‘Dutch railway sector lags behind with BIM app’

'Dutch railway sector lags behind with BIM app'

Compared to other European countries and China in particular, the Dutch railway sector still uses very little Building Information Management (BIM). Peter Baum of Royal HaskoningDHV and Renzo van Rijswijk of Strukton Civiel came to that conclusion on a SpoorProTV broadcast last Wednesday.

Both companies are involved in the realization of the new Groningen flagship plant. Strukton Civiel as prime contractor and Royal HaskoningDHV as engineering firm. Although BIM was used in this project, both of them fear that the digital model will be placed in a locker after construction is completed. “This is a shame, because there is also a lot to be gained with BIM in managing and maintaining an object,” says Peter Baum, Director of Railways Asset Management and Digitization at Royal HaskoningDHV.


By centrally having all involved parties operate in the same digital design and coordinating that, it is possible to operate more efficiently and without errors compared to the traditional method, according to experts. “The form is always available to everyone and is up-to-date.” The use of BIM is gaining popularity all over the world. But in the Netherlands, especially in the railway sector, it is still used sparingly, Baum and van Rijswijk say.

“Groningen is one of the first major station projects to be dealt with digitally,” says Baum. Unfortunately, the railway sector is not driving, but it works hard to catch up. In other countries, certainly in Asia, but also in Europe, BIM has already been made mandatory for large projects, such as stations or railway connections. “

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According to Boom, there are many opportunities for a BIM application that are not currently being exploited in the Netherlands. Especially after the project is completed. “In Groningen’s case, I realize that the model will soon be flattened again and delivered to ProRail in 2D. While you really want to keep the multi-dimensional model as much as possible and use it as a kind of digital twin before going back to maintenance. These are the capabilities of the BIM model.”

Exchange standard

Renzo van Rijswijk, as BIM Director, oversees all operations within the Groningen base station model. He also regrets that the digital copy of the terminal will be sent to the customer shortly in a 2D drawing. “The next person who gets an order to work at this station has to do all this again. That’s a shame.” So Van Rijswijk hopes that ideas on this model will be modified as the project progresses. But then a new challenge arises. In what standard are the form and data transferred?

“Something will have to be arranged for that. There is currently no standard for information exchange. So I am arguing in favor of applying an international exchange standard for this purpose. That we can all use it. And that we don’t have to use a different exchange standard for every customer.”

Building International Smart

According to Peter Baum, an international standard is under preparation for BIM models. “Building Smart International is an organization where companies like Royal HaskoningDHV and contractors are held, as well as railroad companies like SBB from Switzerland and SNCF from France. ProRail hasn’t been directly involved in this yet, but I’m sure this will happen in the long term.”

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At SpoorProTV, Renzo van Rijswijk showed off what Groningen Main Station would look like. Using building information model and artist impressions of architect Quinn van Velsen.

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