A digital twin in BIMprove is defined as an integrated, multi-scale, probabilistic simulation of a complex construction that employs the best available physical models (BIM), sensor updates, historical data, user inputs, etc. to mirror the life of its corresponding twin. The main objective is to go beyond the static BIM approach and provide the dynamics necessary to track the life cycle of a building asset. The main benefit of a digital twin in this context is its ability easily to monitor construction site status, enabling planning to be improved and resources optimally scheduled. It offers flexibility, safety and enhanced productivity.

The digital twin extends BIM capability with a rolling timeline that includes the following:

  • Changes made on a daily basis can be tracked back to find out when and why they were made, and if said changes were approved.
  • Personnel and equipment can be tracked, providing insights into levels of efficiency, utilisation and availability, in anonymised form.
  • Daily progress reports will document all work carried out on the day in question.
  • Design changes will be introduced in traceable form.
  • ‘Look-ahead’ forecasts will provide multiple scenarios based on planning data and available resources.

The digital twin extends BIM’s accessibility to all stakeholders, as follows:

  • Information can be presented according to a given stakeholder’s requirements and function.
  • Access control and filtering are offered as part of a single system.

The main difference between the static BIM model and the dynamic digital twin in BIMprove is the ability of the digital twin to store events as a continuum. While the BIM model always reflects the current situation, the digital twin encompasses the entire life cycle of the construction.

Transformation of the static BIM model requires the addition of continuity, as shown in the figure below.

The BIM model includes scheduling information for the execution of construction tasks, such as the work plan, which in turn forms the basis of the digital twin.

The digital twin’s timeline is divided into discrete blocks, such as shifts or days, depending on requirements at the construction site in question.

Events that happen on any given day are stored with reference to the date in question. All days are defined with a start and end time, which can also be referenced to given events. It will also be possible to store continuous data, with appropriate start and end times.

As well as the original ‘as-designed’ IFC entities, all elements necessary for construction are stored in the digital twin. These elements include:

  • Human workers
  • ‘Smart’ construction equipment, such as trucks, machines and cranes
  • Robots and drones

These do not form part of the ‘as-designed’ model, but are part of the digital twin, and are identified by ‘DT – Unique ID’ and presented in the as-design model with their respective positions.

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