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The Rise of BIM (And Eight Training Tips for Universities and Offices)

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The Rise of BIM (And Eight Training Tips for Universities and Offices)

Has your firm started using Building Information Modelling? Does your university teach it? If not, you’re falling behind. This article looks at the rise of Building Information Modelling. It also examines some training tips that universities and firms can employ.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) seems to be the big thing in the architecture and engineering sectors. Clients want you to use it for their projects. Most firms have looked into it, even if they haven’t adopted it yet.

This may give you the impression that you have plenty of time to think about whether BIM is right for you.

You don’t.

Several states in Australia want to mandate its use for public projects. Take Queensland as an example. The state wants contractors to work within the BIM framework on all public infrastructure projects by 2023. Those that can’t get left out in the cold. They won’t be able to pitch for the work that the state has to offer. They may also find that the private sector follows the state’s lead. Work dries up and the firm struggles to stay in business.

It’s not just Australia that wants to see wide-scale adoption of Building Information Modelling. In fact, Australia is behind the curve. The United States has been making a gradual switch to BIM since 2004. Singapore also mandates its use on public building projects of 5000 square feet or more. Even the United Kingdom now mandates BIM’s use on centrally-funded work.

There’s a simple point to all of this. Building Information Modelling is not something that you can worry about in the future. It’s part of the now. Firms must train their staff in its use. Universities must ensure their students can work within the BIM framework by the time they leave school.

Help is at hand. This article provides some simple tips to help you with your Building Information Modelling training. But first, let’s examine why there’s this push towards the methodology.

Why BIM?

To understand the why, you need to know the what. In this case, you want to know the answer to the question “what is BIM?”

BIM makes use of several technologies to create a more collaborative project environment. Such technologies include cloud computing and modern digital design software packages. What BIM is not is a technology in its own right. Instead, it’s a methodology that changes the processes you follow when completing design work.

Here’s how it works. Building Information Modelling involves the use of a central database. All of the information related to the project gets stored in this database. This includes the model and all of the facts and figures related to the work. This creates a single location for all of the information that’s relevant to the project.

All stakeholders involved in the project have access to this database. They can also add to it and edit the information that it stores.

But here’s the key. The model has direct links to the information sets stored in the database. This allows for some design automation. Here’s a basic example. Let’s say one of the stakeholders changes the material used in the model. They don’t need to have the architect manually alter the design to reflect this change. Instead, they change the information in the database. The link between this information and the model leads to the changes taking place automatically.

Building Information Modelling allows instant information sharing. It also creates a more collaborative environment. Stakeholders don’t get pulled into the project when they’re needed. Instead, they’re involved from the start.

There are several benefits of BIM. Firstly, the central database cuts down on the delays that occur when passing information from one stakeholder to another. Instead, it allows for instant information transfer.

Moreover, the use of a single model eliminates the need for reworking. You don’t have to create models for each subset of information. Instead, you use BIM software to create a single model that shows all of the information.

On a practical level, fewer delays lead to cost savings. You can dedicate time that you would have spent waiting on the model. It also helps you to pitch models to clients and cuts down on mistakes. With BIM, you can spot small issues that wouldn’t have become apparent until you reached the construction stage. Again, this drives efficiency and lowers costs.

 

Tips for Effective BIM Training

With all of this in mind, it’s unsurprising that many countries want to mandate the use of Building Information Modelling. But how do you train somebody for a complete change in the way they do things?

Here are seven tips to help firms and universities with their BIM training.

 

Tip #1 – Set Clear Learning Outcomes

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This is a tip that applies to most training programs. But it’s particularly important for Building Information Modelling. There’s a lot of information to cover during the course of your training program. Students need to understand what BIM is and what it accomplishes. From there, they have to learn about BIM software and how to work within the framework.

You can’t create general lessons that try to provide overviews on all of these topics at once. Instead, each training session needs a specific goal. For example, early sessions may focus on helping students learn the basics. These would include what BIM is and the advantages that it offers. Your next sessions may offer some case studies in which students compare BIM projects to non-BIM projects. Then you can move onto more practical sessions, and so on.

The point is that every lesson needs a defined learning outcome. Figure out what your people need to know before they can move onto the next stage of their training. These are your learning outcomes. Structure sessions around reaching those outcomes and you’ll achieve more success with your BIM training.

Tip #2 – Think About Who You’re Teaching To

As mentioned, BIM requires massive organisational change. For firms, this presents a few problems with training. Your designers may benefit from some Revit courses. But your project managers need to focus on other topics. They’re more concerned with how you handle contracts and deliverables in the BIM framework.

