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Notes from Day 1 of the Future BIM Implementation Conference in Doha, Qatar

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Hi-Tech iSolutions LLP - Future BIM Implementation

It was a beautiful morning in Doha on the first day of the Future BIM Implementation Conference, at InterContinental The City. With conference delegates from all over the MENA region, it was a great day to meet like-minded professionals and experts. Allen Jay Holland conducted the first session of the day. His observations were interesting that started with how Britain is leading the BIM field with mandating BIM at Level 2.

In the context of Qatar though, Mr. Holland feels that BIM is a term used liberally, often without context and nearly always without a reference to standards. The project owners either have a very idealistic view of COBie or a disappointing one, with some of them saying, “We don’t expect miracles from COBie, we expect headaches”.

In the next session, Muhammad Jabarkhanji of Alpin spoke about the benefits of BIM in Facility Management. GHD’s Derek Brankston spoke next about lessons learnt while implementing BIM across North America in the past decade. The most common challenge faced was forcing BIM workflows in old processes of doing things. To counter that, companies should be investing more effort in multidisciplinary skilled managers, and provide BIM training in their budgets for training and standards.

Mr. Brankston feels strongly that one inexperienced professional can derail the entire project, and that it is important to evolve to a better way of designing. If we are designing buildings, why use lines and why not objects! Similarly, while migrating from a 2D CAD to a 3D BIM workflow, we need no longer need staff who can simply draw buildings, but staff who can build buildings. The best quote coming from this session was that “clients ask for COBie, but when I show a COBie spreadsheet to them, they don’t want it anymore, saying ‘our FM system doesn’t support this’”. His advice for clients is to review their needs and formats for compliance for asset management.

Before the panel discussion, Bisrat Solomon Degefa, of Atkins which is Doha Metro System, spoke about how the Common Data Environment is essential for implementing BIM successfully. Providing clear processes and communication platforms assures in the collaboration in a global market. Without information management controls placed in a project the project will fail before it begins. He also said that a coordinated design model is not the same as a construction model and it is not fully exploited for construction purposes. Project owners seeking advice from technology and software vendors, quite defeats the purpose, according to him.

The panel discussion saw a detailed discussion of issues with Dubai BIM mandate; there being no clarity on what is to be submitted, or consensus on who reviews it, does not sit well with the community, further, it is not even mandated for structural engineering.

The day ended on a sobering note with a client’s view that early adoption of BIM is expensive and that he cannot justify the benefits of it against the costs he would incur. Food for thought!

Bhushan Avsatthi
About the Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.