AECOM leverages Rapid Model Prototyping (RMP) technology for unique Beckton Sewage Treatment Works project

AECOM Technology Corporation, a leading provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world, recently used Rapid Model Prototyping (RMP) technology to deliver a physical model of historic structures comprising London’s Beckton Sewage Treatment Works as part of enabling works by Thames Water for the Lee Tunnel.

In addition, the innovative use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology helped preserve the actual structures by revealing critical design and engineering aspects that would have been undetected through historical drawings.

The upgrade was performed in order to enable the future development of the Old Sewage treatment works site, allowing it to receive the drive shaft for the Lee Tunnel. The Lee Tunnel shaft is now under construction, and work on the 4-mile Lee Tunnel drive, which will be 26 feet in diameter and 262 feet in depth, will commence during 2011. The new shaft required the surface structures, including the Old Engine House, to be demolished, with the underground structures being filled in with lightweight foam concrete. To ensure the accurate planning of the sludge removal and concrete infilling process and for discussion with external stakeholders, Thames Water commissioned AECOM to provide a physical model of the historic structures.

AECOM used Rapid Model Prototyping (RMP) technology, a method that produces a physical print from 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) data, to build layers upon existing layers, and create the physical model for the client.

“On the Beckton project, our CAD team was faced with the daunting task of using large amounts of historical drawings to create a 3-D CAD-generated model,” said Chris Abdee, a technical director at AECOM. “To have produced the CAD model by traditional methods would have been extremely time consuming; however, by utilizing our BIM tools, we were able to generate all elements of the model in an effective and efficient manner.”

Building Information Modeling produces a concrete and realistic product that reflects the finished building or design element with minimal cost prior to site activity.

“The RMP process provided an opportunity for the client and stakeholders to make informed decisions during the design process regarding the finished project,” said Abdee.

"Our team has found the physical model invaluable in aiding the planning and execution of the sludge removal and concrete infilling works to this complex Victorian structure," said Nick Butler, a project manager for Lee Tunnel.

The enabling works were completed in late 2009 with the Lee Tunnel due for completion during early 2015.


AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 52,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 100 countries and had revenue of $6.5 billion during its fiscal year 2010. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at


AECOM Technology Corporation
Paul Dickard, 212-973-2910
Vice President, External Communications
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