Facility Management of Reclamation's Dams - O&M Integration of the Unified Intelligent Model

Project ID: 19182
Principal Investigator: David Winslow
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019, 2020 and 2021
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation partnered with Autodesk for Science & Technology research project 9748 (2016-2018) and collected lidar, sonar and photogrammetric data to create an up-to-date unified intelligent model of Glen Canyon dam and powerplant. The unified model included point cloud, photogrammetric and the general layout of BIM models. The visual and model deliverables of project 9748 resulted in increased understanding of the facility and its surroundings.

This follow up proposal seeks to determine if additional model development and connection of the BIM models to CARMA can streamline facility design, O&M and work order processes and activities?

This proposed project would advance the BIM models by completing the powerplant mechanical systems and components. The designs for replacement of several electrical systems in the facility will also be added to the BIM models to create more complete models.

Asset information will added to the BIM model components to facilitate connection of the BIM models to CARMA. The updated BIM models will be connected to CARMA and used to streamline the digital to paper to digital O&M work order processes and activities.

This intelligent model would serve as a basis for design, O&M, asset management, monitoring, security, outreach and education. Overall facility operation and management would be enhanced through managers and personnel having better understanding of the facility and interrelated and interconnected systems.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation constructed approximately 492 dams and 76 powerplants since 1902. Additional water diversion,
carriage, and distribution facilities were also constructed. The useful life of many of these dams is estimated to be
several hundred years. The design of each of these facilities required hundreds or thousands of engineering drawings.
As the capabilities of software and Reclamation users have increased, the effectiveness of these individual drawings,
while still important, has decreased. CAD has transformed from a replacement for 2D manual drafting to incorporate
3D design and representations of specific parts and systems to facility management models which address all lifecycle
stages and incorporate data and inputs from numerous disciplines and sources. The facility management model is
termed Building Information Modeling (BIM) and originally applied to design, construction and lifecycle management of
buildings. Reclamation must move from current design processes where the end product is engineering drawings and
paper reports to lifecycle management of the unified intelligent model and digital work orders. This will not only
improve the design process, but also facility management, O&M, safety and security.
This transformation will benefit all Reclamation regions. Design and construction personnel will benefit through a
better understanding of how a design is interrelated to other systems and components of the facility. Facility
management, security and operations personnel benefit by having more information readily available from one
interface. Maintenance personnel benefit from increased access to updated system information. Public affairs
personnel benefit from the ability to create images and video presentations from the models.
Although Reclamation maintains experience in many of the applications associated with this project, the combination
of applications on a large scale water resources facility such as a dam and powerplant remains untested. This project
would serve as a proof of concept and develop Reclamation expertise, best practices, guidelines and procedures for
completion of similar projects. This project serves as a prototype with applicability throughout Reclamation facilities.
Reclamation can continue to use the current engineering drawing design and construction process, continue to
manage with disparate applications and scattered data. However, Reclamations stewardship obligations suggest that
the transformation from current processes to the unified intelligent model should be undertaken sooner than later.
This project builds on project 9748 and makes the data and products more available and usable to Reclamation users.
Project 9748 proved the concepts of the original project which was to create an up-to-date, as-built set of models of
the dam, powerplant and surrounding landscape. While this allows Reclamation to visualize the facility in a manner
unknown previously, additional work is needed to truly make the models invaluable to facility personnel. This includes
completing the models and making the data and visual information available to design and O&M personnel at the
facility. Without the proposed project, the completion of these activities will require five to ten years based on available

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20