BIMCert Develops new qualification for Digital Construction with OCN NI

BIMcert funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme aims to provide a training and qualification scheme for the skills required to support the implementation of BIM (Building Information Modelling) throughout the construction chain. BIM offers the opportunity for improved efficiencies for the construction industry in energy, materials and time.

Central to this is the creation of an accredited curriculum and framework of qualifications developed through the work and output from each work package, within the context of a National and European wide framework.  Establishing an accredited curriculum framework, with associated qualifications will provide the learners and stakeholders with an assurance of the qualification and standards of training. 

However, for the curriculum to have immediate and lasting impact it must be informed by, shaped to and delivered meeting industry needs.  From the project conception industry has been at the core of the BIMcert project, as identified via the innovative BIMcert Strategy Compass, with CITB NI a core partner and local businesses such as O’Hare & McGovern and Creagh Concrete Products part of the Industry Advisory Panel.  Guidance from these partners along with feedback from our industry workshops, across the partner regions, has identified a gap in the market in terms of the offering for upskilling with BIM qualifications, addressing the needs of blue collar workers.  This is daunting for those businesses and workers who want to learn about BIM with the promise of some accreditation but do not wish, or have time to study at this level.  One workshop participant recommended ‘Democratising’ BIM, so that it’s not a top down skill but accessible to all involved in the project, from clients to designers, contractors to supply chain.  As such there is a responsibility to teach others about BIM, ensuring the project is not only BIM compliant but work environments from architect’s offices to construction sites are BIM inclusive.  It was also highlighted that a lack of understanding and knowledge of BIM could also be leading to a wariness of BIM and the resulting slow uptake across certain sectors of the industry.  This resistance in adopting BIM processes and tools is impeding the transition to more energy efficient construction and reduction in carbon emissions within the built environment.

Following a review of existing qualifications BIMcert proceeded with the development and creation of a UK Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 qualification (European Qualification Framework Level 4).  The rational for a Level 3 (4) qualification was to provide an entry point that is accessible to all construction industry workers.  BIMcert working in conjunction with Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI) has developed a range of Digital Construction with Building Information Modelling (BIM) qualifications.  These offer a range of competencies and skills, starting with an introduction to BIM Principles and associated digital skills.  Authoring skills, including models and families, are also addressed along with information management.  Recognising the 3 pillars of BIM and the need to understand the built aspect of both the model and project, a specific energy related qualification is under development.

As part of the next phase of trials BIMcert intend to offer the Digital Construction with Building Information Modelling (BIM) Award via the BIMcert platform and website.  For more details and to sign up please visit www.energybimcert.eu.

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Together we must work to demystify and democratise BIM – breaking down the barriers faced by an industry wishing to upskill and avail of the benefits.