12d Model streamlines subdivision design - Jacobs (then Sinclair Knight Merz)

ClientFini GroupLocationAustralia, WA
ConsultantSinclair Knight MerzContractorSteve Park

Project Summary

4D Model (later renamed 12d Model) software has proved a “quick, powerful and effective tool” in the design disciplines required for the on-going construction of Mindarie Keys, a major subdivision and marina development in Perth’s northern suburbs.

The development, located 30 minutes from Perth on the 'Sunset Coast', is an ongoing project of leading multidisciplinary engineering firm, Sinclair Knight Merz (now part of Jacobs Group).

Sinclair Knight Merz operates Australia-wide with offices in all capital cities and many regional centres such as Cairns and Newcastle, as well as in South East Asia, the Pacific and Europe. The Perth office has a staff of more than 200.

The Mindarie Keys project has been underway for some 10 years and is expected to be finalised in another three to five years. Construction over the entire area is around 60 percent completed. The development offers some of Perth's most attractive land, the majority of which has spectacular views to the ocean and marina.

To date, the estate comprises residential accommodation, a resort hotel, a marina, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants, and three primary schools. A private high school is currently under construction. Sinclair Knight Merz has been involved in the project since its inception.

The Challenge

Design for the subdivisions in the development involves detailed bulk earthworks, roadworks, drainage and services design to enable the creation of attractive sites to take advantage of the views offered by the varying terrain levels. According to Steve Park, the Sinclair Knight Merz designer responsible for the project, powerful software was needed to handle the large data sets required to optimise the development of the models for the bulk earthworks necessary for a project of this magnitude.


The Solution

Initially designed for fast preliminary design of major roadworks, 4D Model is capable of handling projects in excess of 1,000,000 points, and 200,000 points is regarded as a small to medium-sized project. This was one of the features which attracted Sinclair Knight Merz to the software when it conducted its initial evaluation some two years ago, Mr Park noted.

“We were previously using a number of packages but with several large jobs coming up we wanted something which would handle more data intensive applications. We evaluated a number of packages then trialled 4D Model for a month. It met our needs and requirements, initially for the Mindarie Keys project, but then also for other large subdivision contracts we had,” he said.

“It is quick and very powerful for road design and intersections and we can put our drainage design into it to create the full model. We’re getting quicker and more accurate quantities and volume figures than before; it definitely makes the job easier. The fact that it handles such a large number of points makes it an excellent tool for large projects.

The Result

“We no longer have to split large projects into sections, which made them more difficult to handle.”

According to Mr Park, 4D Model’s easy 3D interface simplifies planning surface and underground routes, tracking conflicts with cables, pipes and so on, and perspective presentation. “The interactive userdefinable views allow us to work on any model very easily and provide immediate feedback at every stage of the design process. And, as all commands are transparent, our drafting personnel do not have to change models or open and close different parts of the program. A recalculation facility allows rapid redesign as modifications are made,” he added.

As well as giving earthworks quantities quickly using end area and exact methods, the software incorporates string and template design methods for total flexibility for jobs ranging from rural roads to multi-lane divided roads. It supports unlimited alignments and a special kerb return function provides facilities for intersection and roundabout design.

Specific modules are available for functions such as cut and fill analysis, alignment, pipelines and waste water design. 4D Model’s flexibility is further enhanced by its programming language (4DL) which enables custom tasks related to specific projects to be developed using its extensive library of design functions.

"Another major benefit has been the willingness of 4D’s developers to respond to our requests for particular features we may need for any jobs. There have been instances when we’ve asked for a feature and they have gone out of their way to build it in for us. 4D’s support and ability to respond immediately to our requests has given us great confidence in both the product and the organisation.”

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