Almost 150,000 Construction workers required across the UK and Ireland alone by 2021

The Irish Construction industry needs an additional 112,000 Construction Workers up to 2020, the UK needs an additional 35,740 across the industry up to 2021.

A skilled workforce is necessary to support the current growth in the European construction sector. More school leavers are currently choosing to enter the sector, with approximately 13,000 taking up apprenticeships in 2017. However, school leavers alone will not be enough to fulfil the appetite of a rapidly growing industry. There are several strategies needed to fill the gap.

  • A structured process (BIM)
  • Attract newcomers
  • Increase diversity
  • Retention

BIM allows us to do more with less, spending less time doing repetitive tasks which can often be automated. This means that our time is spent adding real value to the projects we are involved with. This cannot be achieved without training, BIM and Digital Construction is constantly evolving and it is only by keeping up to date that we can achieve the biggest benefits. BIM allows visual sequencing and planning on projects which ensures that the right materials and tools are available at the right time. The new standard ISO19650; Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM) provides clarity about BIM in a global sense, by having guidance at an international level it allows for a greater understanding and transfer of skills across Europe and the world.

Attracting newcomers to the construction industry exacerbates the requirement for the provision of training. The work that the BIM Cert project is doing is vital to allow those who are either upskilling from within their current roles or wishing to transition from other industries to undertake training in a method that is flexible, achievable and valuable. It also provides a route for re-entry to the workplace, a relatively untapped resource.

The importance of the increase of diversity in Construction and the effect of this cannot be underestimated. To take an example, Women comprise 46% of the total workforce in the U.K. However, this figure drops to 12% of the total construction industry workforce, professionals make up 5% and 1% in skilled trades. This indicates a difference of 34% potential workers who may be available to the construction industry. By increasing these numbers, we should be able to support the level of workers needed. In my work with Women in BIM we have identified that attraction and retention are the main barriers to increasing those figures. The hope is that by increasing the visibility of women and minority groups in construction, we can help to resolve those issues, but it is also worth noting that without adequate training solutions it will be impossible to attract or retain people within the construction industry.

Louise Kelly, ACB Group, Global Vice Chair of Women in BIM

Instituto Superior Técnico visits the Centre for Professional Training in Construction

IST is doing  important work at a national level in Portugal to support the introduction of BIM into the existing training programs for professionals. The objective is to create new and updated certifications for the industry, which should be aligned with the BIMcert framework. In this sense, IST is working to establish several partnerships with centres for professional training and the National Institute of Employment and Professional Training. In our photographs you can see images from our last visit to the Centre for Professional Training in Construction (CENFIC), which wants to upgrade the existing certifications to include BIM. Antonio Aguiar Costa, from BIMcert partner IST , said: “It was fantastic to see the motivation of CENFIC’s Director and his team towards the modernization of the training  and certification programs. Digital competencies are increasingly important and a major concern for the industry. Human resources must be updated and be prepared for the new paradigm as soon as possible.”

By Antonio Aguiar Costa

Technological University Dublin ‘new’ BIMcert partner

Ireland’s first technological university has been formally established by law and is now the country’s largest third-level institute. Technological University Dublin officially came into being on January 1st and has 28,000 students and more than 3,000 staff.

The main campus for the university formed from the merger of Dublin Institute of Technology, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown will be in Grangegorman.

However, it will continue to operate out of existing campuses at Tallaght and Blanchardstown. DIT are a partner on the BIMcert project.

Dr. Avril Behan, Assistant Head of the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies, reported that the DIT staff engagement in EU-funded projects such as BIMCert was critical to achieving the endorsement of an international expert panel and foundation as Ireland’s first Technological University (TU Dublin). 

Dr Behan, said: “The increased research and industry engagement remits of Technological University Dublin will enable continued and improved collaboration with European and worldwide partners to tackle societal challenges, such as climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

FAC Present on ‘New Approaches to Housing Delivery’ at the 5th National Construction Summit

fa picFuture Analytics Managing Director, Professor William Hynes, was one of the guest speakers at the 5th National Construction Summit, held on the 14th March in the Citywest Hotel, Dublin. The Summit brought together over 2,000 representatives from the construction sector in order to stimulate debate, connect and share their expertise. As such, Professor Hynes was delighted to have an opportunity to present on the ‘’New Approaches to Housing Deliver in Ireland’’.

