Bechtel is transferring its experience from the Crossrail project, where it pioneered the use of 4D planning, to the high speed rail environment.  On Crossrail the 4D approach (outlined below) was initiated during the detailed design phase. On HS2 our 4D tools and processes will be applied during the earlier development phase to identify innovations and opportunities to drive value. The 4D model will then be developed further in the delivery phase.  This early adoption will be key to the construction industry and high speed rail in particular, realising the full benefits of 4D planning in the delivery of mega projects.

On the Crossrail project, Bechtel is the Project Delivery Partner responsible for programme management including risk, interface and scheduling. The complexity of the Crossrail project called for an innovative approach to reduce risk, maintain schedule, and ensure complete understanding of the planned construction works. To achieve this Bechtel deployed a team of 4D planning professionals to enable the complex planning schedules across the programme to be linked to the 3D design models, the first time this approach had been taken on a major infrastructure project. The 4D planning team developed detailed 4D models using Synchro Pro software at many locations across the Crossrail central section works.

This approach enabled a much higher level of understanding of the planned works. It significantly improved collaboration by bringing engineers, planners and construction professionals into the same space to coordinate activity and avoid time and space conflicts. As the project shifted into the construction phase there were very tight and complex schedules for fitout (MEP&A) of the main stations and this work was on a time-critical path. Staying abreast of the  schedule without sacrificing the quality of deliverables was paramount. Project teams worked hard to keep track of the progress of construction works using traditional 2D plans so the Bechtel team worked collaboratively with Synchro Software to develop the Synchro SITE app that extended the 4D model into the field.

A new innovative work process was developed and implemented so that progress updates recorded in an application in the field were instantaneously reflected in the main 4D model containing the construction schedule. This provided near real-time updates to the whole project team and enabled the planning to become more proactive. The tool enabled the realisation of significant cost savings and process improvement across multiple project sites.

What began as a pilot at Liverpool Street station has now expanded to multiple sites along Crossrail’s central section route, including Whitechapel, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations. This innovative approach has been shared with all parties involved in the project and wider in the industry as part of Crossrail’s learning legacy programme. Bechtel is bringing these tools, techniques and know-how into the high speed rail environment on HS2 earlier into the design process to bring greater value – reducing cost, saving time and improving safety and quality.