Face-to-face, with Ramzi Abu Qamar, BIMTEC


April 02, 2015 │ Kim Kemp 

He adds: “Bimtec is also vendor-free, we don’t sell software or promote certain technologies. We analyse each project on its specific merits and utilise our resources to produce the best outcome for that project.”

In Qatar since 2011, the company’s head office is in Doha, with offices in Jordan, a satellite office in Korea and an office in Turkey on the cards.

The construction boom in Qatar was the initial draw card for starting the company and with the growing awareness around BIM it made sense to be where construction is at its most intense. Abu Qamar comments: “The number of projects here number even more than in the UAE. Although we have projects in Dubai, to my mind, the projects in Qatar are more ‘mature’. In the UAE requests centre around typical 2D/3D conversions, maybe 4D as well, with very few asking for the fully-fledged BIM option. Whereas in Doha, clients ask for laser scanning and as-built modelling.” 

He mentions the Al Wakrah stadium where a BIM model was submitted for tender for the contractor. “Qatar 2022 didn’t submit documents, they asked for quotations based on the model,” he says. “This is where I can say that we are more mature than anyone else in the region.” He believes that this is not a case of Doha being more sophisticated but rather a case of Qatari culture that can afford the best, at whatever it costs.

This however, results in incomplete documentation and gaps in information as client enthusiasm is let loose. “How we manage this is when we see a requirement, we analyse it for loop holes and advise the client or suggest amendments to the contractor, pointing out cost implications.”

The dichotomy is that while there are no BIM standards in place in Qatar, projects request detailed specifications, such as those from the Qatar Foundation/Qatar Petroleum projects, Abu Qamar observes: “The tender specifications are extremely detailed and the client knows exactly what they want – and it works, despite never having been requested previously in any other country.” With a bank of experts to call on however, he says it poses no problem to implement the requests.

3D BIM has been delineated into many levels by many international standards. These levels help define consistent expectations throughout the building lifecycle from design concept through planning, construction, and ultimately the facilities lifecycle.

But it is much more than 3D, taking it to overall project management whilst maintaining a single point of truth. It is the ability to understand and foresee construction lifecycle details interlinked through design generation and verification, bill of quantities (BOQ), estimating, project control, material procurement, scheduling and tendering, contract management and material management. The aptitude to eliminate the silo approach is where the real BIM savings kick in.

“One of the major challenges we face is – specific to the UAE and to a lesser degree to Qatar – clients request LOD 400, which is generally unrealistic, unnecessary and overkill,” he explains.

“We are a contractor and not a fabricating entity,” Abu Qamar continues. “For example, a client asked for a fire extinguisher at LOD 400. I had to explain that this item would be purchased, not fabricated. What would be my value in wasting the time of our engineers to understand how a fire extinguisher is fabricated and apply it in a model? Eventually we should not expect contractors to be fabricators when they don’t need to be.”

LOD 300 models are perfectly suited for estimating as well as construction coordination clash detection, scheduling, and visualisation.

He adds, “There is a spec from the UK BIM Forum that is an integration of what the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had in 2008, and then it was upgraded. It’s not one hundred percent but they have applied something they call LOD 350 which straddles the gap between LOD 300 and 400 and you can achieve construction models based on your drawings, which is more than enough. Anything extra is done in CAD.”

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