A delegation of representatives of the Nigerian Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) visited Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) as part of a collaboration with CITB NI. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has a significant construction sector that is emerging from recession. FOCI is a body that brings together Construction Employers, Material Suppliers and Manufacturers, meaning that the entire supply side is encompassed in their federation. The issues facing the industry are similar to those in construction sectors all over the world:
- Attracting construction workers
- Creating training programmes that meet employers needs
- Developing better quality and productivity
As part of the visit to Northern Ireland the group visited BMC to hear about the work being carried out in the H2020 funded BIMCert project which is a collaboration between 5 partners from, Croatia, Ireland, Macedonia, Portugal and of course Northern Ireland. The group were interested in the drivers for movement to BIM and Digital Construction in general and the skills requirements identified within the industry research carried out as part of the project.
In particular, the group were interested in how the BIMCert project team are developing a “Beyond Blended” approach to training for the skills needed broken down into “Bite Sized” learning elements. The group were impressed by the work carried out in developing a framework of skills needs and the delivery platform being developed that will allow upskilling in a manor that suits a variety of learning styles with consistent standards and assessment being ensured through an on-line delivery system.
BIMCert project team members Paul McCormack, Eduardo Rebello and Barry Neilson introduced the delegation to the materials developed to date and shared the vision of how this will be advanced in the future. The team from FOCI could see the potential for development of BIM in their own industry and recognised the issues being addressed by BIMCert as being common to Nigeria;
- Clients who need to be educated in the benefits and building requirements into procurement.
- Disseminating the skills needed to drive digital construction across the whole industry
- Engaging with the tools available to manage the “whole life” of the built environment from inception through delivery and use, to eventual demolition at the end of its life.
While the Nigerian industry may lag behind some areas of the world in Digital construction, its size and the involvement of major construction companies from around the world will ensure that it is not long before the skills development model being developed within the BIMCert project will be needed there as well.
The Nigerian delegates will continue to monitor the BIMcert progression through the website at: – https://energybimcert.eu
Barry Neilson CITB