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Promoting BIM for Better Construction Project Outcomes

A recent article published in Buildings presented a case study on the use of building information modeling (BIM) by the construction firms in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of Arab countries. The study covered small/medium-scale construction projects executed during 2021-2022Promoting BIM for Better Construction Project Outcomes

Software programs’ performance in Technical tasks. Image Credit: https://www.mdpi.com/2075-5309/14/6/1534​​​​​​​

Background

BIM is an important construction tool used throughout the lifecycle of a project. It greatly assists all project participants through seven-dimensional models, enhancing project cost-effectiveness,  time utilization, and quality.

Despite these invaluable contributions, BIM is not extensively used in GCC, especially in small/medium-scale construction projects. It is mainly restricted to the design phases, missing numerous opportunities and negatively impacting project delivery methods, timelines, and budgets.

The rising global awareness of BIM for construction documents and project permits creates more challenges for GCC countries. Thus, this study investigated the implementation of BIM by GCC construction firms and proposed improvements to promote and expand BIM adoption in the region.

Methods

The researchers focused on small/medium-scale projects with a budget of up to 2 million USD. The primary data was acquired from 17 field survey respondents and 3 interviews with project managers and senior engineers while the secondary data was derived from a literature review.

Data was quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed using the IBM statistical package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) program version 26. Both inductive and deductive research reasoning were employed. In the former method, the interviewees provided invaluable data and concepts based on their insight, experience, and expertise in GCC construction projects.

The deductive method was used to develop the field survey’s theories and hypotheses, where all interviewees and field survey responses confirmed their concurrence on the proposed technical task groups and field survey questions. The four technical task groups used to evaluate the BIM implementation in construction are technical work, time and accuracy, budget, and bills of quantities (BoQ).

Overall, the following objectives were pursued: categorizing technical tasks according to construction project phases, examining the extent of BIM use, identifying the obstacles that hinder BIM’s adoption in GCC construction projects, and consequently proposing improvements to overcome these obstacles.

Results and Discussion

The findings of this study revealed the composition and accountabilities of the technical team in construction firms and the performance of currently implemented software programs. In the field survey results, the performance of the programs used in the four technical task groups was found to be very strong, according to 57.3 % and 67.6 % of the firms’ responses, respectively.

The interviewees from three GCC firms validated the summary results at the regional level. It was concluded that BIM is partially used in most construction projects, and its potential is not exploited in all construction phases.

The crosstabulation analysis highlighted the role of BIM to be directly related between two pairs: budget-time and accuracy and technical tasks-BoQ. While the former exhibited above-average performance, the latter demonstrated the highest performance.

Additionally, BIM performed exceptionally well in the early identification of BoQ errors in projects with many floors. These results substantiate the secondary data analysis on BIM use based on the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Dubai Municipality reports.

This study's qualitative and quantitative analysis evidenced multiple BIM advantages in construction projects. These include saving labor, budget, and time, assisting technical tasks like construction supervision and work submittal, enhancing accuracy in decision-making, improving project team performance, and facilitating communication and coordination between project teams at distinct geographic locations.

Furthermore, BIM helps effectively accommodate construction operations building information exchange (COBie) data and programs such as Navisworks and BIM 360, generally employed at construction sites. Thus, applying multiple BIM programs increases labor, cost, and time savings in the project’s technical tasks. However, miscomprehension and claims of suboptimal resource (labor and time) allocation are the main factors hindering the adoption of BIM in GCC countries.

Conclusion

Overall, this study revealed the extent of BIM use and the obstacles to its widespread adoption in all construction project phases in GCC countries. Consequently, the researchers propose two approaches to overcome these obstacles:

  1. Top-Down Approach: This involves mandating the use of BIM and the integration of relevant documents within building permits and other construction processes. The success of this approach is evidenced by the Dubai Municipality's mandate in 2015, which led to a significant increase in BIM adoption in the region. This regulatory-driven strategy ensures that BIM practices are enforced and standardized, potentially streamlining the construction process and improving project outcomes.

  2. Bottom-Up Method: This strategy focuses on increasing the number of qualified BIM professionals in the GCC market. The presence of more skilled practitioners is anticipated to naturally accelerate BIM adoption. For this to be effective, comprehensive training is essential, ensuring that professionals are proficient in BIM applications across all construction stages. Moreover, it's crucial for all project participants—including owners, contractors, and subcontractors—to understand the benefits of BIM, which include enhanced collaboration, increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved construction quality.

The researchers state that further exploration into the processes related to these approaches is necessary. It is recommended that BIM standards and documentation for building permits be specifically tailored to align with the unique aspects of the local construction market and sustainability considerations in GCC countries. This would not only enhance the practicality and relevance of BIM in these regions but also contribute to broader acceptance and implementation across the industry.

Journal Reference

Abdelhameed, W., & Ismaeil, E. M. H. (2024). BIM Use to Support the Technical Tasks in Construction Projects: A Case Study. Buildings14(6), 1534. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14061534, https://www.mdpi.com/2075-5309/14/6/1534

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Nidhi Dhull

Written by

Nidhi Dhull

Nidhi Dhull is a freelance scientific writer, editor, and reviewer with a PhD in Physics. Nidhi has an extensive research experience in material sciences. Her research has been mainly focused on biosensing applications of thin films. During her Ph.D., she developed a noninvasive immunosensor for cortisol hormone and a paper-based biosensor for E. coli bacteria. Her works have been published in reputed journals of publishers like Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. She has also made a significant contribution to some pending patents.  

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