International Seminar on Construction 4.0
Event Summary (Click here to view event flyer)
International seminar on “Construction 4.0: Digital Transformation for Success” was organized by Department of Civil Engineering, NED University, Karachi, on March 24th, 2022, in collaboration with IEP (Institute of Engineers Pakistan). The one-day seminar provided a platform for exploring and discussing the construction 4.0 technologies, with a particular emphasis on their integration into the architectural and construction industry of Pakistan, with a vision of achieving smart, safe and sustainable built environment.
The event was attended by national and international leaders and experts, from academia, government and the construction industry, to understand and discuss what it means to digitize the construction sector, the associated benefits, and how the Pakistani academia and industry may partner and collaborate for effectively incorporating the modern technologies in the engineering design and construction of buildings in Pakistan, keeping in mind the ground realities and issues unique to the construction industry of Pakistan.
Dr Rizwan ul Haque Farooqui, Professor and Chair, Department of Civil Engineering, NED University, in his welcome address, highlighted the purpose of the seminar, to provide a platform for the stakeholders from academia and the industry, to discuss linkages and identify gaps pertaining to the implementation of construction 4.0, He discussed the importance of construction 4.0 technologies, for achieving faster, safer and cost-effective construction, the importance of academia-industry collaboration, and provision of trainings for human capital development. In another session, he also discussed in detail the crucial role that such technologies can play in improvement of the site workers safety by discussing particularly the IoT-Enabled worker safety monitoring system. Dr Farooqui also pointed out the current and potential role of BIM center, virtual reality center and the water modelling center, located in the NED Civil Engineering Department, for research and collaboration in the field of construction 4.0.
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr Salman Azhar, Professor and Graduate Programs Chair, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Auburn University, who delivered a key-note address on “Construction 4.0: concepts and emerging technologies”. The keynote speaker provided a real insight into the meaning of construction 4.0, and the different aspects of its successful implementation in the construction sector. Dr Azhar emphasized industry-academia partnership, as well as provided an overview of the on-going research in the field of construction 4.0. He also discussed connecting university curriculum and class-related activities to construction industry innovation, industry-supported student competitions and internship programs.
Dr Sarosh Lodi, Vice-Chancellor, NED University, in his welcome note, discussed the advantages of digitization of the construction industry, and development of linkages of academia and the industry for its effective implementation. He also highlighted the need of developing human capital, i.e. construction 4.0 specialists, based on trainings achieved in the university as well as the industry, for successfully transforming the construction industry of Pakistan.
Dr Salman Azhar, in another seminar session, was invited to present an overview of building information modeling (BIM), and demonstrated BIM application by discussing case-studies. BIM can be used for visualization and communication, design alterations, sustainability analysis, structural analysis, quantity surveying, site logistics, constructability analysis, and financial management. Dr Azhar discussed five case-studies to demonstrate the application of BIM (Aquarium Hilton Garden Inn, Savannah state academic buildings, Mansion on PeachTree, Emory Psychology Building, and recreation and wellness center)
Hussain Agha, CEO of Agha Steel Industries, presented the use of electric arc furnace, a green process for manufacturing of steel, which is a widely used technology in the developed world. Mr Agha discussed the initiatives of Agha Steel Industry for implementing this technology in Pakistan.
Engr. Shoaib Ahmed, assistant professor NED Civil Engineering Department, discussed various types of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and their potential application in construction engineering. He further elaborated by providing examples of past projects as well as on-going projects undertaken by NED Department of civil engineering and others in Pakistan utilizing UAVs (build environment mapping, drainage assessment of Karachi, modeling of heritage building, 3D modeling for condition assessment, carbon emission monitoring with thermal camera).
The event featured panel discussions, which provided insights from experts from government and private sector, who provided unique perspective and identified obstacles and gaps for implementing modern technologies in the architectural and construction business of Pakistan. In the first panel discussion, moderated by Chairman IEP Engr Sohail Bashir, focused on current state of affairs of the construction industry with regards to construction 4.0 implementation. The panelists included Vice-Chancellor of NED University Dr Sarosh Lodi, Chair NED Civil Engineering Department Dr Rizwan ul Haque Farooqui, Auburn University Professor Dr Salman Azhar, Chairman Task Force Naya Pakistan Housing Program Zegham Mehmood Rizvi, and Chairman ABAD (Association of Builders and Contractors) Mohsin Shaikhani. It was revealed that successful implementation is possible through governmental policies and regulatory initiatives, as well as industry-academia partnerships.
The second panel discussion was moderated by Professor NED Civil Engineering Department Abdul Jabbar Sangi. The discussion focused on “The Digital Transformation for Success”. The panelists included Auburn University professor Dr Salman Azhar, former President KCCI (Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Shariq Vohra, Vice-Chair CAP (Contractors Association of Pakistan) Raza Ali Abidi, Chairman PCATP (Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners) Arif Changezi, Vice-President ACEP (Association of Consulting Engineers Pakistan) Khalid Mirza, CEO Ziauddin Ahmed and Company Pvt. Ltd. Naeem-uddin Siddiqui, and Regional Director Al Engineers Pakistan Ghulam Mujtaba Sheikh. The discussion highlighted the obstacles in the implementation of BIM in Pakistan’s construction industry. It was revealed that increased project costs for BIM procurement and personnel training maybe one of the major hindrances to its widespread implementation in the context of architect-engineer-contractor nexus.