Adoption of Building Information Modelling for Assessing the Life Cycle Cost of Sustainable Buildings: A Case Study in Saudi Arabia

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University of Birmingham
This doctoral research has investigated the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on the life cycle cost (LCC) and sustainability of construction in the context of Saudi Arabia. Addressing a significant deficit in region-specific studies, it conducted a comprehensive review of extant BIM-related research in the Saudi construction industry. Utilising a mixed-methods approach, the study integrated extensive literature reviews, empirical research, and advanced BIM tools to achieve its objectives. The primary goal was to survey the current research landscape, revealing a profound scarcity of studies specifically focused on the challenges and opportunities of BIM in Saudi Arabia. Subsequent goals included identifying enablers and constraints to BIM technology adoption, quantifying the extent of BIM utilisation, analysing its application during the design phase, assessing impacts on building life cycle costs and sustainability, exploring contractual practices and construction technologies in the Saudi market, and developing a strategic framework for BIM application in government projects. The study aims to systematically review existing literature on BIM implementation within Saudi Arabia, identify key enablers and constraints affecting BIM adoption, quantify the current extent of BIM usage in the industry, explore its impact on building life cycle costs and sustainability, comprehend the integration of contracts and building technologies within the Saudi Arabian construction sector, and propose a strategic framework for BIM application in government projects. Findings revealed that despite the global insights provided by extant literature, there is a pressing need for more localised research tailored to Saudi Arabia’s unique socio-economic and regulatory contexts. The use of sophisticated BIM tools such as Autodesk® Revit 2023, Autodesk® Insight, and Autodesk® Green Building Studio markedly improved the study’s precision and efficiency, underscoring the critical role of BIM in enhancing construction practices for better sustainability and cost-efficiency. The application of One Click LCA demonstrated the advantages of integrating circular design principles. A significant discovery was the potential for substantial cost savings and environmental benefits through optimised design and lifecycle analysis. For instance, Scenario 4, developed through an interactive optimisation process, demonstrated a 39.53% reduction in life cycle costs over 30 years compared to Scenario 1, translating to potential savings of approximately $25 million for a project of 900 residential units. Additionally, design adjustments in Scenario 4 led to a 48.8% reduction in CO2e emissions, according to the comprehensive LCA, Scenario 4 led to a 48.8% reduction in CO2e emissions, according to the comprehensive LCA, while the social cost of carbon decreased to €9,453. The integration of green BIM tools like Autodesk Insight and Green Building Studio directly supported design decisions promoting energy efficiency and lower life cycle costs with minimal environmental impacts. At the conclusion of Scenario 4, a 21% reduction in Energy Use Intensity was recorded relative to Scenario 1. The deployment of One Click LCA also enhanced the study’s analytical capabilities, enabling the evaluation of circularity metrics such as material recovery potential, advocating for the early adoption of circular economy principles in design. Critically, the results indicate that an integrated BIM approach can significantly influence construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Establishing a BIM standard, educating personnel, raising stakeholder awareness, and developing supportive regulations are crucial for accelerating widespread BIM adoption across the region. The conclusions of this research highlight the importance of context-specific knowledge in developing effective BIM adoption strategies in Saudi Arabia. Future research should investigate regional variations, advanced BIM applications, dynamic simulation models, and strategies related to the circular economy.