How Autodesk Docs Underpins Whole City Builds

Before it went digital, Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) had to use whole buildings to archive the paper trail for its huge construction projects in Egypt. As one of the Middle East’s largest owner and developers that topped the Egyptian real-estate market according to Forbes, it has implemented Autodesk Docs to drive efficiency across its large-scale builds. Now, its document archives are digital and securely held in the cloud.

TMG has developed a number of full cities in Egypt, including the 8000-acre district of Madinaty city and 3000 acres of Al Rehab city, close to Cairo. In 2023, it is currently building Noor City, which will be the biggest sustainable smart city in the Middle East, designed to the latest global standards for integrated cities.

Spanning over 5,000 acres, it will be home to over 600,000 people as well as extensive commercial and hospitality spaces. Not only will the city benefit from integrated 5G services such as smart irrigation, smart waste management and smart lighting for the whole city, it will also use clean energy and offer smart green transportation. Furthermore, each apartment will have a tablet connected to city services and hospitality outlets.

Managing Complexity and Partnerships

It's clear Noor is a complex build. In fact, TMG has already received over 5200 BIM models from contractors, consultants, and designers, explains Mohamed Montasser, BIM Manager/Technical Affairs at TMG.

“On some previous city projects, it was challenging to track everything from the infrastructure,” he says, “Once the infrastructure was done, we didn’t have a big model to track everything. A problem could arise and it would be impossible to track it and understand its causes.”

Having shifted to Autodesk Docs in 2021, TMG sees multiple benefits on projects of this type, says Montasser. Not only is the company saving on printing and archiving costs, it’s also finding huge efficiencies having moved from an email and paper-based system, especially as it co-ordinates multiple local and international partners.

“We have seven international consultancies working with the design process for Noor, and all are on board our BIM cloud, as are our on-site contractors,” says Montasser.

“We’re using Autodesk Docs as our main document management system for submission reviews and so on. Whenever anyone involved needs to access information, they can do so simply and immediately as everything is online and cloud-based. Most of our consultancies are in the US, but the time difference doesn’t matter, because the process is running smoothly and is automated in Autodesk Construction Cloud.”

In fact, TMG plans to use BIM across the Noor project from design and construction through to operations and maintenance, covering infrastructure, buildings, landscaping and more.

How the BIM Transition is Happening

TMG is a large company with multiple departments, which means moving to BIM processes involves a large-scale migration over time. After an initial trial, TMG quickly began adding new users and soon moved to contractually oblige consultancies and contractors to use Autodesk Docs, an Autodesk Construction Cloud solution.  

“We started with the technical office team, which is responsible for technical approvals,” recalls Montasser. “Then we turned to the document control and contract teams, so all our contractual paperwork is now within Autodesk Docs. Those three are the biggest and most influential within TMG.

“Since then, our site supervision team also came on board, as did our contractors and project management sister companies.”

TMG has now mandated all its consultants, contractors and internal teams to use Autodesk Docs as its common data environment (CDE). Following the success of its Docs rollout, it is moving to implement Autodesk Build with its construction supervision team, with plans to roll it out across its supply chain.

More Visibility, Less Wastage

TMG has found multiple benefits to adopting an BIM approach all which is underpinned by their adoption of Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Autodesk Docs solution, these include huge time and cost savings.

“TMG understands the benefits of BIM and its positive impact on all TMG departments, with the help of Khaled Abdelaal, our Planning Director, and Mohamed Ibrahim, our DC manager, along with our BIM team experts Ahmed Abdelbadee and Yousra Moustafa, we’re now leading the market for digital transformation in Egypt,” says Montasser.

For example, TMG is now saving 15% of the overall materials cost on projects such as Noor City because bills of quantity are consistently audited and updated using the BIM model throughout the build.

“This loss was hidden before,” he explains, “but now we can revise and audit any bill of quantity for buildings, infrastructure and more. We make sure we have extracted and described the real bill of quantity before the tender process with contractors. This has had a huge effect on our materials wastage and costs within TMG.

He adds that Autodesk Docs allows the Noor project team to be more efficient and work to a clearer responsibility matrix and clearer approval sequences.

It also avoids documents being lost, as used to sometimes happen in the past when hard copies of design drawings, RFIs and other documents had to be couriered between different offices in Cairo for updates and approvals.

The new process markedly reduces project risk, says Montasser. “Lost documents have a huge negative impact. They cost money and time, and in the worst case, can make it too late to solve a problem or mean that work cannot proceed. Using Autodesk Docs prevents all of this.”

Benefiting from the Autodesk Suite of Products

The main reasons TMG chose to move to Autodesk Docs initially were that it wanted a cloud-based engineering-focused solution and because it was already a long-standing customer of Autodesk – using Revit, Navisworks and Civil 3D from Autodesk’s AEC Collections. The team values the increasingly unified approach it is now taking.

Beyond Docs, TMG is also seeing great advantages from Power BI, Bridge and other Autodesk Construction Cloud solutions. As TMG has connected Power BI with Docs, for example, it has weekly dashboards for every project, including the overall Noor project, and this gives invaluable visibility.

“We have a weekly dashboard which tells us the status of submitted drawings and documents, the percentage of approvals and rejections of design drawings, and how many RFIs are pending,” explains Montasser.

Gaining Insights and Alignment

TMG has also found these new dashboards yield all sorts of invaluable insights. For example, the supervising team might notice a high rate of RFIs in a month, which could point to a constructability issue that might not have been apparent as soon otherwise. Montasser adds they also benefit from smart screening the rate of review by consultancies to understand which design partners are meeting their KPIs.

The Power BI dashboards also give senior leaders a birds-eye view of progress on the project, enabling them to understand performance trends and any reasons behind delays, thereby empowering better decision-making.

Montasser adds that, in the past, design and construction projects were entirely separate, meaning TMG teams had to create documents, folder structures and permissions from scratch to kick off the construction phase.

“Now we have the design project on Autodesk Docs and, once the construction is awarded, we create a new project for that, and we can bridge all the documents to it so everyone is aligned. The Bridge feature has huge benefit for us. It saves us a lot of time, as we don’t have to download and upload endless documents.”

Bringing the Supply Chain Together

In the past, trying to co-ordinate the supply chain on complex builds such as Noor was hugely challenging. Even seemingly minor problems like file transfer links expiring could cause confusion and delays. Things now run much more smoothly, says Montasser.

“Now everyone involved can see the shared models from different consultancies. They can understand what has been submitted and the status of submissions. Usually, they link all their models together and do the co-ordination extraction process from there. Things are certainly much better than before.”

Want to learn more about Autodesk Docs? Schedule a demo to see software built for every construction workflow.

Mohammad Abou Assali

Senior Customer Success Manager, Autodesk