Recruiting BIM Professionals – What To Look For
In recent years Building Information Modelling has transformed building design, construction and project management; driving efficiencies and improving productivity. We’ve seen huge demand for BIM professionals of all levels – as such it’s a candidate’s market.
Adoption of BIM is still an on-going process in the architecture engineering and construction sectors; even with the government’s 2016 BIM mandate many building services, architecture, engineering and construction firms are still not confident working at BIM level 2. One of the challenges is recruitment and retention, not only sourcing professionals but also ensuring that once recruited they have the resources to successfully transition the firm to BIM.
Without existing in-house skills at a senior level it can be difficult for firms to understand what is involved, what roles they need to fill, and what support BIM professionals need. The following issues are a challenge for many firms:
- Senior managers aren’t clear what skills roles such as BIM Manager should have or what roles they need to fill to successfully implement a transition programme.
- BIM staff are hired without clear targets.
- Resources are not available to purchase necessary software / hardware.
- BIM Managers are not given authority to overhaul existing systems and implement BIM practices.
- Resources for training are not available to up-skill other staff.
These internal issues need to be addressed before making a hire. Without investment and sponsorship from senior management you risk not only a failed BIM programme, but also losing key staff.
BIM is not just about technology; it is also a process that joins the dots between many of the silos that exist in the design and construction industry. Therefore, it’s not a question of just recruiting professionals with technical skills, it’s also about recruiting people that can collaborate and work with others across the industry. When recruiting BIM professionals you need a balance of technical and people-skills. In fact, some people argue that people-skills are more important as they will help the firm as a whole to adopt and transition to BIM: which can be a cultural change as much as technology transformation.
There are several specialist BIM roles that form a successful team (remember BIM doesn’t work when everyone exists in silos). Here we outline the key skills needed for key professionals:
This is a strategic role and the primary point of contact for BIM Co-Ordinators within a project. BIM Managers are the project lead and as such people-skills are essential.
Essential attributes: Communication skills, collaboration, leadership and fostering teamwork, project management and co-ordination skills.
Technical skills: BIM Managers define the modelling environment and specifies the BIM team requirement. Therefore they must have extensive experience of an architectural, engineering or construction-based role and a good understanding of modelling process.
The BIM Co-Ordinator is a more tactical role, setting up the modelling environment and delivering output to the BIM Manager. They work with BIM Modellers / Technicians and engineers to collate the correct data to create the design. They are responsible for delivering models accordingly to the schedule defined by the BIM Manager.
Essential attributes: Collaboration, team player, organisational skills, communication, experienced at managing workflows.
Technical skills: BIM Co-Ordinators are responsible for ensuring that the data models are clean and meet the requirements of the BIM Manager, therefore they must have an excellent understanding of the modelling process. Generally we expect candidates to have at least five years experience within the engineering / construction industry.
This is an operational role and, depending on the sector, includes different areas of expertise. For example a BIM Technician in an architecture practice will be responsible the modelling, documentation and 3D visualisation; a BIM Technician in a structural engineering firm is responsible for modelling, documentation and engineering calculations; similarly a BIM Technician in the MEP environment will also be responsible for modelling, documentation and engineering calculations.
Key attributes for all BIM Technician as well as technical proficiency include collaboration, communication and teamwork skills.
Here at Energi People we have a dedicated BIM and CAD desk working with clients and candidates on placing BIM professionals and successfully enabling BIM transformation across the design, engineering and construction sector. If you would like to discuss BIM in more detail with myself, or another member of the team, please get in touch. Call +44 (0) 1252 413080 or email [email protected]