Tahir Sharif, founding president, buildingSMART MENA and India

Can you please explain how BIM can be used beyond the construction of a project throughout the entire lifecycle of a building/ project? Traditionally, building information is generated during each project phase and often re-entered or produced during hand offs between phases and organizations. At the end of most projects, the value of this information […]

Can you please explain how BIM can be used beyond the construction of a project throughout the entire lifecycle of a building/ project?

Traditionally, building information is generated during each project phase and often re-entered or produced during hand offs between phases and organizations. At the end of most projects, the value of this information drops heavily, since it does not reflect as built conditions or is in a form that is unmanageable, like 50-100 boxes of paper documentation referenced to more than a 1000 drawings.

Owners can use a BIM model to quickly populate and update a facility management database, often saving on reduction in labor needed to enter information manually. Building components and assemblies are associated with facility information and used to support critical analyses such as condition assessment over time and the need for preventive repairs. Facility managers can use these visually intelligent models to determine the impact of retrofit or maintenance work. Preventive and routine Maintenance tasks can be planned without disruption to operations, because the facility manager has a live visualization of the areas which will be affected during the maintenance.

Even during design stages, building owners ,together with facility managers, are exploring uses for BIM to address evacuation during emergencies, allowing BIM models to be populated with electronic people simulating running, turning, detecting the nearest exit, thus allowing egress patterns and time required for evacuation to be studied. In the operations phase, owners are performing what-if scenarios of moving people and equipment, analyzing and minimizing energy usage, while operating the facilities virtually. Major corporations use feedback from BIM enabled FM systems to guide the design of newer facilities, often benefiting from improved understanding of specific operational requirements.


What would you estimate the rate of adoption for BIM software to be currently what will be key to improving this?

As per the survey conducted by buildingSMART ME in 2010, the current adoption of BIM in the region is moderate, around 25%. However, the level of competency is underdeveloped compared to Western Europe and the US. Software is a tool used in the implementation of BIM. BIM is an enabling technology with the potential to improve communication among business partners, improve the quality of information available for decision making and reducing cost and waste at every stage in the life cycle of the building. Technology must be deployed as part of a comprehensive business strategy to be successful.

For many business owners throughout the building Industry, the key decision in their BIM implementation strategy is which software application to buy and the key criteria for selection is ‘what everyone else is using”, and follow up with a decision on number of licenses and training requirements.

For a successful implementation, these leaders should examine their business needs and select products and services to meet those needs. Cost/Benefit analyses will assure them that the investment will result in increased revenue and profit. They should then use the knowledge gained from measuring performance to adjust their strategy.

The most effective BIM implementation strategies are those based on a thoughtful review of an organization’s business processes and workflow, both internally and externally. The focus is not on how to adapt the workflow to suit the technology, but rather on how to exploit the technology to improve the workflow.


Regarding the recent survey conducted :

“Face to face interviews conducted as part of the survey process indicated that most firms engaged with BIM were in an ‘early adoption’ phase and were typically using BIM in its most basic capacity – as a tool for visualisation, coordination, drawing extraction and in a few cases, for construction planning.”


How else can organisations use BIM; how easy is this; where can they go for further training?

Owners can use BIM to

  • Increase building value through BIM based energy design and analysis.
  • Shorten project Schedule from approval to completion
  • Optimise facilities management and maintenance by using BIM enabled FM systems.

Designers can use BIM

  • Through conceptual design to showcase design to the owners and hence improve  the design decision process, with the owners being better informed of building and operating costs etc.
  • For design and Analysis of buildings and develop construction level information
  • For Value engineering, while they are designing, considering alternatives as they design, allowing practical assessment throughout the design

Contractors can use BIM to

  • Win a project with a profitable price, result of measuring quantities, attention to detail and ability to develop a competitive technical solution encompassing multiple alternatives.
  • View specifications associated with each building component, that the contractor must purchase or construct
  • Understand the construction status of each component to track and validate the progress of components relative to design, procurement, installation and testing.
  • Conduct clash detection tests between elements to be constructed, temporary fixtures etc, minimize construction issues before they cause disruptions at site.
  • Integrate with cost and scheduling software to visualize construction process and understand logistical requirements.
  • Fabricate components offsite and schedule efficient delivery
  • Significantly reduce time required to generate shop drawings and material takeoffs for procurement
  • Reduce production cycle times, reduced coordination errors, increase the use of automated manufacturing technologies, ensure quality control, integrate with supply chain management


Are there any issue unique to Jordan, which the establishment of the BuildingSMART forum will solve?

