BIM around the world: Kenya awakening to BIM benefits

Wambia Waigwa, an engineer at Kenyan IT consultancy CADtech, gives his view on BIM adoption in Kenya and east Africa.

BIM in Kenya is still very much associated with software and especially with Autodesk’s Revit. I think this is because Autodesk is attempting to make the industry aware of BIM as they are trying to push the adoption of Revit. Kenya, and indeed most of east Africa, is still dominated by Graphisoft Archicad, so one can understand the approach taken by Autodesk.

No institution that I am aware of is offering BIM courses or even training that includes BIM as a topic. Our company CADtech has taken it upon itself to educate students briefly on the origin, evolution, and levels of BIM, along with the advantages and general worldwide trends associated with BIM. I have personally been making sure that I am up to date on the BIM mandate in the UK and am learning a lot from what is happening in the UK.

It is very unlikely that the BIM agenda will be set by the government here. I foresee it being guided by the industry and private developers and especially those companies that are from regions where BIM is gradually becoming a way of life.

Case in point: there is an American developer that is currently constructing a factory in Kenya and it has set a requirement that all the consultants work with Revit. Keep in mind that currently it is normal for the architect to use ArchiCAD then share 2D drawings with MEP and structural engineers. The structural firm that won the job has started doing their design using Revit and Robot structural analysis and this is what has given them the opportunity to be part of the project and gain experience. 

I believe the trend of developers demanding the use of Revit will become the norm here and this will push BIM adoption within this region. This situation will allow for young firms that are willing to adopt new technology and ways of working quicker, to take advantage and compete with older more experienced firms that refuse to change their design process.

There is also potential for BIM consultants that will be needed to offer training and hand-holding to firms that are willing to start changing their ways. They can also offer BIM modelling services for energy analysis and sun path analysis, MEP and structural modelling for clash detection and cost analysis. 

However, I am not sure there is a market for BIM objects and product data templates as we import most of the construction items from China. 

Personally I am proud of the effort that we have made as a company in training students about BIM. It is beginning to bear fruit and the acronym BIM is no longer strange to the 400 or so students from universities that have gone through our training course.

It is very unlikely that the BIM agenda will be set by the government here. I foresee it being guided by the industry and private developers and especially those companies that are from regions where BIM is gradually becoming a way of life.– Wambia Waigwa, CADtech

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  1. I think it’s positive to see BIM adoption on the African continent, albeit been driven by software providers and international consultancies. I’ve always been sceptical of the benefits of BIM in Africa and it’s interesting to see that its adoption is driven by private institutions rather than the government.

    However, the principles of BIM are software platform agnostic. Therefore, African nations should start considering the use of IFC (Industry Foundation Class) files, this will provide existing design consultancies that currently work with Graphisoft ArchiCAD the opportunity to collaborate with other design disciplines working on the Autodesk Revit Platform.

  2. I agree with Stanley and we must not forget BIM is not software and its not a career. Africa is in many ways 10-20 years behind with Infrastructure development and it is important not to mislead or sell BIM based on the need to make a software product sales. Many of the software vendors head offices are based in South Africa and most African Countries prefer to have the working relationship with South African companies.

    The BIM Institutes vision is to establish itself as a unique resource for industry experts throughout Africa and would like to engage with international companies looking to be involved with BIM throughout Africa.

    As a result of bringing together all key stakeholders – products, solution providers, senior analysts and industry professionals – an dynamic community can be formed in Africa this way.

  3. Interesting article. It supports my claim that BIM is not as it is described in the UK “a collaborative way of working”, instead it is software. It’s interesting that in most places outside of the UK BIM is referred to as software not a process of working.

    At least they are trying in Kenya to educate at University level. Whilst in the UK all we hear about is BIM but does the industry know that student’s aren’t really being taught to use it. This BIM level 2 stuff is certainly not being taught because the industry and educators do not know how to use it.

  4. Very good articles regarding the BIM implementation in Africa, I think all professional boards and Institutes within the regions(East Africa) and all Africa as whole have great roles to make sure the adoption and implementation of BIM is achieved so as to enjoy the potential benefits of it, but the problem i see here, many consultants are reluctant to change the way of doing business by adopt a new technology for their project delivery, this happens even to USA and European countries until their government intervene the adoption of BIM to the public projects, then almost all consultants change their mind sets and adopt BIM implementation. this can be done the same within the regions.

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