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IMAG1983When I was invited to Mauritius to deliver three BIM lectures to Architectural technicians, QS and Civil Engineering students on behalf of thinkBIM, a knowledge exchange network at Leeds Metropolitan University, I was excited to take up the BIM gauntlet and fly out and see if I could inspire some BIM enthusiasm amongst the digital generation out there.

The lecture room in Rushmore Business School was full with all three disciplines of students. Most of whom had not heard of BIM, some who knew a little or thought it was REVIT. These were all students who had Androids and were attentive and interested in this new subject area they had not seen before which for them ‘could change the way they work’.

Rushmore Business School is a leading international private tertiary education institution providing academic and professional courses to school leavers, graduates and the business community. The Business School is fully accredited and all its courses have been approved by the Tertiary Education Commission and the Mauritius Qualifications Authority in Mauritius and the British Accreditation Council in the United Kingdom (First in Africa).

It was brilliant, by the end of the first lecture the students were queuing up to ask more questions, discussing the potential of BIM for Mauritius, their sector and improvements in process, design and construction and opportunities for export markets such as Africa and Madagascar.

Whilst out there not only was I fortunate enough to visit the students but I was also invited to see General Construction Co. Ltd. (GCC), the largest main contractor on the island, to give a presentation on behalf of thinkBIM to the Directors and Head of Structural Engineering and Quantity Surveying (along with representatives from HR, IT). All this thanks to one of our alumni of Leeds Metropolitan University, Laurent De Senneville, now working as QS and BIM Champion for GCC Ltd.

Image079GCC Ltd is one of the leading building and civil engineering companies in Mauritius. Founded in 1958, the company is involved in a range of activities from the design and construction of office and hotel complexes and harbour and airport development facilities to the development of roads, bridges, dry docks, pipelines and reservoirs. GCC Ltd is privately owned by Mauritian shareholders who are dedicated to hiring local labourers and further developing the island.

ThinkBIM delivered an Intro to BIM and the impact on contractors to a full boardroom, myself there in person and ThinkBIM Ambassador Duncan Reed (Digital Construction Process Manager at Tekla) via google hangout. We fended questions on implementing BIM and the opportunities for the contractor. What struck me was the positive enthusiasm of GCC Ltd which was later confirmed over lunch where our discussion focussed around Laurent driving BIM implementation within the organisation with continued support from thinkBIM.

“It has been a great opportunity for GCC to welcome Claire and discuss with her and Duncan on BIM. They both contributed in kickstarting our BIM endeavour and we are looking forward to further collaborate with BIM communities while we build our BIM strategy for the future.” Jean-Marc Desvaux, Head of IS, GCC Ltd

Laurent’s starting point is to get a BIM steering group assembled to focus on getting the organisation to Level 1 through reviewing internal processes and identifying opportunities to remove waste from their internal processes.

In order to assist GCC Ltd on their journey we have provided them with a Mentor company here in the UK (Premier Interlink WACO UK Ltd) who are an offsite manufacturing contractor based in East Yorkshire, whose BIM implementation is being led by Pete Foster. We will be setting up regular Skype calls and dial in discussions to Mauritius to share best practice, lessons learnt and progress as both organisations progress towards reaching their BIM objectives.

“We were delighted to be given the opportunity to collaborate with GCC Ltd on their BIM journey. The discussions and questions this joint venture will raise will be invaluable in progressing BIM for both parties and shows the meaning and value that BIM can provide.” Pete Foster, Head of BIM Implementation

This for me has been an example of what BIM can do, it can start discussions across the globe between individuals and organisations seeking to make Construction a sexy, streamlined sector which will attract and retain talented young students like Laurent.