Drawing the line with BIM

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February 03, 2015 Kim Kemp

Teodor Pop, BIM manager at NCS Qatar explained a basic misconception around BIM: “One may find a lot of existing literature about BIM and yet there still seems to be a discrepancy about what it means to different people. Even if there are already clear definitions of BIM, the reality is everyone has a different version of it – their own vision and understanding of the meaning and usage of BIM based on their own area of expertise.

“As BIM is so intertwined with the use of computing technology (hardware and software), most people limit the concept to modelling (mostly 3D) of a construction project. In fact, 3D, 4D and 5D models are but results of the BIM process and means through which we analyse and share the information about the project itself.” 

With Qatar’s construction sector in such a rapid growth phase, an increasing number of companies are turning to BIM, with varying results as the industry is yet to develop the skills base or to put standards in place to ensure the most productive use of the system.


Despite Elizabeth Peters of Aecom, who was noted saying at a BIM Breakfast: “There is no need to continue to emphasise how great it all is – the ‘BIM wash’. I think everyone now realises that,” there are a number of challenges when implementing BIM, specifically to standards employed, in any project.

Managing director of Bimtec, Qatar, Ramzi Abu Qamar explained part of the dilemma: “Designers treat BIM Models as if it was a 2D deliverable plan rather than a three-dimensional consideration of the design. Models that look buildable, from a plan perspective, but not from a section perspective, are delivered to the contractors. Then, complete re-routing and reworks by the contractors and subcontractors result in delays and interrupted BIM workflows.

“The solution forward that must be adopted by the owners and developers is integrated project delivery (IPD). However, this involves writing contracts and sharing responsibility is a different, uncommon practice.”  So why use BIM over traditional 3D design software eg, AutoCAD or others?

Gerry McFadden, BIM manager, Middle East, WSP, explained: “BIM is a process which relies on powerful software tools. These tools can generate intelligent, data-rich 3D models. The ‘I’ in BIM is the ‘information’ and this is where the true power of BIM resides.

This can be compared to the older traditional design approach, which relied on unintelligent, disconnected 2D or 3D CAD systems which held very little, if any, useful data that could be reused by others.

With BIM, others in the supply chain can use someone else’s models and data to aid their own efforts and streamline project delivery. We now have data-rich virtual models that can be used for numerous purposes by different project stakeholders.”

Ghassan Ezzeddine, Industrial Engineer, Al Hamad Engineering added with enthusiasm: “The birth of BIM has enhanced collaboration, coordinating designers, planners, contractors, client, consultants, process partners, supply chain and operations leaders, in a new way for directing profitable dexterity, maintainability and sustainability. The shift to BIM has led to better construction outcomes. It minimises system clashes by reducing field re-work and reduces shrinkage caused by design conflicts.”

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