Infrastructure Management & Architecture

The Infrastructure Management group of Section B4 ‘Infrastructure Management and Architecture’ uses modern infrastructure management tools to assist the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) in managing its portfolio of structures. Its principal task is to compile and prepare information for decision-makers, to enable them to reach objective decisions taking account of the portfolio as a whole.

Current, comprehensive and high quality data on the portfolio of structures must be available for this purpose. The Section advises the WSV regarding the establishment of appropriate databases and in connection with data entry, quality assurance and further development. Up-to-date information on the condition of each structure is collected in the framework of structural inspection activities. Amongst other things, this refers to Administrative Regulation VV-WSV 2101 (Structural Inspection) and the WSVPruf software, which was developed with major support from the section, as well as to the BAW Codes of Practice on the Section’s field of work that are issued to provide technical assistance. Models are developed in order to forecast the future condition of structures and identify when intervention is reasonable from a technological point of view. Alongside pragmatic approaches for estimating the projected repair costs in the short term, the various databases which exist for invitations to tender, contract awards and billing, asset accounting and controlling will be linked together via interfaces as a precondition of long-term assessments. The Section’s activities also include interface design and monitoring the implementation of the central installations.

Finally, this information must be linked to decision-making support. The Section therefore investigates risk approaches for infrastructure. In addition to calculating the probability of occurrence of incidents requiring structure-related information exceeding the scope of the structural inspection, it is also essential to consider the degree of damage which results if such an incident occurs. The network, or its individual corridors where performance is determined by the weakest link in the chain, is a similarly relevant aspect. This work is carried out in cooperation with universities as well as in the context of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) expert network.

The Architecture group of Section B4 ‘Infrastructure Management and Architecture’ provides expert opinions to the offices of the WSV and the BMVI for the performance of fundamental design tasks and for dealing with architectural issues. Apart from contributing state-of-the-art input on energy efficiency and sustainability, the standardization of functional buildings like control centres and branch offices plays a prominent role. Modular construction kits allow adequate consideration to be given to individual needs or to the urban development context and the surrounding countryside. Current construction work is likewise supported as far as possible – generally during work phases 1 to 3.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) for hydraulic structures represents another priority theme. Section B4’s architectural concepts are developed with the help of 3D models (little bim ). These models/visualizations permit optimal control as well as more reliable decisions in every project phase and simultaneously make the concepts easier to understand. They can also be utilized for energy and structural studies.

Furthermore, the standards established under the “BIM at the WSV” pilot project will ensure the realization of the BMVI’s “Road Map for Digital Design and Construction” for the German federal waterways. Approaches for applying BIM throughout the lifecycle of the structures concerned are being developed concurrently.

Structural Engineering Topics