thinkproject wins Fehmarn Belt megaproject

The thinkproject BIM common data environment (CDE) software is to be used during construction of the 18km €6.9bn Fehmarn Belt fixed link between Germany and Denmark.

Munich, Germany-based thinkproject‘s BIM ‘common data environment’ (CDE) software is to be used during construction of the €6.9bn (c US$7.74bn or £6.24bn) Fehmarn Belt fixed link. At 18km long, the world’s longest road and rail tunnel project, and one of Europe’s largest megaprojects, will be constructed between Germany and Denmark at the western end of the Baltic Sea.  It is scheduled to open in 2028.

Fehmarn Belt fixed link

Fehmarnbelt mapA connection has been discussed since the 1990s and initial work focused on a fixed bridge link carrying a four-lane highway and two electrified rail tracks. However, in late 2010, after further feasibility studies, it was decided that an immersed (not bored) tunnel posed fewer construction risks and would cost about the same. The Baltic Sea in the Fehmarn strait is sufficiently shallow (35m at the deepest) to allow dredging and immersed tunnel construction. It will be the longest such tunnel in the world (surpassing a 13.5km  tunnel in Turkey), the world’s longest combined road and rail tunnel, the world’s longest underwater tunnel for road, and the second deepest concrete immersed tunnel.

The tunnel will provide a faster connection between Copenhagen and Hamburg – reducing travel time by 1-2 hours. The improved connection between Germany and Denmark will boost freight transport, increase cross-border integration of the labour market, and improve general travel between Scandinavia and central Europe.

Fehmarnbelt tunnel cross-section

thinkproject BIM contract

thinkproject was awarded the project’s BIM software contract by Femern A/S (a Danish state-owned company whose subsidiaries already operate the Great Belt Fixed Link and the Øresund Fixed Link). In its news release, thinkproject says it secured the contract thanks to its complete solution offering and its ability to improve collaboration between project participants by providing simple access to model information. It says its BIM platform provides a highly sophisticated and secure SaaS solution to meet the project’s requirements, supporting BIM and CAD management, workflow and audit trails.

Gareth Burton (think project! CEO)The thinkproject product portfolio includes three CDE products: tpCDE and CONCLUDE CDE (acquired November 2019) for construction projects, and EPLASS CDE (acquired 2011) specifically for rail, road and infrastructure projects. For the Fehmarn Belt project, tpCDE will be used.* With two international consortia (FBC and FLC) delivering one and three main project contracts respectively, Extranet Evolution asked how tpCDE would be adopted. “All project partners have to upload all information to our system. FLC is using it for internal coordination and collaboration. At the end all collaboration and information exchange between all contractors and Femern will be via tp.”

Just over a year after taking over as CEO, thinkproject’s Gareth Burton, right, says, “We’re excited to bring our expertise as the global leader in construction intelligence and our 20 years’ worth of digital solutions experience to such a significant infrastructure project in the European transport network.”

Kim Smedegaard Andersen, deputy technical director of Femern A/S adds, “BIM collaboration is an essential part for managing a major project such as the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, and we’re very much looking forward to working with thinkproject to realise the benefits of this megaproject”.

* Update – thinkproject’s Michel Kraaijeveld says that the complete solution for the Femernbelt project team will consist of tpCDE and the group’s BIM management solution DESITE BIM (which it acquired in March 2019). DESITE provides thinkproject’s CDEs with additional BIM functionality such as collision (clash) and model checking, and 4D simulation and analysis for users.

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