Development of a Common Database in German Road Construction

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  City with road and interconnected construction vehicles Copyright: © ISAC  

A Common Data Environment (CDE) is a modular digital platform for the central data organization of digital building models and the key to a structured application of the BIM method in construction projects.

On behalf of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), the recently launched CDE.BStB research project is pursuing the goal of developing a specific concept for a nationwide, inter-organizational CDE. This will standardize information management and communication in German road construction. The establishment of a nationwide CDE for public administrative institutions in infrastructure construction is intended to create a consistent and structured database for public administrative institutions. This is in line with the defined goals in the Master Plan BIM Federal Highways.

The platform makes it possible to bundle information from the various parties involved in a project and to provide a central communication medium. By ensuring the most up-to-date status of construction planning, it facilitates communication between the project participants and thus leads to savings in time and costs. Currently, CDE systems are mainly used in building construction projects, while infrastructure projects still lack uniform requirements and foundations for this common data environment.

The research project contributes to further advancing the federal government's efforts to digitize the public administrations of the federal, state and local governments. Interdisciplinary collaboration with the Institute of Highway Engineering (ISAC) is leading to the development of a road construction-specific CDE guideline. This defines uniform requirements with a special focus on road construction. By means of a market and inventory analysis, an investigation of different CDE providers and the measure carriers in road construction is carried out. In addition to data management, important research points for successful use of the CDE concept are the distribution of roles and responsibilities at the strategic and operational levels. Investment requirements and benefits for the introduction of the information system along the life cycle are also considered. Finally, recommendations for action and technical recommendations for the implementation of a common database in road construction are provided.