Quality assured

Using Solibri to fine-tune BIM models ultimately helped improve the passenger experience at Copenhagen Airport

The sounds of trolley bags' wheels rolling on the tiled floors, announcements about departing flights and lively chatting echoes throughout the terminal as people walk towards gates to catch their flight. Some of them linger in the terminal shops looking for gifts to take home, while others sit in cafés enjoying a cup of coffee and relaxing before embarking on their outward journey from Denmark. This is everyday life at Copenhagen's airport.

It is the biggest, and busiest, airport in the Nordic countries, conveniently located very close to the centre of the country's capital. The number of passengers travelling through openhagen Airport is increasing, though, from the current throughput of around 30 Million people every year. To accommodate the expected increase, a busy schedule of improvements has now been implemented.

"Our strategy is to have one airport that has all the terminals and piers under one roof, and we are increasing the capacity of the existing buildings and areas to accommodate the rise in the number of passengers and to improve the passenger's experience. Because of this, we have around 100 different building projects in progress every year," explains Michael Ørsted, the Head of Department Technical Knowledge at Copenhagen Airport. To handle the large volume of projects more efficiently, Michael and his team have employed the latest design and model analysis software, in particular BIM and Solibri, which have improved the quality of the project's performance and, at the same time, achieved impressive cost savings.

This is an example of an owner-operator taking the initiative, firstly by developing a system of checks to guarantee design quality and to save money by eliminating design errors, and then passing those rulesets on to the design supply chain for them to run their own checks before models are submitted. By doing this they only have to run sanity checks on submitted designs. The success of this approach is encouraging Michael to take it even further, with a desire to bring the Solibri guarantee of quality to every construction project in Denmark.


Michael and his team handle all data and BIM models, offering a link between asset management, operations and ongoing projects at the airport. One challenge they have been faced with, together with the some of the Asset Managers involved in the projects, is the problem of ensuring the quality of the documents and drawings they receive, especially the large quantities of 2D drawings that are produced. This makes it hard to see the overall scale of the project and how different designs are linked without using 3D models.

"We are trying to offer a better tool for our Asset Managers to ensure improved quality for all the building projects we have here at Copenhagen Airport. We were used to using Solibri in our projects for clash detection and consistency checks, so it was a natural choice for us to start using it more widely and to benefit from some of its other powerful rules.

"Now we are automating quality checks in Solibri by implementing the Asset Managers' quality assurance standards into rules and to use them to check all the models," Michael elaborated. "We are handing out these rulesets through our website to all of the participants in the projects. It also allows our Asset Managers to demand that these rules are being used by all the stakeholders."

"This means that errors should be found by the construction and engineering teams at an early stage in the project, instead of the Asset Managers discovering them later. This has also improved collaboration between all the different teams and given us a way to make sure every demand from the operations is considered early on."


Michael is already seeing some concrete benefits of using Solibri in their projects. "There was a baggage handling project where we needed to make sure that large equipment could fit into a technical room and elevator system. When we did the checking in this project, we could see that the access to the technical room was okay, the access to the elevator was also okay, but on the way from the elevator to the technical room, we noticed that the path was actually too narrow in one corner.

"Our Asset Managers just wouldn't have been able to find this problem without Solibri. It would have cost us a lot of money to fix that afterwards, if we hadn't found it so early in the design stage.

"Another example is a project where we found that one of the accessible toilets was not the right size. By using Solibri we then noticed that, actually, every accessible toilet had the same problem, not just this one instance - something the Asset Manager would have difficulty in finding from 2D drawings.

"Our engineering team has calculated that we have saved more than €400,000 euros in this project by finding issues that we wouldn't have recognised or identified before. The external contractors are now motivated to use the system because, after all, they want to handover projects that are compliant with the airport's needs and not to have discussions about whether or not to take actions on some of the findings that they have made!"


Besides his work at Copenhagen Airport, Michael is also involved in the development of the whole of the construction industry in Denmark, as he is the chairman of the Digitalisation group within the Danish Building Owners' organisation. "We share our Solibri knowledge with other building owners. In fact, we have just recently started a collaboration with some of the largest building owners here in Denmark, in order to convert some of our national building requirements into rulesets.

"The aim is to have an open system that is free in Denmark, where we could hand out these rules to every project to make sure that current building regulations are met. We are seeking external funding for this initiative to enable us to spend more time on it, and to have the majority of our national regulations set up as rulesets for future projects.

"This would mean that every project in Denmark would have quality assurance as a minimum goal, and that building regulations are met on all future projects."