The Big 5: Captains of BIM in South Africa

CanBIM's South African industry Partner, The BIM Institute of South Africa, has published an article highlighting the active BIM players in South Africa. Following is a brief excerpt from the full article. See the full article here.


Building Information Modelling (or BIM) has exploded onto the building and construction landscape in recent years. Speak to the experts and BIM gets pretty technical, pretty quickly, but at its core, it is a process of working, aided by software tools, apps and processes that promote collaboration and transparency within the many working parts that make up a construction project.


The national rollout of BIM is spearheaded by the BIM Institute of South Africa, and Con-crete Trends spoke to the Top 10 movers and shakers in the BIM-osphere in South Africa.

Vaughan Harris

Executive Director, BIM Institute

Editor, Construction Software

IT Journal Director, Digital Construction Expo


As the founder and executive director for the BIM Institute it is Harris’ vision to drive technological transformation in the industry, and support best practice in line with international BIM framework standards. In establishing the BIM institute, his core focus is to always remain completely neutral and non-biased in delivering the digital  construction message.


The institute was created to engage stake-holders in the construction industry in dialogue and provide a platform for companies to engage in partnerships and support initiatives; a place to share and gain knowledge for digital transformation.


With an end goal of setting the BIM ISO standards in the country, the Institute has developed an “Implementation Guide” for BIM rollout in South African businesses. With the hard work and support of the Institute’s Steering Commit-tee this guide has gained widespread support nationally, and will form the backbone to the  standards long-term.

Harris first immersed himself into BIM in 2010, while working for Construction Computer Software and managed the partner-ship with UK-based company 4Projects. This was where he saw first-hand the UK visualization around the various BIM level mandates and the processes they used to  transform the UK industry.


Harris didn’t need much convincing when he was introduced to BIM. With his Quantity  Surveying background and in-depth knowledge of construction IT, it seemed a straight-forward and logical process - storing information in a 3D model, thus creating a single source of information for the entire team.


Always the showman, Harris compares BIM the ‘The Matrix’ movie.

“Not everyone can be Neo, but by joining the revolution you believe – and fully under-stand – that in order to transform we have to join the resistance if we want to better our future. You either see it or you don’t!”  he proclaims.


“BIM is far more than a technological enabler of transformation, but should be seen as supporting a complete process to manage static and non-static data in design, construction and operational processes. By any definition, BIM is reality; it represents a paradigm shift in how we share and manage information from design through construction to operation.” As a BIM visionary and someone who sees the returns that companies get from BIM across the supply chain, it frustrates Harris that so many organisations – especially contractors – just don’t 'get it'.


“If society can to see the advantages of something as simple as virtual reality, then why can an industry not see the advantages of accessing information in the realm of 4D and 5D?”


The biggest challenge, according to Harris, is not to understand the advantages of BIM, but to first wrap our heads around 3D structures, before looking at the advantages around time and money in a BIM process.


When asked what the most surprising ‘unintended consequence’ of BIM is, he points to the structural dominance of asset management organisations and the Department of Public Works in the country. “If these entities are to transform and become the driver of change, then I believe we should rather be asking the question: 'What are the unexpected consequences of not using BIM?'” Harris is also the editor of the Construction IT Journal and Programme Director for the Digital Construction Expo, roles which he embraces as vehicles to reach the widest audience of professionals, software vendors and institutions through events and media. “Everyone has a role in creating a digital transformation path for the country and continent,” he concludes.


Full Article PDF



Please reload