¡Arriba, arriba BIM en México!

¡Arriba, arriba BIM en México!

Summer being almost over, us people in the North are starting to seriously consider destinations in the southern hemisphere. Especially after the last two super-snowy and cold winters I've had to cope with in my home country Finland, there is a strong need to establish a clear plan B for survival. Let's see, where would it be good for me to go? Mexico sounds good... Wonder if there is any BIMming i.e. modelado de información de construcción going on in Mexico?

One of six most dominant economies by 2050

BIM is on its way to Mexico

Steel construction in Mexico

South and Central Americas are a fascinating, quite solidly Spanish-speaking market full of potential for modern construction and infrastructure development. Mexico, although part of North America, is interesting because it is one of the "Next Eleven" countries, having a high potential of becoming one of the world's largest economies in the 21st century. According to Wikipedia, the economic potential of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and Mexico is such that with the USA, they may become the six most dominant economies by the year 2050. "Due to Mexico's rapidly advancing infrastructure, increasing middle class, and rapidly declining poverty rates, it is expected to have a higher GDP per capita than all but three European countries by 2050."

Market research tells us that the first quarter of 2011 saw increased activity in Mexico's construction sector, which reinforces the outlook for this year. It is anticipated that the sector will rebound strongly in light of the number of planned infrastructure investments having risen by 11% compared to 2010. Growth forecasts have been revised for the construction sector to bring them in line with the results from the first quarter.

What is being modeled?

So, what have they actually modeled and built using BIM software in Mexico? The Mercedes Gold Processing Plant in the northern part of the country was a winner in the Tekla North America BIM Awards competition in 2010. Fabrication drawings were produced not only for the primary structural steel, but also the mechanical bins, hoppers, chutes, and the material conveying system. Approximately 500 metric tons of structural steel, grating, handrails, and stairs and approximately 200 metric tons of mechanical steel were fabricated for this project based on the data extracted from the Tekla building information model.

BIM is on its way to Mexico

Estadio Chivas 3D modeled in Tekla Structures

A soccer stadium, Estadio Chivas, in the city of Guadalajara is a Tekla BIM-Award contestant from the year 2009. The Chivas soccer team is world famous and also owns a franchise in the United States called Chivas USA. The main members of the stadium roof are all curved round tubes, the secondary ones straight round tubes and purlins. Design and erection sequences were planned around dividing the overall structure in four quadrants, each consisting of three full and two half subdivisions called modules. The two half modules were shared, half each, by two adjacent quadrants. The overall structure is supported by 16 concrete columns. Tekla BIM software was used to detail the project after a Staad design model was imported, and was also used to create an architectural IFC model that was later incorporated in a Revit architectural model. Unique connections required several custom components to be created to adapt to the many occurrences in the overall project. By using 3D representation in Tekla Structures and accurate dimensioning tools in the drawings, one person was able to accomplish the shop engineering in the same period of time it would have taken a team of several people using other detailing methods.

The challenge of skilled labor and awareness

BIM is on its way to mexico

Lack of skilled labor and awareness are the challenges of introducing BIM, the process, to Mexico

Looks like they are well on the road to BIM in Mexico. There are challenges, however, I hear from my local contacts. "I read articles about BIM, and what I've seen looks interesting," says anonymous engineer, let's call him José for now. "Especially in Mexico, BIM is not possible to carry out the same way as in other countries. In Mexico, the story is different. It is difficult for economic enterprises, educational institutions, and regarding personal criteria. Companies want people with knowledge of BIM software, but for us there is not much opportunity to learn by the same factors. We struggle daily against the implementation of AutoCAD. We know it is simple, low-cost and practical, but very outdated. I am one of the youngest among the few who officially use real BIM software in their daily work, and this unfortunately has cost me and my family a lot. It is a great shame that people have to learn informally. It is not by choice but because of the high price and difficulty to obtain knowledge. However, I'm very proud to be able among the first to use the kind of software that allows me to leave my mark on the world."

"There is much work left in the expansion of 3D modeling culture to Mexico. Currently only some of the strongest Mexican companies have decided to implement BIM software. The business sector needs more opportunities, for a better quality of construction and for more opportunities for Mexico and its people," José concludes.

"BIM in Mexico is a fairly new concept, not more than 3 years old, and largely unknown or misunderstood by the bulk of the market," confirms Francisco J. Herrera G, director general of Heimsa, agente autorizado de Tekla en México. "In a recent poll taken from about 60 individuals in a practical engineering congress, all engaged in the construction industry in the form of engineers (about 20), fabricators (about 10), builders (about 5), or students and professors of engineering and construction careers (the rest), only 3 had heard of the concept, and none were actually practicing it."

"Even those who thought they knew BIM, were misinterpreting it as a piece of software that did something comprehensive in the engineering and construction administration process, rather than as an integrated model-based workflow of many individuals in the different trades of the engineering and construction process. The use of BIM in Mexico faces the following challenges: its correct interpretation by the market; changing the mentality of participants from a me-against-the-rest to a let’s-all-work-together situation; and the BIM education particularly of large construction and engineering firms, to serve as an engine to force the smaller participants into it."

Well said, Francisco. This was my free guided "tour de BIM" of Mexico. Turned out quite a feature this time but no boarding an airline was required. Hope you enjoyed the trip.