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Qatar\ s Next Top Model [Construction Week (United Arab Emirates)]
[February 11, 2014]

Qatar\ s Next Top Model [Construction Week (United Arab Emirates)]

(Construction Week (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) RELATED ARTICLES: The BIM solution l Qatar's World Cup projects need BIM says Autodesk One of the buzzwords in the construction industry in 2013 was 'BIM', or Building Information Modelling, to give it its full name.

It has been hailed as the future standard for construction planning and has already become commonly used in many mature Western markets, such as the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway – all of which require the use of BIM for publicly funded building projects.

BIM enables project teams of architects, engineers, building and infrastructure owners and construction firms to use 3D digital models to collaborate and support building projects throughout their lifecycle - from design and documentation to building and field support.

Unlike with traditional 2D drawings, the theory behind BIM is that the data in a BIM-led project remains consistent, coordinated, and more accurate across all stakeholders, regardless of how many times the design changes, or who changes it.

[[banner]] As a result, BIM is designed to ensure building and infrastructure projects are created and completed faster, more economically and sustainably.

Along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar has been credited for embracing BIM in the Middle East, with the technology being utilised on many of the country's major projects, although this is a relatively new trend, says Robert Grys, BIM implementation manager for Hochtief ViCon – a company that has used BIM for the Barwa Commercial Avenue and Lusail City projects.

"Several BIM conferences in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha started from around 2011, which shows that the demand for BIM is increasing and attracting more and more people. Accordingly, the number of projects reporting and presenting their BIM approach is increasing, with Qatar and the UAE at the forefront of that." WSP's BIM manager, Gerry McFadden, takes up the subject: "It is clear that some of the biggest entities in Qatar have embraced BIM in a major way over the past few years. As one leaves the airport we are met full on with BIM in the shape of the new National Museum of Qatar. Qatar Foundation is funding research to further the use of BIM in the country to help meet Qatar's goals and BIM has been used on massive developments such as Lusail." In July last year, the Qatar Foundation awarded a grant of $900,000 to two UK professors to study how BIM could save Qatar billions of dollars on its massive development plans.

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[[page-break]] Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Mohamad Kassem of Teesside University were given the funds, with research split between Teesside University and Qatar University with 60% of the funding being spent in the gulf state and the remaining 40% being spent in Middlesbrough.

Professor Dawood said BIM could cut the cost of building projects by up to 10% - a hugely significant sum of money given that Qatar's construction spending will run well over the $100bn mark in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.

With BIM being used on some of Qatar's headline construction programmes, there is confidence that it will become even more prevalent in Qatar over the next 12 months, as many of the country's significant contracts are awarded.

"BIM is continuously growing every year. It is not a question of whether BIM will be implemented, but instead how BIM will it be executed.

This year will be another important and interesting year for Qatar in its BIM history, especially through significant projects like the football World Cup and rail projects, which require BIM from the tender stage," comments René Schumann, managing director of Hochtief ViCon.

[[banner]] "When we were developing Barwa Commercial Avenue from 2009-2012, we used one of the biggest BIM models in Qatar. At the time, only a few people were speaking about BIM, but we expected it to become the standard for large projects in the future, and we believe that will become the case over the next three years.

You only have to look at the job market and see the demand for BIM professionals to see that the technology is being utilised far more frequently." Indeed, companies with designs on winning contracts for major developments such as the footballing showpiece must include BIM in their proposals if they want their bids to be taken seriously, according to Louay Dahmash, Middle East sales director for 3D design software company Autodesk.

"Contractors will be competing for the lion's share of the massive projects that have yet to be awarded. One way to ensure a competitive pitch is to adopt BIM solutions," Dahmash has said.

"3D building software has seen widespread adoption among contractors and project developers in the region." Article continues on next page ...

[[page-break]] McFadden agrees that companies should be looking to integrate BIM technology into their skill-sets.

"BIM is a clear evolution in the way projects are being delivered, and there should be an aspiration to use BIM as much as possible. A number of projects will be announced this year, the World Cup stadiums are a good example, and their complex nature and the pressing need for them to be delivered makes BIM an obvious choice." According to a recently published construction report by New McGraw Hill, companies utilising BIM can expect to see a return on their investments. This includes project benefits, including reduced errors and omissions, to process improvements like the ability to enhance collaboration, and internal business benefits such as enhancing their organisation's image.

