Smart Engineering and AGBAR renew the project in sustainable prioritization of the water distribution network

Smart Engineering and AGBAR renew the project in sustainable prioritization of the water distribution network


Smart Engineering and AGBAR continue their collaboration with the aim of developing tools and models for the prioritization of the renewal of the pipeline network for water distribution through sustainable development. At the end of last 2016, Smart Engineering finalized the project that had as object the city of Barcelona. Currently, the tool is being extended to the entire Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona.

Because resources are limited, it is impossible to renew the entire desirable distribution network as a whole, and consequently, identifying which renewal investments to carry out becomes a critical activity. In the past, these investments were prioritized according to purely and exclusively monetary criteria (based on the Internal Rate of Return or IRR). However, as part of this H2020 Strategic Plan, AGBAR, ​​assisted by the company Smart Engineering, has implemented a MIVES management methodology to prioritize the maintenance of the water distribution network under sustainable criteria (ie considering aspects Economic, social and environmental).

The Prioritization Index for the Renewal of the Water Distribution Network aims to evaluate the impact or risk that, from the point of view of sustainability, has each section of pipeline in case of non-renewal. Thus, those sections with the greatest impact on sustainability are those that must be prioritized, and consequently renewed.

The concept of sustainability applied to a water distribution network is understood as the ability of the network to continue operating maintaining the levels of quality of service desired by customers without restricting or affecting the options available to present and future generations, nor cause Adverse impacts within and outside the urban border and the network itself

Taking this premise as a reference has considered the economic, environmental and social impact or risk of not renewing each section of the distribution network in the decision tree. To this end, only the most significant and discriminatory indicators have been considered. The consequences of non-renewal are evaluated here with respect to each and every one of the sustainability indicators of the decision tree. In total 3 requirements, 5 criteria and 8 indicators (the weight of each requirement, criterion and indicator was obtained through AHP, with the different Aigües de Barcelona relationship groups). The consistency, representativeness and objectivity of the criteria and impact / risk indicators considered in each requirement will guarantee the goodness and credibility of the results.

The Economic Requirement values ​​the use that would be given to economic resources in case of executing the renewal of each tranche. The objective is to make the most of every euro invested, which is why this requirement only considers the Investment criterion. The main indicator of this requirement is the IRR or Internal Rate of Return, which corresponds to the return offered by an investment and which is modified by the criticality of the tranche.

The objective of the Environmental Requirement is to prioritize those sections with greater risk to the habitat, that is to say, to renew the sections whose impact on the environment is greater in case of failure. The two criteria considered in this requirement are the risks of water loss, which includes latent leaks such as leakage due to damage and the loss of energy used to drive the water up to each stage.

The Social Requirement is responsible for assessing the consequences (direct and indirect) that can in case of failure in a section of the network would generate both people, in terms of historical involvement to customers, service pressure level and water quality , As well as to the city, in terms of affecting mobility, other underground infrastructures and failure to take advantage of repair opportunities derived from works of other services.

Smart Engineering develops a sustainable model for the renewal of distribution pipes for AGBAR

Smart Engineering develops a sustainable model for the renewal of distribution pipes for AGBAR


Smart Engineering and Aguas de Barcelona – AGBAR signed a partnership agreement last July. The object of that agreement was to develop a prioritization model for the renewal of water distribution pipes through sustainable development. The development of this model is based on the multicriteria  methodology MIVES, developed at UPC. This methodology allows the development of tools and models for decision-making and value and sustainability analysis. This methodology incorporates  the possibility of considering value functions, integrates different requirements (economic, social, environmental, technical, etc.), considers homogeneous or heterogeneousalternatives, and employs Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to assign weights to the indicators.

The model being developed by Smart Engineering for Aguas de Barcelona, will incorporate economic aspects related to the renewal of pipes, considered in an integrated manner with social and environmental criteria. Thus, the sustainable development criteria will be applied to the renewal system of distribution pipes. This model is being developed for the city of Barcelona and a number of municipalities in the metropolitan area and the city area. The same model integrates data and geographic information systems (GIS), so that allows for computer integration and use of various information sources.

It is scheduled the project completion by the end of September 2016. The model will be integrated into a database that combines different sources of information, both GIS as economic, social and environmental data. This project strengthens the position of Smart Engineering in developing comprehensive tools for analyzing value, decision-making aid, and sustainability analysis using the methodology MIVES.

Smart Engineering finishes the Shotcrete Sustainability Index

Smart Engineering finishes the Shotcrete Sustainability Index


Last June, Smart Engineering completed the development of the Shotcrete Sustainability Index. The index developed allows to globally assess the sustainability of shotcrete, taking into account economic, environmental and social criteria, depending on the type of setting accelerator used.

Currently in Spain predominates the use of  aluminate-based setting accelerators. The international trend is to ban the use of these additives because of the negative environmental implications and potential risks they may present to the workers,  in favor of the alkali-free setting accelerators.

The inertia of the Spanish construction sector to assume this change rate additive is due to several concurrent issues. First, alkali-free additives have a slightly higher cost. Also, higher contents of this accelerant are required to achieve equivalent performance in a given application. Finally, the performance of these aditives against water outcrop may be  unsatisfactory.

The ISS was developed considering this scenerio. In the case of raised study three different alternatives of evaluation were considered: the use of an aluminate-based setting accelerators at 3% concentration (ANaA-3%) and the use of an alkali-free setting accelerator at two different concentrations 6.5% and 8 % (AFA-6.5% and AFA-8%).


One of the main results of the implementation of ISS is the realization that, based solely on economic requirements, the sustainability of the alternatives are not significantly, as shown in Figure. In this scenario, the use of aluminate-based setting accelerators is clearly favored by the shortsightedness that governs the construction processes in Spain.

However, as environmental and social requirements have more weight in the decision, is clearly more sustainable the alternative considering the use of alkali-free setting accelerator at a concentration of 8% (see Figure). Thus, in order to change current consumption patterns of setting accelerator admixtures in Spain must go hand in hand with actions that raise the awareness at the environmental and social aspects. Furthermore, administrative policies are neede to promote these requirements in public works.


The sensitivity study of the weights of the requirements has allowed  to establish the importance of the weight of the environmental and social requirements, when working towards the highest sustainability of the alkali-free accelerators. This will permit the implementation of active policies that facilitate the introduction of this type of product in the Spanish market.

The development of the ISS – made under the contract signed by Smart Engineering and BASF Construction Chemicals – was done with the participation of different Spanish stakeholders both public and private.

I.S. 2016.09.12