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Meet the World's 10 Best BIM Projects

What do Google's new headquarters, the Tokyo Olympics 202021 swimming pool, an underground water treatment plant, and two dragons fighting over a flaming pearl all have in common? 

They are some of 2020's most innovative structural engineering and construction projects using building information modeling (BIM), and participants in the Tekla 2020 (BIM) Awards. 

Find out more about the history of the awards and this year's distinguished jury here. For all the exciting videos, models, and insights into 2020's best BIM projects, keep scrolling.

Best BIM Project & Best Infrastructure Project

What: Randselva Bridge — Norway

Who: Sweco Structural Engineering, PNC, Armando Rito, Isachsen

Why: Randselva Bridge is the world’s longest bridge built entirely without drawings — not even a single PDF.

Four interesting facts about this totally model-based project:
  • 95% of all information, including over 200 pour phases, is transferred to the contractor with IFC files, saving time and eliminating errors
  • Parametric design was used to model about 70% of all the objects, enabling easy revisions and quick changes
  • The BIM model contains over 200,000 rebars and 250 post-tensioning cables
  • The design team used Tekla Model Sharing to collaborate across four cities in four countries 

Best Sports and Recreation Project

Who: Yantai Daizo Design Co., Ltd, China

Why: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Pool model was completed in 10 months by just five people.


How this small team was able to automate design tasks to complete more faster: 

  • The team used Tekla automatic connection functions to create the nodes and components in the model.
  • Throughout the entire project, they were able to use parametric blocks and an API to develop new nodes, using the automatic editing developed to output drawings.


Best Small Project

What: Lion and Eagle Transmission Tower, Russian Federation

Who: Belenergomash BZEM, LLC

Why: This innovative idea set a new record as the first in Russia and the world to support power lines in the form of the heraldic symbol of the city.

Four uses of BIM and collaboration:

  • Sections (KM, KZh, KMD) were made in Tekla Structures
  • Tracking drilldown status was done with Tekla
  • Internal ERP systems used for statusing and tracking of parts along with Tekla Structures
  • Tekla BIMsight used at the construction site

Best Public Project

Who: A-Insinöörit Suunnittelu Oy, HUS Kiinteistöt Oy, SRV Rakennus Oy, Team Integrated(AW2 Arkkitehdit Oy, Brunet Saunier Architecture S.A, Arkkitehtuuritoimisto B&M Oy, Arkkitehtitoimisto Harris-Kjisik Oy), Peikko Finland Oy, Granlund-Ramboll consulting group

Why: This incredibly complex project included plenty of technically demanding structures for the most critical operations, and a vast number of design disciplines and subcontractors participated in the project.

Four ways this project showcased the best capabilities of BIM:

  • A 'big room' project experience space and virtual reality/augmented reality tools were used for customer and contractor engagement
  • Structural features include large glass walls and roofs, post-stressed shaft units, and the demanding geometry of the steel-framed quiet room. 
  • For Peikko, the hospital is the largest-ever composite-frame project delivery in Finland
  • The IFC files were accessed using the OpenBIM format on mobile devices by 100 site workers per day. 
Best Industrial Project

Who: Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, YIT Oyj, AFRY Finland Oy, FCG Finnish Consulting Group Oy, A-Insinöörit Oy

Why: The design of the most productive wastewater treatment plant in the Nordics involved vast data management that would have been impossible without BIM.

Pushing innovation in sustainability and BIM forward:
  • Will remove up to 99% of phosphorus from the waste water produced by 400,000 people in Espoo
  • Much of this project was built underground, inside rock
  • The level of detail in the project has been completed beyond the national BIM requirements
Best Commercial Project

Who: Solve Structural Design

Why: Nuclear power station construction accuracy brings unmatched efficiency and productivity to the streets of London.

Benefits of BIM on this mixed-use development that is the tallest residential tower in Europe:
  • 3D rebar models helped the site team visualize any potential problems early on in the project
  • The same models were then used to extensively for the design development of the reinforcement before completion of the final detailed construction drawings and schedules
  • Final reinforcement layouts took into account construction methods, sequences, and fixing preferences while still achieving the main consultant's design requirements


Special Recognition


Who: Mason Navarro Pledge

Why: The first Tekla Structural Design model entered in the Tekla Global BIM Awards features a timber roof.

A project of firsts:
  • The only competition team to propose the use of large, timber grid shell structures to provide a sense of destination to the site
  • The Tekla model was vital to proving the feasibility of the option to integrate large CHS steel frames at the facade line and anchored the grid shell to an RC roof deck.
Public Vote Winner

Who: University of Engineering and Technology; Jean Camacho, Diego Aliaga, Karen Huaman

More about this fan favorite:

  • The structures such as the base, hull, roof, ladder, platform, and pipes are made in Tekla Structures. The manhole, flanges, and some parts of the roof are made in other software for which IFC was used.
Best Student Project

Who: Universitas Lambung Mangkurat; Muhammad Reza Fardian, Dwi Kurniawan, Muhammad Rizqon Cahyadi, Muhammad Nurhalis Majid

Why: This project integrated elements of the original local culture of Kalimantan, which are Banjar and Dayak Tribes, to the architectural design.

Cool factors:

  • Main building area of 1 hectare and is expected to accommodate approximately 16,000 worshippers
  • Design in accordance with the government's plan for green building designs, as it minimizes the use of electricity during daylight
  • The architectural design was done with SketchUp, structural modeling with Tekla Structures, and visualization done with Trimble Connect Visualizer
Best Developer Project

Who: JMT Consultants

Why: This plugin allows detailers and erectors to place a temporary bolt or wrench in the model to check for installation clearance.

An app built for detailers:
  • The Tekla Structures model doesn't completely show the true length of TC bolts because the software doesn't show the spline on the end of the bolts. Because of this detailers can often fall into the trap of not looking at the real length of a bolt to make sure it can be inserted. Also, it can be hard for detailers to check if electronic wrenches can be inserted into tight connection framing areas to see if the bolts can even be tightened. This can cause unexpected field welding or having to use a slow hydraulic wrench to deal with tight clearances. 
These winners just scratch the surface of the BIM brilliance on display at the Tekla BIM Awards 2020. What are you waiting for? There are over 130 more projects to explore!  Dig deeper into the Tekla Global BIM Awards 2020.

About the Author

Rachel is the Content Marketing Manager for Trimble Construction. She's written for finance, SaaS, manufacturing, telecom, and healthcare companies for 16 years. Writing about construction is her favorite gig yet.

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