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July 29, 2011 / Brendan McFarlane

Be careful where you park in Riyadh

Parking can be challenging in Riyadh

A few months ago on my way to the office I noticed a bunch of people gathering round a car which had been parked next to a wall, the outer skin of which had collapsed onto the car. To my amazement, it was still there when I went out this morning testing my new camera, which probably means the car, like so many in this city, was not insured.

In more northern climates, this kind of failure would typically be attributed to frost damage due to poor waterproofing, but we don’t have that kind of excuse over here. It can only have been down to poor workmanship.

This reminded me of a conversation I had recently about the ultimate effectiveness of BIM and how despite all our best efforts to ensure the model is perfectly coordinated, we still rely on the guys on site to follow through and build the building as intended. A fellow LinkedIn member had mentioned to me how a BIM manager he knows at a large UK contractor had gone to enormous lengths to implement BIM in the company, changed all the processes, and delivered a highly competent model for a project, only for the site team to virtually ignore all his hard work, and approach the build as they would normally do. Taking arbitrary decisions, working things out on the hoof, rather than following the clear design intent in the model and it’s derived drawings.

What this shows is that the BIM education process must extend to all corners of the construction team, to avoid the benefits of BIM being diluted by a lack of understanding on the shop floor.

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