A Central & Secure Common Data Environment for NorthConnex

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Blog, Case Studies

NorthConnex is a 9-kilometre motorway tunnel in northern Sydney that acts as a tunnel bypass connecting the M1 Pacific Motorway to the M2 Hills Motorway. As one of the longest road tunnels and the deepest road tunnel in Australia, the $3 billion project was always going to be a challenge to not only design but to construct as well. Upon completion, it has the capacity to see 100,000 vehicles a day easing major congestion on Pennant Hills Rd. The design and construction was completed as a joint venture between Lendlease and Bouygues Construction, opening to the public in late 2020.
NorthConnex Construction
Considering the magnitude of the NorthConnex project, the JV knew early on that to provide work efficiency and a robust solution the team needed a simple, consistent and reliable Common Data Environment. This secure and central location would provide access to 60+ surveyors to store over 75,000 fieldwork submissions. Here they also needed to share data and collaborate with engineers whilst working offline in the tunnel. Furthermore, the system needed to be able to integrate with 12d Model and 12d Field seamlessly as this was the design software package of choice for the project.


The Choice is 12d

At the commencement of the project 3D modelling was unavailable which provided an initial challenge for the JV. In order to model the tunnel, the team utilised snippets, trimeshes, MTFs, stretch heights and layers through 12d Model. The versatility of the trimeshes and all other design capabilities provided a flexible 3D design that was easily modelled.

12d Synergy was selected as the collaboration tool for the NorthConnex project. With the powerful common data environment in place, the team were able to store 880,000 files, hold 12d Model projects that were up to 9.8 GB in size and make 1.6 million file changes equalling to 3.9 TB. With the impressive figures from the project, this entire job spanning over five years, was an absolute mammoth task to undertake. 12d Synergy allowed the JV to streamline the volume of work, provide data management, optimise field procedures, and maintain file synchronisation.

The challenges the JV faced:

  • Providing a central and secure location for data management
  • Controlling design and documentation efficiency through automation
  • Maintaining quality assurance for all files and documents with a structured system
  • Optimising data transfer speeds with uploads and downloads


Watch: NorthConnex Tunnel with David Mares & Matthew Monk

Watch a presentation by David Mares & Matthew Monk (Survey Manager and Civil Engineer respectively of the NorthConnex project) at the 2016 12d Technical Forum.


Interested in learning how 12d Synergy can provide you a secure & central common data environment?

Chat to one of our product specialists today!

Central & Secured

One of the key priorities of the NorthConnex project was to ensure a central and secure common data environment (CDE) to store all data – including surveying datasets, 12d Model projects and reporting documentation.

Due to the sheer amount of data coming through from numerous surveyors, a central location allows the elimination of duplication of files and a common area where all the data can be stored and found easily when critical decisions are being made. Operation or construction of the tunnel was often 24/7 so a secure location will provide the security needed by the JV. Those who have the permission to access certain files can and those who need to upload files can also do so. 12d Synergy enabled this capability for the entire project.


Work Efficiency is Key

As previously mentioned, a large amount of data was always being collected for the construction of the NorthConnex tunnel. With the large scale of the project and the program pressures it was critical that all processes were done as efficiently as possible. This means that any design decisions or administration documentation where feasible were automated to ensure this capability.

For NorthConnex elements of both the structure field data and the structure design data were automated. Attributes like location, state, current user login, current date and time were attached automatically, as well as the source details. Survey macros were designed and utilised to also ensure efficiency. 12d Synergy supported all these automations providing the flexibility needed by NorthConnex.


Structured for Quality Assurance

Consistency was crucial for the project. There was approximately 100 million scan points per lining for the tunnel so ensuring that there was a clear structure and method for storing this data meant that high QA standards were established.

12d Synergy requires users to adhere to strict file naming conventions so there is no confusion as to what a file contains and where that file is located. This also meant that audits were a straightforward process leading to minimal delays in the construction of the tunnel. The survey macros designed additionally performed QA checks automatically to maintain high standards from the onset of the project. 12d Synergy ensured all of this was possible.


Optimised Data Transfers

There were 75,000 fieldwork submissions throughout the project span, so to ensure that the workers optimised their time – data transfers had to be fast, especially out on site.

With 12d Synergy’s fast data transfers, files were easily and quickly uploaded into the system. To download files from 12d Synergy, it is also a quick process. Instead of downloading whole and large files each individually, only the actual changes made to the files are downloaded, cutting down the transfer time. 12d Synergy was the optimal software tool needed for this entire project.

12d Synergy has been great for the NorthConnex project, honestly it’s been a God-send for the security of our data and information. In surveying circles, security of information is absolutely paramount. 12d Synergy is also scalable, reliable, and flexible. So, it’s definitely been a great initiative to have onboard.

David Mares

Survey Manager, Bouygues Construction Australia

Interested in finding out how 12d Synergy can help your next major project?

Read about fast data transfers in our free eBook and learn how to save up to 4 hours weekly by getting your 12d Model data faster


Download Free eBook: Supercharge Your Data Transfers

Red magnet

Michelle was a marketing coordinator here at 12d Synergy. Hailing from sunny Brisbane, she has a background in mechanical engineering authoring a final year thesis on reuseable scramjets (faster than a rocket, smaller than a plane). Outside work & rocketry, Michelle enjoys binging Netflix and food with friends.