ME BIM Summit 2019: Transforming the way we think about cities

Middle East BIM Summit discusses the far-reaching impacts of intelligent modelling

Building smarter cities with City Information Modelling (CIM), creating a wider, safer construction site with BIM technology and how people interact with the built environment were some of the key topics that experts in the GCC’s Building Information Modelling sector discussed at the fourth edition of the ME BIM Summit.

Held at the Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai and organsed by CPI Trade Media and Big Project magazine, the event saw more than 150 of the GCC’s top professionals from the BIM and allied sectors congregate to discuss the future of BIM technology and the built environment in the region.

Opening proceedings with his welcome address, Gavin Davids, group editor, Construction, at CPI Trade Media, said that in the four years of its existence, the summit has grown to be regarded as one of the foremost BIM-focused events in the GCC construction industry.

“In just a few short years BIM has taken hold of the construction industry and changed it for good. No matter what happens from here on, we cannot go back to the way things were before. As a technology, BIM has the capability to fundamentally change the way we build our projects. But it is as a methodology that I believe it will have the greatest impact. Once it is properly implemented and embedded in our processes, it will change the way we think and the way we imagine what is possible,” Davids said.

Delivering her opening address, summit chair Farah Kurdi, Middle East built environment sector leader at Mott Macdonald, said the power of BIM and CIM is in the way they empower people.
“This year’s summit is around the next steps we need to take in the BIM revolution. How can BIM help us and how can we take it forward?

Collaboration is one of the key aspects to make this possible and it is something that is the cornerstone of this event.

“Digital twins are quickly becoming the go-to for creating robust models of an asset at various stages of its life cycle. However, what are the key similarities and differences between digital twins and BIM, and how can the two be used together to ease the building process and benefit the built environment? Today’s summit is the apt forum to discuss these and similar issues of equal importance to construction and BIM professionals,” Kurdi said.

Diving into the details of CIM in the opening panel discussion, titled “Building Smarter Cities with CIM”, Omar Baghadadi, associate director in AECOM’s Design, Planning and Economics practice, said: “Infrastructure, transport, even people and social interaction… when all of these and the relationships between them are brought together on a single platform, that is where CIM has the potential to transform the way we think about cities. CIM is only the natural evolution of BIM and it is becoming necessary to make the right, informed decisions on the development of urban centres.”

His co-panelist, Ahmed AbouAfa, founder of the UAE BIM Association, added: “CIM is a collaboration between people, governments and the construction sector to build an environment that makes a difference to people’s lives. The importance of data is paramount and it is what will allow the holder of the data to make the biggest possible difference. In the era of BIM, especially as it evolves into CIM, data is the new capital.”
Surinder Yadav from Shapoorji Pallonji ME, said the built environment cannot be seen in isolation from the people who inhabit it.

“What creates a smart city? The physical environment, like transport and infrastructure, and also the human element. As BIM evolves and we build more sophisticated, modern and better planned structures, the designers of the future need to ask some vital questions. With BIM extending to how entire cities are developed and run, those questions must include: Does the city attract talent and innovators? Does it create value for its residents and for humanity as a whole? This is where the technology is headed and the direction we need to project it in,” said Yadav.

The fourth edition of the Middle East BIM Summit has been organised by CPI Trade Media and Big Project magazine and sees the GCC’s top construction and BIM professionals talk about how technology is revolutionising construction and the built environment



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