"The markets that are just beginning to adopt BIM have really benefitted from the experience of other regions," said Steve Jones, senior director at McGraw Hill Construction.

"These results are exciting because they demonstrate that these newer-to-adopt markets are already outperforming the more established regions in several key areas, offering innovative new services and using BIM in the non-building sector. It suggests that BIM is set to transform the approach to construction globally," he added.

[[banner]] Elaborating on the main advantages of using BIM, McFadden comments: "The project is built and tested within a virtual environment, meaning the project team have a model which allows them to visualise, analyse, test and verify that the design is correct.

Information can be extracted from the model to better quantify project cost, requirements and any potential challenges of constructing in the physical environment. Having this information available is invaluable and will reduce the risk of costly problems that may arise during the construction stage.

But there are challenges that must be addressed, he adds. "All those involved in a project need to be fully aware of what BIM means and what it does not mean. The project's BIM goals need to be clearly defined at inception.

A project which is delivered badly using BIM could be disastrous for all involved. It must be understood that all project stakeholders play an equal part in ensuring that processes are followed properly by individuals who know what they are doing." With BIM still a relatively new concept, there must also be an effort to factor the technology into contracts from an early stage of projects.

"The advantages are well known in the industry and almost everybody seems to realise the benefits, such as reduced cost and time, and increased quality, but the major challenge is the practical execution," says Schumann.

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[[page-break]] "Clients, designers and contractors are often willed to use BIM on their projects, but BIM will never start from bottom up, it has to be implemented from top down. The contracts must include BIM conditions and deliverables from the early stage." The debate over how and when BIM should be used in Qatar leads to the inevitable question of whether the government should consider mandating its use in some projects, as has happened in many other international markets.

Most recently, Qatar's GCC neighbour Dubai mandated the use of BIM on large scale projects, while the UK government will require all public projects to use the technology by 2016, with the intention of cutting costs and contributing to its long-term target to reduce emissions by 20%.

Grys says that a government backed system would benefit the country's construction market, pointing to the galvanising effect in the UK construction sector. "The understanding of BIM is different especially between different stakeholders. A standard could clarify required terms and could contribute to a common understanding within the entire industry.

"Public projects should mandate BIM also because they are the pioneers in adopting new methodologies in design, construction and operation. One popular case of mandating BIM can be observed in UK at the moment, which led to a sort of awakening in the whole construction industry. It seems that the overall BIM market has accelerated to serve this demand," Grys adds.

"BIM is demanded by the market, the reaction must come from all parties involved, but especially the government, clients, project developers must agree on a strategy for the future. Qatar needs a common BIM standard to speak one language when it comes to scope definition and execution." However, the responsibility to raise awareness of BIM and the benefits of using the technology is not strictly down the Qatari government.

There is no standard for Qatar yet. Universities must include BIM related courses in their curriculum to prepare students from the beginning for the upcoming challenges in their career.

McFadden concurs: "There are many high profile high value projects that need to be delivered on time and with utmost efficiency. It would make sense to mandate BIM on projects that meet certain criteria as a minimum. This will give greater confidence that projects which employ BIM processes properly will be delivered on time." Article continues on next page ...

[[page-break]] Opportunities abound CWQ speaks to Mohannad Altabbal, general manager for BIMES Middle East It is quite clear that the architecture, engineering and construction industry is adopting BIM more and more each day, particularly in Qatar where there are great opportunities to use the technology on its mega projects such as the rail programme.

I wouldn't say BIM will be the standard practice in 2014, but I think we will certainly see more projects and companies adapting the technology.

[[banner]] What we've seen recently with GCC-based construction companies is that many are using BIM for the first time on real projects. The larger the project, the greater potential there is for savings, but BIM can be used on projects of any size, and the more it is used, the easier it will be to encourage others to use BIM. Projects that successfully use BIM are the best way to spread awareness of the technology.

This needs to be done because, unfortunately, BIM has previously been promoted as an easy, magical software solution. The number of times I have heard the phrase 'with one click' is quite saddening.

BIM is not just about software. The big challenge is understanding the change that comes along with BIM and that requires a change of mentality. Many were promised big results, yet they couldn't deliver what they used to deliver in 2D. This had a negative impact on BIM in the region, and we are trying to change that by focusing on the real achievable BIM goals.

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