Integrating RC bridge defect information into BIM models

02 Feb 2018

Reinforced Concrete bridges are a vitally important part of our infrastructure. The status of this infrastructure needs to be monitored on a continuous basis in order to ensure its safety and functionality. This is currently being done by authorities worldwide via bridge inspection reports. The format and storage of these reports varies considerably across different authorities around the world and is sometimes comprised into a bridge management system (BMS). The lack of standardization severely hinders the use of inspection information for knowledge generation use cases of both practitioners and researchers. This paper presents an exploratory analysis and as a result an information model and a candidate binding to IFC to categorize inspection information of RC bridges and to standardize storage of this information in a format that is suitable for sharing and comparing it between different users and varying requirements. We were able to show in three steps, that IFC in its latest version IFC 4 provides sufficient functionality to serve as a basis for integrating relevant defect information and imagery. Firstly, we extracted types of defects and properties needed for bridge assessment from existing bridge inspection manuals. Secondly, we modelled the defect entities, their properties and relations and thirdly, mapped them to appropriate IFC entities. A prototypical implementation serves as a proof of concept for automated sharing and comparing of information needed in RC bridge inspections and for establishing a knowledge base for bridge performance over time and across authorities.