The Sydney Opera House has appointed a consortium of companies led by global professional and technical services firm AECOM to deliver a ground-breaking interface between traditional Building Management Control Systems, Building Information databases and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Working in collaboration with BIM Academy and EcoDomus, AECOM’s implementation of the new technology will be critical to the management and development of the Sydney Opera House. The consortium, which was appointed following a rigorous tender process, will provide an innovative, web-based 3D graphical interface that maps both the physical and functional characteristics of Australia’s most famous building.

The BIM interface will link a geo-spatially accurate model of the Opera House building and surrounding site to existing engineering documentation and maintenance and building management and control systems. A key objective of this project is to create a tool that will provide a single source of information for regular building operational requirements as well as ongoing developmental works and projects.

The new BIM interface will be a key tool in the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal, a program of works and initiatives to ensure the world-renowned performing arts centre is fit for 21st century artists and visitors.

Sydney Opera House Director of Building Greg McTaggart explains that their Opera House Renewal project makes it imperative for them to have the technical infrastructure in place to effectively manage the pipeline of upcoming development projects as well as to support the ongoing management and conservation of the architectural masterpiece.

Following an assessment of the market, the management realised there was no single BIM solution that could be applied to both development and construction projects as well as ongoing facilities management of the Opera House. Having identified a gap in the industry, they decided to tender for a bespoke, user-friendly solution.

The consortium was selected based on several criteria including team expertise, proven experience in delivering similar technical BIM roll-out projects as well as in-depth understanding of BIM requirements at the World Heritage-listed Opera House.

According to McTaggart, a key requirement was for the proposed BIM interface to be a hub for various other building systems to link to, and also serve as a platform for future development by having the scalability to accommodate a growing number of systems over time.

The interface was also required to be intuitive and easy to use for staff working on the renewal project as well as accessible to external consultants working across ongoing development projects.

The consortium’s solution is based on cloud technology, allowing the Opera House’s building team to easily update and interrogate information and data via one central tool. The staff will also be able to access the BIM interface remotely via handheld mobile devices while working on site. Similarly, external consultants can use the system across ongoing building projects.

A number of current Opera House databases including a Technical Documents Database, maintenance software, a comprehensive rooms database and the TRIM document management system will be linked to the BIM interface. To be rolled out over the next 18 months, the project is being executed in two stages. The first stage involves successfully retrieving and linking information from existing and new databases via the 3D model, while the second will introduce a broader range of functional modules that can be added to the BIM interface over time.