BIM with ground model
Leapfrog Works’ latest release – version 2.1 – steps up 3D geological modellings ability to integrate with BIM models, with the inclusion of two key export formats, the BIM Industry Foundation Class (IFC) and Autodesk Drawing (DWG).

The release continues our major development programme to provide a subsurface solution specifically for the Civil Engineering and Environmental industries.

BIM with ground model

Leapfrog Works Project Manager, Pat McLarin, explains, “To date BIM has mainly been focused on vertical infrastructure, with much of the detail relating to design and structural decisions now incorporated into BIM models, even down to minute decisions such as wallpaper. However, the ground conditions on which the entire structure rests have not been adequately included. This means that BIM users do not have a detailed enough vision of how the geology is impacting and could impact on future decisions, exposing projects to risk. And the workflows used to bring geology into BIM have been adhoc and manual and aren’t able to make the best use of the data and the geologist’s full geological interpretation.”

Quickly sharing full insight
With current workflows reports on geology in BIM typically entail the geologist sitting down with the CAD operator and attempting to recreate the geology. In this environment geological surfaces are explicitly drawn, and remain static, so if changes in understanding occur then the whole process needs to be repeated. Often only 2D sections are provided in project documentation because of the limitations in this traditional workflow. Using Leapfrog Works the Geotechnical engineer or Engineering geologist works directly in the 3D environment, creates the 3D model of the geology direct from all available data and using the IFC format, exports the 3D model into the BIM.

McLarin says, “Now the specialist can publish their geological interpretation directly into the BIM environment. There’s no second step with a CAD operator and no risk of information being incomplete or potentially lost. The geology expert is able to easily share their full insight, much more quickly too and this effectively gives them a seat at the table on BIM infrastructure projects, something that the current workflow hasn’t enabled. And with the addition of the DWG export format, it provides another convenient way to deliver 3D ground models into an Autodesk BIM environment like Navisworks or BIM 360.”

Impacting project success
Leapfrog Works also allows the geologist to dynamically update the model with new information as understanding evolves, keeping it up to date and pushing-on information to others in the design and construction chain, improving decision making and reducing risk. McLarin explains, “Now the geologist can republish their new interpretation directly in the BIM environment for everyone to access. This can have major impacts on project success, enabling early identification of problems and potential avoidance of costly delays or reworks.”

Immediate impact in geological understanding
Being able to visualise the geology in 3D and share it widely is a fundamental advantage of Leapfrog Works. 3D brings clarity, aids understanding and means users can communicate with everyone from a variety of disciplines and not just specialists. Geotechnical services firm, Aurecon, recently used Leapfrog Works to assess the and communicate the geological risk for Auckland’s City Rail Link. Philip Kirk, Aurecon’s Geotechnical Team leader says, “We hope this is just the start of using 3D visualisation to communicate risks within a project and to help clients and contractors to make sense of them. This is the power of combining technical eminence and digital technology.”

Alignment with BIM principles
Although there is currently no standard for ground models in BIM, Seequent are continuing to work closely with industry bodies to contribute to the development of open formats, such as IFC. Pat concludes, “Being in the business of 3D data visualisation we’re extremely aligned to the principles of BIM and look forward to continuing to work closely with the industry to further advance Leapfrog Works and help improve the understanding of ground conditions.”

What else is new?
Leapfrog Works integrates key functionality and features suggested by current users, such as yourself. Other improvements in Leapfrog Works 2.1 include:

  • Cross section improvements – Complete layouts in Leapfrog where they are dynamically linked to your model, and spend less time in manually recreating cross sections and layouts in other drawing packages.
  • Analysis and Visualisation – Understand your data with new statistics and visualise numeric data and planned boreholes with greater ease.
  • Design Geology interaction – Make managing design objects and meshes more usable with design handling and mesh repair.
  • My Leapfrog improvements including ‘Demonstration projects’ for key concepts, help and training; usage tools that include ‘suspension when idle’ to avoid unintentional charges and ‘single sign-on’ including View.
  • Integrate with Leapfrog solutions. Try View for rapid online model-sharing and visualisation for stakeholders who aren’t Works users, and Central the world’s only model management solution for version control, greater transparency and team collaboration.

And lots more…

Visit our What’s New page to read about all the improvements in further detail.

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