Bright young Zim quantity surveyor a world hero Tanaka Tande

Herald Correspondent

I would like to play a key role in the development of infrastructure in Africa, Zimbabwe in particular to be in similar to the state of infrastructure in developed countries.

“I strongly believe that application of knowledge through Building Information Modelling will enhance the achievement of sustainable development and ensuring value for money for every project.” 

Some believe clearly spelling your visions is a way of claiming it and so manifesting it into reality. 

It certainly seems to be the case for Tanaka Tande. Billed to talk to the world on Project Cost Management at the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Coordinators Summit 2022, the young Zimbabwean quantity surveyor has been recognised as a world architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) hero. 

BIM Heroes are chosen by a community of like-minded peers for recognisable contributions to the sector. BIM Coordinators Summit 2022 will be held in Dublin, Ireland and streamed live on a virtual platform this September. 

“It’s a great privilege to be one of the speakers among global AEC experts. Also, it is an opportunity to share information, develop expertise, understanding and wisdom to advance knowledge about BIM to help make the built world a better place,” Tande said in a recent interview.

BIM is the foundation of digital transformation in the AEC industry. It is the holistic process of creating and managing information for a built asset. 

Based on an intelligent model and enabled by a cloud platform, BIM integrates structured, multi-disciplinary data to produce a digital representation of an asset across its life cycle, from planning and design to construction and operations.

The aim of the summit is to “celebrate” BIM Coordinators, BIM Managers, Information Managers and AEC professionals who take on responsibility to produce, manage and coordinate “information” about buildings and infrastructure. 

Tanaka Tande is a cost and project manager with Zimbabwean quantity surveying and infrastructural development firm, TN Zunzanyika Associates. It is there that he has had a chance to work on exciting projects like the Victoria Falls International Airport and RGMIA upgrades. 

He says the project that the TN Zunzanyika Associated team remarks as its favourite feat was managing the delivery of 17 new schools in eight provinces of the country in a period of less than 24 months. 

The schools were funded through a Government loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). The before and after images explain why.

Tande is responsible for preparing feasibility studies or development appraisals, assessing capital and revenue expenditure over the whole life of a project, advising clients on ways of procuring the project, ways of procuring the project, setting of budgets, managing and analysing risk and so much more. 

“The portfolio is varied with Government, corporate, NGO and individual clients for very diverse projects, thereby really giving me scope to develop my career to become a BIM hero today,” said Tanaka.

“For one to become a BIM hero, you have to join an international community or group of people who are engaged in the planning, procurement, production, management and exchange of information in the built environment or AEC sector (architecture, engineering, construction real estate, property and infrastructure asset management) using BIM. 

“After joining the group, one has to be recognised and appreciated for their contribution to the AEC built environment sector by being awarded the “Hero’’ token of appreciation after being nominated,” said Tanaka.

Tanaka’s passion in his work is palatable and quite infectious. Hearing him speak about the possibilities for the African plain through the adoption of BIM principles supported by the Summit, can lead one into a career change.

“The Summit can help in raising the level of awareness regarding digital construction methods. The adoption of BIM practices across the African continent has been slower than other continents

 Research states the low adoption of BIM in Africa is mainly due to lack of appreciation of the benefits that BIM will bring to the construction sector.

“The summit has a vision, a new destination that will inspire and motivate people to change and adapt to working more collaboratively to achieve improved working outcomes and optimisation of the whole life performance of assets which will through broad awareness and upskilling learning framework of BIM skills,” he said.

Tanaka believes that the way infrastructure is done has to keep up with the emerging market needs:

“The rapid digital transformation in past two decades has made the world a much smaller place by opening of new markets, creation new products and services, industrialisation and urbanisation in emerging economies. 

Tanaka Tande has helped in the transformation of schools from old buildings to modern infrastructure

“To complement these changes, the construction industry has an enormous responsibility to provide infrastructure to support the society through housing, education, healthcare, transport, utilities for safe water, energy, communications, food, community, commercial and entertainment activities,” he said.

Although the construction industry is still somewhat lagging behind, it is exciting to see all the opportunities where the emerging technologies in the field can make a huge impact on global socio-economic structures. 

In Zimbabwe, Tanaka says Eastgate is the building that inspires him most: “It’s one of the most sustainable buildings in the world. It’s perfectly in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda to create modern green buildings which create positive impact on our climate and natural environment and promotes resource efficiency; efficient use of energy, water and other resources, pollution and waste reduction principles.

“The design mimicked the Anthill concept, thus use of which has a passive natural cooling which does not require mechanical heating ventilation and air conditioning. The construction deviates from the international fascination of glass tower models towards the ancient stone architecture of Great Zimbabwe.”

Tande says a change of outlook in the possibilities of infrastructure could be the game changer for the world.

“The construction industry has been slower to adopt and adapt to new digital technologies than other global sectors. Our current practices are wasteful, unsafe and very impactful on the environment. Building is slow, expensive and dangerous. It is not keeping up with the global standards. 

“Many people still live in abject poverty without necessary infrastructure that many of us take for granted.

“There is need for the global AEC industry to adopt digital processes of designing, constructing and operating the built environment so that it establishes more effective, efficient ways to design and create spaces that are smarter and more resilient,” he added.

The long hours, tight deadlines and possibility of design change can be gruelling but Tanaka believes it is all worth it when you see an idea that you have worked on literally materialising in front of you. 

“My passion for sustainable infrastructure development, BIM and their potential positive impact in construction sector, mostly attainment of economic sustainability led me to pursue a career in cost management and project management.

It is exciting, the most fulfilling part is the satisfaction of having completed a product (project) that meets the clients’ requirements (brief) and most importantly in some instance, the total transformation which these projects will bring to the communities in which the project would have been undertaken.

The numbers guy occasionally breaks from his work for reading and to play darts. 

When he gets the chance to travel he will head for a place where he can do some sky-walking and zip-lining. Mtarazi Falls in Nyanga is his preferred destination when he wants to experience the beauty of Zimbabwe. Should you ever take him out for a meal, make sure to offer to do it at a place where they offer good Zimbabwean traditional dishes.

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