BIM education in the UK
As the academic year kicks off for another year we at coBuilder would like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to BIM education in the UK. We are delighted to introduce you to Dr. Noha Saleeb, Associate Professor in Creative Technologies and Programme Leader of the MSc Building Information Modelling Management who shared with us some interesting insights into the BIM MSc offered by the Middlesex University, London.
Is BIM education gaining traction in the UK?
NS: Yes, there is increasing collaboration between universities and industry to align learning objectives for BIM and methods for delivering different kinds of BIM training/education categories whether technical or operational or strategic. Different schemes for certification are also under consideration. Furthermore the collaboration is now extending to include other countries in all 5 continents.
What are the benefits a BIM University degree?
NS: A university BSC, MSC or PHD degree ensures all of quality, rigour and proper assessment of skills, knowledge and application of expertise, due to the validation of the programme delivered on several levels by expert academic and industry specialists. Furthermore the university degree is recognised worldwide in any country and organisation, as opposed to specific certifications issued by specific organisations or bodies which only satisfy that entity’s benchmarks.
How did BIM university curricula come to where they are today? How did it all start?
NS: At the beginning, BIM curricula were individual endeavours by each university based on industry requirements and benchmarks set out by the BIM task Group. However the BIM Academic Forum (BAF) was then formulated 4 years ago, where all universities of UK are active members of. This conducts regular biannual meetings, each with a specific practical set of outcomes to help define what BIM requirements need to be taught at different educational levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 (undergraduate and postgraduate). So far a clear set of learning outcomes have been set for these levels in agreement with the BIM Task Group, examples of implementing them, and case studies discussed and revisited to assess them. Furthermore the 1st International BAF conference was just held 13-15 Sept 2016 in Glasgow, where different research and case studies related to BIM projects and education and new innovative techniques of teaching were showcased from different countries around the world from both academics and industry professionals and organisations.
What is the role of the private sector in upskilling the construction industry through education?
NS: We conduct regular workshops with the private sector to get their continuous updated feedback on the status of BIM in industry and requirements needed from our graduates. Furthermore we employ private sector professionals as guest lecturers, and use their real live projects as projects we work on with the students.
What is the state of BIM research in academia? What are the go to resources that you recommend to your students?
NS: BIM research in academia is now heading towards incorporating new technologies and concepts in BIM e.g. Big data analytics, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Smart Cities etc. There are many UK and international resources online and Standards which cannot be exclusively written here, but a start would be the UK BIM Taskgroup website.
Some people say that BIM professions will become obsolete in the next few years, as BIM will be something everybody would have to understand and practice to a certain degree, what is your opinion?
NS: It is true that CURRENT BIM processes and workflows of level 2 will become business as usual in the workplace in the near future, but I believe the term BIM will not become obsolete – it will evolve and develop to mean different methods and techniques which the industry will aspire to continue achieving.
What is the importance of the “I” in BIM?
NS: The I stands for Information – and it is what the whole process revolves around. Managing project information is the main aspect that defines whether a project is successful or not. This information can be technical, construction, maintenance, human resources, components, sensor data, financial, schedules etc.
What is BIM for you?
NS: BIM for me is an overarching umbrella of more efficient collaboration, processes and procedures for more efficient workflows in the construction industry?
How do you imagine BIM 5 years from now?
NS: BIM in 5 years time could have evolved significantly due to the advances in technology and massive production of data and information from Smart assets and Social data, which will render the methods of managing construction projects very different from what we do today. Presence of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Telemetry, Cloud Computing will revolutionise operational and strategic processes and workflows in the construction industry.
We would like to thank Dr Noha Saleeb for the cooperation and enthusiasm as well as the time and effort to participate in our interview.