BIM skills key to success of area’s mega-projects

Atkins MEP head urges industry investment to prevent BIM skills issues

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David Crowder, Atkins MEP head of department.
David Crowder, Atkins MEP head of department.

The region’s mega-construction projects could be affected in the future due to a shortage of qualified Building Information Modelling (BIM) engineers, Atkins MEP head of department, David Crowder, has said.

Crowder expects BIM to become a standard expectation for all the region’s major projects, but he said the construction sector needs to “keep up” with the market through strong investment in training.

Speaking to Construction Week after his presentation on BIM at Project Qatar’s HVAC Tech conference, Crowder said: “We expect demand for skilled BIM practitioners to increase substantially as more major projects come on line, but while this is a welcome step forward for the region’s infrastructure sector it could result in a skills shortage unless we start to see significant investment in training.

“How many people can be trained up to support delivery of all the major projects being planned in the region? The investment in training has to increase now and for the next couple of years. I don’t know how our competitors are getting on with this. Fortunately enough for us we’ve already been using [BIM] for the last six years or so. We’ve got a good pool of people but we’re going to need to take new guys on and train them up.”

Crowder added that training BIM engineers is the only option due to the small pool of talent available to the industry, but that it is a complex and time-consuming process.

“Trying to find those people with the necessary skills and knowledge will be difficult, because they’re going to have to become technician-type design staff rather than just [computer-aided design technicians] drawing lines on a blank computer screen,” he said.

“They’ve got to really understand the systems that they are designing and modelling. Not only do we need them to learn the software, we need them to learn what those systems do and how they work. It’s quite a challenge on the training side.”

Correction: This story has been changed from the original published on 15/5/14, which incorrectly stated that the Doha Metro could face delays due to the lack of BIM-related skills. 

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