The point is that there’s no “one size fits all” solution for your BIM training. You need several courses that tackle different topics in depth. The aim is to make sure that everybody involved in your BIM projects knows their role and how to accomplish their tasks in the framework.

Don’t shy away from helping designers understand more about project flow. And project managers may benefit from a few Revit sessions. But make sure that their sessions focus predominantly on what they need to do their jobs effectively.

Tip #3 – Create a Schedule

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Scheduling is a major issue with your training. This goes for both firms and universities.

In the case of firms, understand that your sessions take away from your working time. You haven’t made the switch to BIM yet. Every hour somebody spends training is an hour away from the work they need to deliver. Account for this when creating your schedule. An intensive BIM course may not do the job if you can’t afford to pull people away from their work.

It may seem like universities don’t have to deal with this problem. After all, they’re dedicated educational facilities. But remember that your students need many skills to compete in the job market. Dedicating entire courses to BIM may be a good idea. But it can’t come at the expense of teaching students other skills that they need for the industry.

Create a schedule that people can keep to without harming their other work or learning goals.

Tip #4 – Vary Your Lesson Styles

Sometimes you need an hour-long lecture. If you have a lot of information to convey, speaking on a topic for an hour may do the job.

But imagine sitting through nothing but hour-long verbal lectures for weeks at a time. Eventually, your attention starts to slip. And when that happens, you’re not taking in the information that’s delivered to you.

Training session planners that don’t vary their lessons don’t help students reach their learning outcomes. People tune out and forget a lot of what you’ve taught them.

Variety is the key. Mix up your training sessions so students learn more than just the theoretical side of things. For example, you may give a verbal lecture for half an hour. But then, you could have students work through case studies that ask them to apply what they’ve learned. Or, you could organise a practical session with the same purpose. Moreover, place an emphasis on teamwork. Remember that BIM focuses on collaboration. Team activities reinforce that fact.

Varying your lesson styles keeps you students on their toes. It also keeps them engaged. Those that don’t connect with verbal lectures may understand topics better in a more practical environment. Others may need to know the theory before they can apply it practically. Account for all student types with your training sessions.

Tip #5 – Divide Sessions Between Novices and Experts

It’s possible that you’ll have people in your organisation who already know a good deal about BIM. Getting them to sit through sessions that deal with the basics won’t stimulate them. Instead, you’ll waste their time.

Moreover, you can’t assume that everybody has a basic understanding of the concepts. Jumping past the basics leaves novices confused. They don’t have a foundation to build from, so they can’t achieve their learning outcomes.

You need different sessions for different levels of expertise. Figure out where participants stand and assign them to sessions that relate to their current skill levels. It may also help to get your more knowledgeable people involved as tutors in your “essentials” sessions. This has the added benefit of getting your people working together, even if some have more advanced knowledge than others. Again, this feeds into the collaborative aspect of BIM.

Tip #6 – Invite Feedback

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Eventually, you’ll hone your BIM training so that it’s effective right off the bat. But that doesn’t happen straight away. You’re likely to make some missteps along the way that affect learning outcomes.

This is where inviting feedback from your students really pays off. Encourage people to ask questions and raise issues that they have with your training. This provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of your sessions. You may discover that a topic you brushed over is actually something that your students need to learn more about. Or, you may find that you’re spending too much time on something fairly simple.

Feedback allows you to adapt your sessions until they achieve what you need from them. It also gives students ownership of their training. They have an influence on what they’re taught, which keeps them engaged.

Tip #7 – It’s Not One and Done

Continued education is a requirement for many skilled professions. There’s a good reason for this. Skills get dull over time. This is especially the case for skills that your students don’t use very often after completing their training.

Don’t assume that a single training session is enough to establish expertise in a topic. Find ways to help students keep their new skills sharp. Online learning facilities that they can access at any time help. So does inviting them to get involved in later sessions or having them sit in on BIM projects that they have no direct involvement in.

Conclusion

Providing BIM training is not an easy task. It’s a complex topic that requires several sessions of training to understand. After that, students must reinforce their knowledge and keep their skills sharp. Educators also have to analyse their sessions to ensure they’re delivering the correct learning outcomes.

It’s a lot to take in, especially if you don’t already have a grounding in BIM. Happily, there’s help available in the form of the Archistar Academy. We understand that creating a BIM training program takes a lot of time and effort. That’s why we’ve created courses that lift this burden off your shoulders. We offer a range of courses that cover the BIM essentials and the software used in the framework. Our courses also help you to track your students’ learning outcomes.

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with an Archistar representative today to find out how we can help you reach your training goals.

 


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Posted on 10 Dec 2018



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