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Engineers 'positive about BIM but need training'

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A survey of the Institution of Structural Engineers’ membership has found that they support the use of BIM among the profession, but training is still a barrier.

The survey of 750 members found that sole practitioners and small practices also thought that BIM was less relevant.

The survey found71% believed BIM to be relevant to their practice, but 60% of sole practitioners said BIM was not relevant to their practice and almost 40% of those from practices of between two and 10 employees also replied that it was not relevant.

In terms of use, 32% described their current use of BIM as ‘heavy’ or ‘very heavy’, with 40% describing their use as ‘light’ or ‘very light’. Half of those being trained in BIM were found to be graduate or technician level, while only 9% of principal staff or directors were being trained.

The Institution of Structural Engineers’ BIM Panel chairman David Shields said: “One of the most striking aspects of the survey has been the continuing uncertainty about BIM among smaller practices – but we would urge all those who view BIM as irrelevant to remember that BIM is not just a question of 3D modelling. BIM should rather be regarded as a way to improve the quality and efficiency of design and assurance. On many occasions 3D modelling software will not be necessary to make a BIM contribution, in fact in many cases small practices will already be doing BIM, gathering all the necessary data as part of their regular work.

“We’d also urge firms of all sizes to consider training senior management positions in BIM as much as graduates and technician level employees: most of the issues we saw identified as barriers to BIM will require management input to resolve, and therefore management fluency in BIM will be essential to fast, efficient working practices.”

A third of the survey respondents were sole practitioners or from practices or ten employees or less, and 27% from practices of 500 or more.

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