Top 5 Challenges for Civil Infrastructure Projects in Emerging Markets

The World Economic Forum recently reported that the current annual global infrastructure demand is US $4 trillion, a staggering number. Yet by 2025, that number is expected to jump closer to US $9 trillion, led in part by a global explosion of emerging markets.

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In China in particular, civil infrastructure projects are booming.

In early 2015, China announced the acceleration of 300 infrastructure projects this year, valued at 7 trillion yuan (US $1.1 trillion), as policy makers seek to shore up growth. China is investing more than 800 billion yuan (US $128 billion) in domestic railway construction alone in 2015, the same as last year’s final target. (Bloomberg)

A recent New York Times article reported that the world’s largest bridge, the biggest airport and the longest gas pipeline are current projects underway in China.

A 7.5-million square-foot hub designed for the still-under-construction Beijing Daxing International Airport is set to become the largest airport terminal in the world. Beijing’s new international terminal, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and airport planning firm ADP Ingeniérie, is expected to accommodate an annual flow of up to 72 million people.

But projects like these aren’t just growing: they’re changing. According to a May 2015 article in the MIT Technology Review, these “megaprojects” have become multinational undertakings whose success often hinges on numerous companies and governments operating in concert, frequently in the face of political, legal and cultural divides among the participants.

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The same article noted, citing Brookings Institute Vice President Bruce Katz, that,

“more than 83 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to be generated outside the U.S. over the next five years. Because so much of GDP rides on the quality and availability of robust infrastructure (road, freight rail, seaports, air hubs, etc.), so that companies can create and deliver products and services when and where they are needed, this trend portends opportunities for the global construction industry in terms of refurbishing old, and building new, infrastructure.”

–“Major Infrastructure Projects Are Fueling New Opportunities –
and Risks – for the Global Construction Industry

As the scope and scale of these public works continues to grow, so do the pressures on those working to deliver these projects.

Top 5 Challenges for Civil Infrastructure 

We see five critical challenges facing those managing the high-profile, large-scale projects in these fast growing regions:

  1. Deliver faster – Speed to delivery time is shrinking, as pressure builds with so many other economic interests depending on use of this infrastructure. This means project managers must find ways to build safe structures faster than ever.
  2. Save moreCost-effective work remains key, particularly since public willingness to pay for public projects is higher when it’s evident that cost-effective measures are being used during construction.
  3. Manage the data – These massive projects generate large amounts of information from various BIM environments. If this information isn’t tracked and managed effectively, inconsistencies and errors occur.
  4. Communicate effectively – Owners, engineers, and civil designers on these projects are under more scrutiny than ever. They need to collaborate and communicate throughout the project – with each other, with stakeholders and with the public. They must have access to information and be able to share what they know with others, with full transparency.
  5. Think bigContractors hungry to take on these new opportunities need to show that they can think holistically, switching easily in scope from highway to bridge planning, or rural to urban infrastructure work, and can manage a full range of challenges. The popularity of new construction styles, such as design-build, shows that owners are looking increasingly for “one-stop solutions” to design and construction.

Addressing these Challenges

Dassault Systèmes Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience, announced this month, sets out to solve these challenges. The software, built on the collaborative 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, enables simultaneous real-time access to design models and project data — from anywhere and across different disciplines.

This creates an interactive community of owners, engineers, and civil designers who can work in parallel, share data, and build quality and efficiency into every project.

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Designed to address the challenges of large-scale, sophisticated civil infrastructure projects, Dassault Systèmes Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience moves infrastructure projects into a single platform for all civil engineering design data. This ensures that everyone on a project is using the most current information.

Applications and tools for collaboration and native design extend across concept, design, engineering, fabrication, and construction. Design models can be extended into fabrication to reduce waste and re-work found in the traditional design and construction process.

Using the pre-formed catalog, real-time site data, and information imported from a range of platforms, users can easily create highly complex and infrastructure projects of any size.

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Related resources:

Press Release: Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience
Brochure: Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience
Website: Civil Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience



As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.