Notre-Dame 'reborn' with Autodesk digital twin technology
As Parisians today mark the second anniversary of the fire which devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral, digital twin technology has helped reconstruct the landmark to its former glory.
Data using reality capture technologies prior to the fire enabled Autodesk to create a 3D BIM model of the famous landmark and reality capture scans provided 3D models post-fire for comparison.
The models were created by Autodesk in partnership with the French Government - which has set a reopening date of April 2024 - to help manage the restoration of the cathedral, as well as increase its resilience for any future events.
Autodesk is contributing design and construction technology solutions, and drawing on BIM support and technical expertise. The use of BIM creates a historical digital record for increased resiliency for future events and restoration.
Moreover cloud collaboration serves as a central repository for all project information, providing stakeholders with access to latest data and plans.
Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin, President of the public establishment dedicated to the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, warmly thanked Autodesk for supporting the rebirth of Paris Notre-Dame Cathedral.
"Using digital technologies designed for the supervision and management of the restoration site is essential for the public institution. Thanks to Autodesk’s patronage, the use of cutting-edge design and construction technologies and BIM, are being leveraged to help prepare for the reopening of the cathedral, and to once again welcome both pilgrims and visitors,” he said.
Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk Vice President of Business Strategy for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions, said it was humbled to participate in the restoration and future preservation of the architectural wonder.
"Since the devasting fire two years ago, we have provided funding and technology to support the effort through the French Fondation du Patrimoine (Heritage Foundation) and this announcement reinforces our commitment," he said.
The Friends of Notre Dame Paris page provides rebuilding updates. Work is "steadily progressing" on securing the structure, which is due to be finished this summer. All burned timbers have reportedly been removed.
The five sexpartite vaults in the choir, the north transept and the nave will be outfitted with made to measure half-hangers that fit the shape of each vault and account for the building's complexities. To remove the scorched scaffolding on the roof, a was built on three levels to help prevent its collapse.
More than €650 million has been donated for the restoration and the cathedral is being rebuilt with oak trees from local forests, which are to be stored ahead of installation next autumn.
All photos credited to Autodesk, Inc.
Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way?
According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.
As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory.
PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.
While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.
“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said.
Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.
PlanRadar research summary
As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France.
- The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.
- It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects.
- Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory.
- Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.
- Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation.
- Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.
- BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
- When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country.
- From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.
- France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects.
- In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level.
- At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard.
The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.