UK architects can steal a march on Middle East contracts using BIM, says Mohamad Kassem

Decision makers in Middle Eastern countries are increasingly aware of BIM and are actively undertaking measures to use it. Some countries are intensely investing in BIM deployment plans and research and others are mandating its use on key construction projects.

Two UK academics, Prof Nashwan Dawood and Dr Mohamad Kassem from Teesside University, have been awarded a grant of $940,000 to lead a research project aimed at developing “a whole life cycle information flow approach enabled by BIM protocols and technologies” for Qatar’s construction industry.

The two UK academics will work with Qatar University and HOCHTIEF ViCon to deliver the project. The project will start on May 1 but the research team has been collecting data and interviewing engineers and project managers on some of the major projects underway for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The project will seek to identify the root-causes of poor information flows and the approach undertaken will be industry and client-led. There is an ambition to develop Qatar as the centre of excellence in the Gulf for advances in the management of information in construction projects. The two UK academics are delighted to be part of it.    

Dubai Municipality was the first public authority in the Middle East to mandate the use of BIM. In an announcement made in November 2013, the use of BIM was mandated for architectural and MEP works on all buildings 40 storeys or higher; facilities/buildings that are 300,000 sq ft or larger; all hospitals, universities and other similarly specialised buildings, and all buildings that are being delivered by/through an international party.

While many international firms operating in the region find themselves unprepared, the leading UK contractors and consultants that have embraced BIM within their organisations, are using this mandate as a competitive advantage.


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