BIM Academy appointed by Sydney Opera House as part of team for building management technology project

Alliance partners BIM Academy have been appointed by the Sydney Opera House last month in collaboration with AECOM (global professional and technical services firm) and EcoDomus – to deliver a ground-breaking interface between traditional Building Management Control Systems, Building Information databases and Building Information Modelling (BIM).


Anthony Merlin – i2C, Graham Kelly BIM Academy UK & Will Joske BIM Academy Australia

The implementation of the new technology will be critical to management and development of the Sydney Opera House – providing an innovative, web-based 3D graphical interface that maps both the physical and functional characteristics of Australia’s most famous building.

BIM Academy UK led the vigorous tender process and moving forward BIM Academy Australia will be heavily involved in the consortium team. Managing Director Peter Barker said: “The Opera House has a number of systems to manage the facility, using different software, and database formats. The idea is to provide a fully-integrated FM system hosted around a 3D model.”

The BIM interface will link a geo-spatially accurate model of the Opera House building and surrounding site to existing engineering documentation and maintenance and building-management and control systems. The aim is to create a tool that will provide a single source of information for regular building operational requirements as well as ongoing developmental works and projects.

The new BIM interface will be a key tool in the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal, a program of works and initiatives to ensure the world-renowned performing arts centre is fit for 21st century artists and visitors.

Sydney Opera House Director of Building Greg McTaggart said: “As we embark on the first stage of Opera House Renewal, it is critical that we have the technical infrastructure in place to effectively manage the pipeline of upcoming development projects, as well as to support the ongoing management and conservation of this architectural masterpiece. The Opera House is truly unique so it’s exciting that we have the opportunity to develop bespoke, leading-edge building technologies that not only meet our specific needs but also those of the wider industry itself.

“After initially assessing the market it quickly became clear there was no single BIM solution that could be applied to both development and construction projects as well as ongoing facilities management of the Opera House. We identified a gap in the industry and decided to tender for a bespoke, user-friendly solution.”

Selection of the consortium was based on several criteria including team expertise, proven experience in delivering similar technical BIM roll-out projects, as well as an in-depth understanding of the requirements for BIM at the World Heritage-listed Opera House.

Mr McTaggart continued: “It was critical that the proposed BIM interface serve as a hub to which various other building systems could be linked, bearing in mind that the number of systems will grow over time. It needed to serve as a platform for future development and therefore to be flexible and scalable.

“Developing an intuitive and easy-to-use tool for a range of staff was important, as was making it accessible to external consultants working across ongoing development projects.”

The solution put forward by the consortium uses cloud-based technology. It will provide the Opera House’s building team with the ability to easily update and interrogate information and data via one central tool. Because it is cloud based, staff will be able to access the BIM interface remotely via handheld mobile devices while working on site. External consultants can also use the system across ongoing building projects.

Steve Appleby, BIM practice lead for Australia and New Zealand at AECOM says “This is truly a ground-breaking project that continues to demonstrate Sydney Opera House’s commitment to digital innovation. With approximately 1,800 performances a year, the Sydney Opera House is a complex building that is constantly in use. The ‘RetroBIM’ solution will give its facilities management team the digital tools to effectively and efficiently leverage facility information in support of the ongoing management of the Opera House, which will support the preservation of the building’s heritage for many years to come.”

The project, which is expected to be rolled out over the next 18 months, will be split into two stages. The first includes successfully retrieving and linking information from existing and new databases via the 3D model. The second will introduce a broader range of functional modules that can be added to the BIM interface over time.

For further information please email  Will Joske, BIM Development Manager i2C | BIM Academy.