We are in an era where BIM transforms the AEC (Architecture Engineering and Construction) industry. As a continent, we are making great strides towards using BIM in Africa. Zutari is in the process of being ISO 19650 certified and we are deliberately training our staff through the Operam Academy and Pinnacle on ALL things BIM.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is more than producing digital 3D (3 Dimensional) models for use by architects, engineers, and contractors. BIM is the production, management, sharing and utilisation of a built asset’s information, usually within a standardised way of working. Leading organisations are implementing BIM in many ways on many projects.
With the fast-paced advanced in digital technologies, BIM offers an exciting opportunity for the African continent to transform the many facets of how we deliver and manage our built assets. Africa’s construction industry will, most certainly, be revolutionised by adopting deliberate digital practices that come along with the implementation and execution of BIM.
The many benefits of BIM for Africa are discussed below.
Thanks to maturing digital technology, mainly AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning), we are witnessing the rise of many innovative applications within the BIM space. We can now integrate BIM into our own African workflows and include technologies such as reality capture, Virtual and Augmented Realities on projects. BIM drives African innovation.
Transparency and integrity in the AEC
BIM is about the collaborative use of information for ALL stakeholders. It will help us uphold integrity and professionalism within a multi-stakeholder environment. With proper BIM application and management, we should b a reduction in cases of corruption, bribery, and favouritism. BIM management in projects can be done in accordance with global standards such as ISO19650, thus allowing only the best qualified, capable, and most suitably fit in projects to be considered in tenders. BIM drives the transparent sharing of built asset information in Africa.
Creation of employment
Employment creation is vital to the development of Africa as a whole. There are more job offerings in the industry with the emergence of new roles thanks to the adoption of BIM. This promotes cross-continental employment, not just localised opportunities. BIM will drive re-skilling and employment in Africa.
Smart and efficient utilisation of resources.
BIM is meant to drive efficiency in producing information related to our built environment. Thanks to BIM, we can assess the exact resource requirements for a project and allow for proper planning to reduce friction and wastage. BIM drives efficiency!
Fast and transparent project procurement processes
The advanced adoption of BIM in projects allows for integrating other digital processes that will promote transparency in all the procurement stages, e.g., smart contracts. Smart contracts will allow for accountability and transparency in this stage, allowing for the right people, pricing, and contract conditions to be considered. Procurement is done according to the digital plan, thus providing fast-tracking of payments, allowing for timely project delivery. BIM drives digital procurement.
Better information and communication management within the project
Information silos offer a hindrance to the proper communication of a project. With the correct methods to produce, share and store the information, all project stakeholders can do their part efficiently and on time. This in turn means savings for the project and streamlined communication. Lessons learnt and referencing is extremely easy and can be accessed from anywhere. BIM drives better information management.
Digital up and re-skilling
For continuous implementation and execution of BIM processes, we will need to introduce this to the education curriculum. This will ensure that young professionals joining the industry have the knowledge and training to execute project tasks. BIM will drive the up-skilling and re-skilling of individuals.
Smart management of built infrastructure
Thanks to BIM, information of African-built assets will be managed in accordance with suitable BIM protocols. “Digital twins” will help owners and facility managers to manage our built assets. BIM drives smart infrastructure management.
The African Digital Economy
The digital economy is defined by digital services and application development from where additional revenue streams are generated. BIM information can be used via cloud services and bespoke application development to create these additional digital services. In essence, this will enable start-ups and organisations to develop smart applications that use BIM information and therefore create new businesses. This has proven highly successful in the UK and will significantly benefit African business development and enhance our digital economy.
In conclusion, BIM offers Africa many opportunities for better procurement, asset management, skills development, transformation and further development of our digital economy. On this Africa Day, 2023 – we urge you to start becoming a way of BIM, and it’s many benefits and start charting your way forward to transform the continent’s-built environment for a better future.