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How Bim uptake is influencing ongoing megaprojects in UAE, Egypt

ALEC, Besix, Orascom Construction, Ssangyong, ASGC have adopted Bim for their projects in the Middle East

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The implementation of building information modelling (Bim) has steadily grown in the Middle East’s construction industry, with contractors, architects, and consultants now using the technology to ensure timely project completion – and early adopters are now reaping rewards.

According to Aurecon’s digital leader for infrastructure, Will Hackney, Bim plays an important part in the way project are designed and engineered: “It helps our clients and the communities they work in have absolute confidence that the infrastructure they build and use is future-proofed.”

Some of the industry’s largest contractors are also equally familiar with the benefits of Bim. For instance, managing director for related businesses at UAE-based contracting heavyweight Alec, Hercu Viljoen, told Construction Week earlier this year: “Software like Bim is already helping a lot. But people need to make up their mind early to utilise these softwares.

“We’ve been implementing Bim over the last couple of years, and are training the whole company to become ‘Bim mature’ across all levels.”

Much of the GCC construction industry’s use of Bim, however, continues to be driven by government mandates. Take the example of Dubai Municipality, which issued a mandate in 2013 requiring large-scale projects to use the technology.

Today, the impact of that Dubai Municipality mandate is clearly visible on projects under way in the city. Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Palace Tower, which is being constructed by South Korean contracting giant Ssangyong, is using Bim for the development. Foster + Partners is working as the project’s architect and Robert Bird Group is structural engineer.

In the wider Middle East, a notable project that is using Bim is Egypt’s Grand Egyptian Museum which is being built by Belgian contractor Besix alongside Orascom Development.

Speaking to Construction Week about the implementation of Bim during a site tour in July 2019, project director, Laurens Schokking, said: “Nowadays you would consider that completely normal – every project generally gets done using Bim.

“But, bear in mind, this project was awarded end-2011 to early-2012, and at that time it was quite an impressive feature to do it fully through Bim.”
In 2017, UAE construction giant ASGC announced that the company would expand the implementation of Bim into all its departments starting 2018.

Speaking to Construction Week at that time, technical director, Mohamed Marzouk, said: “ASGC’s Bim strategy is to implement Bim in all the company’s departments and use it as language for communication and coordination.”

While growing awareness about its benefits has provided momentum to the adoption of Bim in the regional construction industry, there is still a long way to go for contractors, as head of UAE operations for Voltas, Gumeet Nanda, explained at the MEP Conference UAE 2019.

Speaking at the event this April, Nanda said that despite the relative surge in its uptake, Bim remained an under-utilised technology process in the regional construction and civil engineering sectors.

Nanda added that Bim was “not being utilised to even 10% of the capabilities” it could offer to the construction sector, indicating that more work needed to be done to raise Bim awareness.

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