Towards Civil Engineering 4.0: Concept, workflow and application of Digital Twins for existing infrastructure

M. Pregnolato, S. Gunner, E. Voyagaki, R. De Risi, N. Carhart, G. Gavriel, P. Tully, T. Tryfonas, J. Macdonald, C. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Scopus citations


    Digital Twins (DTs) are forecasted to be used in two-thirds of large industrial companies in the next decade. In the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector, their actual application is still largely at the prototype stage. Industry and academia are currently reconciling many competing definitions and unclear processes for developing DTs. There is a compelling need to establish DTs as practice in AEC by developing common procedures and standards tailored to the sector's procedures and use cases. This paper proposes a step-by-step workflow process for developing a DT for an existing asset in the built environment, providing a proof-of-concept case study based on the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol (UK). To achieve its aim, this paper (i) reviews the state-of-the-art of DTs in Civil Engineering, (ii) proposes a working DT-based workflow framework for the built environment applicable to existing assets, (iii) applies the framework and develops of the physical-virtual architecture to a case study of bridge management, and finally (iv) discusses insights from the application. The main novelty lies in the development of a versatile methodological framework that can be applied to the broad context of civil infrastructure. This paper's importance resides in the knowledge challenge, value proposition and operation dictated by developing a DT workflow for the built environment, which ultimately represents a relevant use case for the digital transformation of national infrastructure.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number104421
    JournalAutomation in Construction
    StatePublished - Sep 2022


    • Bridge
    • Civil Engineering
    • Digital Twin
    • Infrastructure
    • Monitoring


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