Empirical investigation into development of a curricular framework to embed building information modelling with undergraduate architectural programmes within Saudi Arabia
, PhD thesis, University of Salford.
The demand for BIM implementation within the AEC industry has recently increased. BIM has therefore, becomes one of the significant methods for solving and preventing issues within the AEC industry. This has motivated governments and owners to require BIM within their projects, such as the UK and the USA. As the result, many construction companies and architectural firms have taken the initiative to implement BIM within their systems. However, there are some barriers that organisations face in terms of the implementation of BIM such as the lack of experts in BIM, resources, hardware and software and so on. Many scholars believe that BIM must be embedded within the AEC education sector to help close the gap between AEC education and AEC industry. Hence, several AEC schools have introduced BIM within their curriculum. Also, there are two BIM frameworks (BIM Academic Forum BAF initial Framework and IMAC framework) to embed BIM within the AEC education. However, none of these two have been evaluated yet and both of them are very general to use for Undergraduate Architecture Programmes. To dates, academics have not reached a consensus in how BIM should be taught within undergraduate architectural programmes.
In term of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the vision is unclear for BIM within the AEC industry and AEC education. There is some evidence that reveal the need for BIM in KSA such as the number of BIM jobs required and some other non-academic resources calling for the need of BIM to be implemented within Saudi projects. However, the number, size, cost and complexity of projects in KSA which have suffered from many issues such as payment plans, delays, lack of Saudi experts and discontinued projects is worthy for motivating the Saudi Government and construction companies to implement BIM.
Therefore, the aim of this study is to propose a strategic approach for embedding BIM within undergraduate architectural programmes in KSA. This aim is achieved through the development and understanding of the current teaching strategy of BIM within AEC education sectors and the industry perspectives in relation to BIM implementation. To achieve this aim quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were adopted in order to asset the level of utilization of BIM within the AEC industry and education sector in KSA. As well as identifying educational gaps for utilizing BIM in architectural programmes in KSA. Misunderstanding BIM, the lack of development within architecture education sector in KSA and unacceptable output for AEC industry are three of the most significant findings from the quantitative data analysis. The qualitative data helped to outline the method of how BIM should be embedded. Most interviewees had realised the benefits of collaboration using BIM, and indicated their preface to introducing BIM to Integrated Design Studio with high support from other modules. The proposed BIM framework was validated by academics and professionals within KSA using semi-structured interview whereby, most comments were focusing on developing the level of awareness of BIM amongs academics. This study proposed a number of recommendations for AEC industry in KSA, academics who are interesting in integrating BIM within the curricula and researchers with an interest in BIM within AEC industry.
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