CQU Project Management education

The project manager’s guide to BIM roles

Paul Sancandi
February 25, 2013

BIM implementer
While not necessarily part of the BIM planning team, these are the personnel that will be using BIM on a daily basis to improve their processes. These personnel should assist the operating unit BIM leads to help them better understand their processes, but understand that those processes may have to change based on the improvements provided by BIM.

They will be required to have a basic understanding of BIM, and what it means for the organisation. They will also need process-specific BIM training to the specific software and processes that the implementer will be using. Both of these can be taught to the BIM implementer after the planning procedure has been completed.

BIM education and training

There are many different strategies related to both educating and training personnel about building information modelling. While the definition of education and training are very similar, in this context the purpose of the instruction varies. Training is to teach so as someone becomes fit, qualified, or proficient in a specific task or process, while educating is to formally instruct about a subject: in this case BIM.

Education is critical to helping an organisation better understand BIM, and the organisation’s purpose for using BIM. It is important that an organisation develops a consistent education program for the staff about the true capabilities of BIM; to educate the staff, but not oversell the capabilities of BIM.

An organisation needs to determine what is important to convey through the various education mediums. A few examples of these items include:

  • What is building information modelling and how can BIM be used?
  • What is the organisation’s purpose for BIM including mission statements and the Strategic BIM Plan?
  • How does BIM influence their role and responsibilities, and their processes?
  • What are the organisational lessons learnt and the resources available?

Like other forms of education, there are multiple levels of expertise required. The management of the organisation may only need a basic introduction to BIM and what it means to the organisation, while those who implement will need a much deeper understanding of what BIM is and how it can be used along with how the organisation plans to use it and how it influences their roles.

Moreover, what are the lessons learnt and where do they go for assistance? Depending on the organisation’s size, it may be possible to develop different education programs for each.

There are several different methods for education. These can include both items created internally and the use of external resources. Some of these methods include classes, webinars, videos, books, papers, and knowledge sharing resources. There are plenty of education resources available. Open resources can be used before the organisation spends the effort to create their own priority education resources.

In this context, to train is to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient in a specific task or process, while educate is to formally instruct about a subject, in this case BIM. In most cases, BIM training will relate to a specific process or software system. Before any training takes place, a training strategy should be established. The training strategy should include:

  • What to train on
  • Who needs what training; and
  • What are the methods to achieve the necessary training.

The key to managing change within the organisation and adoption of BIM is to provide motivation to the employees. There needs to be a reason to change. In recent years, it has seemed that this change is driven by the fear of losing a job. Rather the motivation should be the increase in efficiency of the organisation, which will allow the employees to do more beneficial tasks.

For more details on the above process refer to the Penn State University BIM Guide for Facility or Asset Owners.

In this series:

  1. 3-step BIM strategy for project owners
  2. Applying BIM: a guide for project managers and owners
  3. BIM-enabled project processes for owners
  4. BIM project information needs for owners
  5. The project manager’s guide to BIM infrastructure needs
  6. The project manager’s guide to BIM roles
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Paul Sancandi
Paul Sancandi is a senior design manager with InfraSol Group. He has a technical background as a structural engineer, owned an architectural and engineering practice and has worked in Australia, Asia and the Middle East on a wide range of small to mega projects over the past 32 years.
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