Chair of Computational Modeling and Simulation
TUM Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering
Technical University of Munich

BIM2TWIN: Optimal Construction Management & Production Control 

On November 1st, 2020 the research project BIM2TWIN has started. It is funded by the European union through the Horizon 2020 program. The project is led by Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) in France. Next to the Chair of Computational Modeling and Simulation (CMS) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the consortium partners include Technion, University of Cambridge, INRIA, FIRA, ITsite, TECNALIA, Acciona, Ruhr University Bochum, Spada Construction, the Universita Politecnica delle Marche, UniSmart, Orange, Siemens, IDP and Aarhus University.

BIM2TWIN proposes a comprehensive, holistic approach to application of the digital twin concept to building construction. It consists of a digital building twin platform and an extensible set of construction management applications that provide full situational awareness. In the current state of the art, researchers and startup companies have taken a direct approach – identify a construction management problem, select one monitoring technology to provide data, and attempt to provide a valuable service. Yet this is severely limited, because a) the reliability of information inferred from a limited data stream is unreliable and inaccurate, and because the approach is not extensible nor scalable. Instead, the BIM2TWIN platform pools multiple monitoring data sources, interprets and merges the data to provide information, and exposes the information to a suite of construction management applications (through an application programming interface – API) and/or directly to users through an visual information dashboard. 

Simply cobbling together a selection of monitoring technologies and devising appropriate applications would fail to deliver the potential fundamental change that digital twins make possible for construction. Therefore, BIM2TWIN places development of the fundamental principles for a Digital Building Twin at the core of the research that we propose. The key features that distinguish BIM2TWIN are:

  • Grounded conceptual analysis of the nature of data, information and knowledge in the context of digital building twins, which underpins a robust digital building twin system architecture. A unique feature of the architecture is the common platform for data acquisition and pre-processing that serves the needs of a wide variety of services for construction management, which is central to the BIM2TWIN concept.
  • Property graph representation of the data monitored on and off-site, of the Project Status Model (PSM) and incorporating and referencing the Building Information Model (BIM). The knowledge graph enables a) flexible, scalable storage of raw monitoring data in different formats, and b) storage of interpreted information in a form easily accessible to all functional software applications.
  • BIM2TWIN implements the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) management approach at every level, making it extensible, thoroughly supporting the full range of construction management functions.

The goal of these unique features is to build a platform that is tailored:

  • To enable smooth transition from construction phase to operation phase. The property graph platform will be based on technology from partners Orange and Siemens which serves their operations phase digital building twin solutions.
  • To implement lean construction principles through PDCA cycles, thus reducing operational waste of all kinds, including energy consumption.
  • To enable integration of the Digital Building Twin within the hierarchy of digital twins that includes digital twins of construction equipment and smart city level digital twins.

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