CITB Presentation at BSi BIM Belfast Conference

The British Standards Institute (BSi) hosted a conference in Belfast bringing together experts from industry, practice and academia to debate key topics, to develop innovative solutions, and predict future trends. The conference included a range of presentations from Norman Foster & Partners, Copenhagen Airport, Schiphol Airport and Crossrail.  Barry Neilson (CITB NI’s Chief Executive and BIMCert Project member) also presented on the findings and work being developed within the BIMCert project.

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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.”