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>instance, Eddie Tuttle, the CIOB’s policy manager, said there was a BIM training defi cit at level 2 that would only deepen as the industry’s early adopters pressed ahead to level 3. “There’s a huge supply chain that still needs to be educated up to level 2, so when we talk about level 3 and beyond, we need to remember that we have to backdate knowledge.” Zahiroddiny countered that to deliver

level 3 the industry needed “different people from different backgrounds to come in and start educating people”, and Bryden Wood's Johnstone had fi rst-hand evidence to suggest that was happening. “One of our most recent hires was an astrophysicist. We started talking to students at UCL and recruited people who had no idea that anyone needed what they did, let alone in construction. We are learning how to make creative people work with data-driven people.”

Johnstone offered another rationale for looking outside the industry for skills: the need to avoid overloading specialist designers with digital demands. “What we don’t want are architects knowing too much about COBie and data – you want to give them creativity.”

Back to BIM school Although several universities now offer BIM masters degrees, Philp felt that BIM’s presence in the undergraduate curriculum and HNC courses was fairly limited, although he said a new “learning outcomes framework” from the BIM Task Group should help to change that. “If you think that in future we’ll need digital construction managers, we need to inject that into courses.” But, he also argued in favour of a more general, global view of construction education, at least in the early stages. “When young people come in to construction degrees we put a badge on them saying ‘you’re a surveyor’. We need more T-shaped learning.” For Trebilcock, the priority was upskilling the industry’s experience staff, arguing that until that generation has its BIM epiphany, it tends to see it as another example of top-down management-

It would be helpful to have a standardised BIM protocol. We have the CIC protocol but it feels dated, and it could take in technical information too.

Francis Ho

If SME’s can relate it to

something that is common and accepted , they can grasp it better. We need to know: how

does the 12-20% overall project saving break down into design, construction and operations?

Tim Platts

speak. “The big cultural problem we have in our industry is that the younger people get it and the older generation do not. From designer to surveyor to site manager, procurement guy – when they get it they become engaged. Those that aren’t see it as a foreign language.” Michael McCullen, chief executive of

construction software house Asta Development, agreed on the need to shift the mindsets of industry veterans, who are often the decision makers. He said: “We see a parallel with IT industry. As part of our project management offering we supply IT departments and when we're putting a system in, the younger people can see the benefi t and want it but there's nearly always an older person, usually a male, who blocks it. It's about their status in the organisation.

The key is to convert those people.” And Ho argued that we needed a

more focus on raising BIM skills among clients’ teams – as likely to include generalist procurement managers, or non-construction entrepreneurs as they are RICS-accredited surveyors. “They come from different backgrounds, so how do we get them interested in something that’s technical and very construction- focused? There is a lack of expertise among clients and a lot of large projects are done by thinly resourced teams.” So will the industry be ready in 2016? The likelihood is that large sections of it will, although some regional contractors, specialists and SMEs may be playing catch-up for several years to come. And if there is one over-riding take-away from the debate, it is that clients in particular need more support to get the most from BIM. But overall, there is little doubt that the industry in 2016 is going to be far more digitally-driven than it was in 2011, and that by 2021, we’ll all be digital natives. CM


For more insights from our Round Table, our BIM+ website has video interviews with every panel member. The site is also your port of call for BIM news, project case studies and technology updates. www.

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