Continue reading “FAC Present on ‘New Approaches to Housing Delivery’ at the 5th National Construction Summit”

Feedback from BIMcert workshops

At the heart of the BIMCert project are the aims to upskill the workforce and develop new employees joining the industry. There has been feedback from some recent BIMcert workshops. The Macedonian workshop was held on October 10th. Among the key comments made were that the favoured training method indicated by attendees is blended learning. The introduction of BIM within Macedonian legislation is realistically within the next 3-5 years. The curriculum of all modules will be in english, because it is the most common language.

The Croatian workshop was on October 13th. Among the key comments were that there is a lack of use of BIM in energy efficiency, there is very little use of Revit in Croatia. Surveyors there do not understand a  lot about BIM.  The best method for assessing the BIM level needs in a company is bringing in an outside expert consultant.

The Dublin workshop was held on October 23rd. Among the key comments were BIMcert needs to engage with actual workers, the next phase should involve tradespeople or at the very least, the contractors themselves. There is a need to monitor or at least record accounts of implementation of BIM in the Republic of Ireland and the EU. There exists a need to sell to contractors and monitor the implementation, not just the production rate of BIM design but the practice and follow through in the build.

The Lisbon workshop was held on November 6th. Among the key comments were contractors are doing BIM internally as no one is delivering training at present. The BIM implementation in Portugal is mostly individual, (Internal to organisation). There are a few collaborations between the different stakeholders, but there is a need to know how to work collaboratively.

Workshops held in Macedonia, Croatia, Portugal and Norther Ireland gave valuable insight in the needs of the industry for BIM training and current situation in BIM implementation. Among the key comments made were that the favoured training method indicated by attendees is blended learning, but face to face assistance to in the beginning is helpfull; there is a lack of use of BIM in energy efficiency; lack of training in BIM, and finally – BIMcert needs to engage with actual workers and at least contractors to ensure the final offering is fit for purpose .

A BIMCert workshop which was led by BIMcert partners Future Analytics and CITB NI was held at Belfast Met’s Titanic Quarter campus on 13 November.

A number of interested parties from the Northern Ireland construction scene took part including representatives of Farrans and Henry Brothers, two  of the biggest construction enterprises in Northern Ireland.

The workshop encouraged interaction with the project team, Future Analytics are in charge of the trials, review and the testing process while CITB aim to ensure that developed materials meet the varying needs of the practitioners.

Belfast Met Construction lecturer Andrew Hamilton whose work is focused on accreditation for the BIMcert project explained about the planned curriculum for BIMcert. The modules will include digital skills, BIM for contractors, advanced BIM and energy efficiency and BIM facilities management. Andrew pointed out the need to take the trades with us on the BIMcert journey, and there is a need to break the qualification into bite sized sections. It was suggested that the likes of an app could be used for this type of training.

William Hynes from Future Analytics discussed the different types of learning that were available for BIMcert, the traditional classroom, the e learning space, social learning, and self study offline/online. Barry Mc Auley from the BIMCert partner, Dublin Institute of Technology commented people had different levels of knowledge, areas of need and user requirement. Meanwhile Gayle Beckett from CITB let the audience know that time and cost were the key barriers to training that they noticed from the recent CITB survey.

The BIMcert project aims to upskill the construction workforce and help develop new employees joining the industry. There is the strange conundrum that employees below 40 years old are IT literate but lack construction experience while employees over 40 have construction experience but lack the IT literacy required in the workplace to engage in BIM/digital construction.

The Farrans BIM Co Ordinator, Kyle Brennan mentioned its easier  to initially offer face to face assistance to start the journey into BIM/digital construction before embracing the blended learning approach.

Clients need to be educated on the benefits of BIM, and the benefits to contractors and their workforce.