Africa BIM Conference 2018 round-up report

Building Information Modelling in Africa Conference round-up

The 3rd Annual BIM Africa Conference  by MillaSA on the 14 – 15 March 2018 saw over 100 delegates join BIM thought leaders at the Radisson Blu in Sandton for the 3rd Building Information Modelling in Africa. Many of the conversations centered around the inexplicable lengths that managers will go to avoid adopting BIM practices, while often looking to “fake it.”

With topics including “Faux BIM” and a frank discussion focusing on companies that are prepared to spend money on BIM software, but not spend the time and effort to adopt the BIM processes and treat the whole process with disdain, attendees walked away with realistic expectations of the change management pitfalls that lie ahead, as well as the reason BIM is storming the construction world globally, and that the ROI of BIM makes it all worth it.

“It is astounding how resistant decision makers of large design enterprises are to adopting BIM when they seem perfectly happy to invest thousands in the software tools that enable BIM,” says Vaughan Harris, Director of the BIM Institute. “They buy the software and often sit on the licenses for years while they and their teams spend extra time and effort faking BIM for clients and marketing collateral, all the while turning their collective noses up to the process that can cut costs by up to 30% and save time across the process.”

The South African architectural culture is still stuck in the 90s – the fear of losing control of the intellectual property is the first and last focus of the designers. “How is it that automotive and aeronautical engineers and designers use BIM so successfully, in a highly competitive environment, with much more to lose if copyright is infringed? Perhaps our mechanical brothers and sisters value increased productivity and cost savings more than construction professionals?” continues Harris.

The conference covered the following:
• BIM standards for Africa and who Africa is aligning its standards with?
• How BIM standards and classification systems will disrupt South African professionals
• Applications for BIM Modelling in a design and construction environment
• Aligning BIM design efforts through all the project development phases
• Pitfalls of integrating 3D with 4D planning and model simulation
• Benefits of BIM for on-site efficiencies and construction methods for contractors.
• Innovating projects: The latest on 3D laser scanning in the field.
• Improving facilities management through BIM processes
• O&M challenges for FM and improving the handover process.
• Open BIM for clients
• Big data
• Level of definition and objects
• Information management and model checking
• Mobile communication and virtual reality
• Free workshop course and certification

The day started with a Keynote address from Vaughan Harris, followed by a look into the strangely inefficient “faux BIM” practices used across the industry presented by Nicholas Karassavas, BIM Lead Southern Africa – Arup. German Otto Bodenbender, BIM Manager and Senior Architect – Boogertman and Partners gave an in-depth and powerful presentation on “Improving design process through BIM tools.”

After the break Chris Allen, CIOB and Lecturer at the Nelson Mandela University took participants through the “Pitfalls of integrating 3D with 4D planning and model simulation.” This was followed by Peter Barker, Managing Director – BIM Academy (Enterprises) Ltd and Partner, Ryder Architecture (UK) who gave a global view on “The practical value of BIM for owners and facilities managers. “It was certainly an eye opener to the delegates and where the rest of the world stands with BIM and how far behind South Africa still is in their modelling abilities.

Craig Howie, BIM Manager Buildings and Places, Africa and Sergio Castanheira, Mechanical BIM Lead, Africa represented AECOM outlined “Digital project delivery for international and local automotive clients by South African teams.”

Janine Strachan, BIM Manager from DSA Architects gave a frank, unvarnished account of “Learning on the Job – BIM is the way but how?” Without doubt this presentation certainly resonated with the delegates.

“Leaders who dont listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say” – Andy Stanley

After lunch Willem Adriaan (Riaan) Brits, Engineering Director – PERI Formwork
Scaffolding Engineering looked at the “Improvement of constructability and end product though BIM.” Douglas Ackerman, Regional Director – WSP, Africa closed the first day off with a presentation covering, “Civil infrastructure BIM: Bridging the divide.”

The second day saw a full conference room where Vaughan Harris aka “Baron of BIM” gave a ‘brass tacks’ guide to BIM, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each sector in a project, and mining into the nitty gritty of the BIM processes.

“Everybody can be an expert within their field,
But if you judge a BIM manager by his certification, he/she will live their whole life believing they will  be an expert only to find its worthless.”

-Vaughan Harris

The BIM Institute also announced the first South African BIM competition for architects, designers and students for proposals on the design of healthier living. The competitions are designed to seek innovative architects in South Africa to work closer with client developers that are wanting to explore BIM capabilities on their projects. This is the first competition of the series where we focus our attention on residential dwellings with emphasis on exploring people’s capacity to live healthier through the use of new and improved design technologies.
“Our clients are seeking to work closer with individuals and organizations in a range of project disciplines. Take this opportunity to become part of the BIM revolution and show your Building Information Modelling skills.”
Vaughan Harris| Executive Director for the BIM Institute For more information on the BIM Competition visit https://www.biminstitute.org.za/bim-competitions-2018/

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