Gregor Strekelj: BIM and the Revolution in Bridge Construction, Part 2

March 3, 2021

Gregor Strekelj, Product Manager at Allplan Infrastructure, explains in part 2 of our interview, among other things, why Allplan Bridge is unique and the most powerful bridge construction solution on the market.

In the first part of our interview with Gregor Strekelj, Product Manager at Allplan Infrastructure, we learned what the special challenges in bridge construction are and how BIM helps to master them. In the continuation, the experienced engineer now tells us why Allplan Bridge was developed, why the program is by far the most visionary and strongest BIM bridge construction solution on the market and what the future may hold.

Before we talk about the possibilities of Allplan Bridge: What prompted you to develop software specifically for modeling bridges?

Based on our experience and exchange with our customers, we at ALLPLAN decided some time ago, as part of our infrastructure strategy, that we needed a completely new solution for parametric modeling, structural analysis, design and construction of bridges in 4D that is openBIM-capable and at the same time fully integrates the 3D detailing of Allplan Engineering. We are well on our way: in April 2018, the Allplan Bridge Modeler was born - parametric modeling in 3D. In October of that year, Allplan Bridge Prestressing followed as an effective and comprehensive solution for prestressed bridges. In April 2019, the time dimension was added with the mapping of the construction process. Since October 2019, Allplan Bridge 2020 has been the world's only fully integrated solution in which a common parametric model is used for both structural analysis and design. As the "icing on the cake", traffic loading and design and code-checking as a preview have been added last April and were fully completed in October last year including Earthquake Analysis, ultimately closing the gap between structural analysis and design.

You have already anticipated the possibilities somewhat. What exactly is the "groundbreaking" feature of Allplan Bridge that you mentioned earlier (Part 1)?

Apart from the fact that Allplan Bridge is the most comprehensive solution for modeling bridges on the market, we have achieved a technological breakthrough in particular with the automatic derivation of the static model from the geometry. This function is so far unique in the world and is indeed a groundbreaking improvement that immensely speeds up the entire planning process and makes it more error-free.

With all the automation, do we still need engineers at all?

Yes, of course. The engineer is always clearly in the foreground. Our solution is also not a black box - all results can and must be controllable by the engineer at any time. We cannot and do not want to replace bridge engineers, but to make their work easier and at the same time make them more creative by saving time. The complete bridge engineering solution, bidirectional and parametric between geometric and static model, allows freedom and creativity, time saving and therefore variant creativity. All this is naturally reflected in the quality of the project.

What can we expect from Allplan Bridge in the future?

That depends to a large extent on our customers. Up to this point, we have carefully collected customer requirements in accordance with our road map. In the next versions, the proportion of customer-centric development will increase. Ease of use, efficiency and innovation drive us. Currently, we are planning extensions for modeling and structural analysis, among others. International standards are an important part of our solution, as bridge construction projects are carried out worldwide and our solution is currently already used in 30 countries. We also always follow the latest IFC requirements for bridges. In any case, we never run out of ideas.

One last question: How does it feel to have developed something groundbreaking?

We are a great team of engineers and developers with many years of experience in the bridge sector who have invested and are investing a lot of time and effort in our product. From the beginning, we knew what we wanted, worked tirelessly towards it and are getting closer to the goal. We are all proud to have developed something that was still missing from bridge construction and is also needed by authorities worldwide. If you want maximum efficiency and to take full advantage of the BIM method in bridge construction, you can't get around Allplan Bridge as a solution.