20 October 2014


Issue 11 - Case Study

‘The Dubai Mall is setting a new dimension in modern engineering as well as in the roll out of innovative retail and leisure elements… it will be the region’s premier shopping and entertainment destination for residents, and a major attraction for Dubai’s tourists.’

Jim Badour, CEO, Emaar Malls Group

This case study looks at how The Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) achieved cost savings by integrating BIM technology with QS control and management.

The Project

The Dubai Mall is the largest retail development in the world. It offers an astounding number of stores and scope of amenities.

The overall construction cost of $1.3 billion comprises over 12 million square feet total area, with leasable retail space in excess of nine million square feet. The Mall offers a host of entertainment options, including an Olympic sized skating rink and a 10 million litre indoor aquarium. At peak times over 50,000 customers are anticipated, totalling over 30 million visitors annually.

The Dubai Mall is part of the $20 billion iconic mega-project ‘Downtown Burj Dubai Development’, a truly inspirational concept in urban design incorporating the tallest building in the world, creating unprecedented prestige and scale to the overall project.  The main structural element of the mall was concrete, around 600,000 cubic metres in total.

The contractor responsible for structure was Athens based CCC.  It was formed in 1952 by three talented young entrepreneurs who joined forces to create one of the first modern Arab construction companies.

With over half a century of continuous growth, CCC has risen to become one of the world’s largest construction companies – with over 150,000 employees and annual revenues of $4 billion.

CCC operates a management style based on mutual trust with clients and respect for the communities in which they operate. As CCC’s Mission Statement states:

‘We are committed to providing reliable, amicable, and professional service to our valuable clients, and to being supportive to local businesses and social activities, friendly to the environment as well as being proactive in the socio-economic environments within which we operate.’

The Problem
Articles one and two in this issue, describe in detail the particular problems associated with traditional methods in quantity surveying and how BIM technology can address those problems. The sheer size of the Dubai Mall meant that such problems would have huge implications on costs and delivery time of the project.

Using traditional methods, the actual numbers were staggering:

  • The Mall comprised 32 buildings, each on average requiring 360 valuation sheets in Microsoft Excel.
  • Each set of valuation sheets required, on average, a 1,000 page bill of quantities report.
  • Every document must be accurate and in a strictly approved format.
  • New revisions in the design or a field changes had to be reflected in a revised QS package.
  • For contractor payment, a current set of reports was required every month throughout the three year construction phase.
  • There were 32,000 spreadsheet pages every month – 1,152,000 over the duration of the project.

With a traditional manual process, the risk of errors was huge and would require a full time team of 25 quantity surveyors on site to undertake the work – in total 75 man years of effort.

The buoyancy of the regional construction market during the project lifecycle meant that there was massive demand for experienced contracting and engineering resources.  This had resulted in both a considerable increase in the cost of QS specialists and significant difficulty in actually finding them.

In order to succeed CCC needed innovation in the QS process.

The Solution
CCC decided that the innovation route to take was to automate the process by utilising BIM.

The first part of the process was to develop a workflow to implement the QS system to accommodate the multiple cycles of drawings – issue, approval and revision.

A team of eight 3D modellers created the BIM model from existing 2D documents of the structural design.

As MS Office programmes were being used to create documentation, a visual basic applications programmer was employed to develop the required tools and utilities to communicate with the system, incorporating all the business rules and methods of measurement boundaries.

With the integration of the BIM/QS communication protocols completed, a senior and a junior BIM engineer received intensive training in using the system efficiently to deliver the QS reports and valuation sheets. This team then ran the utilities against the constantly changing BIM model to automatically generate the QS report.

This automatic process of producing 32,000 QS reports was undertaken monthly or as frequently as the project required.

The Results
Many benefits of using BIM and automated QS were realised.

Not only would it have been difficult, if not impossible, to find the required number of quantity surveyors for traditional delivery, but also the human error factor was removed by use of the automated tool, contributing to an overall improvement in quality.

The up to date BIM model also helped visualise complex areas of the project, co-ordinating activities and reducing potential site errors.

In actual monetary terms, the productivity benefits were significant.

Instead of the initial requirement using traditional methodology – sourcing and deploying 25 full time on site quantity surveyors – CCC was able to use two onsite BIM engineers to produce the QS reports.

In addition there was the team of eight 3D modellers to model and revise the whole structural system of the project, resulting in an overall reduction of 15 staff.

The actual time saved by automating the quantity surveying task was over 700 man-months, which translated to an improved efficiency of 86% and an overall saving of $7 Million.

Material take-off services were completed with complete accuracy allowing the construction team to purchase exactly the quantity of concrete needed – no more, no less.  This eliminated the need for a normal material contingency, thereby reducing waste by 5% and saving $3 million in wasted concrete.

In total, CCC saved $10 million by adopting the integrated and automated BIM/QS process.

A final thought…
A 5% material saving on 600,000 cubic metres of concrete equates to 30,000 cubic metres. Depending on the method of calculation, the actual figures may vary, but it takes a lot of CO2 to produce one cubic metre of concrete and even more to transport it – the saving is the equivalent of around 500,000 gallons of petrol – which probably equates to around 1000 less cars on Dubai’sroads in any given year.

BIM Journal would like to thank Bentley Systems MEA for their valuable contribution to this case stud

One Response to “The DUBAI MALL – CASE STUDY”

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