In 2019, Indonesia laid out an ambitious plan to invest $412 billion in its infrastructure. By dedicating funds to numerous projects—from roads, bridges, highways, and dams to ports, airports, power plants, and homes—the world’s largest archipelago hopes to rebuild its islands, spur economic growth, and close the wealth gap. In addition, Indonesia is moving its capital from Jakarta to a yet-to-be-built city 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away in East Kalimantan, a province on the island of Borneo.
One major project in this development plan is the Temef Dam in South Central Timor Regency in East Nusa Tenggara, the southernmost province of Indonesia. Waskita Karya, a state-owned construction company, has been tasked with building the Temef Dam, which will be a source of water and will aid in flood control and irrigation around the South Central Timor Regency and its neighboring regencies. Waskita recognizes that digitalization is the key to Indonesia’s infrastructure plans—that’s why the firm elevated its construction process from traditional 2D BIM (Building Information Modeling) to 5D BIM for the project.
The dam, which will be the largest in East Nusa Tenggara, will be built to a length of 550 meters (1,804 feet), a height of 55 meters (180 feet), a land area of 45 hectares (111 acres), and it will accommodate up to 45 million cubic meters (more than 1.5 billion cubic feet) of water. Construction began in 2018 and is scheduled to be complete by 2022.
Waskita focuses on building large-scale structures such as airports, bridges, ports, and toll roads, in addition to dams and water works, where Waskita has its strong roots. The Temef Dam project poses several challenges for the Waskita team, one of which is its far-off location. “Because of the area’s remoteness, we had to find a way to manage our data with no network coverage,” says Kharis Alfi, BIM research and innovation manager at Waskita. “So we created a local environment for data management.”
Using common data environment (CDE) platforms such as Autodesk BIM 360 lets Waskita team members collaborate to access data, share information and notes, and review and approve design documents and drawings. Everything can be monitored in near-real time, and team members can monitor action history and follow up on actions. The field team goes into the city each week to synchronize data in the cloud, which lets Waskita’s engineering team back at the office check on the project’s progress and design updates. And with all required information in the cloud, Waskita effortlessly adapted once COVID-19 reached Indonesia’s shores. “We were able to conduct meetings remotely using Microsoft Teams, and more people were able to access the cloud while working from home,” says Gildam Satria, BIM expert and coordinator at Waskita.
Another challenge is building the team on the ground. Waskita employs people living in the South Central Timor Regency, and the team had to train them on BIM. Training residents provided an opportunity to upskill and contribute to the efficiency of Waskita’s processes.
“People in the field may not be doing the modeling, but they use BIM, so they need to understand the construction system, specifications, work methods, and schedules to inform their decisions on the ground,” Alfi says. “Everyone contributes to building our BIM data, and each person has a role in improving our BIM process.”
Another challenge facing the Temef Dam project is the terrain. “In dam projects, you have various terrains, with ever-changing earthworks from slope profiling, making it difficult for surveyors to quickly map out the area,” Alfi says. “Because of this, it’s helpful to make rapid section cuts or profiles.” The team uses terrestrial laser scanners and LIDAR drones for 3D scanning of environments and tricky terrains, such as hills or swamps, with accuracy within a millimeter. These tools speed up the process, with section cuts available within two hours instead of the four days it takes using conventional equipment such as robotic total stations.
For a more complete, accurate picture of developments on the field, the Waskita team employs photogrammetry with the help of drones. “Drones are essential to our workflow,” Alfi says. “We use both fixed-wing and multirotor drones for dams.”
From 2D to 5D
To make the leap to 5D, the team transformed the drone images into the topography model generated using photogrammetry software processing. Land-coverage data was processed in GIS and transposed into 3D models of the dam and its terrain and surrounding buildings. The site was modeled with the help of Autodesk Civil 3D and Revit.
“We use a 4D BIM approach to create project schedules and action plans,” says Taufiq Imam, BIM expert for infrastructure at Waskita. “We animate our 3D models, adding construction sequences to simulate the project’s progress over time.”
The firm also creates virtual experiences in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to better communicate designs and demonstrate progress, which aids in decision-making and leads to improved collaboration. “Most of our stakeholders are not engineers or they don’t have technical backgrounds,” Satria says. “VR and AR help them understand our designs and the solutions we propose.”
Waskita adds data contributing to cost information for 5D BIM. “The project owners provide the bill of materials, which already has volume data,” Alfi says. “In the near future, contractors will receive BIM models from owners and consultants with the required data in the model, so our task as contractor is to extract these data from the model to then fill in pricing for each unit. We’re using 5D in our project to control production and making sure that the items being built are sufficient.”
But this dimension of Waskita’s construction process is more than just managing items and cost. “The 5D BIM process is about using volume information to manage workload,” Satria says. “If you manage the volume, then you can manage the flow of expenses and the scope of work.”
People Drive Success
For the future of the Temef Dam and its other projects, Waskita hopes to further automate its processes with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. But first, the priority is upgrading the digital capabilities of the people behind its processes.
“Before the technology, you need to improve people’s skills to make sure they understand the criteria for successful deliverables and to justify which technology to implement to facilitate that success,” Alfi says. “BIM is not only a technology—it’s a mindset, it’s process-making; we call it a movement. The success of that movement depends on the people behind it.”