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BIM awareness in the Gulf's construction sector is growing

by Neha Bhatia on Oct 21, 2017

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Technology is finding greater acceptance as the Gulf’s construction sector consolidates its activities in line with reduced petrodollars. The promise of time- and cost-savings is encouraging regional contractors to adopt tech tools, and adapt their business plans accordingly.

In the Gulf, building information modelling (BIM) is the epicentre of this movement, and greater market awareness about BIM’s true meaning and benefits has led to a spike in its uptake across the region.

This week’s Special Report explores the new understanding of BIM that is now visible within the GCC’s construction sector, as well as the programmes underway to support its cohesive implementation in the contracting community.

In this week’s market overview (page 24), BIM experts outline the regional progress being made in terms of spreading awareness about the technology, as well as the hurdles that are yet to be mitigated with regards to BIM education. Ramboll’s BIM manager, Andrew Darlington, points out the need for BIM awareness within project client teams, and Mohamed Marzouk, the technical director of ASGC, reveals why his company started implementing BIM in 90% of its projects last year.

Meanwhile, Alan Muse, the global director of built environment standards at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), outlines how BIM can support building lifecycle programmes, and why this oft-forgotten functionality needs more attention from the global construction community.

Additionally, our supplier focus story this week (page 28) reviews the products supporting BIM programmes in the Gulf, as well as the roadblocks faced by their manufacturers in the region.

Louay Dahmash, head of Autodesk’s Middle East operation, points out why a revamp of business culture and operations is needed to support BIM in the Gulf, while Raguram Jayaram, senior BIM consultant at Bentley Systems, explains how government mandates are boosting BIM adoption in the region.

Finally, this week’s last word (page 30) comes from Jorge Manuel Cunha Vieira, the director of technology at Space & Place, a consultancy that has deployed BIM on projects such as the Alila Salalah and Azaibha Beach hotels, and Muscat Hills Golf Clubhouse, in Oman.

Vieira also explains how a lack of understanding on the part of stakeholders has held his team back from implementing the full benefits of BIM, and shares the feedback provided by those Space & Place clients that have, in fact, welcomed BIM-centric workflows.

During a panel discussion at the Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2017, held this September in Dubai, industry leaders agreed that high costs are among the greatest challenges to tech adoption in the region. However, the experts also expressed optimism about the Gulf’s construction market, which they said is now less wary of modernising processes and structures.

More than 800 urban construction projects, worth $32bn are currently at the tendering stage in the GCC. As this Special Report finds, the developers of these projects would do well to incorporate BIM into their construction programmes now, to ensure smooth delivery in the future.