Developing BIM Implementation Strategy for Libyan Construction Sector Literature Review

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¶ … Building Information Modeling Strategy for the Libyan Construction Sector

Today, the Libyan construction sector is experiencing an unprecedented building boom, despite the challenges the country faces following a transition in government following the Arab Spring uprisings as well as the recent attack on a U.S. consulate and the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi. Indeed, the responsiveness of the new Libyan government and the demonstrated outrage of the Libyan people in response to this attack helped galvanize relations with the West in general and the United States in particular. In this environment, identifying opportunities to improve the Libyan construction sector represents a timely and valuable enterprise. To this end, the objectives of this paper were to: (a) identify through literature review the key drivers to successful building information modeling (BIM) and the key barriers to its implementation; (b) document BIM implementation in different countries through a critical review of the relevant literature; (c) conduct a pilot case study concerning the details involved in BIM for design construction in Libya; and (d) validate the strategy for construction and infrastructure sector organisations in Libya today and in the future. A summary of the research and important findings are presented in the paper's conclusion.

Review and Analysis

Key Drivers to Successful Building Information Modeling

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The need for innovative approaches to construction management has never been greater in Libya. The Libyan construction sector is experiencing an ongoing construction boom. The recently completed Tripoli airport terminal and supporting infrastructure, for example, now has the capacity to handle 20 million air travelers a year and there is a new inner-dispersal loop under construction around the Libyan capital (Ford, 2010). Many of the 30,000 Turks who comprised the former Libyan construction sector, though, fled the country during the recent uprisings and there remains a shortage of qualified personnel (Fisk, 2011).

Literature Review on Developing BIM Implementation Strategy for Libyan Construction Sector Assignment

Consequently, the uptake of building information modeling applications in Libya has been constrained by these turbulent conditions, as well as the same types of constraints that characterize change initiatives in any professional organization.

In reality, though, the key drivers to successful deployments of building information modeling systems continue to be identified because the supporting technology is of relatively recent origin. For instance, according to Jones (2006), "In 2002, software design company Autodesk introduced building information modeling (BIM), an innovative new approach to building design, construction, and management. BIM continues to offer industry professionals worldwide a different perspective on how technology can be applied to building design, construction, and management" (p. 54). According to Autodesk's promotional literature:

Autodesk® BIM 360, the next generation of Building Information Modeling (BIM), is for anyone, anywhere, at any time. Building, infrastructure, design, and construction professionals can access intelligent, model-based workflows through a broad range of cloud-based services within the Autodesk® 360 cloud-based platform that provide mobility, accessibility, and virtually infinite computing power. (What Is Autodesk BIM 360?, 2012, p. 1)

The ease-of-use features that are provided by these technologies are perhaps the most attractive aspect for companies competing in the construction sector where there are a wide range of trades represented. For instance, the company's promotional literature adds that, "Autodesk BIM 360 helps multidiscipline design and construction teams improve project outcomes by moving computation-intensive tasks to the cloud, enabling more rapid visualization and simulation and optimized collaboration with access to intelligent, data-rich models" (What Is Autodesk BIM 360?, 2012, p. 2). Although every organizational setting will be unique in some fashion, the Autodesk product and comparable BIM solutions provide a number of valuable additions to the design and development process that can provide companies with a competitive advantage, including:

Collaboration and Access

Clash detection, coordination, and collaboration

Conceptual design and feasibility evaluation

Field management, commissioning, and handover


Mechanical simulation

Air, fluid flow, and thermal comfort

Energy analysis

Whole building analysis

Structural analysis


Rendering (What Is Autodesk BIM 360?, 2012, p. 2).

These innovations in dimensional modeling sport a wide range of valuable features for architects and designers that, when implemented and administered effectively, can provide a competitive advantage. In this regard, Williams (2009) emphasizes that, "Remaining competitive in the commercial construction business means developing and retaining talented employees and keeping them ahead of important trends such as sustainability and building information modeling" (p. 53).

