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MEP contractors still wary of BIM

While MEP is attracted by BIM, it is "put off by the amount of work"

David Crowder from Atkins
David Crowder from Atkins

While a lot of MEP contractors and consultants are attracted by BIM, “they are put off by the amount of work you need to get there, which is probably where the market stands at the moment,” says Atkins MEP head of department: Middle East and India David Crowder.

“I think a lot of people have had a go at this and then decided it is too hard and given up,” says Crowder. Atkins, however, has applied BIM successfully to various metro projects throughout the region, and is a willing proselytiser for the technology.

Crowder is emphatic about the benefits of BIM: “In terms of design-and-build contracts, we really see a major advantage for contractors because really all MEP contractors want to do is buy bits of kit and install them; they do not want to fiddle and mess around and find problems, as it really disrupts programmes. We see this as a major way of contractors being sure of their programme schedules and the cost of their commitment to a project.

“It means you do all the thinking and engineering before anyone starts building the structure or installing services. It has the big advantage of being able to plan ahead, and not find a major issue on the third floor, for example, that is going to stop work for a couple of months while somebody works out what to do,” says Crowder.

“If you have a fast-track project with a lot of problems to fix, ultimately it all comes back to the quality of the documentation you started out with,” comments Atkins design systems manager: Middle East and India Steven Anderson.

“BIM is a major advantage to the main contractor, because they are not fiddling around hacking out the structure, or changing the finishes, or lowering ceilings – all the things we know and love in the construction industry. Instead we generate all the drawings fully coordinated in the BIM environment,” says Anderson.

“Supervisors can then look at the 3D model that is generated because, even on-site, I have found in the past that people sometimes do not really understand the drawings, as they cannot really work out from the 2D drawings how things fit together,” says Crowder.

“With BIM you can see how it all fits together without having to go through dozens of drawings, and avoid such problems as having to take cable trays out as you need to put ductwork in.”

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Construction Week - Issue 751
Oct 13, 2019