South African BIM Opportunities Abound – The Current Situation

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Quote by John Adams: “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” This very much true in South Africa. There are enormous opportunity for those within the industry to embrace and practice BIM to its full extent.

I had the privilege of talking to a key figure managing large building projects at one of South Africa’s premier construction companies. It was enlightening to hear his experiences and thoughts on BIM. It was also insightful to heat of the challenges challenge he is faced with.

Consider the following figure taken from the British Standard: BSI_PAS_1192_2_2013, Specification for Information Management for the Capital/Delivery Phase of Construction Projects using Building Information Modelling

Micrographics, BIM Level 2, South Africa, Challenges

To put his role in context: he is the responsible for handing over the built asset to the client. In a perfect world he would hand over an Asset Information Model (AIM) to be managed digitally (which he very much would like to do), but in reality, he hands over a pack of drawings and documentation – and unfortunately, this is what the client ends up with. I have yet to hear of a BIM Level 2 project having been completed in South Africa. Those in-the-know acknowledge that their projects are BIM Level 1 only. This is even though they might have been involved in BIM Level 2 projects overseas. The reasons for this is multiple and mostly systemic. For the BIM process to work, these challenges need to be addressed.

Micrographics is one of the companies that is meeting these challenged head-on. Our role in this, however, cannot be fulfilled in isolation. The BIM process is a collaboration between different stakeholders and each needs to play their part for the whole to be a success.

The following figure taken from the British Standard: BSI_PAS_1192_2_2013, Specification for Information Management for the Capital/Delivery Phase of Construction Projects using Building Information Modelling and show the schematic interplay between different actors.

Micrographics, BIM Level 2, South Africa, Challenges

The next blog looks at probably the most important role: the Employer, without whose needs there would be no need for the BIM project to be attempted in the first place.

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