Electranet, South Australia's principal transmission network service provider, wanted to bring in-house the development of preliminary project designs and 3D visualizations, which they use to develop cost estimates and secure development approvals. Outsourcing this work was costly, and deliverables were often inaccurate. Electranet also had to spend valuable time explaining designs to contractors unfamiliar with the electric power industry. Management wanted an internal, common CAD and georeference system so that designs created using different systems could go together seamlessly, as well as be highly accurate and available to create visualizations.
Electranet embedded the use of Bentley Substation into its standard suite of Bentley and third-party CAD products, empowering in-house staff to create preliminary designs and 3D visualizations without outside assistance. The solution uses common CAD file formats and georeferencing so that designs from various source systems can come together seamlessly.
To test the new solution, Electranet identified and executed on three pilot projects. Staff created preliminary designs and 3D visualizations – faster, cheaper, and more accurately compared to when this work was outsourced. Using common CAD formats and georeferencing, they could combine third-party designs and build 3D models, as well as share this project information with suppliers, contractors, partners, and stakeholders. Creating the models in house saved each pilot project over USD 20,000 in direct costs. Models are also more accurate, resulting in more accurate costing. And because they are no longer dependent on external contractors whose work must be quality checked, they are saving over one month of time per project.
Bentley Substation, which was embedded into Electranet’s standard suite of CAD products, is the core of this solution. By using common CAD formats and the standard geographical system from the Bentley library, Electranet facilitates design sharing not only between Bentley products, but also their third-party survey and transmission line design software. This kind of improved information sharing will help Electranet move closer to a BIM model, which will ultimately improve overall operations.