Why should Africa be compelled to Adopt BIM? Theorizing BIM’s frozen potential to mitigate risks of corruption: A focus on Ethiopian AEC Industry

Session synopsis

The presentation is primarily based on a reviewed PhD dissertation that sets out to investigate the potentials of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to mitigate risks of corruption in the Ethiopian public construction sector. The wide-ranging capabilities and promises of BIM have led to the strong perception among researchers and practitioners that it is an indispensable technology. However, the researcher argues that both technology developers and adopters are oblivious to the potentials of BIM in addressing critical challenges the construction industry is facing in developing countries, such as corruption. This particularly would be significant in Africa, where its problems and effects are acute. Proceeding from this anticipation, the research work brings up two primary questions: what are areas and risks of corruption in case of the Ethiopian public construction projects; and how could BIM be leveraged to mitigate these risks? To tackle these and other secondary questions, the research employs a mixed-method approach. The selected main research strategies are Survey, Grounded Theory (GT) and Archival Study. By ways of these multiple research endeavors that is based, first and foremost, on the triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data analysis, the author conveys a number of key findings. First, estimations, tender document preparation and evaluation, construction material as well as quality control and additional work orders are found to be the most vulnerable stages in the design, tendering and construction phases respectively. Second, middle management personnel of contractors and clients, aided by brokers, play most critical roles in corrupt transactions within the prevalent corruption network. Third, grand corruption persists in the sector, attributed to the fact that top management and higher officials entertain their overriding power, supported by the lack of project audits and accountability. Contrarily, individuals at operation level utilize intentional and unintentional ‘errors as an opportunity for corruption. In light of these findings, two conceptual BIM-based risk mitigation strategies are prescribed: active and passive automation of project audits; and the monitoring of project information throughout projects’ value chain. These propositions are made in reliance on BIM’s present dimensional capabilities and the promises of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). Moreover, BIM’s synchronous potentials with other technologies such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Radio Frequency technologies are topics which received a treatment. All these arguments form the basis for the main thesis of this dissertation, that BIM is able to mitigate corruption risks in the Ethiopian public construction sector. The discourse on the skepticisms about BIM that would stem from the complex nature of corruption and strategic as well as technological limitations of BIM is also illuminated and complemented by this work.

Why should people attend?

To be acquainted with frozen capabilities of BIM that adopters, researchers and technology developers are oblivious about: mitigating risks of corruption.




  • Asgedom Haile Berhe
    Asgedom Haile Berhe
    Lecturer - EiABC, Addis Ababa University

    For over 15 years, Asgedom H. Berhe has been a noteworthy researcher and teacher in the fields of Architecture and Construction at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University. For over seven years he had been the chair of Building Construction at the Institute. Asgedom has been awarded with a bronze medal by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in 2014 for his contribution to the practical research project called Sustainable Incremental City Unity (SICU) as a project architect. Asgedom may be known for his contribution in the academic community as a teacher and researcher, but he can also be credited with contributions to the construction industry as a practicing professional architect participating on design, supervision and contract administration services of several middle to high rise building construction projects across Ethiopia.

    His excellent practical experiences and academic exposures range across all scales of architecture and urbanism: from Building construction detailing to urban and regional planning.

    Asgedom holds a master’s degree from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium and currently he is a PhD candidate at Bauhaus University of Weimar in Germany. He will graduate very soon from the department of Architecture and Urbanism as he has already submitted his dissertation and it has been approved by the graduation commission for defense. He also received a Bachelor’s in Architecture and Urban Planning from Addis Ababa University.

    At the present moment, he resides in Addis Ababa practicing architecture in his own category I consulting firm with his two partners and teaching architecture and construction at EiABC of Addis Ababa University.


Oct 28 2020

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