Updating a Victorian Sewer System

Award Winning Thames Tideway East Helps Modernize London’s Infrastructure

CVB JV used digital planning to deliver a design

CVB JV used digital planning to deliver a design that mitigates pollution and factors in anticipated population growth. Image courtesy of CVB JV (Costain, VINCI, and Bachy Soletanche Joint Venture).


London’s 150-year-old sewer system was built for a population of less than half of the city’s current 8 million people. As outgoing waste outstripped capacity, millions of tons of untreated raw sewage spilled into the river each year. The Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, and Bachy Soletanche joint venture (CVB JV) is responsible for designing, constructing, and replacing the GBP 850 million eastern section of the tunnel, including 10 km of tunnel works located 70 m beneath central London, as well as six shaft sites.

The project involves 12 design disciplines and numerous supply chain companies and stakeholders, all of which had to avoid damage and disruption to nearby historic buildings and neighborhoods amid tight scheduling constraints. CVB JV required integrated digital technology to push the boundaries of conventional construction to deliver this super-sewer system.

Overcoming Challenges with Construction Modeling

CVB JV established a connected data environment and implemented 4D construction modeling and collaborative planning to overcome project challenges and streamline engineering and construction management. The team built 3D models and linked them to the construction program, creating more than 30 intelligent 4D models. CVB JV used a common platform for coordinated, multidiscipline modeling, and storage of all construction information. Bentley’s integrated technology provided a digital solution that established a visual sequence demonstrating the development of construction activities.

Preventing Clashes and Managing Subcontractors

SYNCHRO 4D facilitated 4D modeling for collaborative planning and digital construction management enabling efficient, safe, and sustainable construction works. The interoperability of OpenBuildings Designer provided the 3D authoring capability to integrate supply chain models in different file formats into coordinated models on the ProjectWise platform. Using SYNCHRO 4D enabled site teams to easily access, view, and interrogate the models to analyze and ensure optimal constructability of the complex construction works. Bentley’s 4D digital technology solution resolved potential clashes and effectively managed concurrent works amid multiple subcontractors working together in highly congested sites.
“[Bentley’s] technology shortened design time, reduced resource hours, made meetings more productive, and eliminated tedious tasks. The collaborative approach achieved through SYNCHRO 4D has been key to involving the client, designers, and fabricators during early decision-making,” said Sandra Reis, BIM Manager, CVB JV.

Restoring the River Thames’ Water Quality

Bentley’s solutions enabled the team to deliver a design that mitigates pollution and factors in anticipated population growth. Using the 4D construction models in weekly collaborative planning meetings, CVB JV facilitated development and scheduling of complex construction activities in advance, saving significant project time. The 4D construction models improved site analysis, enhanced constructability, avoided damage to existing buildings, and eliminated rework to save more than 90 days in the construction program, equaling GBP 300,000 in direct cost savings, and GBP 1 million in indirect savings. By using Bentley’s collaborative digital applications, the project team provided accurate visualization of the construction process, improving both communication and understanding among site operatives and stakeholders to streamline workflow, decision-making, and approval processes. When complete in 2025, water quality in the Thames is expected to return to levels not seen since the building of the original sewer system.

This article was written by Marion Bouillin, Product Marketing Manager, Construction, Bentley Systems.

Comments are closed here.