Digital technology could accelerate the reconstruction of Notre Dame de Paris

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Building Information Modeling (BIM) creates a highly detailed 3D model to help streamline construction.

It has been two years since the devastating fire at Notre-Dame de Paris, but the reconstruction effort is well underway. However, in order to meet President Macron’s ambitious April 2024 reopening date, the process must be speeded up. Now, catering teams are turning to a digital technology called Building Information Modeling (BIM) that takes care of every detail.

BIM is the process of creating and managing information about a built asset. With new construction, BIM would save everything from the resources needed to the practical functionality of a building. For a restoration project, like Notre Dame, BIM provides a detailed description of what was there to provide workers with as accurate a model as possible.

The model

These BIM models can be very complex, as can be seen in the video above. This is an example of a Notre Dame BIM model that was compiled in 2020. It is not the exact BIM that the restoration team is working with, but it does provide insight into the use and value of ‘a BIM. The model is so detailed that it records individual panes.

To ensure accuracy, digital models use laser point scans that record building dimensions and the location of debris. These scans also listed the wide array of art and artifact exhibits that adorn the cathedral. According to Architosh, the Autodesk team, the company providing the BIM, created some 12,450 unique objects for the digital model.

BIM acceleration

Emmanuel Di Giacomo, Autodesk’s BIM Ecosystem Manager for Europe, explained that BIM will help accelerate reconstruction in three main areas. This will help workers logistically determine where to place cranes and where resources need to enter. Second, the model should help workers manage safety and risk. Finally, there are plans to streamline the work flow between planning and construction.

Di Giacomo went on to note that creating this BIM was a bit more difficult as Notre Dame was never well documented in 2D drawings. Such plans often serve as a starting point for BIMs, but there were few documents created from surveys. The process took a full year, but the results, Di Giacomo said, demonstrated that it would be helpful in speeding up the project.

Now Notre-Dame is preparing to restore the roof, which will use 1,000 oaks from 200 French forests. In this effort, BIM will once again lend a hand. The plan is to update the wooden roof to bring it up to modern safety standards with a sprinkler system. In this case, BIM will help identify the most efficient placement of the fire extinguisher system and wiring.

Visit Architosh to learn more about the digital technology that will help restore Notre Dame de Paris.


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