Why BIM is at the heart of Amana’s award-winning achievements

From factories and depots to ground-breaking residences, Amana reaps the rewards of connectivity, automation and adaptability

AMANA Group has built its reputation on the ability to offer end-to-end, design-build solutions, often for projects with complex stakeholder chains and challenging tiers of third-party approvals. It also enjoys a strong reputation for being a regional leader for its adherence to international quality standards and – critically – for its role as a Sustainability champion.

These hallmarks most recently led to its winning, at the Big Project ME Awards 2021, the coveted award for Sustainability Project of the Year. Its winning entry, the Coastal Village Residential Buildings at The Red Sea Project by DUBOX by Amana, is part of a portfolio of work with The Red Sea Development Company, who are actively creating the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism and hospitality project: one occupying no less than 28,000 sq. km – and while providing 8,000 hotel rooms, a variety of marine resorts and oasis retreats by 2030, is also building the world’s largest battery storage facility to enable the destination to be powered by renewable energy 24/7/365.

Amana’s sophisticated projects here make extensive use of BIM technologies.

As Riad Bsaibes, President and CEO, Amana Investments, comments: “We are providing a very high level of offsite construction, which requires pre-approval by all stakeholders. It is very different from traditional design-build work. A BIM environment allows different stakeholders to work on the same model from the earliest stages – and this avoids clashes between the various disciplines.

“Without BIM, I really don’t think we’d be able to operate to these same timeframes and budgets, and I think on a larger scale, the industry as a whole is waking up to the importance of digital solutions. Of course, the cornerstone here is the BIM model, and for us, BIM is the centerpiece within the project itself. It follows our commitment to exploring more and more digital options. We are very keen, as a business, to use the growing benefits of digital technology. For example, we are increasingly using drone technology, and encouraging start-up businesses in the AI field to come and work with us to see how we can help develop their ideas out in the field.”

BIM and data-centric working

David Glennon, Digital Delivery Director at The Red Sea Development Company, believes that the business is reaping the rewards of being able to deploy very high levels of data. “We have actually shifted”, he says, “from a project-based focus to a data-centric focus – and that has largely happened because of BIM. With BIM, we can cost-in and evaluate so many key factors: we can assess how to integrate and budget for materials complying with key safety standards such as ISO19650, for example, and then create automated quality processes. We can embrace the views of many contributing parties – who we can then collaborate with – and together, we drive consistency.

“Another great advantage with BIM is that we only need to make a change once, and we can then see that improvement trickled down through the whole working process.”

Saving time and resources

A classic role of BIM technology is that, properly used, it can allow stronger and more effective logistics planning – knowing what’s needed on-site and when. It can also enable a much more efficient and productive interface between workforce and machinery. These aspects are paramount in the role of Ian Williamson, Chief Projects Delivery Officer, The Red Sea Development Company. He remarks that: “It’s noticeable with our projects now that you see very few materials on-site. That is because they are delivered exactly when needed, not stockpiled in an inefficient way. Since fewer materials need to be moved and handled on-site, this means that the speed of construction is accelerated – plus, there is a huge Health & Safety bonus, too, because the workforce isn’t having to navigate around hazardous stacks of materials.

“In terms of savings on resources, I can give you a very clear example. When units are arriving fully constructed, it means a dramatic saving in labour costs. Where typically, you might have needed 50,000 workers on-site, that figure can be reduced to 30,000 – in other words, a manpower reduction of around 30%! Also, the fact that on-site construction is reduced means that you have another Health & Safety benefit: reducing assembly time and activity means there is simply less risk in the site environment.

“Another aspect is that with BIM you can do advance simulations, creating detailed projections of the goods arriving on-site and deciding what happens to them next. So, you can plan precisely what needs to be done and who will do it – compare that with the older, traditional ways of working where the arrivals of materials can be very disruptive to the day’s focus and productivity.”

Evolving the business

Amana’s ground-breaking residential developments for The Red Sea Project are a very long way from the activities the company was best-known for during much of its 30-year history. As Riad Bsaibes explains: “We are best-known for constructing industrial facilities, particularly factories and distribution centers. 10 years ago, we created a process called Concrete Modular Construction (CMC), and this grew to become the DUBOX concept, which is now one of our main projects offers.”

BIM has played a major role in this transition, enabling the DUBOX model to be up-scaled as the core design and construction principle for extremely successful, multi-use developments. In so doing, it has leveraged not only size, but the company’s readiness to achieve the highest levels of Sustainability.


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