New Building Information Tool Developed by Arup for Cutting-Edge Project

Arup has develop a new early-stage tool for Building Information Modelling (BIM Tool) in order to help with a project for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN. The new tool will be used to assist with decisions for the Future Circular Collider (FCC) project, a new particle accelerator tunnel.
The new tunnel will be circular and up to 100km (approx. 62 miles) in length. CERN straddles the boundary between France and Switzerland, and the FCC is planned for construction on the Swiss side of the border. The result would be a particle accelerator four times larger than CERN’s famous Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It would allow particle collisions to be staged that are far more intense than ever before, opening up new avenues for research into particle physics.
CERN have tasked Arup with handling many of the conceptual design stages of the project. In particular, Arup will provide guidance for both the geotechnical side of the project and the tunnel engineering aspect. This arrangement has seen Arup partnered with Amberg Engineering and Géeotechnique Appliquée Dériaz in delivering the first phase of conceptual design study for the project. The three companies have been working together closely, along with CERN itself, in driving the project forward.
The development of the new BIM tool has been key to the early stages of this large-scale and high-tech project. The tool is being used to inform decisions relating to cost optimisation, risk and performance issues.
The new tool, developed by Arup specifically to inform this project, takes the form of a web-based dynamic application which draws from many existing sources of geological data. It allows the details, constraints and challenges of the particle collider system, the tunnelling process, and the geological situation to all be considered together in a relatively simple way within a digital environment.
Matt Sykes, project director at Arup, described the ability to use this system from the earliest stages of the design process as “invaluable.” According to Sykes, the system “allows us to make critical decisions using data that can be easily visualised, enabling the team to make decisions with a clear overview of the multiple, highly complex components of this ground breaking project.”
John Osborne, a civil engineer working for CERN, also welcomed the development of the system, saying: “This tool being developed by Arup, will be crucial in the decision making process, to help decide which layout is most feasible.”
There are currently several potential layouts for the new particle collider are being considered at present. The layout that is finally chosen will have an impact on the exact details of the tunnel. Depending on which layout is ultimately used, it will be at least 80km (approx. 50 miles) in circumference, and up to 100km (approx. 62 miles).
Matthew Scott