What Everybody Ought to Know About the BIM Ecosystem in Nigeria

This post was brought about by the need to fully understand the shape of Building Information Technology, BIM, as a term, or area of practice, in the Nigerian Architecture, Engineering and Construction, AEC, industry. The major premise for starting The BIM Center was for the purpose of creating more awareness on the benefits that accrue as a result of BIM adoption.

Now, I must admit there was a major surprise…

BIM is not as unpopular as first thought.

BIM implementation in projects is not as a result of ignorance of the concept of BIM, according to at least two surveys that cover a large part of the country. The first shows that at least 67% of AEC professionals based in Anambra and Enugu in South East Nigeria are aware of BIM while the second, which was carried out in Akure, South West Nigeria, showed that at least 49% of firms used software for purposes like modelling and conceptual design, collaboration and communication and parametric detailing. These two geographic areas, it must be noted, have relatively underdeveloped AEC industries in comparison with other locations within Nigeria such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. So, one thing is for sure… it doesn’t get worse than this.

The relevant question seeking answers is now thus, that if most people are aware of, and already use BIM, why does it seem otherwise?

The probable answer is that in most cases, firms practice one BIM process or tool without knowing it.

While some firms utilise software packages for modelling and conceptual design, others use them for parametric detailing. These processes, however, are usually practised in isolation. For example, the model being used for 3D visualisation may never be shared with the Structural Engineer to be used for structural analysis and design. So, while we may say that BIM technology is already being used, the fact remains that the processes are not.

So why haven’t firms embraced BIM in its full form?

A number of issues have been raised by industry stakeholders as the reason for this. Here, we will highlight a few of them which are peculiar to Nigeria. This does not constitute a list of all possible problems hindering BIM in Nigeria.

The Blame Game. 

According to most firms, the reason they have not adopted BIM is because their partners haven’t used it or their clients haven’t demanded it.

Unwillingness to change. 

Many firms like to maintain the status quo with the way things are being done and are less willing to change it, despite the fact that the system, as it currently is, needs to be fixed. They see it as ‘disruptive technology’ and to that, I say voila, that’s the point of BIM, as current CAD-based construction processes are inefficient for the modern age.

Low-level of awareness. 

While I said that people already use BIM technology, they, however, generally are less aware of the processes and the reasoning behind the development of BIM and problems it was created to solve

Lack of government support and standard. 

In other countries where BIM is commonplace, government mandates have been crucial in driving BIM adoption. Without such a mandate like that in Nigeria, people choose what they will or will not do, what Level of Development, LOD, to apply to any project or whether it is even necessary to use it. A government mandate to this end ensures uniformity in the practice of BIM across the country, ensures standards are developed for BIM use in projects and how any accruing cost may be accounted for.

Poor power failure and internet connectivity. 

Enough said.

Good news, however, is that all is not in a state of doom and gloom. As many people who have listed these problems have also proffered possible solutions to this problem. Some of them include;

  • Development of a framework and BIM mandate to enable full BIM adoption in the construction industry.
  • Incorporating BIM into tertiary school curriculums as is currently being done for CAD. It must be noted that I only got to know what BIM was about after finishing from University.
  • Awareness enhancing programs and Continuous Professional Development, CPD, for professionals already practising in the industry.
  • More open-source, collaborative environments that allow for sharing of ideas on the best ways to implement BIM in projects.

Hopefully, Nigeria will develop a BIM environment that allows its AEC industry keep pace with the rest of the world and not get left behind.
Special thanks to Engr. K. Adeyemi, Director of Projects and Training at KadeyCADS Academy, Abuja, for his critical second eye on this work.


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What Everybody Ought to Know About the BIM Ecosystem in Nigeria What Everybody Ought to Know About the BIM Ecosystem in Nigeria Reviewed by Izuchukwu Obi on 21:52:00 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Article, I completely agree with you. We need a mandate to drive BIM adoption, that is the most important thing.