12d Model flies high - Jacobs (then Sinclair Knight Merz)

ClientKingsford Smith International AirportLocationAustralia, NSW
ConsultantSinclair Knight MerzContractorTony Ingold

Project Summary

Aircraft movement on the north-south runway at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport will soon become more efficient thanks to new taxi-way designs produced by leading engineering firm Sinclair Knight Merz (now part of Jacobs Group).

Sinclair Knight Merz is a multi-disciplinary engineering company working mainly in the fields of infrastructure, mining, environmental work and power and energy. It operates across Australia and in South-East Asia.

The new designs will provide the runway with additional stacking spaces and interconnecting taxiways, allowing planes to leave the runway and move between runways more quickly. This will enable increased traffic while maintaining strict safety standards.

Sinclair Knight Merz produced the detailed design using 4D Model (later renamed 12d Model) software.


The Challenge

Tony Ingold, Executive Engineer, Sinclair Knight Merz, said they needed a software package which would help them develop and investigate options very quickly as well as carry out 3D visualisation during the design process in order to ensure the most effective design solution.


The Solution

Sinclair Knight Merz’s Sydney office has had a copy of 4D Model installed for several years and has used that software and some other programs for its road and civil design. About 12 months ago the company had to reassess its design software requirements due to a rapid increase in its civil design workload.

“We had several different packages in-house and felt this was an opportunity to rationalise our systems as well as providing more design software seats,” said Mr Ingold. “We invited several suppliers, including 4D Solutions, to demonstrate their software. 4D Model was chosen to best suit our other civil needs.

“The main reasons for choosing 4D Model were its speed and, because it is an Australian company based in Sydney, we felt they would provide the best training facilities and local technical support and be on the spot if we needed them.”

The Sydney airport job has been a good test of 4D Model’s capabilities. The design encompasses two rapid exit taxi-ways and seven other taxi-ways to improve the efficiency of the runway operations. 4D Model was used for the design and grading of the taxiways.

“The challenge on this job was to ensure the new pavements would shed water efficiently while tying into existing pavements,” said Mr Ingold. “They also had to meet the strict Federal Aviation criteria for gradients and cross-falls.

“We used 4D Model to do the gradings, taking advantage of its ability to carry out 3D visualisation during the design process to ensure the fitness of the design for use,” he said. “4D Model was also used to produce the stormwater drainage drawings and to calculate bulk earthworks. It handled all these tasks very quickly.

“4D Model also allowed us to develop and investigate options very quickly, a key advantage when you are doing a job to strict deadlines.

“Features of 4D Model which we have found useful on other jobs include its ability to model utility services as part of road design,” said Mr Ingold. “This allows us to check for clashes and modify service depths if necessary.

“Also the speed with which drainage design can be taken from the conceptual stage to finished working drawings is a big advantage,” he said.

The Result

Sinclair Knight Merz is either using or evaluating 4D Model at a number of its offices. All offices operate independently and choose the best products for their local needs. Sydney now has seven 4D Model users, and the software is being used in the Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin and Cairns offices.

Download this Case Study as a PDF HERE