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Aim, Research Question, and Hypothesis

Many countries want to implement strategies to improve construction projects in their public sectors and access cheap but effective services. Saudi Arabia, like many other countries in the Middle East, does not pay much attention to the question of price but rather focuses on quality, improvement, and success. The construction industry of Saudi Arabia should have a strategy to achieve the best results and avoid losses. Kensek and Noble (2014) admit that though it is impossible for companies to know every detail involved in the design of buildings and construction processes before the completion of a project, there also exists the possibility to gather information and make the decisions after being informed. This type of opportunity is known as building information modeling (BIM) and presupposes the possibility to improve the products and different processes that could be a part of architectural design. Still, the issue of adopting BIM is questionable because many researchers, architects, and writers have certain doubts concerning the worth of its implementation and the time when it would be most beneficial to take the steps (Deutsch, 2011). Regarding the doubts and concerns that are connected with BIM, it is important to understand the essence of this strategy and its implementation in Saudi Arabia’s public sector.

This paper aims to analyze the characteristics of BIM implementation and investigate the potential of BIM that could be used to improve pre-construction processes for the public sector in Saudi Arabia. BIM is one of the latest global construction technologies that help save costs and introduces great projects in different countries. Saudi Arabia has unique qualities that implement BIM unique through such approaches as e-procurement.

To achieve the goal of this project, there is one main research question to be answered: How could BIM-based e-procurement be implemented in pre-construction processes to improve the performance of the public sector in Saudi Arabia? To answer this question, several additional questions should be considered and addressed:

  • How is it possible to achieve maximized benefits by using e-procurement to tender the project?
  • What requirements should be considered in case tender is called because of e-procurement?
  • What kind of information should be given in the BIM implementation process?
  • What requirements should bidders meet?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between BIM and e-procurement?
  • Can BIM be used as a supportive element for e-procurement tendering?
  • Keeping in mind that different procurement types exist, what are the requirements for bidders across those types?

It is expected that research will prove the hypothesis that BIM implementation and e-procurement in the public sector can be useful support for numerous construction projects developed in Saudi Arabia today because it empowers builders and managers to integrate the required data about architecture, engineering, and construction with the help of modern tools and succeed in developing designs and projects that could improve the quality of life in Saudi Arabia.

Objectives

This paper aims to analyze BIM implementation and investigate the potential of e-procurement within the public sector for the construction project in Saudi Arabia. Several objectives could be set to support this aim and provide a thoughtful evaluation of BIM implementation:

  • To identify the essence of BIM and give a clear description of the chosen concept;
  • To introduce the benefits of BIM implementation in the construction project;
  • To explore the limitations and challenges connected with BIM implementation in the pre-construction process;
  • To clarify the need for BIM within the public sector;
  • To review the practices that are appropriate for the construction project and identify e-procurement as the main approach;
  • To analyze the results of the e-procurement approach within the construction project in Saudi Arabia; and
  • To make recommendations on how BIM implementation should be carried out within the public sector for the construction project in Saudi Arabia and how tendering could be developed via e-procurement.

In general, the objectives of the project should help readers understand the worth of BIM as a concept that is used globally, and they should explain what unique features of BIM implementation could be observed in a particular context. It is necessary to understand that BIM implementation cannot be an initiative that is completed on its own. In fact, BIM is a combination of actions and an evaluation of the details that make the building industry successful and influential for the citizens of Saudi Arabia.

Justification

In today’s global environment, the building industry faces a kind of worldwide crisis because of the challenges caused by global warming, the absence of raw materials, and the inability of governments to control their citizens’ consumption of energy (Smith & Tardif, 2012). Moreover, this list of challenges is not even complete because each country has its own abilities and standards that should be taken into consideration. BIM is a relatively new concept in the field of architecture and technology. For example, Saudi Arabia has made numerous attempts to demonstrate how the implementation process of BIM could be developed (“Saudi Arabia Needs BIM”, 2014). Still, the outcomes are different, and it is hard to predict the effects of BIM on the building industry. BIM’s main focus is the improvement of building designs and the possibility to transform the business performance of the companies that deal with the built environment. Saudi Arabian designers, builders, and architects have to understand the worth of technological advancement and take the steps required to increase the efficiency of their work and construction projects.

There are several reasons that BIM implementation and e-procurement in Saudi Arabia should be treated as an urgent topic. First, it is important to introduce the concept of BIM, explain its characteristics, and mention why people are eager to use this strategy. BIM services have a number of advantages including dynamic modeling and the possibility to observe the surroundings and landscape that should be integrated into the project design. BIM also faces certain challenges that include the necessity of professionals in design projects and the importance of specialized education and training to introduce correct BIM services. BIM changes the way that people work and procure buildings. New technologies promote the development of the construction sector, redefine the relationships that could be developed between construction industry stakeholders, and influence such aspects of work as money, time, and personal efforts. Team building is a significant outcome for the citizens of the country, one that could improve the quality of new projects, as well as the designs and buildings that have been developed and introduced recently. It is important to discuss these aspects in the context of Saudi Arabia and the country’s readiness to implement both BIM and e-procurement. Formal creativity of design and successful integration of generative tools help make a thorough overview of a future project and predict the challenges that should be solved at the basic level (Kensek & Noble, 2014). The promotion of BIM in Saudi Arabia is a chance for the country to avoid the many various challenges caused by financial losses. Finally, as soon as the peculiar features of BIM implementation within the public sector are discussed, recommendations must be made regarding how the process of implementation should be developed. This project is not only a dictionary with clear definitions and explanations included; indeed, it is a guide on how the citizens of Saudi Arabia could implement BIM services in construction projects within the public sector and use e-procurement as a chance to introduce powerful construction projects.

