Building Information Modelling: the future of construction planning

by Sivagayinee Gangatheepan, PhD in Planning.

Last month, Birmingham City University hosted the first BIM Regions West Midlands event of the year.

The event focused on Building Information Modelling (BIM) implementation for BCU’s campus development.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model based process that equips architecture, engineering, and construction professionals with the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

The University has been undergoing huge redevelopment over the last few years, as it creates its new City Centre Campus. It is well known for using BIM in these construction projects and the BCU BIM team has successfully completed several projects with its unique BIM techniques and procedures.

The key purpose of the event was to share the University’s experience and knowledge with practitioners and academics who are interested in BIM projects. The evening featured a series of presentations from the team behind the development of BCU’s BIM project.

The first speaker was Erika Parn, who works as a BIM technologist and is currently researching the subject.

Richard Draper, the project manager for the University and his colleague spoke about their BIM journey at BCU. Richard mentioned that the key factors for improvement are: senior support, trial and error, asking questions at every step, not following the rules and being prepare to make mistakes.

WM BIM Regions Event - David Simpson of Assoicated Architects
David Simpson of Assoicated Architects

Finally, David Simpson, Associate BIM Manager at local Birmingham practice Associate Architects, and Chris Johnston, who is a BIM Manager for Willmott Dixon, discussed their roles and experience on the BCU project.

The evening finished with a live BIM demonstration to show the audience how the software is used in projects.

There was a very good number of attendees from both industry and academia. The variety of speakers kept the audience focused and engaged with the presenters throughout the event.

From the question and answer session it was clear that the audience was amazed to see the development of each discipline after the implementation of BIM in their work. I am sure the event made the attendees think further about adopting BIM in their construction projects, or exploring further studies to get involved in BIM projects.

As a researcher, it was fascinating for me to see the different ways that BIM is being adopted by different disciplines across the industry. Moreover, it gave me a useful opportunity to engage with practitioners who are currently involved in BIM construction projects and learn about the current BIM projects taking place in West Midlands.

I thoroughly enjoyed this event from the beginning to end, as did the other attendees.

Find out more about the BIM Regions West Midlands

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