Deakin University construction expert says BIM education strategy critical to meet construction skills shortage
Deakin University construction expert Dr. M Reza Hosseini is calling for Australia to introduce a common tertiary education strategy to meet increasing industry demands for expertise in Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Reza says BIM goes beyond 3D design and is critical to improving building efficiency, serving as a tool that connects architects, building contractors and owners. However, there is currently no integrated plan across Australia’s tertiary sector to guide a universal curriculum in the core knowledge, skills and abilities relating to BIM.
“A large proportion of Australian companies are using BIM now and we expect it’s only a matter of time before it’s used even more widely. So demand for associated skilled professionals is predicted to increase substantially,” says Reza.
At Deakin, two new units focusing on BIM were introduced into construction management courses last year – Introduction to Building Information Modelling for undergraduate students and Principles of Building Information Modelling for postgraduates. The School of Architecture and Built Environment is also developing a ‘BIM at Deakin’ online resource with information for staff and students in this field.
However, Reza says an overarching framework is needed to make sure the units and curriculum align across institutions. This is already the case for other construction units, with relevant course accreditation through bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
“Last year the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council and the Australian Construction Industry Forum released a BIM Knowledge and Skills Framework for industry and we need to extend it to the tertiary sector,” says Reza.
“The community of BIM practitioners, educators and service users in Australia need to address the disparity in BIM education and converge towards a consistent policy approach.”
Reza is hoping this can be done by bringing together a group of academics from different Australian universities to develop such a framework. He is already part of developing a similar project in the US and one is also being established in the UK.
Embracing BIM could be a crucial way Australia’s construction industry can make important efficiency gains needed to reduce a reported 30% wastage due to issues including poor communication between architects, engineers and contractors, changes to budgets and timelines, and fixing defective work.
“All this points to the fact that the way we build must be made more efficient. Modern methods such as off-site construction offer a way forward, but whatever the process improvement adopted, BIM will lie at the heart of the efficiency gains,” says Reza.
“BIM has the potential to revolutionise the Australian construction sector and is transforming the process by which buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed and maintained.”