Reducing wastewater treatment design costs in China

May 1, 2018
Chinese firm Zhongnan Engineering Corporation adopted a new methodology that made the process for designing, constructing and operating water projects 50 percent more efficient.

Chinese firm POWERCHINA Zhongnan adopted a new methodology that made the process for designing, constructing and operating water projects 50 percent more efficient.

By Marie Telepneff

The project team developed optimal solutions using Bentley’s 3D design applications, which reduced inaccuracies in the prepared project designs by 90 percent.

Despite being one of the premier design institutes in China, POWERCHINA Zhongnan, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China suffered from a lag in new technology adoption that caused inefficiencies in several practice areas.

In water resources, project teams were spending 30 percent of design time coordinating disciplines and 40 percent of construction time communicating with contractors. The need to update became urgent when China’s 12th FYP accelerated construction of water pollution control projects.

POWERCHINA Zhongnan estimated the average design period for water projects to be 180 days, which was too long to meet the timetable for the slate of 14 immediate projects. To accelerate the process while maintaining quality, the company implemented the Bentley solution for water and wastewater treatment plant design. The 20,000 cubic meter per day (m3/day) Qingzhen Vocational Education West Urban District sewage treatment plant project presented an opportunity.

The company adopted a portfolio of Bentley products that would create a standardised 3D environment for optimising and integrating project design, construction, and operations. ProjectWise was implemented to enhance communication and coordination among the 10 design disciplines as well as the parties involved in construction and operations. The platform pushed a standardised user workspace and provided a common data environment (CDE) that became the single source of truth for project information.

The project team developed optimal solutions for modularization and standardization using Bentley software including AECOsim Building Designer, GEOPAK, OpenPlant, and Bentley Substation. Each application produced the anticipated benefits. For example, using GEOPAK’s 3D modeling capabilities to develop plans, profiles, and cross-sections took 60 percent less time than previous methods. More importantly, the selected scheme minimised land use, reduced water head loss, saved energy, and facilitated maintenance — saving the client CNY11.2 million (US$1.8m).

The 3D collaborative environment invited an iterative approach that significantly improved design quality. AECOsim Building Designer’s parametric modeling capabilities enabled the team to explore alternative building geometries. The 3D plant design environment in OpenPlant allowed multi-discipline modeling of piping, HVAC, and electrical.

Information mobility through all phases enhanced project participation and reduced time-consuming face-to-face meetings. Project data was published to i-models, which were accessible from desktop, laptop, and mobile devices, while maintaining all the original attributes. The 3D information models and visualizations simplified communications among the design disciplines as well as with other project participants. Coordination review and clash detection with Bentley Navigator quickly revealed collision points and rapidly resolved issues. This efficient review-and-refine process decreased design time from three months to two months.

Handing over the digitised 3D information models upon project completion provided a multi-view display and 3D roaming video of the plant that became an indispensable management capability during operations and maintenance.

The standardised design system implemented for the Qingzhen Vocational Education West Urban District sewage treatment plant achieved the goal of reducing design time by 35 percent and design costs by 30 percent. The collaborative environment also reduced errors by 90 percent, which shortened communications with construction contractors and reduced rework. Overall, the project achieved CNY300,000 ($47,000) in savings for the client.

POWERCHINA Zhongnan used the software to explore new avenues in water project design and compile relevant design standards, specifications, and technical manuals that advance the practice within the industry. As a result, water projects may be developed more quickly, with higher quality designs, and at lower cost — all to advance China’s initiative to control water pollution and protect its drinking water supply.

Marie Telepneff is a senior product marketing manager with Bentley Systems.