This environment included CAD models, separate linked databases containing asset details, GIS data, and specialized applications for scheduling, risk management and cost management. Data warehousing techniques were used to combine and display integrated information. Considerable work went into defining asset data requirements and setting up standard, well documented data structures and workflows to provide an orderly flow of information from design through construction, and on to maintenance and operation. It was essential to create a common information architecture given that work on each of Crossrail’s nine stations was conducted by different teams, each consisting of multiple contractors. Each station was comprised of over 15,000 individual assets.

Key elements of the approach included:

  • A common asset information database with standard templates for deliverables. This database serves as the “master data source from which playlists of information can be created.”
  • An asset breakdown structure (ABS) that relates facilities (e.g. stations) to functional units (e.g. retaining walls) to individual assets (e.g. steel piles).
  • Asset naming, identification and labeling standards that distinguish functional duty requirements (e.g. a pump is needed here) from specific equipment in place fulfilling these requirements.
  • Asset data dictionary definition documents (AD4s) that lay out the specific attributes to be associated with different types of assets, based on the ABS.
  • Sourcing of the asset data from design and as-built information.
  • A Project Information Handover Procedure specifying the methods of data and information handover for maintenance and operations once the construction has been completed.
  • Use of a common projected coordinate system for CAD and GIS data
  • Use of a federated data model in which information was maintained within separate special purpose systems, with a common master data model enabling sharing and interpretation of data from the different sources. The master model included elements such as time periods, budget and schedule versions, organizations, data owners, contractors, milestones and key events.




BIM Lifecycle Information Management

Source: Adapted from Crossrail. 2016. Building A Spatial Data Infrastructure For Crossrail. https://learninglegacy.crossrail.co.uk/documents/building-a-spatial-infrastructure-for-crossrail/