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Report Back

Images provided by Agile Technologies, Baker Baynes, BuildingPoint, University of Pretoria, Dell, Leica, Modena and Zutari

TUKS BIMHarambee 2022, our first in-person BIMHarambee, was a great success. The positive outcome is that the University of Pretoria's Built Environment Faculty is keen to involve more of their students and staff in TUKS BIMHarambee 2023, scheduled for end of July. The theme will be The Future of Work.


We would like to co-create this next Harambee so that it’s a true Community effort. If you would like to get involved (please note that it will be in a volunteer role), then please get in touch with

Outcomes from our 3 Moots on Day 2

How do we get there?

Facilitated by Richard Matchett

We discussed where we are now, which is in a state of disarray regarding the use of BIM related technologies and the implementation of proper workflows and standards.


The destination state of ""there" was not entirely clear, however the group agreed that it would be characterized by standardized working across the industry in a normalized fashion under a mandate. 


On the question of standards, we agreed that there would be a combination of top down and bottom up approaches required to reach a standardized BIM in South Africa.

  1. from top down, leadership would be engaged to provide mandates to members, companies and participants in the industry, freeing up individuals and organizations to confidently pursue the adoption of standards.

  2. bottom up, it was agreed that the widespread adoption of the standards that have been provided and are being adopted by the South African Bureau of Standards should create an automatic standardization as companies and individuals align themselves to a common point of focus. 


The discussion also dwelled on the question of content and interoperability for authoring tools around 3d models. A lengthy discussion about proprietary content and intellectual property resulted in a few ideas to:

  1. create a centralized library of high quality Open BIM objects that could be used by all participants in Building Information Modelling and

  2. the option of banded costs favoring higher affordability for micro companies and startups to promote entry into the BIM world by smaller entities. 


We discussed the concept of the BIM Community and its importance in collectively raising the tide. We agreed that by extending a helping hand to each other we would be able to overcome repeat lessons learned and  build on the experience of similar companies in our markets. 


The spirit of the conversation was very positive and generally the sentiment is that we can achieve this as an industry in southern Africa. And there is a widespread support of the BIM Community's initiative to reduce the friction of learning by building relationships within the community, sharing knowledge and encouraging each other along this journey of digital transformation.

Skills imbalance - how do we raise this tide?

Facilitated by Calayde Davey

Our question was on the skills imbalance and BIM. We had a range of participants from beginners and students, to professionals, educators, and business owners. We also had a range of expertise, but dominantly architects and engineers.


The conversation revolved around whether there is a skills imbalance at all, and who is truly responsible for closing this gap. For example, business owners feel they have to retrain new hires all the time, where educators feel that they simply keep up with demand for appropriate skills. There was debate on the higher order educational approach of the country, which seems to limit the readiness-for-work for graduates. Many participants felt like the onus is on the individual to manage new skills, but commentary was voiced, due to this approach, that many companies are in imbalance when it comes to things like BIM. This means they revert to common tech or skills denominators on diverse teams, as opposed to pursuing good or best practices for all.

Discussion points from the Skills Imbalance Moot:

  • There is a huge skills imbalance between professionals leaving school and what is needed in the industry.

  • There is a huge skills imbalance between team members/companies and disciplines.

  • Universities are overly dominant on pursuing research outcomes and not on real practical experience/skills development required in the office.

  • Every office has different standards, and therefore, different skills.

  • All professionals seemed to need re-skilling when they hit offices environments.

  • Clients are not educated, so they don't know what to ask for.

  • Clients/Owners are not able to use high-end products.

  • Applaud the 'people' component beyond technology and processes.

  • Considerations for policy/ governance (UP, HCID, City) in line with POPIA  Act (protection of info).

  • Consideration for App interphase/ self reporting around issues.

  • Ways of getting the public/private involved in the HDTC; Collaborations.

  • Management of information from the HDTC; What to do with the info? For Whom; How will the community manage the info?

  • Interphase between HDTC and the big tech companies such as Google, Apple.

  • Blockchain.

  • Environmental affairs missing from the presentation_ Waste and Water management; Impact of the HDTC on the environment.

