Blog / BIM & Construction Management

Digitizing the African Built Environment

How is the state of BIM implementation in Africa? Today’s article is based on the first continental-wide BIM Survey and the contents of the African BIM Report 2020 carried out by our partner BIM Africa. We’ll start our voyage with a summary of the general situation and, afterward, look at how the visual power of BIM design tools could contribute to slum upgrading projects.

BIM implementation in Africa: Numbers that speak volumes

This first pan-Africa report aims to be the starting point of an annual publication that deliberates on the implementation of BIM methodology on the African continent and, in the future, allows to observe the progress made. They estimate the BIM awareness in the African construction sector to be 90.43%. As for the type of implementation, 30 percent have carried it out fully in house, whereas about 21 percent and 12 percent of firms have partially or fully outsourced BIM for their projects. The survey contemplates the most common types of projects that the professionals work on. 45% of the respondents have been involved in one-off new houses, extensions, conversions or alteration projects, or any other type of private housing (38%) followed by office projects (32%). Educational, industrial and public housing would be the other three dominant project types. As for the most popular digital design tools, the respondents named Autodesk AutoCAD (33,64%) and Revit (29,28). The study also found that there is a gradual uptake of tools for civil/infrastructure design such as Autodesk Civil 3D and Infraworks. However, compared to building design, the adoption of tools for Civil/Infrastructure design is still relatively low. As for the biggest challenges, the situation is pretty similar to other parts of the world, the lack of proper training and the low awareness of BIM benefits among the clients within the public and private sectors ranking as the main sore points. And however, even if the process is rather slow-paced, the continent is clearly and steadily stepping up its BIM game. In continuation, we would like to share with you one of the exceptional projects showcased within the same report.

BIM for Community Participation in Slum Upgrading Projects

Dr. F.H. Abanda, Reader in Construction IT School of the Built Environment, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment of Oxford Brookes University, proposes to use BIM to upgrade the housing in slums through collecting, analyzing, and modeling housing performance data; managing development and upgrading projects' information. BIM would also allow to include residents and other stakeholders in the lifecycle of the projects and the information exchange to make data-driven decisions about progress and outcomes. And we’ve seen already many failed upgrading projects due to the lack of citizen participation, so finding ways to make them more inclusive is of utmost importance. In his research, Dr. F.H. Abanda proposes a BIM-based framework to enhance such involvement and help the dwellers understand the proposals. BIM implementation Source: BIM Africa / African BIM Report 2020, page 37. The framework proposed by Dr. F.H. Abanda The cycle commences with a sketched model for the upgrading project client requirements. The next step would be to include a BIM modeller to transform this sketch into a rich model, which is then presented to the people living in those settlements. Due to the visual power of BIM design tools, the model will be presented in a way that they can easily understand the proposal. Depending on how the proposal is received by the dwellers, it’s either returned to the client for refinement or handed over to the contractor. When everyone has agreed upon the model, it can be uploaded to the Common Data Environment (CDE) and the accesses shared to the cloud will be shared with community groups. To access the model, the dwellers can use mobile apps to give feedback about the progress. All in all, the framework presented by Dr. F.H. Abanda provides an opportunity for the “commencement of an exploratory study in the field of mobile BIM in the delivery of slum upgrading projects”. Author: Mirjam Johannes, Content Curator at Zigurat Global Institute of Technology Main photo credits: AECOM

Zigurat Global Institute of Technology