Jul 23 2015

What next for BIM in the Middle East?

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Views on the scope and role of BIM differ greatly around the world. In the UK it is being developed as a major disruption across all stages of the built asset lifecycle while in other markets it is just seen as a tool for designers, an extension of CAD, and in many more it will just be an acronym that is occasionally bandied around with no real impact.

BIM represents a major structural change in the construction, infrastructure and real estate markets, and like it or not it is here to stay and it is going to be global.


Differing Stages of Maturity 

Of course the progress towards global uptake of BIM will be uneven, with different markets reaching different stages of maturity at different times.  In Europe for example many markets are concerned with how best to enable design managers to engage collaboratively with other stakeholders or even just how to share large 3D model files.  The UK meanwhile has moved well beyond this point and the focus here is on creating, managing and updating detailed digital representations of built assets that support the build and use of the asset throughout its lifecycle.

This variation provides an opportunity for more mature markets to export their knowledge as BIM adoption spreads.  Like past innovations in other areas such as IT or automotive there are some who are investing to gain an early advantage, many who are being carried along by the momentum of the market and those who will not change and will be left behind.


BIM across the Middle East

Currently the focus in the Middle East is mainly on how BIM can support the design stage of the asset lifecycle.  It is an effective solution for demonstrating to clients the look, feel and behaviour of the asset they are investing in, allowing them to make more informed decisions resulting in project outcomes and expectations being more closely aligned.

Locally there is a challenge with models being overloaded with data in order to create the best possible visualisation for the client but this causes problem with sharing them over the web, limiting the collaboration benefits that BIM brings.

Information security is a global challenge but the richness of data in the model makes the theft of any data particularly damaging from both intellectual property and physical security perspectives.

Governments in the Middle East are increasingly taking the step of mandating BIM in one form or another with Dubai leading the way.  Despite many teething problems, mandating has to be a positive as it creates a commercial driver for BIM adoption and the development of new technologies and techniques as has been seen with the UK BIM mandate.


Challenges and Opportunities

There are a number of markets that are already quite advanced in their BIM journey.  China and South Korea are both using BIM to deliver demonstrable productivity benefits, and these are both markets that have a strong record in exporting their competitive advantage, probably more so than other BIM leaders like the UK.

This is a potential benefit to clients, providing them with a growing choice of providers but could prove highly disruptive to complex and mature supply chains and potentially destructive if they cannot adapt.

However technology is advancing rapidly and construction software suppliers are developing solutions to help clients and their supply chain move into a BIM world.  At CONJECT we have waited to see where the dust would settle before deciding where we best adapt our applications and as a result are offering the workflows, information processes and analysis & reporting capabilities to help customers adopt new working practices.

To find out more about how we can support you in a BIM world visit our website.

About the author

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is Managing Director of Conject Ltd. He has spent over 25 years within the construction and engineering software markets, successfully running sales and marketing teams. He spent a number of years at SAP within their E&C practice, set up and managed a distribution channel in Asia Pacific for a division of Misys and ran a sales and marketing team within CSB COINS. In 2000 he gained an MBA from Henley Management College.

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