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Industry is vital to educating the next generation

The 2016 government BIM mandate has created urgency over the past couple of years in educating the industry in BIM, what it means and how we deliver it.

While it is a hugely powerful tool that allows us to collaborate more effectively and deliver better buildings, there remains a number of problems within the industry in terms of educating the next generation of building professionals.

Naturally, universities have a major role to play.

This has proven a difficult task, however, as a number have little or no understanding on what is involved in BIM and are increasingly reliant on the industry to step in and assist with education.

“A number [of universities] have little or no understanding on what is involved in BIM and are increasingly reliant on the industry to step in and assist with education”

Much of the education on BIM revolves around what are known as the ‘eight pillars’.

The difficulty with teaching these is that it assumes a certain level of knowledge of the processes in the construction industry.

This can be tough, as most in university courses will have no real knowledge of the construction process, making it very confusing, especially as a lot of the acronyms are new terminology used to describe old processes.

Real expertise

There also exists within the industry a misconception that those who receive one of the various BIM accreditations immediately become experts.

In reality, these accreditations are mostly just crash courses on the eight pillars.

To truly gain an understanding of BIM, including aspects such as data and social interaction, I would recommend completing a master’s degree (which can be completed as a part-time distance learning course).

To mitigate these issues, Ramboll has created an Integrated Business Technology Network which aids the delivery of an exemplary standard level of BIM across the business, upskilling departments with the changing regulation in the sector as well as providing support and guidance.

In 1998, Sir John Egan dared us to do things differently and to rethink construction.

With the hard work of the government’s BIM Task Group, we are finally starting to witness Egan’s vision, although we still have a long way to go.

I would encourage those who are able to step up and volunteer at colleges and universities: teaching the next generation is vital in achieving Egan’s vision.

Graham Stewart is a director at Ramboll UK and UK Head of BIM responsible for the Integrated Business Technology Network

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