BIM for the underground: an enabler of trenchless construction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


The subsurface space in urban areas is an important asset. However, the information available on this environment is relatively poor compared to above ground information. This paper proposes a Building Information Model (BIM) for underground applications as means to address this information gap. The creation and progressive update of BIM for a constructed artefact ensures that data on the structures is available and can be used throughout its lifetime. A BIM for underground applications integrates data on surface structures, such as buildings, and subsurface infrastructures, such as pipes, along with details of the surrounding ground, the associated soil and rock properties and groundwater regime into a single framework. This approach is demonstrated by applying it to trenchless construction operations, including a microtunnelling project for a new sewer. The data from this extended BIM concept can be interactively used with analysis packages to conduct risk assessments for new construction activities. It also shows how BIM for the Underground can be used throughout the planning, construction and post-construction stages of a project, and, importantly, how this information can be available for future projects.


Original languageEnglish
JournalUnderground Space
Early online date11 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2019


  • Trenchless, BIM, Underground, Pipe jacking, Microtunnelling, Horizontal direction drilling