Higher Education Institutes (HEI) BIM Programmes

 

The HEI Study aims to undertake a systematic review of third level BIM programmes and BIM training currently on offer in Ireland.

Click on the interactive map below to view current courses offered by Institutes of Technologies throughout Ireland. 

Please use your mouse wheel to zoom in on the selected county to see all available courses.

Consultations have taken place with a number of 3rd Level Institutions who are active in the delivery of BIM programmes.  A brief summary of the HEI consultations are provided below:  A  more detailed report will be published in 2017.

DIT currently offer  a three-year part-time Masters programme, which is fully modular i.e. you can take anything from a single five-credit module up to the full Masters which is 90 credits at level 9. After one year part-time you can graduate with a post-graduate certificate in BIM technologies. The second year is a post-graduate diploma in collaborative BIM, and the third year is the Master of Science in Applied Building Information Modelling and Management. The delivery is primarily focused on face-to-face part-time delivery in the evening.  The students are required to attend two evenings per week from six to nine o’clock in the evening on two 12-week periods per year.  The requirement for each five credits is 100 learning hours with guided self-directed learning a large portion of this.  A significant range of collaborative tools to assist the blended learning environment are made available.  The current entry threshold is either a level 8 honours degree with a 2:2 qualification  or a  level 7 ordinary degree plus five years of experience.  There is also a RPL process, which is recognition of prior learning.  This is a DIT-wide process, where somebody can present with a portfolio of their prior experience. One of the greatest challenges encountered during the current lifespan of the course is staffing, as the people who are at a high level in this domain are in very high demand.  DIT were fortunate to able to raise funding to create a specific BIM room, which has been a great success.  The course has links with industry and consistently tries to engage as much as possible. As a result of the Capstone experience, it is hoped that the course will produce papers that will go on to be presented at international journals or published in journals and possibly become converted into PhD's. 

The MSc in Construction Informatics course also offers a number of BIM modules and puts an emphasis on learning how existing technologies can be more efficiently applied throughout the construction process. The entry level is an honours 2.2 undergraduate qualification in a level 8 degree in civil, building or structural engineering, as well as architecture or practitioners/professionals who have a recognised degree in qualification and are currently working in the construction industry. The programme is predominantly delivered online using readily available and robust online web conferencing technology. After one year part-time you can graduate with a post-graduate certificate, second year is a post-graduate diploma and the third year is the Master of Science in Construction Informatics. The programme is designed to firstly build the foundation of the course with an introduction to the field of Construction Informatics and its role in the AEC sector. The programme will progress to provide a number of modules which include virtual construction, understanding data set management and BIM, BIM Execution planning and sustainability and BIM.

Undergraduate courses such as the BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology are centered on applying technological principles and concepts presented in the Building Technology & Structures and Environment Services & Materials theory modules, and the practical skills learnt in the studio-based Digital & Graphical Communication and Building Information Modelling modules.

UCD have two modules with BIM components. The first one is Design & Materials, which is a first year module.  30% of the overall grade is awarded for BIM based CAD activities which is broken into six different lab exercises at 5% per lab. The second is called Construction Practice on the civil engineering course. This is a component of a module in the under-graduate offering for all of engineering.  It involves BIM based activities, BIM based environments and a small bit of collaborative work.  Both are undergraduate programmes delivered on a full time basis.  There is a mixture of software used with ArchiCAD applied for module 1 and Revit for module 2. The second module involves a typical BIM-based renovation exercise where the students are provided with a brief and are told to develop a BIM-based solution for that brief.  The brief uses a local case study in the form of Bolands Mills. A point cloud representation of the building is used and then a hybrid modelling method is applied to bring it into a BIM-based environment.

