Delivering High Speed Two (HS2) with BIM


“We’ve decided to bet the shop on building information modelling (BIM)” - Join Professor Andrew McNaughton, Technical Director of High Speed Two (HS2), for a look at how BIM is shaping the design, delivery, operation and maintenance of Britain’s latest high speed railway.

Speaking at Digital Construction Week 2015 in London, United Kingdom (UK), Andrew first looks at the context for High Speed Two, before explaining how BIM is being used as the foundation for its development.

He uses a powerful illustration to indicate the project’s approach, showing the old way of doing things and the virtual approach that will be taken. “It’s easy to do things the way we know how, that’s why somebody drew in the devil” he explains. “We want to build, operate and maintain a virtual railway. And only when we have proven that in a virtual environment will we go anywhere near a shovel”.

At present the High Speed Two team are developing the BIM platform upon which the data for the new railway will be hosted. Every aspect of High Speed Two’s operation and maintenance is being built upon one common data environment.

To prove that the team have ‘bet the shop on it’ (in Andrew’s words), that platform will host the safety critical control systems, train control, fleet management, human resource management, scheduling and consumer data. “We have this concept of total reliance on our data. It’s one integrated system. We’re building the BIM platform upon which every aspect of High Speed Two will operate” he explains.

Far from creating a barrier to entry, they have been carefully considering how they can help others work with them in a BIM environment during the delivery and operational phases. “That’s been happening in the early days with public consultations” Andrew explains. “You can’t show people something that isn’t right. Everything we do we have to evidence, and that evidence is built upon what is in our BIM model”.

“The visualisation element is incredibly powerful” he adds. “We’ve been able to show people exactly how this will look from their bedroom window. We can personalise it which makes a fundamental difference when talking to those that we will affect with this railway”.

Closing his presentation, Andrew highlights that the core focus for High Speed Two is on people and their experience as passengers. “We want this to be a complement of human beings and IT, human beings and BIM” he explains.

“BIM enables us to prove that what we are proposing is reliable, because if it’s not reliable, it’s not worth building. That’s critical because what we do now, will be judged by people not yet born”

Presented by Professor Andrew McNaughton, Technical Director, High Speed Two Limited.

With thanks to High Speed Two Limited. Imagery used with permission of High Speed Two Limited. Aerial footage used with permission of High Speed Two Limited and Arup Group Limited. The aerial footage shown represents a snapshot in time and reflects the land take as shown in the deposited Hybrid Bill (November 2013). For more on High Speed Two visit:

Filmed at Digital Construction Week 2015 in London, UK.

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