Pulvermuhl viaduct; Credit: CFL

Luxembourg's railway company, the CFL, has become the first company in the Grand Duchy to obtain the ISO 19650 certification, in recognition of its expertise in "Building Information Modelling" (BIM).

This certification is expected to allow the CFL to optimise the progress of its construction projects, as a prelude to the composition of an integral digital twin of the rail network

In 2017, the CFL decided to convert to BIM; five years later, BIM has become a standard work process for new CFL construction projects, which obtained ISO 19650 certification at the end of October 2022. The CFL is thus the first company to be certified in Luxembourg according to this standard for project design and implementation.

While the planning of new constructions was done in a two-dimensional way and in the form of separate plans depending on the trades involved, BIM relies on the development and supply of shared digital twins. This integrated digital model makes it possible to centralise and exchange information on the project with all the internal and external stakeholders involved.

"By obtaining this certification, we anchor our qualitative and standardised approach to the exchange of information between the stakeholders associated with the project. This coordination is crucial for the success of a project carried out using BIM", explained Gilles Pignon, Head of the Building Information Modelling Division within the infrastructure projects department (responsible for the CFL's BIM strategy).

The BIM approach therefore not only allows a simplified projection in the project for all stakeholders through the representation of the digital twin in 3D, but also the anticipation of possible problems or even real needs in construction materials.

"BIM leads to a new paradigm by introducing real-time understanding of the consequences of the choices made when designing a building, for example", said Marc Wengler, CEO of CFL. "This innovation and the involvement of our employees make the CFL one of the companies at the forefront of best practices in the field of civil engineering and railway construction. The BIM process will allow us to gain in efficiency and quality, with a view to continuously improving the quality of reception and service to our customers".

Maintenance operations or building renovations will also be facilitated via the standard prediction offered by BIM. Overall, the construction of a digital twin before the start of work saves time afterwards and optimises the use of human, financial and energy resources.

"It's about investing a little more time during the design phase of a project to save time later during the construction and the life of an infrastructure and, by ricochet, saving resources by having previously eliminated factors that risk impacting the construction project", added Henri Werdel, Director of infrastructure management at CFL.

The first building entirely designed and built according to the BIM method was commissioned in Wasserbillig in 2021. Using 3D scanning techniques, laser scanners and modelling software from a private partner, several existing CFL buildings and infrastructures have been modelled using BIM, including the Pulvermuhl viaduct, the passenger buildings of the Luxembourg and Rodange railway stations and the new P+R in Mersch.

Experienced daily on several ongoing projects and future works, BIM is set to gradually extend to the entire Luxembourg rail network with the objective of creating an integral digital twin of the rail network and its buildings by 2035.