BIM digital building information modelling technology supports conservation at the Auschwitz Museum
After several years of preparation and testing, as part of the ongoing project to implement BIM (Building Information Modelling), a BIM model of the state of preservation and condition of a fully conserved brick prisoner barracks at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau site was created at the Museum. The result is a faithful, three-dimensional image of the building, with available data and related information associated with the building.
BIM is the use of a digital model in the construction industry to improve the design, construction and operation processes. The information contained in the model provides a basis for making optimal decisions at all the listed stages of a facility's existence.
The BIM models of Barrack marked with no. 7 at the BIb section of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp were created based on cloud points from laser scanning, orthophoto plans of walls, foundations, and floors, panoramic pictures, photographs and archival documentation, design and as-built documentation.
The BIM model of the state of preservation is a faithful representation of the condition of the barracks before the start of the comprehensive preservation activities. Conversely, the BIM model of the as-built state is a digital representation of what the barrack looks like today, three years following the completion of its comprehensive conservation.
‘The BIM pilot project began at the Museum in 2017. For its implementation, we chose the historic brick barrack undergoing comprehensive conservation works at the time. During the work, we had the opportunity to examine on an ongoing basis how the capabilities of BIM models could be utilised to plan, design, and implement conservation works. The conclusions drawn from the pilot project allowed us to decide on fully implementing the BIM methodology into the conservation works,’ said project manager Tomasz Zemła.
‘While searching for a database that would allow access to information about the buildings and their premises, we quickly realised that the most appropriate solution would be one that offered as accurate a visual representation of these buildings as possible. In 2017, when we became familiar with BIM, which has been used extensively in the construction industry, we figured it might suit our needs. After conducting a pilot programme, we decided that combining a faithful three-dimensional model of the building with its associated information and a database extension was the optimal solution for managing data about our facilities and, in the future, the buildings themselves,’ said the head of the Master Plan for Preservation (GPK), Agnieszka Tanistra-Różanowska.
‘After a series of training sessions, consultations with experts, and reviewing the pilot project findings, we created our own BIM model standard. It is the second study in Poland in this field dedicated to a specific contracting authority. Currently - in line with the methodology developed and in conjunction with the GPK specialists employed at the Museum - the contractor selected via a tender procedure is developing further BIM models,’ added Tomasz Zemła.
BIM models shall be developed for 45 brick buildings – prisoners’ barracks, kitchens, bathhouses, latrines, and washrooms within the BI sector. This will be correlated with a multi-year plan for comprehensive conservation works in these historic buildings.
‘The implementation of BIM reflects our approach to conservation documentation, which should include all available historical and technical knowledge about the building and all undertaken preservation treatments. It is a tool as important as the technologies and techniques used in the works themselves. Thus, since the beginning of the Museum's Conservation Laboratories, we have been improving the ways we gather and use information about the buildings,’ said deputy director of the Museum Rafał Pióro, responsible for preserving the authenticity of the Memorial Site.
The subsequent phase of the project will involve the implementation of a Data Management System. The BIM-based system will be used to analyse the preservation status of individual buildings when planning and implementing conservation works and when carrying out various technical and conservation inspections.
The implementation of BIM is being carried out within the framework of the Museum's Master Plan for Preservation, funded by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.