National BIM standards needed in UAE, contractor says

Adoption of building information modelling is still low in the region, Brookfield Multiplex exec says

PHOTO: Smaller firms can also see the value in using BIM on projects, Bentley Systems executive says. Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE needs a national building information modelling (BIM) standard to ensure the technology is adequately implemented on local projects, says an expert in the field.

Although the Dubai Municipality’s mandate last year to use BIM on large-scale projects is a move in the right direction, a stronger focus on BIM is needed at a national level, says Pavithran Kv, design and BIM director at Brookfield Multiplex.

“We don’t have a national BIM standard in the UAE, so everyone tends to follow ad hoc standards. The Dubai Municipality has taken the initiative of implementing BIM and making it mandatory, and it’s much appreciated. But at the same time, there is no BIM standard put in place to follow,” he says, noting that the UAE could look at countries like the UK, which already have such standards in place.

“I would say the Dubai Municipality should initiate forming a consortium of professionals within the industry and delegates from different government departments to form a protocol for workflow for the region.”

Although there is awareness around the region of the benefits of using BIM on projects, adoption is still low, he argues. “Construction is teamwork. When it comes to subcontractors, we see low BIM adoption. Ideally, everyone should be at the same level, but the industry is not there yet. The BIM maturity of the construction industry as a whole has to be improved, as BIM adoption in the region is still at a considerably low level.”

BIM usage need not be restricted to large construction firms, and there is value in adopting the technology for small- and medium-sized contractors and projects as well, says Hady Amal, sales manager for the MENA region at Bentley Systems, a provider of BIM software.

Bentley Systems provides packages scaled to suit the needs of organisations of different sizes, Amal notes, adding that there are cases where contractors have seen the value of BIM on small projects.

“One of our users… on a small villa project has estimated that they have saved up to 25% of their time in using BIM on the project. So I believe that BIM is as useful on small projects as it is on larger and complex projects,” Amal says.

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