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Building Information Modelling (BIM) Academic Forum

7 May 2013

Coventry Simulation Centre

On 2nd May John Kelsey attended the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Academic Forum at Coventry University. The forum exists to explore the interaction of the rapid development of BIM, its deployment (or otherwise) by the UK construction industry and emerging government policy on incorporating BIM into its own procurement requirements and processes.

The meeting started with presentations on BIM work being conducted at Coventry and feedback on a report on BIM in higher education. Following this there were discussion sessions on work being carried out by other universities and the way forward in engaging with the construction industry.

The diversion for the day was provided by a visit to the university’s Simulation Centre, which is one of only three in the world (the others being in the Netherlands and Australia). This is set up like a building site with a Virtual Reality display facility to experience the surroundings of a real site without any of the associated dangers. Additionally there are “site huts” set out like real ones (i.e. with kettles, hard hats and hi-vis vests). Students are put in these and given tasks to do during which they are irregularly interrupted by phone calls requiring them to attend meetings, place orders, hear complaints and/or interruptions by professional actors dressed up as site operatives with various time-wasting devices. All this can be viewed in a control centre with a bank of screens monitoring each hut. Watching four of our delegates undergo this was a hugely entertaining experience – even for them!