Review of the Focal Literature

During the last several years, the Middle East has demonstrated a number of achievements in different spheres of life, as well as a commitment to the possibility of using technologies and natural resources as the main opportunities to create impressive buildings, develop international relations, integrate religion into business, demonstrate respect for traditions, and take advantage of available opportunities. Still, there is no certain formula for success that has been demonstrated by the Middle East as a whole (Marsh, 2011). Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses and has adapted its strategy accordingly. Saudi Arabia’s main strength is its ability to invest money in safe and impressive construction projects. Although a number of public sectors in different countries try to promote safe and cheap elements of the construction industry, the situation in Saudi Arabia differs from the conditions under which the construction industry is developed in the majority of European countries because the country is ready to spend millions or even billions in order to introduce powerful construction software with a number of massive infrastructure projects and to make fast decisions that could change the situation (“Saudi Arabia Needs BIM”, 2014). In fact, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has already demonstrated a number of changes and improvements in the construction sector (U.S.- Saudi Arabian Business Council, 2009). For example, the country has introduced several projects recently and is planning to develop additional construction projects that cost more than 1 trillion USD.

Designers and developers admit that the role of such factors as geography, economic forecasting, and demographics cannot be neglected because the citizens of any country want to make the most of their opportunities and create the things that citizens of and visitors to their country could enjoy. Currently, more than 24 million people live in Saudi Arabia; the population is more than 85% Muslim, and about 33% of residents are ex-pats (March 2011). Globalization is clearly another factor that should be taken into consideration when the building industry is discussed (Paterson, Harty, & Kouider, 2015)

The construction industry grows quickly, and the country does not want to reduce the volume of work done by its people. Still, there are many strategies that could be used to control building costs and evaluate the available opportunities. Engineers, designers, and architects are in need of clear information about the environment, landscape, and other construction details in order to create strong and safe projects (Kensek & Noble, 2014). Nowadays, many construction companies want to pay attention to the needs of customers, the interests of people, and their own personal preferences—which means that many issues are neglected, such as the nature of raw materials, the current changes in the environment, and the possible effects of these changes on the project. Nevertheless, Kensek and Noble (2014) highlight that it is still a good achievement to have some portion of information instead of remaining completely and totally unaware. Building technology greatly depends on such issues as global warming, technological advancement, and various environmental challenges (Smith & Tardif, 2012).

BIM is one of the possible strategies that could be implemented in the construction industry (Smith & Tardif, 2012). It is hard to find a clear answer to the question of whether BIM is a useful and effective approach to make use of in the building industry (Deutsch, 2011) because certain attention should be paid to such concepts as the environment, landscape, or even traditions and standards that should be followed. Saudi Arabia is a unique country with its own rules and orders. The implementation of BIM services within the public sector for the construction project in Saudi Arabia is certainly a challenge, but it does have a solution. First, BIM could be identified as a universal standard, opportunity, or requirement in the building industry; then, the individual country in which it is implemented could decide on the nature of the implementation process. Next, it is necessary to think about the specific implementation stages because BIM is usually defined as a process that promotes the development and promotion of technology (Eadie, Browne, Odeyinka, McKeown, & McNiff, 2013). For example, BIM promotes the possibility of developing a new approach to e-procurement that could help to support the construction procurement process (Costa & Grilo, 2015). E-procurement that is based on BIM is the result of the work of numerous experts and the solutions they made regarding their current electronic technologies. E-procurement services have a number of advantages in the construction services industry, including the ability to push organizations and the public sector as a whole into digitalizing and modernizing their working systems (Costa & Grilo, 2015). Besides, tendering plays an important role in the attempts made to achieve success in the public construction sector (Ciribini, Bolpagni, & Oliveri, 2015). The integration of tendering is a complicated process, and not all professionals are able to predict the outcomes of tendering and its possible impact on the construction sector. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how BIM could be implemented in several procurement procedures and how it could influence tendering (Ciribini, Bolpagni, & Oliveri, 2015).

Research Strategy

A research strategy is the orientation of the project developed in order to analyze the worth of BIM implementation within the public sector in the construction project of Saudi Arabia and the improvement of e-procurement with the help of BIM. There are two types of strategies that could be offered: qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research aims at using objective information and deductive principles in order to test a theory. In this study, it is suggested that the researchers use a qualitative strategy, within the frames of which it is possible to use inductive approaches and generalize the theories and hypotheses offered. To achieve the aim of the project and answer the research questions and objectives, it is necessary to gather information and describe the BIM implementation process in the context of the Saudi Arabian construction industry. In addition to a review of the literature currently available in libraries and online, the project could be developed with the help of case study analyses.

