ITcon Vol. 21, pg. 119-139,

How universities are teaching BIM: a review and case study from the UK

submitted:November 2015
revised:June 2016
published:July 2016
editor(s):Issa R.
authors:Zulfikar A. Adamu, Lecturer in Architectural Technology
School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, UK;

TonyThorpe, Professor in Construction IT,
School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, UK;
summary:Growing industry demand and the United Kingdom (UK) government’s 2016 ‘BIM deadline’ have provided a clear impetus for enhanced BIM teaching in UK Higher Education institutions. This paper reports on the strategic approach taken in a large multi-disciplinary School of Civil and Building Engineering. From a number of options suggested by literature, the approach to embed BIM into existing modules was chosen and three categories of BIM Learning Outcomes (BIMLOs) were identified including: knowledge and intellectual aspects; practical skills; and transferable skills. A three-year implementation plan (2014 – 2016) was developed in which 26 priority modules had their existing learning outcomes upgraded to meet the BIMLOs. Three new modules had to be introduced to cover new concepts and processes that required special attention , including: model coordination and clash detection/avoidance; as well as use of common data environments (CDE) which is a pre-requisite for Level 2 BIM. The contents of the BIMLOs were influenced by partnership with BIM technology providers, practicing professionals, contemporary and research-driven topics as well as UK BIM guidance and strategy documents e.g. BS1192-2007, the PAS1192 series, BIM Protocol and Government Soft Landings. Many priority modules were taken by mixed cohorts of students drawn from various programmes, so group work via problem-based coursework was typically used for assessment. Guided self-learning through web-based video tutorials was adopted across the School using commercially available and in-house produced content. These have helped students with problem-solving and modelling skills. There were differences (such as background skills and future interests between local undergraduate students and international postgraduate students) and these differences influenced how they approached group working and the tasks they could effectively carry out. The approach adopted by Loughborough University for teaching BIM required long-term vision, leadership, BIM championing and the cooperation of academic peers who were extensively consulted. A feedback mechanism was put in place to capture students’ experiences regarding BIMLOs, access to computing facilities and effectiveness of video tutorials. Recommendations are made to other institutions considering wide scale multi-disciplinary embedding ofBIM into their curriculum.
keywords:Multi-disciplinary cohorts, Embedding, BIM Learning Outcomes, Streamed video tutorials, New BIM-focused modules, BIM champion, Multi-media Feedback
full text: (PDF file, 1.168 MB)
citation:Adamu Z A, Thorpe T (2016). How universities are teaching BIM: a review and case study from the UK, ITcon Vol. 21, Special issue 9th AiC BIM Academic Symposium & Job Task Analysis Review Conference, pg. 119-139,