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BIM Training in IVE - nurtures a new generation of construction professional
Mar 2011

The term “Building Information Modelling (BIM)” will not ring a bell for many people. It is however an innovative process that has been used in Hong Kong for eight years and has brought about revolutionary changes to the construction industry. There is an increasing need for BIM practitioners in the construction industry as this process becomes more commonly used. The demand becomes more apparent when the Hong Kong Housing Authority announced in May 2010 their goal for full implementation of BIM in all its projects by the financial year 2014/15.

BIM in Hong Kong - development and prospects

BIM is a collaborative process that bridge communication between architects, engineers, contractors and other professional consultants in the construction industry. It integrates every aspect of design into a dynamic 3D model with spatial information represent the architectural design, structure, and electrical and mechanical (E & M) installations.

BIM has quickly become popular in Hong Kong in the recent years. Miss Wendy LEE, Branch Manager of Autodesk Far East Ltd. and Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modelling (HKIBIM) said, “BIM technology first started overseas more than ten years ago and was introduced into Hong Kong around eight years ago. It was firstly used by overseas architectural graduates who acquired this skill during their studies. Its usage was later extended to infrastructure construction and landscaping.”

As to the reasons for its popularity, Mr. Michael CHAN, Technical Manager of Autodesk Far East Ltd. explained, “BIM is a software system that allows users to capture a lot of information on each building component. Therefore it is very easy to have control over useful data like uniformity and building material quantity. This will improve accuracy and efficiency as well as save cost by avoiding wastage. Moreover the 3D model that it produces will improve the whole design team’s visibility of the project. As a result, a lot of potential problems can be rectified before the real construction phase begins.”

BIM is picking up in popularity in Hong Kong. According to Mr. CHAN, not all construction Projects utilized BIM throughout the whole construction process in the past. Engineering professionals from different sectors introduced BIM at various stages of a construction project, and hence were unable to maximize the full benefit that the system could bring. Miss LEE further explained that “as in line with the global trend, local construction projects are now utilizing BIM from ’cradle to grave’, creating a higher demand for BIM specialists.”

Becoming a BIM Specialist

Young professionals who aspire to become a BIM specialist need to have an academic background related to the construction field. In addition, Ms. LEE said, “one would need to be interested in technology, and not be afraid of hard work, as there is a need to keep up with the most updated techniques. Moreover, good communication skills are important, as the job nature requires the collation of information from different construction sectors and the need to interpret the data and apply it appropriately in the project.”

At present, IVE is the sole source of Higher Diploma graduates with BIM skills. It is incorporated in the curriculum of the Higher Diploma in Architectural Design and Technology and the Higher Diploma in Building Technology and Interior Design. There were 145 graduates from these two courses in 2010, and they are well received by Hong Kong Housing Authority and other local major construction companies. According Mr. LO Tak Cheung, Senior Project Officer of IVE Engineering Discipline, "the BIM courses are taught by lecturers who are professionals in the field. The students will gain practical experience through applying BIM in design projects during their studies, which is a definite asset for their future careers. Our students also received very positive comments from the panel judges in a recent BIM contest.”

In order to fulfill the rising demand of BIM specialists, Mr. LO said, “IVE is also concerned about the penetration of this new technology to construction professionals who have already worked in the field. An ‘Introductory Workshop on BIM’ is also available for industry professionals to further equip themselves with BIM knowledge.”

In September 2010, IVE set up a BIM Training Centre at IVE (Morrison Hill) to meet the growing demand for BIM in-service training. The Centre is equipped with the latest BIM software package and high-end workstations. It allows different kinds of BIM related activities such as training, demonstrations, trial-runs or testing for any BIM application or combination of BIM and CAD applications.

With the dedication and close cooperation between BIM specialists in Hong Kong, IVE and the HKIBIM, the local construction industry will be marching confidently into a new era.

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