How Cloud bursts through construction challenges in Malaysia’s new MRT system

MRTC’s Poh Seng Tiok explains to Computerworld Malaysia how a digitised approach will increase productivity at the latest phase of the Mass Rapid Transit system by 35%

By AvantiKumar
Oct. 10, 2017

Construction of MRT

Photo (Official) - Construction site MRT


  The smart use of cloud technologies is helping to ease the construction of Malaysia's new 51 kilometre Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) system in Klang Valley.

Development of  the RM32 (US$7.57) billion Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) line project is estimated to yield a 35 percent productivity increase in design, construction and operation of country's largest railway project when compared to the previous SBK line phase.

This is according to Poh Seng Tiok, director of planning and design at Malaysia Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC).

He explained that the main objective was to increase the precision of construction, reduce having to rework designs and to improve safety standards by ensuring a smooth synchronisation and information exchange between external vendors.

A digitised approach has been used to remove these challenges, which basically coalesce into how to deal with outdated information, said Poh.
 The answer was to use cloud-based collaboration. He added that MRTC is one of the first in Asia to use cloud-based collaboration on a common data environment for a project of this kind.
How the cloud collaboration works

Following a partnership with Microsoft's Global ISV [independent software vendor] Bentley Systems, MRTC is now able to use an Azure-hosted Bentley Systems platform.

Poh said all project disciplines are now able to work "dynamically using a federated model for coordinated design, despite the participation of numerous external vendors and decentralised information on this complex project."

"With Azure, we were able to develop a federated model for coordinated design, even though we had 30 percent more external vendors involved and much decentralised information on this project," he continued. 
"We were able to allow consultants to have direct access to the common database in order to continuously update design information, which helped eliminate possibilities of outdated and misinterpreted information," Poh told Computerworld Malaysia shortly after the official announcement.

He now aims to complete the project on-time and within budget, benefitting from the projected 35 percent productivity increase in the design, construction and operation of the infrastructure (when compared to the SBK line previously).

"In addition, we are able to conduct a fortnightly Virtual Design Review process, allowing our diverse teams to review and coordinate their respective models, regardless of locations," said Poh.

Federated platform and challenges

He said the use of the federated platform has allowed more than 1,500 users on the Common Data Environment (CDE) to collaborate on more than 45,000 documents, amounting to 750GB of design files.

This has allowed confident decision making and activity to power the design and construction of the new phase. MRTC has been able to improve efficiency of design coordination and achieve a significant reduction of design clashes by the Final Design stage. 

Other positive benefits include more efficient ongoing asset management for the optimal lifecycle of this critical infrastructure, Poh said.

Speaking further of some of the challenges, he said MRTC faced several challenges with the construction of the KVMRT SSP line. One of these challenges is that the previous SBK line project presented "too many site changes during construction, resulting from design discrepancies arising from either design changes or site constraints. In addition, MRTC has to manage 30 percent more consultants involved in the SSP line, all of whom would have to have direct access to the common database in order to continuously update design information, eliminating outdated and misinterpreted information."

Poh repeated that the base challenge centred on information. "Any mega civil construction project - like ours - needs to ensure seamless information exchange, and real-time collaboration among stakeholders, regardless of the platforms they are using. The probability for error is high if information is not managed on a common data environment, especially in a highly collaborative project like ours. These types of errors could lead to construction delays and increased costs due to change orders and rework to rectify issues."

Intelligent cloud modelling

He said that when using Building Information Modelling (BIM) methodologies in civil construction projects, a cloud-based, intelligent 3D model-based process provided many advantages for mega-scale infrastructure projects similar to the KVMRT SSP line.

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