During the past year there has been a gradual increase in the maturity of Building Information Modeling and related technologies in Qatar and the region.
Qatar is very unique in that the value of having projects delivered in BIM is widely recognized. BIM delivery is required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup venues, for the Doha Metro projects, for the developments currently underway in Lusail City and Katara, and virtually every major new project.
Where in the past the RFPs for new work included vague references such as “delivery of the project must be in BIM” we are beginning to see more explicit definitions of client and owner expectations. Not all are realistic, but many have followed the protocols defined by the American Institute of Architects (USA) or the British Standards Institute publication of PAS 1192-2 (UK).
In the UK, BIM adoption has been driven by the “2016 BIM Level 2 Mandate” which requires the technology to be used for all centrally procured public sector projects. In addition, centrally funded government departments will be required to provide “clear and complete” Employer Information Requirements with all contracts. The mandate supports the UK’s 2025 Construction Strategy, which has four main goals: a 33% reduction in the initial cost of construction; a 50% reduction in the overall time; a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; and a 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.
In the much broader USA market, where the term ‘BIM’ was coined, several government agencies and private owners have driven development forward, and builders have recently surpassed designers and architects in the rate of BIM adoption, achieving a 70% adoption rate in 2012.
A 2014 McGraw Hill report, The Business Value of BIM for Construction Major Global Markets, reports that “BIM usage is accelerating powerfully, driven by major private and government owners who want to institutionalize its benefits of faster, more certain projects delivery, and more reliable quality and cost.” It is further reported that “three-quarters of all contractors surveyed report a positive ROI on their investment in BIM.”
BIM diffusion in Qatar, as defined by Dr. Bilal Succar on his BIM ThinkSpace blog (www.bimthinkspace.com) seems to be a blend of “Top-Down” pressure by clients and owners coupled with “Middle-Out” encouragement by global and multi-national designers and constructors. In conjunction with a recent tender for multiple stations required for the new Doha Metro system, Qatar Rail issued a comprehensive set of guidance documents that advances the requirements for BIM delivery.
Virtually every major global design and engineering consultancy is doing business in Qatar. Familiar acronyms such as AECOM, HOK, WSP and well-known brands Jacobs, Atkins, Parsons, Arup, Gensler. These firms bring their technology advocacy to the region, along with many experienced professional staff.
Reviewing Dr. Succar’s “Eight Components of Market Maturity” there appears to be improvement in the definition of objectives, in the presence of champions and drivers as well as the availability of noteworthy publications (guides, protocols and mandates). There is also some improvement in the technological infrastructure available in the MENA region. Conversely, there has been little change in the regulatory framework, or in the presence of market-wide metrics for measurement of BIM diffusion. The development of market-specific BIM object libraries is not apparent, and the availability of education and training programs is limited.
BIM User Day 5, which was held in November 2015 at Qatar University, demonstrated a significant increase in the interest and demand for BIM knowledge. The conference was attended by 263 delegates from 16 countries including the MENA region, USA, Europe and China.
Following the inaugural Future BIM Implementation conference in May of last year, the awareness of the need for common and unified effort toward BIM development and delivery was recognized. An ad hoc organization, the Qatar BIM Guidelines Focus Group, was formed, and several meetings of the group have been held. The focus group eventually was joined by Professor Nashwan Dawood and other researchers affiliated with Qatar University, and whose research into Building Information Modeling is supported by the Qatar Foundation.
The group has adopted the name “Q-BIM”. Its mission is “to promote opportunities to support, connect and grow BIM standards, through lobbying, mentoring, networking, strategic alliances, and developing and recognizing excellence in BIM.”
A constitution has been adopted by its executive committee. Our new website, Q-BIM.org, has been launched. Individual, Corporate and Group memberships will be granted to anyone who is actively involved in any aspect of Building Information Modeling in Qatar.
I encourage everyone in those categories to join Q-BIM. Please visit www.q-bim.org.
~Allen Jay Holland