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Crossrail and Bentley Systems launch UK’s first building information modelling academy

Crossrail and Bentley Systems launch UK’s first building information modelling academy

Crossrail and Bentley Systems launched a dedicated Information Academy to provide hands-on training to the Crossrail supply chain on the latest technology and software being used to design and build the new railway including Building Information Modelling (BIM). The Academy is an undertaking of the technology partnership created earlier this year between Bentley Systems and Crossrail Limited. The Information Academy will capture, develop and share BIM best practices with the Crossrail supply chain. The increased use of BIM by industry is a key element of the Government Construction Strategy.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail’s Chief Executive said: “Crossrail is pioneering the use of Building Information Modelling in Europe on a scale that has not been undertaken before. This has directly enabled us to develop innovative engineering design solutions, minimise waste and reduce future costs for maintaining the railway. The Academy will support the Government Construction Strategy by increasing the use of BIM in the construction industry and creating a lasting legacy of best practice in innovation. The training received at the Academy will also help contractors use the knowledge and skill gained here on other major projects such as HS2.”

Malcolm Taylor, Crossrail’s Head of Technical Information said: “The Academy will enable Crossrail contractors to get hands-on learning on the latest software, best practices and processes used at Crossrail. This offers our supply chain a unique advantage of working in a simulated Crossrail environment so they learn detailed technical knowledge about the project processes and systems in a virtual world.”

Greg Bentley, Bentley Systems’ Chief Executive said: “The UK’s particularly advantageous innovation strategy is collaborative BIM. Beyond technology, what’s most exciting for us about the Academy’s potential contribution is what we can all learn from ‘working smarter together’ with the Crossrail construction supply chain – collaborating to yield BIM benefits during construction, while also improving lifecycle information quality.”

Detailed design work for the Crossrail project began in 2008 and working in a collaborative 3D environment was a core contractual requirement across each of the 25 design contracts.


The entire project exists in a digital 3D model which is handed to the construction contractors and will eventually move across to the operators and maintainers of the railway – thereby reducing the costs of running the railway.

Today, Crossrail integrates the information developed from over 25 main design contracts, 30 advanced works contracts and over 60 logistics and main works construction contracts, all of which have an extraordinary number of interlinked interfaces within the complex urban environment of London.

Crossrail owns all the project data. The BIM processes provide up-to-date information – either about the 3D model or from a document database – from a central source accessible to all contractors. This significantly reduces information loss between contracts and project stages and gives greater visibility into the design and construction processes.

Crossrail and Bentley have collaborated on all aspects of setting up the Academy with Crossrail providing project expertise and Bentley facilitating the physical learning environment.

The Academy, located in Bentley Systems’ offices near Bank station, will offer a curriculum particular to Crossrail requirements focusing on the best use of BIM, latest software and best practice. The training on offer will benefit the entire construction industry by driving standards of design innovation within the construction industry.

To support innovation and the use of Building Information Modelling, Crossrail will next month establish a BIM Industry Panel – engaging academic institutes, construction companies and specialist consultants as a platform to promote collaboration and best practices in BIM.