One of the biggest operational challenges has been software. With the ArchiCAD software, one must be careful to ensure that everybody is on the same version of the software with the same libraries and to have that running in a lab with up to eight PCs can prove difficult.  There is progress being made within the area of research with regards to BIM, with strong connections made through the Energy Agency Annex 60. UCD are looking at developing a collaborative module between civil, mechanical and architectural engineering, where students would all work on a combined project. This project will use the BIM Collaboration Format that is used in the construction practices module. This is a BIM-based issue tracking system that brings clarity and transparency to the decision-making process and to the assigned action items. 

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) offer a full-time BSc Honours in Architectural and BIM Technology, as well as a Higher Diploma in Science in BIM.  The BSc Honours course teaches the standard criteria to be covered within an Architectural Technology course but does this through the medium of BIM.  This four year programme enables students to become architectural technologists with additional advanced skills in Building Information Technology. Students will also acquire an advanced knowledge in the application of BIM methodology, which is an integrated collaborative approach for building project delivery between the relevant professionals. The BSc honours is delivered full time. There is an industrial placement period within this module which takes place in Module 6 and 7. There have been international links established  between colleges in Sheffield and Denmark where all three colleges work together by sharing models.  A common data environment is set up on the Autodesk platform A360 where the different colleagues can download each other’s models.  Within WIT, other courses such as quantity surveying provide cost analysis of the models through CostX.  WIT is also an accredited Autodesk training provider and teaches courses in the area of Autodesk software.

Revit has been fully integrated into WIT programmes since 2010 when they ceased teaching traditional CAD and started introducing a BIM methodology. While no set student definition statistics have been recorded it was noted that students are finding themselves employed within a number of diverse roles i.e. BIM Co-ordinator and BIM Engineer. The industrial placement offers an excellent opportunity for the students to set-up jobs for themselves.

With regards to research, the students at the end of year four are required to complete a dissertation which focuses on an element of BIM. This has seen some strong work in energy tools and health and safety. The students also display their work for people to say where they are discouraged in using the rendering tools to illustrate their projects. While this is an important element, it is more critical that they can use the various software products to understand and provide the type of drawings required on site. WIT have also set-up a research team of five full time staff who as a result of working on over 60 innovations vouchers have produced significant research outputs in BIM.  The BIM Collective (BIMC) has utilised the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher programme to fund Industry-Academia Partnership projects. These have covered a broad range of companies, many of whom are involved in or seeking competitive advantages in tendering projects in the UK and farther afield.

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The higher diploma in Engineering in BIM is the flagship BIM programme within Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).  The programme offers BIM modules in Architecture, Structural engineering and Infrastructure.  Other modules include BIM Virtual Modelling Fundamentals and a BIM research project.  This course was created on the back of a review of existing courses when it was then decided that a BIM dedicated qualification should be offered.  The higher diploma in BIM is offered both part and full time. The full-time course which is still delivered in the evening requires students to attend for 8 hours over three days. There are independent learning hours to be undertaken outside of dedicated classes, with material prescribed and provided by the lecturing team.  The part time course is delivered one evening per week. The full 60 credits are completed over two academic years. To qualify for entry onto this programme, an applicant must hold a relevant Level 7 qualification or equivalent in a cognate area within the construction and built environment industry. Applications will also be accepted from mature applicants who have worked at an appropriate level within the construction industry and who may gain entry by the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process.  These applicants are encouraged to use the facilities at www.myexperience.ie which will enable them to create a portfolio based on their experience.  The Autodesk software is the primary suite of software used with students trained on a number of Autodesk packages.  BIM is also taught on the Construction Management and Architectural Technologies courses with QS courses also exposed to BIM through CostX.

While no official destination statistics have been recorded, it is estimated that 75% of the architectural technology students are working on BIM related jobs.  The higher diploma in BIM consists primarily of industry employed professionals working within BIM processes on a daily basis.  The higher diploma in BIM is one of the primary sources of BIM education for companies such as Rhattigan’s and RPS.  On initial set-up of the course, a weeks training crash course was provided for Rhattigan’s, so as to demonstrate the strong teachings and resources the course provides. This has lead to Rhattigan’s utilising the course as one of their main BIM training vehicles.

