AS MANY as 700 delegates from across the world including leading AEC (architectural, engineering and construction) executives, infrastructure owner-operators, and 100-plus journalists attended a major infrastructure conference held in the UK where two Gulf projects emerged as finalists in the prestigious awards that were the highlight of the event.
The Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference, which was held at the Hilton Hotel Metropole in London, was hosted by Bentley Systems of the US, which offers comprehensive software solutions for the infrastructure lifecycle. The event included the Be Inspired Awards, which honour users of Bentley’s building information modelling (BIM) software that achieve excellence in design, delivery, and operations of the world’s infrastructure.
The conference featured a series of presentations and interactive workshops exploring technology and business drivers, and how they are shaping the future of infrastructure delivery and investment returns. It included summits on project delivery and infrastructure asset performance, and forums on building, the rail and road, oil, gas, chemical, and mining, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and architecture and engineering, utilities, visions for the future.
Special guest keynoters included Professor Andrew McNaughton, chief engineer and technical director of HS2, which is spearheading the development of Britain’s $66.5-billion high-speed rail project.
At the conference, Greg Bentley, the chief executive officer of Bentley, indicated that of the top 500 owners of infrastructure around the world – with assets worth a total of more than $16.7 billion – some 385 are Bentley subscribers.
During the awards ceremony, 18 Be Inspired Awards winners and seven Be Inspired Special Recognition Awards winners were honoured.
Nine independent panels of jurors, comprising distinguished industry experts, selected the winners from 54 project finalists, which had been previously chosen from submissions by organisations in 49 countries.
Two projects in the Gulf that were among the finalists in the annual competition included the Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE, work on which has earned recognition for leading UAE-based contractor Arabtec in the Innovation in Construction category and a proposed sports campus projects in Doha, Qatar, which put global consultancy firm Arup in the limelight in the Innovation in Land Development category.
Speaking to Gulf Construction magazine at the conference, Ahmed Balawi, BIM manager at Arabtec’s Building Information Modelling Section, said Bentley’s BIM software has enabled the company to integrate its own in-house designing software, while producing considerable savings in cost and time on the 30-month contract.
On the sports campus projects, meanwhile, which is still in the early design stage, Arup earned recognition for its innovative use of Bentley’s BIM software, according to Oscar Julian Veneros, based at Arup’s Madrid office. Work on the project is slated to start in 2016.
On the campus project, to modernise its project delivery, Arup decided to implement a BIM methodology that was not typically used for transportation-related infrastructure projects.
The Be Inspired Awards has recognised more than 2,000 of the world’s most outstanding infrastructure projects since its inception in 2004. The programme boasts a unique competition – which is claimed to be the only of its kind that is global in scope and comprehensive in categories covered, encompassing all types of infrastructure projects.
Bentley is a global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure.
Its solutions encompass the MicroStation platform for infrastructure design and modelling, the ProjectWise platform for infrastructure project team collaboration and work sharing, and the AssetWise platform for infrastructure asset operations.
At the conference, Bentley unveiled the Connect Edition, its next generation of software for sustaining infrastructure and launched its new MineCycle software applications. The Connect Edition will support a hybrid computing environment for comprehensive project delivery – from desktop applications to Cloud services and mobile devices.
MicroStation Connect Edition has already been made available to ‘early access’ participants, and many of the ProjectWise Connect Edition services, along with the Navigator Connect Edition application, will be available for early access by the year’s end.
The Connect Edition of Bentley’s modelling applications and AssetWise offerings will be released throughout 2015 and 2016.
“Our conference this year has been filled with insightful presentations and productive dialogue about BIM advancements. The effective strategies behind these advancements are helping infrastructure organisations achieve better performing assets through increased depth of information modelling and better performing projects through increased breadth of information mobility,” Bentley’s CEO commented.