  • Risks associated with HDTC.

  • DNS.

Who owns BIM?

Facilitated by Leon van Rensburg

This almost rhetorical question sparked a lively discussion as the initial, well-trained responses were that the owner or operator of the building or project owns BIM. When the next question, “Who Owns BIM in a Digital Twin Precinct Project?” was posed, it got everyone rethinking the original answer.

The group revisited one of the fundamentals of BIM - information - and realised that each information stakeholder is the BIM custodian rather than the BIM owner. The critical thinking here was that a building or similar structure is rarely owned for its entire lifecycle by a single Owner or Operator, and even they add information regularly.

One of the biggest barriers to BIM projects in South African markets today is how contracts are written and the risk aversion or risk avoidance clauses included. Legislation prefers to hold a single entity or person ultimately accountable, making answering the question problematic.

The preliminary conclusion was reached that BIM belongs to anyone who has significantly contributed to the information and is willing to share it within the BIM framework. Nonetheless, custodians must ensure that the information captured is accurate and true.

The closing remarks focused on the need for a study to identify better “Who Owns BIM” in both a single project and within a collection of projects that may form part of Digital Twin precincts or cities, as well as how legislation could be adjusted to incorporate this more freely on projects.

Welcome to TUKS BIMHarambee 2022

BIMHarambee is an initiative which brings BIM practitioners (experts, novices and students, professional bodies, corporates and public sector) from related industries to learn, share knowledge, promote and highlight BIM practices.

This year’s event focuses on BIM: From theory to practice

How do we practically implement BIM? Where can we start? What do we need? How do we get more people and companies BIM compliant? What questions are we not asking?

The 2 day in-person event is made up of the following:

Thursday 6 October - a day of tours and demos

Friday 7 October - a day of learning and unconferences

Image by Uriel Soberanes


This is where you get to play ‘tourist’ for the day. There will be tours of the Mining Faculty’s VR and AR facilities, the super cool immersive Mining Cylinder on the main Hatfield Campus and the fascinating Engineering 4.0 Research Lab at the Hillcrest/Future Africa Campus.

Get ready for a hands-on experience and be inspired and enthused by the work of the University of Pretoria.

MINING CYLINDER TOUR - Experience the underground and above ground operations of a mine in a 10m by 4m high circular display or CAVE. You will also get to walk around a mining vehicle and inspect it before use by completing a pre-operation checklist. And then imagine the applications and possibilities for your own project.

VR LAB TOUR - So a mine is a mine is a mine. Well it might be but the operations between surface mines differ from that of underground. Experience the world's deepest mine (at 4500 m below surface) and moments later stand in a medium size surface operation. Then, “feel” the machines working as you traverse the environments in the immersive space.

ENGINEERING 4.0 RESEARCH LAB TOUR - Traditionally, the concept of civil engineering meant designing and executing structural works with various construction materials and complex mathematics. However, technology is constantly evolving and being incorporated into multiple disciplines. At Engineering 4.0, we investigate the implementation of these technologies in civil engineering through research and would like to share these with you. 

Image by Dose Media

BIM Market

The buzz of a market day and the exhilaration of a science fair - get to play and interact with all the cool tech that makes BIM, digital twins, VR etc a reality. At Rautenbach Hall.

PS: You only need to register to attend the BIM Market if you havent registered for any of the tours. Otherwise you won’t be able to access the UP campus unless you’re a student there.

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Friday 7 October : Talking & Thinking Day

Showcase + Moots @ Engineering 4.0 Research Lab on Hillcrest/Future Africa campus

Audience at Lecture


You will be treated to 2 different showcases:

1) An overview of the Hatfield Precinct Digital Twin project by Dr Calayde Davey and lessons on how you can start with what you have.

2) The Arc Architects team that designed and built the Engineering 4.0 Research Lab will share their workflows, challenges and highlights. Get the inside track.

Stand-up Meeting


Whats a moot? An assembly held for debate.

We will be hosting several Moots on the day, using an unconference format. You will help create the agenda and contribute to the conversations. Its the perfect place to see whats on everyones mind. And to share whats on yours. 

What will be discussed? Thats up to you.

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