What is the evolving role of quantity surveyors on BIM projects in Malaysia?
26 Sep 2018 | Ronan Collins, Gamuda Engineering Head – Project Information Management.

It was my honour to chair the recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors BIM Conference 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.

There was great debate and discussion on the role of surveyors in relation to BIM implementation in Malaysia and how we as an industry can tackle the challenges ahead.


My stance can be summarised under three key topics:

  1. Industry roadmap and direction
  2. Key challenges and issues for surveyors
  3. Training and education


Industry roadmap and direction

The Malaysian government remains committed to enforcing their policy that all public projects valued at RM100 million and above are required to use BIM by 2019.

The Ministry of Works believes that BIM will improve the efficiency, productivity and quality of the construction process, as well as reduce costs and avoid problems in the design and construction stages.

The adoption of BIM Level 2 on the MRT SSP Line is a tremendous showcase of how BIM implementation and the use of a common data environment (CDE), in accordance with the PAS1192 standards, can be successful on construction projects.

It has created a solid foundation for the Malaysian industry to build BIM competency and confidence upon, not least by following MRT’s formula of the owners and developers being the driving force for BIM adoption.

On their part, the clients need to specify their BIM requirements in the contracts and follow up throughout the project to ensure that BIM is successfully delivered.


Key challenges and issues for surveyors 

The key ingredient for surveyors to participate in the BIM process on a project and to develop their 5D deliverables is the quality of the 3D models created by architects and engineers. And that is one of the main concerns.

Currently, a large number of models produced by designers cannot be used by surveyors for measurement and preparation of Bills of Quantities (BOQ).

In order to unlock the potential value of using models for measurement, each project needs a clearly defined Employers Information Requirement (EIR) andBIM Execution Plan (BEP), as well as frequent interactions between architects, engineers and surveyors.

Quantity surveyors must be involved in the design development process much earlier than what is currently happening.

Once a team of consultants is committed to using models as a basis of measurement, the quantity surveyor needs to review, comment and provide guidance to the architects and engineers on how best to develop their models to suit their work flow and processes.

Therefore, there has to be a mindset change on how the consultants interact on BIM-based projects. BIM is a team sport.


Training and Education



To support the development of skills, capabilities and resources in Malaysia, the Ministry of Works, through CIDB, established the myBIM Centre in 2017. It provides training, access to software tools, resources and is a focal point for promoting the use of BIM in the construction industry.

Through collaboration with MRT, the Building Information in Rail Academy (BIRAC) is also hosted at the myBIM Centre and further enhances the knowledge sharing and training offered to consultants, contractors and the industry supply chain.

At Gamuda, we have also developed our in-house BIM Training Centre at Gamuda Learning Centre. We are currently reassessing our training courses to align with the CIDB curriculum so we may get our staff BIM Level 2accreditation.

BIM’s true value is that it empowers people to spend time on high value tasks such as finding solutions to problems or ensuring the best construction methods are used rather than wasting time on tedious, repetitive, low value tasks that could be automated using technology.

In order to achieve this, we need to share lessons learned, improve our training courses and use social media and online learning platforms to make it easy for our departments to access the knowledge they need.

As a key player in the industry, Gamuda as a group is committed to training and educating our engineers, surveyors, planners, project managers and directors on how to adopt BIM practices to improve our teams’ productivity and efficiency.

One thing is clear – regardless of background or experience, we all need to learn how to build good quality, data-rich 3D models and use them for quantity take off, cost management and progress payment management.