BIM Process Used to Design Five Mile Reclaimed Water Pipeline without Disrupting Existing Utilities

Categories: Engineering Infrastructure

Dewberry, a privately held engineering,
architectural, and management consulting firm, has completed the installation
of a five mile long reclaimed water pipeline in Fairfax County, Va. This
multi-faceted project was completed without impacting any existing utility
infrastructure. Dewberry used a Building Information Modeling (BIM) process with advanced 3D design and
visualization technology from Autodesk to support the bid and then design the pipeline.

with $6.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009
, the
$15 million new pipeline was developed under the Noman Cole Pollution Control
Plant Water Reuse Project.  Informally referred to by the team as a
“purple pipe” project–because in the United States reclaimed water is
always distributed in light purple pipes to distinguish it from potable water–the reclaimed water will be used for local landscape irrigation and cooling
purposes at a local energy-from-waste facility. This complex project involved
more than 120 team members and 10 government agencies.

Advanced 3D visualization and design
software helped Dewberry increase design and construction efficiency, and
communicate design intent to non-technical stakeholders. Image courtesy of

“Applying an information modeling process is a highly
efficient way to manage complex and challenging projects such as a purple pipe
project,” said Cody Pennetti, site/civil engineer, Dewberry.  “With the
success of the Noman Cole Pollution Control Plan Water Reuse project, we’re now
applying information modeling tools to a similar large-scale infrastructure
project in the works, including the application of Autodesk Infrastructure
Modeler software.  Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler enables us to further
enhance our ability to model information on new projects to create, evaluate,
and communicate visually rich infrastructure proposals for more informed

used Autodesk software for information modeling throughout the project’s
lifecycle, ranging from the proposal, to the initial design phase, and through
development of construction documents. The 3-D modeling software helped Dewberry
create models and visualizations that were used at public hearings, by
contractors, and for local government agencies to help demonstrate how the
project would be completed.

AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D and Autodesk 3ds Max Design software provided a number of opportunities
for the Dewberry team to add value to the project. For example, using AutoCAD
Civil 3D software helped Dewberry demonstrate its understanding of the
project’s challenges to stakeholders. Initial alignment studies and
visualizations were provided by compiling County GIS data using AutoCAD Map 3D. Throughout the project, conceptual
visualizations of the model were created using Autodesk 3ds Max Design to help
meet deadlines by supporting the communication of design intent and options to
the client and contractors.

An interview with Cody
Pennetti is available at the Autodesk
YouTube channel