To eliminate the obstacles that have slowed the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in Nigeria’s construction industry, Dr. Victor Oyenuga, president of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers (NIStrustE), has called for more significant effort. He discussed these issues in detail in a talk at the 2023 Atlantic Building Exposition (Buildmacex) in Lagos. He said that high initial costs, lack of knowledge about BIM’s advantages, insufficient training, obstruction to adjustment in the construction sector and culture, and doubts about Return On Investment are some of the things that make it hard for construction professionals to use the technology to build projects.
He also noted several other obstacles, such as a shortage of expertise, legal concerns and data ownership issues, a lack of standardized procedures and tools, the shortage of a contractual necessity for BIM implementation, a lack of enthusiasm from subcontractors in adopting it, and a low interest from contractors. In the building industry, BIM is used to create and manage data across the phases of design, construction, and operation. The tool allows real-time collaboration by combining data from multiple areas to produce highly accurate digital representations.
Nigeria is one of Africa’s slowest adopters of the tool.
Oyenuga asserted that better ways of working might be achieved with BIM by overcoming obstacles by integrating design, engineering, construction, and operations throughout a project’s lifecycle. Although it began in the architectural field, it has recently been embraced and used more widely in engineering. When looking at global BIM adoption rates, the United States of America remains an early adopter. In Asia, Singapore and South Korea are at the forefront of the implementation. Below 30% of companies in the Middle East use it, while Nigeria is one of Africa’s slowest adopters.
Awareness and uses of it are extremely poor in Nigeria’s Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC). Most of the major players are unfamiliar with it, but they are aware of its tools. He noted that only a small percentage of companies employ some BIM technologies at the stage one organizational level and BIM-based operational model. According to him, BIM’s advantages in the pre-construction phase include accurate documentation of existing conditions, efficient design reviews, and a thorough understanding of site circumstances regarding environmental and resource issues.
Many benefits await it’s implementation in the sector.
Furthermore, he stated that it utilization in AEC projects results in more visibility, enhanced decision-making, increased access to environmentally viable solutions, and cost savings. The benefits of it in the post-construction phase include assistance in decision-making regarding facility operations, maintenance, repair, and replacement. The management of assets and facilities is simplified, made more accurate, and provided with more information as a result. Also, it improves the capacity to schedule maintenance and provides access to information during construction works.
According to Oyenuga, its implementation in the construction sector would also optimize resource planning and sequencing options by facilitating the evaluation of the development of complicated building systems. He continued by saying it would improve site use, decrease congestion, and aid in the efficient administration of storing and procuring project materials and the efficient manufacture of various building components offsite, using a design model as the basis. On the other hand, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) cautioned housebuilders against using substandard materials when constructing homes.
Builders must adhere to building standards and regulations.
Moreso, speaking at the event in Lagos, the Director General of NIStrustE, Farouk Salim, who was being represented by Joseph Ugbaja, the Head of Product Registration, revealed that attempts are now being put forth to guarantee that materials utilized by the building sector strictly adhere to established standards and regulations. According to Salim, the current problem facing the business necessitates the construction of cost-effective buildings in addition to a reduction in the industry’s social, economic, and environmental repercussions.