Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has transformed its asset management processes to a building information modelling (BIM)-enabled system. In doing so, the RTA has become the world’s first BIM Level 2 certified business against all the PAS and British standards in the suite.

The RTA analysed its existing BIM capabilities and assessed its key business drivers in order to set the BIM vision and strategy. A framework was then developed, identifying the technological solutions (platforms and software) and the processes to be utilised in the BIM implementation process. The targeted outcomes were:

  • Easy access to essential information so critical data can be retrieved smoothly and instantaneously
  • Faster delivery for new assets so new or refurbished infrastructure can be completed sooner
  • Smarter maintenance powered by better data
  • Enhanced reliability and safety so assets can be better monitored for performance
  • Improved decision-making and reactive planning
  • Clearer digital plan of work
The process

The aim is to derive significant improvements in cost and value through collaboration within the supply chain and specifying delivery of optimised shareable asset information to improve management functions.

An employers’ information requirements (EIR) document highlights the necessary BIM information needed during the early stages of work.

In addition, the RTA has obtained a common data environment (CDE) platform for both capital expenditure (capex) and operational expenditure (opex) phases to share information and work in progress in order to deliver project information models as specified in the EIR. The contractors are required to deliver a BIM execution plan in the early stages of the project, translating what the RTA has specified and required in the EIR.

A BIM centre is used to share information during the development of the projects, enabling all concerned parties to have detailed access to models and information on the spot. This ensures prompt decisions can be made without delaying the project. The centre is also used for conducting advance BIM training courses for employees.

The RTA is identifying all the required BIM uses in the EIR of each project, targeting the generation of an organised, accurate information during the capex phase to be used in the opex phase.

It has also communicated the plan to implement BIM as the new approach to manage information throughout the entire asset life cycle to all stakeholders and the supply chain. The aim is to change the culture of delivering capex projects.

Impact on stakeholders

Currently, the RTA is globally recognised as a leading organisation when it comes to the implementation of BIM Level 2 of PAS 1192-2 and PAS 1192-3, for which it has achieved BSI Kitemark.

One of the core principles of the BIM Level 2 approach is the effective collaboration and information management by utilising a single source of truth. This is through the CDE where project stakeholders will create, share and use data in a controlled and auditable manner.

In accordance with the EIR, CDE supports the creation, management and validation of 3D, geospatially correct information models that will be shared to give a very accurate rendition of the new design works and the interfacing stakeholder infrastructure in context, before being taken to site.

The CDE controls project stakeholders’ access to BIM software while serving as the single central source for model files.

The RTA and the supply chain has adopted the deployment of CDE in both the capex and opex phases to manage the data throughout the full asset life cycle, due to the following benefits:

  • Reduced time and effort required to check information
  • Easy selection from the common area featuring latest approved information extracted from the model
  • Reduced number of coordination checks, a byproduct of the detailed design production process, which ensure models are as per the project standards and the design intent
  • Reuse of information to support the project’s BIM uses
  • Reduced time for coordinating models
Challenges overcome

The challenge was not limited to resistance to change and technology limitation. It also extended to interoperability, where the aim was to establish an open, collaborative working environment and assess how the supply chain would exchange information.


The RTA is gaining considerable benefits from implementing a BIM system, especially within the Route 2020 project, thanks to the support of reliable platforms and clear processes. It has recorded a 20 per cent improvement in the productivity and efficiency of 3D and 4D (time/simulation) modelling, a 10 per cent improvement in 5D modelling (estimation and quality surveying) and an overall average improvement of 15 per cent.

About the author

Abdulredha Abu Hassan is the director of rail planning and projects development at Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority