BAM uses Digital Twin to reduce ProRail’s two-weekend possessions to one

by Jay Bekkers, Customer Success Manager and Heather Howe, Marketing Editor on July 23, 2019


As an early adopter of Autodesk® BIM 360®, the Royal BAM Group continues to innovatively tackle construction challenges using Autodesk solutions. BAM operates in five European home markets and in niche markets worldwide, employing approximately 20,000 people. Its operating companies are active in two business lines: construction and property and civil engineering, as well as public-private partnerships.

The municipality of Zwolle, working with the government organization ProRail, commissioned BAM Infra to design and construct a new bridge for city buses. This division of BAM oversees all infrastructure projects across the Netherlands. With a commitment to successful collaboration, strong client relationships, and innovative infrastructure solutions, BAM Infra was a natural fit.

Schuttebusbrug in Zwolle would create the connection between a current bus lane and a new bus station on the opposite, south side of the train rails. Once completed, the bridge would be 433 meters in total length and see 1,200 bus movements each day. Timely design and construction were necessary to regain easy traffic flow and avoid unplanned rail shutdowns. BAM Infra knew that leveraging its current digital expertise while adopting new capabilities would be the key to successful project delivery. With Autodesk® BIM 360® Field, Autodesk® Navisworks®, Autodesk® Revit®, Autodesk® Dynamo, and Autodesk® Inventor®, BAM Infra created essential 3D bridge designs and conducted streamlined digital site inspections. As a result, the team successfully generated a complex design solution and saw a 20 percent time savings on digital quality control and a 50 percent time savings during assembly of the bridge finishing.


Building the new bus station on the south side of the train rails would help solve for increasing congestion on the north side, while the bridge would provide a safe and easy way to connect existing bus routes to the new station. Taking into consideration the position of existing rails, the location of the new bus station and the entrance to current bus routes designing the bridge in a straight line was not an option. Working with architects ipv Delft, the team decided to design the bridge in an “S-like” shape with three different curves—a concept that would greatly enhance the visual appeal of the neighborhood. However, this design had significant challenges. In order to properly anticipate the impact of the bridge’s internal components and external integration, 3D design solutions would be essential. Tristan Wolvekamp, Lead Structural Engineer at BAM, commented, “Not only do the S-curves of the bridge make 3D modeling necessary, but 3D also provides a better view of multi-disciplinary clashes and model optimization.”

The construction phase presented its own challenges. Building around a fully operational rail system meant the rail could only shutdown on designated weekends. The team was offered four, 52-hour time slots over select weekends in 2018 to assemble the prefab bridge units. BAM selected two weekends, anticipating the team would traditionally need 104 hours in total to complete the project—a tight time frame for a complex construction project. In addition, the Municipality of Zwolle was commissioning other infrastructure projects around the city. In order to avoid delaying these additional projects, meeting deadlines was essential.


Due to the unique curve of the bridge design, BAM Infra chose early on to use a tubular cross-section to help balance out the torsion of the structure. With Revit, Navisworks, and Inventor, the team tackled the complex bridge design using 3D modeling strategies and the use of a Digital Twin. These platforms allowed the team to easily communicate with subcontractors as well as internal and external stakeholders, ensuring all parties stayed up to date with the latest design solution. “Because the subcontractor designed the temporary works in 3D, we could use that information to set-out the road plates. This saved us one-third on material costs and man-hours setting out the road plates,” said Karel Bos, Work Planner at BAM. 3D modeling also allowed the team to plan for prefab façade elements—components that would be essential during the construction phase.

The underside of the bridge required a finishing made of wooden slats within a steel frame. This finishing was built in prefabricated components, and once the components were on site, a proper fit would be essential. To ensure the prefab dimensions were exact, BAM Infra used Revit and Dynamo to design the frames.

Royal BAM Group is committed to a full digital transformation across its entire organization. In keeping with this business goal, BAM Infra adopted BIM 360 Field to conduct digital quality control inspections during the construction of Schuttebusbrug. Reducing paper-based site inspections meant the traceability of activities and project progress overviews were easily accessible and quickly available. The risk of losing key data also decreased significantly, and fewer inspections were left incomplete. “Digital inspection made us quicker and gave us a better overview of progress. Our inspection was automatically processed in the system engineering application, which saved a tremendous amount of work,” said Yorick Laarhoven, BIM Specialist at BAM. Additionally, BIM 360 Field is capable of linking to Relatics, BAM’s internal system engineering. With this in place, human interaction with the system was limited—leading to fewer opportunities for error.


Creating the unique, curved design of the bridge would not have been possible without 3D modeling solutions. The final result was 156 unique elements, all fitting together with perfect precision. Using Revit, Inventor, and Navisworks, the team could easily visualize the final concept, communicate effectively to all parties, and realize the vision with complete accuracy during construction. With only two weekends available for assembly above the rail, fitting the prefab elements together correctly the first time was essential—and BAM Infra accomplished construction under schedule.

Traditionally, BAM would need two weekends for a project of this scale. Thanks to digital optimization and the use of the Digital Twin, the team only needed one weekend. This is a huge advantage for BAM, its clients, and the public.

Because BAM no longer needed both weekends for assembly, the team submitted a “Change Request”—or verzoek tot wijziging (VTW)—to the local government. With this VTW filed, this meant the train could remain open an additional weekend—allowing for smooth travel and reduced overall delays during the project. This success saved both BAM and the project owner several hundred thousand Euros.

The use of BIM 360 Field during the construction phase reduced the need for quality control administrative tasks. This reduced quality control time by 20 percent, giving the team more time to meet tight deadlines. Fewer administrative tasks means less time spent on site, helping to improve safety over the lifecycle of the project for the work planner and site supervisor.

After the success of the Schuttebusbrug, BIM 360 Field is now commonly used on BAM Infra’s construction sites. After the success of the project, BAM hosted a digital construction day and showcased this bridge as a success for BAM’s overall digital transformation. The adoption of these Autodesk solutions is one more step in BAM’s journey towards cultural change and helping people embrace these solutions as the way of the future. By improving safety, timeliness, quality, and accuracy, BAM can further its commitment to putting people first.  


“Due to software like BIM 360 Field and Inventor, BAM is able to do more in a shorter time period, and design and build esthetically more complex civil engineering objects.”

-Rick Bruinink, Project Manager, BAM


“The transition of a paper-based construction industry to Digital Construction is inevitable. To help accelerate the change for BAM, we’ve appointed extra educated colleagues as BIM ambassadors who are supporting people and projects—‘peer support’—on the use of these new workflows. Scaling up best practices by leveraging our digital experts ensures the future-readiness of our business.”

-Henk Post, Regional Division Director, BAM

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