While operational challenges have been encountered, there have been none which have provided the staff with insurmountable concerns.  The required heads of department support the vision which the GMIT team are executing.  With regards to research output, each student within the higher diploma are required to produce a final project. This could lead to possible publications in the future.

 

IT Sligo (ITS) offers an element of BIM on a number of its programmes.  On the 4th year of the BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying there is a ‘BIM for Quantity Surveyors’ module which includes tutorials on Buildsoft 3D reader and an introduction to Revit and Navisworks.  In first year of both the BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering and the BEng in Environmental Engineering, the CAD module includes an introduction to BIM  and 3D surveying.  In year three of the Architecture course the students begin using Revit.  The BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management course has a ‘Projects & ICT module’ which includes Asta Powerproject and BIM.  The BSc in Advanced Wood and Sustainable Building Technology provides a BIM overview and uses Solidworks and Revit. These courses are offered on both a full and part time basis with a number of courses available online through Adobe Connect.  Professional institutes such as the CIOB accredit the BSc (H) in Construction Project Management course which is designed specifically for those planning a career in the project management profession. The SCSI accredit the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying course.


There is ongoing engagement with organisations and companies that are active in BIM utilisation. Members of ITS attend CitA events, CPD events, Fusion Projects and apply for Innovation Vouchers. Plans are in place to provide staff with the required training to advance their knowledge.  A masters programme in project management is currently in the process of being developed.  It is intended that one of the modules to be offered will be a 5 ECTS credit in BIM and Lean. Other proposals include creating a common ‘Introduction to BIM’ module and to further integrate BIM topics within all relevant modules. There are also plans to increase utilisation of Revit as a 3D drawing package at different levels.
 

At the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), there has been an active move to incorporate BIM into relevant programmes since 2009. BIM has been incorporated into the BSc (Honours) Construction Management  and BSc (Honours) Civil Engineering Management degrees. Both courses run a Construction Management and BIM module in year 2. The BEng (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering (Facilities) also incorporates a BIM module into its syllabus. The MSc in Quantity Surveying programme also has elements of BIM within it. Revit is the software primarily used. A360 is used for file sharing. The college also has licenses for Revit for Collaboration which enables groups to work on a synchronised model. 


Hardware is an issue as some of the programmes need high CPU. Links have been made with the industry, both BAM and Kirby Engineering providing guest lectures to a number of classes. CitA have also assisted through the promotion of events i.e. regional workshops, BIM Hubs, etc, which students can freely attend. With regards to research, the Fab Lab in Limerick do actively promote digital tools, though not BIM specific. One such initiative was a physical 3D model of Limerick city. The model was created to be a tool for design and development of the city. Each city block is 3D printed and the base is CNC cut, accurately representing the existing city. At present there are ongoing talks with regards to  setting up a Higher Diploma in BIM. This will depend on the ongoing requirement for BIM professionals especially within the south west.
 

CIT currently offer a higher certificate in BIM technology. The undergraduate/postgraduate Certificate in BIM is a three module, 15 credit, part-time programme. The modules include Collaborative BIM 1 and 2 with an elective choice between 3D Built Environment Modelling and Introductory GIS. Some of the topics covered include general principles, interdisciplinary Model Comparison, development of 4D and 5D models, interdisciplinary Project Information Management, etc.

A software focused module in the form of Revit and BIM is offered on both the MSc in Architectural Technical Design and MSc in Interior Architecture. A BIM module is also available on the BSc (Honours) in Architectural Technology and  BSc (Honours) in Interior Architecture which is focused on sustainability analysis.

Participants will gain experience in using industry standard technology such as Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, Recap 360, BIM 360 Glue and BIM 360 Field or other equivalent software. Links have been made with the industry with BAM, RPS, ARUP and EDC all providing guest lectures to a number of classes. Murphy Surveys have provided point cloud surveys as educational tools for the students. At present, discussions are ongoing with the school committee with regards to the further structured integration of BIM into the syllabus.