A general definition provided by Cotts, Roper and Payant (2010) states that building information modeling is "a digital three-dimensional design and simulation model which has great potential to improve the planning and design process and to capture and provide material which will be invaluable for subsequent operations and maintenance" (p. 620). A more detailed definition is provided by Lepatner, Jacobson and Wright (2008) who report, "BIM is a collaborative digital process, using one or many of these leading software packages, to model and analyze detailed data covering a multitude of building characteristics, such as air flow, heat gain, structural analysis, and costs, among others" (p. 107).

The steps to developing a robust three-dimensional model of building characteristics, though, are not automatic and remain a labor-intensive human enterprise that will affect the quality of the renderings provided. In this regard, Lepatner et al. (2008) suggest that the quality of the outcomes that are achieved using BIM applications follows the "garbage-in-garbage-out" dictum: "The architect embeds data and digitized information into a 3D model that can be shared with the owner, contractors, and project engineers" (p. 107). Other key drivers to successful deployments of BIM applications include the ability to model various "what-if?" scenarios without the added expense of creating physical models with the goal of identifying optimal solutions. For example, according to Mailhot (2008), "Engineers are beginning to introduce techniques that use building information modeling techniques in architecture and engineering. These techniques depend on visualizing and analyzing the aesthetic and functional aspects of an idea; refining it; and then gauging how changes will affect form and function. The aim is to find the best answer-not the only answer" (p. 54).

Beyond the foregoing drivers, the use of BIM technologies also provides a wide range of opportunities for cost savings throughout the construction phase (Cotts et al., 2010). In this regard, Cotts and his associates report that, "Clearly pre-defined deliveries can avoid scheduling interruptions, so that deliveries can be scheduled for the most appropriate time and often reduce storage problems on site. Material conflicts or non-compatibility can be identified prior to ordering to save time, money, and disruptions" (p. 181). The ability to store relevant building characteristic data in the BIM application also provides a valuable resource following the completion of the construction in the event replacement or additional stock is required for future additions or changes after the building is occupied (Cotts et al., 2010). According to Cotts et al., "The ability to have easily available records is a tremendous saving in time and effort following construction. Becoming more sustainable in our materials selections and processes we use to operate the building provides the incentive for many of these BIM initiatives" (p. 181).

There are other several key advantages that accrue to the use of BIM applications for the design team as well. For example, Lepatner et al. advise that, "BIM increases coordination and can significantly reduce conflicts between the architect's, structural engineer's, and mechanical engineer's designs before the bid drawings are issued rather than discovering the conflicts during construction when they instantly become change orders" (2008, p. 108). Clearly, these approaches are far superior to the paper-based techniques that have been used in the past. In addition, BIM facilitates the design process by provided the ability to test and analyze numerous design schemes in real time (Lepatner et al., 2008). Finally, BIM applications have been shown to improve the design process by "reducing errors and optimizing every aspect of the building. The higher quality of these design documents produced with this software has been widely heralded by owners, and as a result is leading to higher fees for design professionals" (Lepatner et al., 2008, p. 108). Given this wide array of potential benefits and valuable outcomes, it is not surprising that growing numbers of construction sector professionals are turning to BIM for their modeling solutions. Unfortunately, these systems are not without their constraints and these issues are discussed further below.

Key Barriers to the Successful Implementation of Building Information Modeling

Even the most sophisticated BIM application will be limited by the principals that use the system. In fact, there may be some fundamental barriers to communication between the stakeholders that limits the effectiveness of BIM systems in delivering the wide array of benefits that are possible under optimal conditions. First and foremost, it appears that the quality of leadership and the expertise of the engineers involved that trumps everything else. In this regard, Williams (2009) cites empirical observations that suggest to overcome these barriers, "There is a need for leadership and team building, customer and business partner education, and the pressing need to wring efficiencies out of the learning organization" (p. 53). Despite these constraints and requirements to BIM applications, there are some successful… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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