The hottest topic in the construction sector at the moment is arguably building information modeling aka BIM: BIM design, BIM construction, BIM management, etc. In our field of activity (all infrastructure outside buildings), there is more and more talk about infraBIM and everything related to it.
While machine control models are already an everyday tool in road construction, keywords such as CDE, BCF, the administrative model and the life cycle of an object are increasingly in the minds of those working in the field.

Roadplan OÜ engineers have participated in six major infraBIM pilot projects in the last few years. The following is a brief overview of the work done and lessons learned.


Tõrva roundabout


Client Estonian Road Administration
Object Roadabout
Stage Detailed design
Software Autodesk Civil 3D

Trimble Quadri

Trimble Connect

Novapoint Base

Tekla Field

Roadplan OÜ played a slightly unusual role in the design of the Tõrva roundabout, where the previously completed project had to be supplemented with a more detailed 3D part. It was also necessary to model and present the whole existing situation both above and below ground as a single 3D coordination model.

In cooperation with the Finnish software consultant Civilpoint OY, we set up a coordination model on the Timble Quadri BIM cloud server. Novapoint Base software was used to upload, configure and view sub-models. File management took place on a Trimble Connect cloud server. For creating 3D models we used our daily software Autodesk Civil 3D. As a result of the work, the survey model and design model were completed, which were located in the Quadri cloud server. The models were available to all parties at all times for review and observation.

The biggest challenge for this work was to structure the files and sub-models in a way that was clear and convenient for all parties to use. After all, there is no classification system, corresponding data models, a universally used data exchange file format as well as a file management system commonly used by the Estonian Road Administration.



Roadway nr 90 Soohara- Karisilla reconstruction


Client Estonian Road Administration
Object Road section
Stage Detailed design
Software Autodesk Civil 3D



The content of this project was to update the project previously prepared by Roadplan OÜ and to model additional 3D surfaces for the project, to compile more precise construction models for the builder and to upload them to the Infrakit application.

What made the project special for us was that this time the Infrakit environment was used for the first time. The builder needed all the 3D surfaces of the coatings and the layers of the coatings and they had to be integrated into the Infrakit environment. It was a large-scale work which also included the Niitsiku bridge. A comprehensive 3D model of the bridge was also created.

As a separate BIM coordinator was not required for this work, nor was it appointed voluntarily, the importance and necessity of this role became very clear during the work.

A very important and necessary part was also the feedback meeting at the end of the work, during which we gave the Client input for the implementation of projects in the future. In addition, we were happy to receive feedback from the builder, for whom the 3D models were very helpful and easy to use.



Veerenni development area, phase II


Client AS Merko Ehitus Eesti
Object New street
Stage detailed design
Software Autodesk Civil 3D

Tekla BIMsight

Veerenni developement area was a private sector object, unlike those described above. This clearly showed in the client’s wishes and goals, which were much more specific.

The primary goal of the project was to bring together the sub-models of both roads and utility networks into an integrated model and to monitor the progress of the project with it. Also hold model-based meetings and cross-checks.
The second major goal was due to the construction of the previous phase I of the Veerenni development area. Namely, additional earthworks were added significantly as additional work there, and it was quite difficult for site and project managers to estimate the additional volumes.
We compiled models of excavation surfaces, on the basis of which it is possible to unambiguously compare the volumes of work actually performed with the project volumes.



Tapa multilevel crossing


Client Estonian Road Administration

GRK Infra AS

Object Main road section, multilevel crossing
Stage Detailed design
Software Autodesk Civil 3D

Trimble Connect

The aim of the work was to compile the design and construction of the multi-level intersection of the state road 5 Pärnu-Rakvere-Sõmeru and connecting road between the Tapa town and the Central Polygon of the Defense Forces.

The challenge for this project was the extremely fast deadline, which was due to the fact that it was a design-construction tender and the preliminary design had already been prepared earlier. The builder needed all the 3D surfaces of the coatings and the base layers of the coatings, and they had to be combined into a coordination model in Trimble Connect software. A bridge was also added to the coordination model, the original model of which was created in Autodesk Revit software. Information on existing and planned utility networks was also compiled into the coordination model.

From this project we learned so many good lessons about using CDE in general and using it as a project communication tool. It was very positive that the builder had a very competent BIM coordinator who also provided good input on the builder’s expectations and needs for the 3D surfaces used in machine control. For our part, we also provided feedback and input to the Client for the implementation of future projects.



Tartu western bypass stage 4 construction consept


Client Estonian Road Administration
Object Main road section, multilevel crossing
Stage Concept
Software Autodesk Civil 3D

Autodesk Infraworks

The use of a model-based approach in this object was purely on Roadplan’s own initiative. It was a pleasure to experience that the representatives of the Road Administration were interested in this project and went along with the idea.

The purpose of the Road Plan was to test the model-based communication between the designer, the Client and third parties, and in particular to show the possibility to introduce the solution model-based to landowners.

The entire project, from the first conceptual design to the final selected solutions, was based on models in Autodesk Infraworks software. All project meetings were held paperless and using a 3D model. We also calculated the volumes of earthworks and pavements in the sketch based on the same model.

The project materials that we handed over to the client also included data in the original format (Infraworks native format) as well as Civil 3D dynamic data. It is significantly more than the usual static DWG and PDF and allows you to use the work already done in the subsequent design stages.


Consepts of Gärdesskolan and Kunskapsskolan schools in Stockholm, Sweden


Client Swedish Road Administration
Object Level crossings for light road users
Stage Consept
Software Autodesk Civil 3D

Autodesk Infraworks

The aim of the work was to solve the access for light road users of two schools in Stockholm – Gärdesskolan and Kunskapsskolan. The problem was related to the trajectories of schoolchildren moving across the existing road and street. The Client wanted to check whether the given requirement to solve the passage of light traffic users at different levels is feasible in nature and how and to what extent the solution fits within the given limits. The aim of the work was to find a technically and financially optimal solution with different sketches. When compiling the sketches, the possible volumes of road works also had to be assessed.

We found that the best solution to achieve this goal is to use Infraworks software, which allowed to create suitable 3D visualized solutions based on orthophoto and LIDAR data.

We compiled 10 different solutions, of which photos and videos were made together with 3D models.
When the Swedish Road Administration evaluated the formalized variants, it was realized that the desired solutions are not very easy to implement in nature, but nevertheless the most optimal possible solutions were found.
With the skilful use of the most suitable software and the help of a competent engineer, the Client quickly obtained various solutions that did not require much time for design but were visualized and clearly understood by all parties.

Summary of BIM pilot projects

Despite the shortcomings of some of the systems and guidelines mentioned above, the initiative of both the Road Administration and individual private contracting authorities to carry out pilot projects is very welcome. If we can jointly apply the experience gained during the implementation of each pilot project in the following works, then we are definitely on the right path towards a more comprehensive life cycle and better cooperation.

For our part, we are definitely open to new challenges on BIM and infraBIM. We contribute the knowledge gained from our previous experience and lessons to the development of new solutions.