Upskilling staff for BIM: Speller Metcalfe's strategy
Ashley Poole-Graham, BIM manager at Speller Metcalfe, explains why all employees need knowledge of BIM.
The latest annual BIM+ Survey shows that although the industry is making progress in digital technologies, uptake of BIM Level 2 is still slow.
To help in the move towards total digital uptake, two things need to happen. First, more needs to be done by the industry to educate clients on the value of BIM, not only during the design-and-build process but also as a valuable tool in the long-term management of their asset.
Secondly, industry professionals across the board need to be better educated in the benefits of BIM, rather than letting all the knowledge and know-how sit with those who use the technology on a daily basis.
At Speller Metcalfe we have developed a range of initiatives to directly address the gaps in skills and knowledge that exist both inside and outside of our organisation.
Externally we hold regular BIM Awareness Days with both clients and our supply chain, as well as leading project-specific BIM toolbox talks to engage with subcontractors on site. BIM and associated digital issues are regular topics of discussion at our CPD-accredited Knowledge Series events – a free-to-attend initiative that we developed in 2014 for sharing knowledge and best practice among construction professionals.
Within the company we have created in-house BIM training plans that include workshops open to all employees, offering varying levels of insight, from BIM for Beginners to job-specific advanced training.
Upskilling employees from all areas of the business – not just the designers and BIM professionals – helps us all to be champions of the technology, creating a team of BIM ambassadors who can engage in discussions on the benefits of BIM with our clients, consultants and subcontractors.
This holistic approach has also helped to streamline processes internally, with support staff learning how to administrate the common data environment and site management gaining a better grasp of BIM in the field.
Lack of knowledge and understanding is the most commonly cited barrier to using BIM, so as the experts we have a responsibility to share our experiences and lessons learned. It is only by taking this approach that we can expect the industry to move forward.