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Online Courses

Nottingham Trent University

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How Building Information Modelling (BIM) is shaping the future of construction

Every so often, a technological leap forward comes along with the potential to revolutionise the way an industry works. Building Information Modelling, usually shortened to BIM, is one such advancement for construction.

BIM is an intuitive means to manage and collaborate on construction projects from start to finish. It’s such a significant and beneficial development that the UK government mandated the use of Level 2 collaborative 3D BIM on all centrally-procured projects from April 2016, meaning that BIM is now compulsory across all government-funded projects where the government is the client.

As such, BIM is covered as part of our Online MSc in Construction Project Management. We’ve taken a closer look at what BIM could achieve in construction and how our online degree can give you a better insight into the contemporary construction technologies of today’s industry.

What exactly is BIM?

Simply put, BIM is a way of working that enables all parties involved in a construction project to contribute to and monitor its progress by mapping out the entire cycle of the build from inception, design, interior, demolition and material re-use, using rich 3D visualisations.

As it’s a rapidly-evolving technology, there’s no universal definition or single system or platform for BIM; many different software providers have created their own systems, each with their own capabilities. The core concept is always the same though and revolves around the flow of data and information and how this is used to map out infrastructure.

Who is using BIM and how?

As well as the government-funded projects using BIM, the technology has already been adopted by major contractors and consultants since its introduction to the industry in 2012. It’s gaining popularity among smaller firms too who are recognising the benefits of this evolving technology.

A BIM system takes considerable resources to implement, but many construction firms are already seeing valuable returns. By centralising project management and information sharing, BIM can save time and money, highlight any conflicts before they become problematic and boost productivity by allowing everyone in the supply chain to work together more efficiently.

Designs are created more quickly and accurately, safety is improved by pre-build modelling and risk assessment, and projects are more sustainable due to streamlined processes.

At the moment, BIM is being used mainly on new builds but it can be just as effective in managing the refurbishment of current infrastructure. Crossrail is a great example of this; they are using BIM extensively to map out London’s upcoming Elizabeth line, which is due to open in December 2018.  A BIM-created ‘virtual’ railway is allowing Crossrail to visualise and virtually work within the current infrastructure of London’s rail system, so as to minimise real-life disruption to the existing lines. As such a versatile method of working, BIM’s uses in construction are vast, varied and constantly developing over time.

Introducing BIM on our Online MSc

BIM is widely believed to be the future of information management in construction, so we understand how important it is to include on our 100% online degree.

The Contemporary Construction Themes module introduces BIM in its wider context of emerging smart construction technologies. It will establish the concept of BIM and assess its abilities and limitations for information modelling and project management, and how it fits within the digital revolution of the construction industry, both now and in years to come. 

With an emphasis on creating a single vision in construction project management, the Collaborative Working module aims to build an awareness of the advantages of cross-stakeholder teamwork and how technology, including BIM, can help to facilitate this. Contractors are combining their skills on international projects more and more, so this module is designed to help you gain a deep insight into how BIM and other specialist software can make this not just possible, but favourable. 

As course leader, Chris Coffey, explains, “The modules are very current and relevant. We have experts in some of the developing areas like Business Information Modelling (BIM) and LEAN, where we have three of the leading experts providing their opinion.”

These two modules will give you an overview of how BIM works, its implications for the construction industry and project manager roles both now and in the future. Meanwhile, the other ten Online MSc Construction Project Management modules help to put emerging smart technologies and new working methods, into context within the project management cycle and the wider contemporary construction industry. You can apply this knowledge directly and immediately to your job or use to demonstrate your up-to-date industry awareness to prospective employers.

If you think our Online MSc in Construction Project Management could propel your construction career to the next level, find out more by requesting information from our admissions team.