Can BIM help us build a truly happy city?

3 min read

Dubai’s vision is to be the happiest city on Earth. To do so, they are investing heavily in innovation, hoping to put themselves at the forefront of the global race to become the first truly ‘Smart City’. 

The aim is to build a city that is efficient, safe, delivers seamless services and enriches experiences; ultimately promoting the happiness of it’s residents.

Simon Coope, an Operations Director for Mace, explores the progress they’ve made so far – and the practical implications for development projects in the region: 

Amongst those in the MENA construction sector, the Dubai Smart City initiative is seen as a key step forward to deliver Dubai’s continued sustainable economic growth. 

In order to succeed and add the maximum possible value, the city will need to leverage a wide range of diverse technologies, such as big data analytics, cloud services, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

For the construction and development sectors, the key drivers are a range of Government-sponsored initiatives centred on the efficient use of data and defined targets in the realisation of a ‘Smart Dubai’. 

One such directive is the mandated use of BIM. For our clients this journey has begun with a Mace-led drive in information management and in establishing BIM at the centre of their development projects. 

Embracing technology 

Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. In this environment of emerging disruptive technologies however we cannot merely respond to change.

We need to differentiate ourselves and create opportunities to harness, structure and interpret the tsunami of data and information produced to avoid extinction. 

In our industry – more than most – we have a fantastic opportunity to embrace technology and be leaders within Industry 4.0. Contractors and consultancies can help guide our clients through this evolution of technology and information management. 

To be at the forefront of this technological advance and the explosion of associated data, we are continually upskilling, innovating and leading. In the first instance this has included bringing our BIM expertise to bear on some of our high profile projects in the city.

Making it a reality 

For our client Emaar’s Dubai Opera District projects, we are currently managing the design and delivery of eight high-rise super luxury towers within the heart of Dubai’s prestigious Downtown Dubai.

Adjacent to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Opera, the projects represent arguably the most high profile real estate under construction in the UAE.

Mace is already assisting Emaar in the development and strategic delivery of their BIM aspirations, helping to manage the BIM processes throughout the projects’ lifecycle and promoting added value through a coordinated design and a collaborative approach to construction and delivery. 

To facilitate a structured and efficient approach to information management across the programme, Mace has created standard protocols for BIM model preparation and automated auditing tools for BIM assessment and data validation.

This is already showing great results, making the project team more efficient by helping to create a truly integrated and collaborative approach to design. 

The intention is for us to continue to support through construction and facilitate the delivery of fully digitised assets for use after construction completes and the building is operational. 

Through this process we intend to continue to upskill the supply chain, building capacity and expertise that will help deliver this and future projects for Emaar. 

What’s next? 
We know that to stay ahead of the competition we need to remain agile yet also adopt a regional approach. Where Dubai moves forward other MENA states tend to follow closely. 

Within the wider region Mace already has an active BIM workstream group. Our aim is to promote our BIM capabilities and work closely with our project teams to implement the latest developments and best practice. 

As more cities realise the need and impact that BIM can have on their long-term strategic goals, it’s inevitable that the BIM arms race will take off in earnest across the globe. Will you be ready? 
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