Digital construction case studies discussed at Portugal BIMcert partner meeting

Paul McCormack, BIMcert Programme Manager, Fernando Pinho,
Co-Ordinator of the South Civil Engineering Council of the Portuguese Order
of Engineers, and Antonio Aguiar Costa, IST/CERIS, Portugal

The international conference ‘Digital Competencies in Construction: Standardization, Capacitation and Internationalization’ took place on the 2nd of July at the auditorium of the Portuguese Engineering Chamber, Lisbon, Portugal. More than one hundred fifty participants attended the conference, representing all stakeholders in the construction industry.

The opening session had the participation of the President of the Engineering Chamber, Eng. Carlos Mineiro Aires, and the coordinator of the Regional Civil Engineering College, Eng. Fernando Pinho. Afterwards, António Aguiar Costa, a member of the Regional College of Civil Engineering, partner of BIMcert and chair of the organization committee of this conference, presented the challenges of digitization and the contribution of each of the conference speakers to the discussion of the theme.

The conference program included groups of recognized merit in the national and international industry, which discussed the progressive digitalization of the industry and  the importance of standardization, training and internationalization in the context of digital innovation. The experience and cases of the following entities were presented: 

– DST (construction company) shared its experience and identified some challenges of digitization and BIM; 

– COTEC (National Association for Innovation) inspired and sensitized the audience to the importance of innovation and, in particular, to the inevitability of industry digitization; 

– IPQ, the Portuguese Institute for Quality, presented the standardization process in Portugal and highlighted its crucial role in more complex contexts;

– CT197-BIM, BIM standardization committee coordinated by the Instituto Superior Técnico (university), presented the latest normative work in the scope of BIM; 

– TOP Informática (software company) presented digital and collaborative solutions capable of encouraging change;

– Mineral Rocks Cluster, presented its Inovstone 4.0 project and the challenge of integrating the industry around BIM and the digitization of processes; 

– University of Minho (university) presented the master BIM European BIM A+ and the opportunities for a European BIM education;

– Technological University of Dublin shared the experience of renewing their educational curriculum to integrate BIM; 

– Belfast Met presented the ambitious European project BIMCERT, which aims to create and provide BIM certifications; 

– APCER (Portuguese Association for Certification)  discussed certification in the context of construction and future development opportunities;

– IEFP (National Institute for Employment and Professional Qualification) presented its vision for vocational training in the context of digital skills;

 and the Architecture, Engineer, and Construction Cluster shared some of its initiatives towards the transformation of the industry.

The closing session had the participation of Eng. Jorge Grade Mendes, coordinator of the Southern Region of the Engineering Chamber.

The conference allowed people to share experiences, as well as  discuss the next steps of the digital transformation in construction, valuing the human role in the paradigm shift. Digital skills are not just technological skills. They are also social and managerial skills, which have been very clear throughout the various testimonies. The challenge now is to think about the future, which must be underpinned by a robust normative component, aligned with good international practice and be geared towards qualified professionals.

Antonio Aguiar Costa, IST/CERIS, Portugal

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