4D Model (later renamed 12d Model) software has proved a “quick, powerful and
effective tool” in the design disciplines required for the on-going construction
of Mindarie Keys, a major subdivision and marina development in Perth’s northern
The development, located 30 minutes from Perth on the 'Sunset
Coast', is an ongoing project of leading multidisciplinary engineering firm,
Sinclair Knight Merz (now part of Jacobs Group).
Sinclair Knight Merz
operates Australia-wide with offices in all capital cities and many regional
centres such as Cairns and Newcastle, as well as in South East Asia, the Pacific
and Europe. The Perth office has a staff of more than 200.
Keys project has been underway for some 10 years and is expected to be finalised
in another three to five years. Construction over the entire area is around 60
percent completed. The development offers some of Perth's most attractive land,
the majority of which has spectacular views to the ocean and marina.
date, the estate comprises residential accommodation, a resort hotel, a marina,
shopping centres, cafes and restaurants, and three primary schools. A private
high school is currently under construction. Sinclair Knight Merz has been
involved in the project since its inception.
Design for the subdivisions in the development involves detailed bulk
earthworks, roadworks, drainage and services design to enable the creation of
attractive sites to take advantage of the views offered by the varying terrain
levels. According to Steve Park, the Sinclair Knight Merz designer responsible
for the project, powerful software was needed to handle the large data sets
required to optimise the development of the models for the bulk earthworks
necessary for a project of this magnitude.
Initially designed for fast preliminary design of major roadworks, 4D Model
is capable of handling projects in excess of 1,000,000 points, and 200,000
points is regarded as a small to medium-sized project. This was one of the
features which attracted Sinclair Knight Merz to the software when it conducted
its initial evaluation some two years ago, Mr Park noted.
previously using a number of packages but with several large jobs coming up we
wanted something which would handle more data intensive applications. We
evaluated a number of packages then trialled 4D Model for a month. It met our
needs and requirements, initially for the Mindarie Keys project, but then also
for other large subdivision contracts we had,” he said.
“It is quick and
very powerful for road design and intersections and we can put our drainage
design into it to create the full model. We’re getting quicker and more accurate
quantities and volume figures than before; it definitely makes the job easier.
The fact that it handles such a large number of points makes it an excellent
tool for large projects.
“We no longer have to split large projects into sections, which made them
more difficult to handle.”
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According to Mr Park, 4D Model’s easy 3D
interface simplifies planning surface and underground routes, tracking conflicts
with cables, pipes and so on, and perspective presentation. “The interactive
userdefinable views allow us to work on any model very easily and provide
immediate feedback at every stage of the design process. And, as all commands
are transparent, our drafting personnel do not have to change models or open and
close different parts of the program. A recalculation facility allows rapid
redesign as modifications are made,” he added.
As well as giving
earthworks quantities quickly using end area and exact methods, the software
incorporates string and template design methods for total flexibility for jobs
ranging from rural roads to multi-lane divided roads. It supports unlimited
alignments and a special kerb return function provides facilities for
intersection and roundabout design.
Specific modules are available for
functions such as cut and fill analysis, alignment, pipelines and waste water
design. 4D Model’s flexibility is further enhanced by its programming language
(4DL) which enables custom tasks related to specific projects to be developed
using its extensive library of design functions.
"Another major benefit
has been the willingness of 4D’s developers to respond to our requests for
particular features we may need for any jobs. There have been instances when
we’ve asked for a feature and they have gone out of their way to build it in for
us. 4D’s support and ability to respond immediately to our requests has given us
great confidence in both the product and the organisation.”