BIM Specialists – Roles and Responsibilities in the AEC Industry

As BIM continues to penetrate the market and emerge as the process increasingly adopted by government and leading AEC firms, we often overlook the changes required from a HR perspective and the challenges it presents in this area.

With an up surge in BIM requirements on projects, human resource departments and hiring managers in the AEC industry may find themselves struggling to put together job titles and descriptions when forming their team to accommodate BIM.

The shift to BIM brings with it a shift in job titles and job descriptions, and while some may disagree this is required, in the past 5-10 years we have seen a host of BIM specific job roles arise. This article covers three of the most common ones, including BIM Technician, BIM Coordinator and BIM Manager.

The BIM technician must be able to understand not only how a building goes together but how a building can be modelled accurately in a BIM environment.

BIM Technician

Often referred to as BIM Modeller, BIM technician could be considered an evolved CAD drafting position to suit within BIM technology environment. The role of the BIM technician is not only limited to picking up mark up from a designer or a professional, but it represents a skilled BIM software modelling expert with firm understanding of their specific design discipline (architectural, mechanical or structural).

The BIM technician must be able to understand not only how a building goes together but how a building can be modelled accurately in a BIM environment. This role provides a base level to progress to multiple career paths, most likely towards the higher responsibilities of being a BIM Coordinator or BIM Manager if the individual wishes to progress as a BIM specialist.

Key Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Develop the model virtually for specific design discipline.
  • Ensure that the model aligns with the standards and goals set in BIM Execution Plan and BIM project workflow criteria.
  • Collaborate and coordinate internally or/and externally with other disciplines design-changes and model changes.
  • Create discipline specific BIM Modelling content.
  • Develop accurate construction drawings and extract data based on the discipline BIM platform.
  • Coordinate design documentation as a methodology with full utilisation of BIM softwares and tools.

BIM Coordinator

BIM Coordinator is an integral part of the design team who leads and coordinates the process of generating digital models and integrated data often referred as ‘Information’ about a project, from the design stage, to the construction stage.

The BIM Coordinator is often regarded as a chief figure in a project team as they are responsible for the BIM workflow and ensuring that any potential issues during modelling, clash detection and data conversion is dealt with efficiently.In smaller
organisations the lead modeller may occupy the role of BIM Coordinator. In general, the BIM Coordinator is the go-to person for setting up project specific guidelines for Technicians and Architects, and responsible for linking information across disciplines.

Key Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Prepare BIM execution plans and project specific training documentation.
  • Proficient in using BIM authoring tools to provide technical support and mentoring required to the project team.
  • Manage and maintain project content and source any additional content as required.
  • Understand and ensure any changes in procedure and standards are effectively communicated to project teams.
  • Coordinate and manage BIM project data sets/workflow and project set up.
  • Communicate effectively and offer cross-team support.
  • Set up linked models and coordinate models across disciplines.
  • Daily model management administration and maintenance.
  • Understand and execute government standards by implementing during virtual design and construction phase.
  • Manage and coordinate sensitive and confidential information.

BIM Manager

The title of BIM Manager is a particularly ambiguous one. As with all BIM orientated roles the job description tends to vary from company to company. In some cases, the BIM Coordinator and BIM Manager maybe one of the same. However, as a general rule of thumb the BIM Manager is responsible for overseeing the organisation wide implementation of BIM and related technology while the BIM Coordinator is responsible for BIM implementation at project level.

Key Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Manage software licenses including overseeing the installation of new software versions.
  • Manage the implementation of BIM supporting software.
  • Research new BIM related software.
  • Keep the organisation informed about best practices in BIM and BIM software.
  • Responsible for organisation wide BIM standards, implementation and enforcement.
  • Look for efficiencies and productivity hacks in the organisations BIM process.
  • Provide BIM training internally.
  • Attend conferences, seminars and workshops on behalf of the company with a view to transferring knowledge internally within the organisation.

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