Two Teesside University academics have been awarded a grant of nearly $900,000 to lead pioneering research which could save the Qatari economy billions of dollars in unnecessary building costs.
Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Mohamad Kassem have been given the grant from the Qatar Foundation under the Qatar National Research Fund, to fund research work into Building Information Modelling (BIM) and how it can be used to improve construction processes in the Middle East state.
Professor Dawood’s Centre for Construction Research and Innovation at Teesside University is leading the field in BIM which uses a whole life cycle approach to information flow integrated to 3D visualisation to track the cost, time, use of materials and execution space utilisation of building projects.
The BIM approach has a range of implications and Professor Dawood’s team has collaborated on projects all over the world to rehearse builds on major projects including bridges and gas rigs. By analysing where problems and delays may occur before construction has even started, Professor Dawood said BIM can cut the cost of building projects by up to 10%. This could potentially save billions of dollars in Qatar which is predicted to spend $100 billion on construction over the next ten years, including on stadia for the 2022 Football World Cup.
The research grant has been awarded to Professor Dawood’s team as part of the Qatar National Priorities Research Program which is the flagship funding programme of the National Research Fund. The research will be a partnership between Teesside University and Qatar University with 60% of the funding being spent in the gulf state and the remaining 40% being spent in Middlesbrough. The money will be used to employ several researchers and is expected to last three years.
It is part of Teesside University’s work with Qatar University and German construction firm Hochtief-VICON to create a knowledge hub in the Middle East for BIM technology.
‘We’re very privileged to be part of this particular programme. There is a lot of international competition for grants for research in this particular area. Qatar only works with elite institutions and this proves that the work that we are doing is internationally recognised. We’ve got some major partners signed up to collaborate with us on this. There was a lot of praise for our capabilities in delivering this project and the fact that we would be able to manage it and the support we would get for it. This will be a whole different way of looking at how you organise information in the delivery of your building project. It’s a matter of creating digital assets for your projects and then implementing the work on the construction site in a way that’s been rehearsed. This can have major cost and health and safety implications. Hopefully it will have an international agenda in terms of pushing the boundaries of how we manage construction projects in the future.'