Large number of trained engineers and architects pass out from universities each year and are employed around the Middle East. Incorporating BIM into their curriculum will give them an understanding of the BIM process and its benefits. They will then be able to use this knowledge downstream, thus optimizing construction processes throughout.

  • Unique landscape and terrain. Urban planning using BIM can help with optimized use of available land and resources.
  • Since BIM is quite new in Jordan, the establishment of the Jordan Forum with the support of the government bodies, will ensure that BIM is adopted in the right way. buildingSMART ME is working with the Jordan forum on the BIM Manual, which will streamline the adoption and integration of BIM into the local construction industry.

How does buildingSMART ME support the local construction industry to efficiently adopt BIM?

buildingSMART International has supported many governments and owners in transitioning to BIM, by being involved with creation of BIM Manuals, BIM Implementation documents and BIM process consultation. buildingSMART ME draws on this experience to offer customized solutions to the construction industry in the Middle East.

buildingSMART ME conducted a BIM survey in 2010, to understand the erstwhile understanding of BIM. Based on the survey results, BSAME has launched a training and certification program to bring the industry up to par with international levels. We have trained over 200 professionals in the last year on level 1, which is an introduction to BIM. BSAME is engaging the industry to develop the course content and involving universities and other service providers to deliver the higher training modules. A series of certifications will allow candidates to rate themselves on their BIM knowledge and

For Owners who want to adopt BIM, BSAME offers a specification writing service that adds a BIM requirement/specification to their tender documentation. BSAME has been successful in this initiative, with one of the bigger projects being the Expansion of the Abu Dhabi International Airport. BSAME also helps consultants and contractors to respond to BIM specifications, as there is not much experience in the region.

BSAME conducts business and skill ‘health checks’ for companies who wish to adopt BIM. These checks help BSAME propose changes in infrastructure and skills needed to implement BIM. We have also developed a number of tools to assist with BIM adoption. The SMART guide comprises a scorecard that allows a user to rate a BIM tool against set criteria. With each BIM function having its own role based importance, the user can determine if the tool features and workflow would meet their specific requirements, either for a project or for companywide implementation. Implementation guides and reviews are also available to companies who would like to validate / review their implementation plans.

BSAME has set up a fortnightly BIM user group meeting, hosted by AUD, during which a number of BIM experts share best practices and experiences. BSAME also engages reputed experts to spread awareness of BIM at its seminars, conference appearances and user group meetings. We believe that with the setting up of Forums in Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar , KSA and India, BSAME will be able to share experiences and best practices within the construction industry and streamline BIM adoption and ensure benefits are achieved.


BIM ,in the region is seemingly unknown and untested, though experts in BIM are spread across the globe. How does buildingSMART ME integrate global experience into the local construction industry?

Following the mandate of buildingSMART ME , BIMjournal is an online monthly newsletter, set up in February 2009, that draws on the experts and the pioneers to demystify BIM and present it as a necessary and integral part of the design, construction and operation process.

BIM journal presents a global perspective with a regional focus. The journal covers emerging trends, new developments and showcases exemplar projects from around the world, delivering information that is unbiased, current and relevant to industry professionals here in the Middle East.

The journal has posted regular online issues, reaching an estimated audience of over 180,000. The site regularly receives over 150,000 hits per month, and is considered by many as an authoritative BIM resource. Past issues have included such themes as: Basic BIM Concepts, Green Construction, Integrated Project Delivery, BIM Based Quantity Surveying, Contracts, Interoperability and Training & Certification. All past issues are freely available on the website ( and have recently been published has a hardcopy magazine.

The website is now expanding beyond the function of the newsletter to become a hub of information exchange for the Middle East BIM movement. ‘The BIM Hub’ will form a portal of industry information including opinion posts, discussion forums and an ‘Ask an Expert’ sections – where BIM users can post their queries. As a BIM bulletin board for the industry, the site will display important announcements, upcoming BIM-related tenders, awarded projects, recent appointments and positions available.

BIMjournal has an open call for contributions for articles and case study projects. If you are interested in contributing to an upcoming issue, have any comments or require further information please contact BIM journal at




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