Is the successful application of BIM for Bridges reality or wishful thinking?

Technical Whitepaper, published at IABSE Congress New York 2019 (

Vanja SAMEC, Managing Director ALLPLAN Infrastructure GmbH
Nuno LOPES, Assistant Director GRID International
Gregor STREKELJ, Product Manager ALLPLAN Infrastructure GmbH


The application of BIM in bridge engineering is becoming more and more popular. Worldwide, authorities are starting to request BIM as a prerequisite for awarding contracts. The heart of the BIM process should be a sophisticated digital model of the bridge. The quality of this model essentially governs straight-forward usability for differing purposes, and thus the effectiveness of the BIM process. The advantage of end-to-end data management is often lost, when the dataset is confined to geometric data, ignoring time as the 4th dimension, and when applications like structural analyses require laborious data conversion and supplementation.

A strictly parametric model description is a key-point in this context, i.e. the description contains planning criteria and development rules as part of the model. This data structure allows the direct use for many different applications such as visualization, quantity take-off, detailing, draft production, structural analysis and strength assessment.

To check the potential savings due to BIM we investigated in this white paper the issues that cropped up in the planning process of a typical concrete bridge. In addition, a pilot project was used for testing an alternative process with a new software tool. In this way we checked, whether detected problems concerning data conversion and learning phases for the usage of different tools can be avoided by using an approach combining parametric modeling and structural analysis.



  • Introduction
  • Experiences of BIM Application in Current Projects
  • New Approach for Efficiency Improvement
  • Conclusion

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