NorthConnex Data Management

by | May 12, 2017

Data Management on the NorthConnex Project

The NorthConnex tunnel provides a vital link between The Hills M2 Motorway and the M1 Pacific Motorway. The project is Australia’s longest, and deepest road tunnel.  At completion the NorthConnex Tunnel will be longer than the Eastern Distributor, M5 East and Cross City tunnels all combined.

The project is being delivered by the NSW and Federal governments, Roads and Maritime, Transurban, who proposed the project, and a joint venture between Lend Lease and Bouygues Construction.

Watch: NorthConnex Road Tunnel – 12d International Conference 2016


Fast Facts:

  • 16.3 kilometres of twin mainline tunnels and excavation.
  • 4 ramps totalling 4.1 kilometres.
  • 75 cross passages.
  • 4 shafts totalling 210 meters deep, the deepest being 90 meters.
  • 2.25 million cubic meters of excavation.
  • 19 road headers working concurrently.
  • The project is broken into 4 sites, from which 4 road headers will be launched.


  • Mid 2016 – Mainline tunnel excavation started.
  • Early 2017 – Tunnel lining, mechanical and electrical fit out.
  • Late 2017 – Construction of permanent motorway facilities starts.
  • By  2018 – Tunnel excavation complete, tunnel fit out continues.
  • By 2019 – Tunnel commissioning work starts.
  • Late 2019 – NorthConnex Motorway opens to traffic.

NorthConnex being such a large scaled project has high visibility.  There are wide range of active stakeholders, this creates pressure on the outcomes and deadlines.  Efficiency is crucial so, the team needs consistency throughout their systems.  Data Management on a project of this scale can cause major issues.  It is crucial that procedures are standardised to ensure quality and efficiency.

To combat these issues NorthConnex took a lean construction approach, and automated as many processes as they possibly could.  They saw a need to uncouple administrative processes from production roles, particularly surveyors.

NorthConnex had to address 5 main areas:

  • Instrumentation and Software Platforms.
  • Standardisation and Centralisation.
  • Project specific systems development.
  • Data management and,
  • Documented training materials.

Data Management Solutions

NorthConnex turned to 12d Solutions for their software platforms, they implemented both 12d Model and 12d Synergy for the project.  Synergy allowed for a simple data management solution, the automation of filing and structuring field data.

Field work is separated by location, there are seven different locations on the worksite, including both surface and tunnel sites.   Field work is also structured by state, this included as built (AB), Check (CH), Conformance (CO), Control (CT), Monitoring (MO), Pickup (PU), Potholing (PH), Pre-pour (PP) and Setout (SO).  These custom attributes automate the logging of field data.  12d Synergy also takes a user log and, current date and time which improves traceability of the completed work.

With design data 12d Synergy allows for source details to be attached to the data.  This provides traceability for the drawing number, the status and the revision.  Logical naming rules are applied to ensure correct filing.  Permissions allow for the field surveyors to “read only,” this ensures they don’t inadvertently modify critical design data.

With so many files coming in and being pushed out, NorthConnex decided to trial a 3rd party sync tool. There were a number of issues with the third party software, they ran into multiple usability problems and the process was very manual.  NorthConnex turned to 12d Solutions to find a more user friendly, tailored package to help automate this process.

The 12d File Synchronisation Tool was developed to meet their needs.  The 12d Synergy Data Sync tool is based on the 12d Synergy client.  A major benefit to 12d Synergy Sync is that there is no need for special knowledge or training, it has been developed with the user in mind.  Syncing is centrally managed, data managers based in the office can push the data out to surveyors.  They can track project emails, set tasks and track progress.  Uploads and Downloads can be operated manually when needed or, they can occur automatically on a predetermined schedule.  Synergy will also automatically detect when there is a network connection to upload or download.

“I believe we have developed industry leading solutions, we couldn’t get away without it.  In the current market, using old techniques, we wouldn’t have been able to get the staff.”
David Mares, Lend Lease – Bouygues Joint Venture.


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Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch joined 12d Synergy in 2017 and now champions our growth across Australia. Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch is also a sports fanatic and self-confessed cricket tragic.