Dubai: The concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM) offers significant benefits for the Middle East's construction industry, analysts said at a conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Building Information Modelling is the process of generating and managing building data during its lifecycle.

A new report from buildingSMART Middle East has highlighted the advantages of applying BIM in development projects at a time when the industry is looking to bounce back from the effects of the global economic crisis.

Tahir Sharif, Founding President of building-SMART Middle East, said: "The region's construction industry is at a decisive crossroads, and the purpose of the survey is to provide perspective on how companies are gaining tangible business benefits as a result of implementing BIM within their organisations.

"Globally, there is already a big momentum towards BIM, and the survey will further show how BIM adoption has increased the value that users are experiencing.

Reducing waste

"For non-users, the survey will question their reasons for not implementing BIM, as well as look at the factors that would motivate them to implement BIM in the future."

The BIM process encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information and quantities and properties of building components. According to a report from buildingSmart Middle East, BIM has been shown to facilitate reductions in waste and costs.

Michael Jansen, chairman and chief executive officer of US-based Satellier Incorporated, said: "It has been a tough year [for the construction industry] but many economies in the Middle East have survived better than most. In markets such as Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we are beginning to see more projects come online.

"The collapse of the global economy clearly led to a slowdown in the construction industry and many projects in the Mena region were put on hold. However, we are beginning to see a number of emerging trends as new projects begin to come online.

New projects

"For example, numerous mega projects are planned in the region and sustainability is growing in importance as many Middle Eastern economies look to diversify away from oil revenues.

"BIM 2.0 is the future in that it will be implemented at a city level rather than a national level. BIM allows companies to monitor all kinds of information, which can then be communicated to key stakeholders."

A recent McGraw-Hill Construction survey found that ‘three quarters of Western European BIM users (74 per cent) report a positive perceived return on their overall investment in BIM versus 63 per cent of BIM users in North America'.

Patrick MacLeamy, Chairman of buildingSMART International, said: "Unlike other major sectors of the world's economy, the construction industry has failed to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by technology to achieve new efficiences.

"Though local conditions place different demands on buildings, the need to develop better buildings knows no geographic boundaries.

"Today, this demand is as urgent in the fast-growing cities of the Middle East, North Africa and India as it is elsewhere. The challenge is to move quickly."