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What is the project about?

  • The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) is a truly novel initiative in global health.
  • It began as a ground-breaking collaboration in 2009 between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)  and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), with public sector support through Life Labs, the biotechnology investment arm of the South African government.

Who are the key players?

  • Structural Engineers
  • Architects
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Civil Engineers

With all these consultants working individually and producing flat paper work as the platform as a means of communication. This had proved to be problematic as there was no successful means of collaboration between all the consultant's work.

Open BIM Software Details

  • KZNCAD (using ArchiCAD to co-ordinate services in complete BIM model)
  • Architects (using 2D)
  • Civil Engineer (using 2D)
  • Electrical engineer (using 2D)
  • Mechanical Engineer (using 2D)
  • Mechanical Fire Engineer (Revit MEP)
  • Structural Wetwork Engineer (using 2D)
  • Structural Steel Engineer (using Tekla)

KZNCAD was employed to create a detailed 3D BIM model to assist decision making and visualization to resolve problems that occurred during the construction phase.

By using ArchiCAD to co-ordinate the consultant’s drawings in a 3D environment with intelligent BIM attributes assigned to all elements, it was easy to navigate through the building & find clashes with other consultant’s services and problems with the design.

Communicating back to the consultants in a format their preferred software could read, to amend their drawings, was very effective due to the fact that ArchiCAD is an OpenBIM medium.

Project Phases

  • Construction halt due to MEP system and Structure clashes.
  • Checking of building plans received vs. installed services.
  • The appointment of new facility manager.
  • Creation of a K-RITH BIM project from received drawings and on-site pictures taken.
  • Ability to navigate and resolve clashes from the building site and continue construction.
  • Continuous asset management of all equipment including commissioned products.

Spacial Planning

The fact that the 3D BIM model was ahead of construction made it possible to:

  • Plan ahead & resolve clashes in a virtual 3D environment instead of resolving the problem on site, which could lead to a cost & time increase.
  • To evaluate whether enough ceiling space has been allocated for the services, which is hard to judge in a 2D environment.
  • Foresee possible design flaws.


A 3D floor with resolved service co-ordination.



Mechanical HVAC | Fire protection | Structural Engineering