It is suggested that the researchers find three to five case studies about the current construction market situation in Saudi Arabia and review the limitations and advantages demonstrated by different organizations. Moreover, two to four case studies should be included that describes how the BIM implementation process occurred in different countries and what effects were observed from the various implementation methods. It is not necessary to find many case studies because the task is to explain the process and its possible implementation in a certain context. The breadth of research does not play an important role. Still, the depth of the investigations should be used to explain the peculiar features of BIM and its impact on the building industry within the public sector of Saudi Arabia. Nowadays, it is possible to find various case studies online; for example, the official websites of construction companies could be used to find relevant and interesting case studies. The main inclusive criterion for these case studies is the description of BIM and its relation to the building or construction industry. If possible, sources that discuss BIM implementation in the context of Saudi Arabia should also be used. Finally, one or two case studies should be chosen to demonstrate the performance levels of BIM-based e-procurement and to evaluate the strong and weak aspects of tendering in the construction sector.

Practical Implementation

Case studies have been chosen as the main qualitative resource in the study, and as such, the evaluation of the material plays an important role in the project. Therefore, it is obligatory to make sure that all sources are credible and could be made available in case any misunderstandings or concerns occur. The analysis of these case studies will help shed light on how BIM services were implemented by different companies in different countries and what outcomes of e-procurement could be observed in the construction sector with tendering as the main activity. Overall, there is no need to use more than ten case studies. This number of sources will help create a basis for the work and prove that the chosen topic is justified for discussion.

The potential problems that could occur with the project are connected with the inability to find enough credible material about the already-implemented BIM strategies and e-procurement based on BIM. Therefore, it is necessary to combine the available material and integrate the ideas of the companies with the theoretical material offered. BIM is defined as a frequently discussed topic, so there are a number of books and research articles in which this concept is explained and analyzed. The sources chosen for the literature review should be up to date, all articles should be peer-reviewed, and the books should be supported at all times by statistical data.

The analysis of the data can be broken down into three important stages. First, the researcher will identify all gathered material and divide it into categories based on the sources of information and research methods used. Then, it is necessary to create a concept map with a number of sections: definitions, characteristics, countries, pros, cons, and more. Then, the researcher will insert the information after reading the material offered by the source. Finally, the researcher will reread the concept map with the data, and the main points should be underlined so that the researcher can identify the main issues for consideration and use the additional facts to strengthen each paragraph.

The results of the practice should help the researcher comprehend why BIM implementation should be defined as an appropriate contribution to the construction market. The e-procurement approach should help procure construction projects in Saudi Arabia. At the end of the research, it will be possible for the researcher to give recommendations that could be appropriate for Saudi Arabia and the organizations that are going to implement BIM within the public sector in the construction project. The development of tendering is a successful application of the ideas gathered from the chosen books and case studies.

Ethical Considerations

As a rule, ethical issues in research include an evaluation of the content, a consideration of consent, and questions of anonymity and confidentiality. This research will be based on the analysis of case studies and a review of the literature. In this case, the main ethical concerns are connected with framing and representation. In the beginning, the researcher should understand that case studies are the stories of real companies and thus include real people with their own secrets, interests, and attitudes. Therefore, it is important to explain that the information offered in case studies is introduced from a particular person’s point of view. Some facts could be biased and subjective, leading to the possibility for misrepresentation or misunderstanding to occur. Therefore, it is important to make correct references and explain that the chosen idea is the result of the evaluation of the information offered in a certain case study. Additional research is appropriate in case the recommendations and evaluations are developed by the researcher independently by using the material found in different case studies that are properly referenced. Moreover, the issue of generalization should be underlined. To solve these concerns, the researcher must introduce a high-quality practice and try to develop an independent case study using other research methods such as interviews, surveys, or observations.

References

Ciribini, A.L.C., Bolpagni, M., & Oliveri, E. (2015). An innovative approach to e-public tendering based on model checking. Procedia Economics and Finance, 21, 32-39.

Costa, A.A. & Grilo, A. (2015). BIM-based e-procurement: An innovative approach to construction e-procurement. The Scientific World Journal, 2015. Web.

Deutsch, R. (2011). BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Eadie, R., Browne, M., Odeyinka, H., McKeown, C., & McNiff, S. (2013). BIM implementation throughout the UK construction project lifecycle: An analysis. Automation in Construction, 36, 145-151.

Kensek, K. & Noble, D. (2014). Building Information Modeling: BIM in Current and Future Practice. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Marsh, D. (2011). The Middle East Unveiled. London: Hachette.

Paterson, G., Harty, J., & Kouider, T. (2015). Getting to Grips with BIM: A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Architecture, Engineering and Construction Firms. New York: Routledge.

Saudi Arabia Needs BIM Expertise for Key Projects. (2014). Trade Arabia: Business news information. Web.

Smith, D.K. & Tardif, M. (2012). Building Information Modeling: A Strategic Implementation Guide for Architects, Engineers, Constructors, and Real Estate Asset Managers. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

U.S.- Saudi Arabian Business Council. (2009). The Construction Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Web.

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