The adoption of digital technology to develop smarter cities and more competitive economies is a key outcome of the national visions outlined by most countries in the Middle East.
In a poll of 50 GCC construction professionals conducted by MEED in 2021, survey respondents reported that the UAE is leading the way in the region’s construction industry technology transformation. Other countries in the region are not far behind and their national agendas are set to be major drivers of digitalisation in the region.
While there is widespread acceptance of the value of digital technology across the construction industry, its deployment has been uneven. This is where the systematic rollout of digital technologies can act as a catalyst for fulfilling the digitalisation agendas in the industry.
Building information modelling (BIM) has led this transformation as stakeholders divert their focus towards the utilisation of resources to improve productivity, profitability and project quality.
BIM is an aggregation of technologies and processes that can help in increasing delivery and operational efficiency, reducing cost and time of delivery, improving collaboration across the supply chain and, thereby, enhancing the quality of outcome.
For this reason, it has been used in several private and public projects, such as Expo 2020, Neom, Dubai Museum of the Future, and the Red Sea Project. But this was not necessarily due to an existing mandate.
A national mandate defines a tangible, long-term target for the country and steers public policy and institutions to work it. Government-mandated policies that establish common standards and processes facilitate better results from public and private spending on large capital projects.
Governments around the world have recognised the urgency of developing smart initiatives that can boost economic growth, but their role does not end here. It extends to providing guidance and direction in defining a clear roadmap that can lead to planned outcomes.
One major step in this direction is the creation of a national guide by the UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure. The National Guide for Smart Construction calls for the adoption of innovative technologies in construction projects, and aims to provide support for investment decisions to achieve measurable business objectives.
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