UNDERSTANDING PROCESSES AND LAWS
MEP experts in the region acknowledge regulations and importance of using BIM and drones in projects
People now know that Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. And because it is a process, there is more adoption and awareness now in the Middle East region. However, is there a mandate for BIM use? Paul Wallett, regional director – Middle East and India, Trimble, says: “I think people are now more aware and know it’s a process. They know it’s also management of information. In terms of actually adopting the use, it is mandated for engineers and architects. However, when it comes to contractors, it is not really mandated.” Wallett says that it depends on innovative contractors, if they want to adopt BIM. He agrees that the actual usage of BIM at the level of execution is a considerably less. However, it is applied on big projects.
Edwin Schalk, marketing director, MEP division, Trimble, adds: “I think the important things related to BIM are well understood and well implemented. However, people are reluctant in adopting new technologies because they have done things in a certain way.” Wallett agrees there is an investment required for BIM. “Whilst you are competing to win a project, and it’s not mandatory [to use BIM], you don’t have to invest overhead within the organization. Also, there’s no willingness from the contractor. That’s when you look at the innovative contractors, they say, there’s an intangible measurement of saving on this project. “If we can coordinate earlier and ahead of the project, then we know the savings to be made later on in the project.”
Now with around 700 days to go before Dubai Expo 2020 opens its doors on October 20, 2020, the projects would need to be completed by their deadlines. Wallett agrees that BIM would certainly help meet deadline. He says: “EXPO 2020 is all about innovation. So, that’s one of the projects that you would hope to see everybody adopting BIM all the way through the process. But as we can see, getting it down on the sites, that’s kind of the next step. The biggest cost is always the construction and then the lifecycle of a project. The key upfront cost is in the execution of the project itself. So that’ where we can help educate people that they can make a difference. They can make a saving. They can, you know, the original estimate that they started with you would hope that’s going to be ver y close to what they end up with. And then, we know everything is managed in terms of the cost.” Wallet feels that it is easier to convince contractors as they are more open to asking questions. Wallett says: “Engineers for sure are all using, some form of 3D design or 3D technology. Now, we are starting to penetrate more into the MEP side. There they’re doing things still in a more traditional way.
“The robotic total stations are taking things to the next level, where we are taking a 3D MEP model, putting it into a template and the robot is directing where we should be putting the stakeouts in the ceiling. And that’s like a one- or two-man, at most, operation, whereas most sites you will go on today, you will see that there’s a crew of eight people for each discipline of MEP. For example, companies like Transgulf and BK Gulf are using this technology and they are seeing tangible savings that can be made.”
Talking a bit about drones, Wallett acknowledges that there is an increased use of drones in the region; however, there is a lot of approval process to go through. “You need to get special licence. Our partner here, Sitech, have licences for flying drones around. For example, the specialised equipment that you are attaching. For large sites, you need to have the approvals, as they are flying drones on a daily or weekly basis to check progress.”
Last year, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) made it compulsory to obtain a no-objection cer tificate before flying drones in Dubai’s air space. The announcement was made after recreational drones strayed into flight paths at Dubai airport leading to the grounding of passenger planes.
For commercial drones, usually used for filming, land surveying, construction progress etc., it is recommended to hire authorised companies to obtain the necessary permits from governmental authorities. A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) needs to be obtained from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA). This is obtained after registration, pre-assessment and prior approval from the related authority, usually Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC).
People are reluctant in adopting new technologies because they have done things in a certain way.″
Paul Wallett, regional director, ME and India, Trimble.