The diffusion of BIM requires the widespread sharing of concepts and terminologies. buildingSMART proposes a “Professional Certification Program” based on internationally shared skills and training content.

Global trends are making AEC projects more complex, while advances in technology are helping industry professionals work more efficiently and effectively. This is where BIM comes in.

The adoption of BIM by most professionals and design firms in the construction industry is progressing. Tendering Authorities (known today as Appointing parties) are now requiring BIM for national and international calls for bid.

However, there is still some confusion in the definition of processes and in the sharing of basic terms and concepts.

Requirements for standardization of procedures and terms have recently arised together with the need for creation of certification systems to measure stakeholders’ skills.

The “Professional Certification Program”, an initiative launched in September 2017 by buildingSMART International, contributes to defining skills and training contents shared on an international level. This program will have a huge impact on BIM education around the world and it will raise the level of BIM delivery across the global industry.

What is the “Professional Certification Program” by buildingSMART International?

As a recognized international leader in the development of openBIM standards, buildingSMART International brings clarity and conformity in the definition and application of the principles of openBIM.

Through the “Professional Certification Program”, in fact, bSI will enable training institutions to train and certify professionals on the basis of a standardized and internationally recognized training background (such as, for example, ISO 19650, etc).

buildingSMART will aim to:

  • promote and standardize training contents;
  • support and credit training institutions and courses;
  • test and certify professionals applying to the program.

The Program has been developed over the last three years thanks to the commitment of experts from all over the world. In particular, the work was conducted by the bSI “Professional Certification Committee”, an international committee composed of representatives of eight regional chapters of the association (Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Ireland) under the direct control of the “Standard Commitee Executive”

Figure-1-workflow-bsi_Professional Certification Program

The “Professional Certification Program” is thought to be structured on two subsequent and progressive training levels (see next image):

  • the first level, called “Individual Qualification”, will deliver a more conceptual education, to provide a complete, updated and shared knowledge framework on the openBIM. This educational level was developed on the basis of a (positive) similar experience developed by buildingSMART Norwegian Chapter.
  • the second level, named “Professional Certification”, will have a more operational approach and will concern the application of the openBIM principles to the project environment. It will also provide modules related to the activities performed by specific roles such as BIM Manager, BIM Coordinator, etc. This phase, currently under definition, is expected to be launched during 2020.

Finally, there is a Tertiary Education type (the most complete) that represents further degree of in-depth training, not yet taken into account for this initiative.

Professional Certification Program Structure

The program is managed and validated by buildingSMART local Chapters that will need to:

  1. integrate the Program training contents as arranged by buildingSMART International with specific regional-based requisites;
  2. accept applications for accreditation of training institutions supporting them in the correct structuring of their courses;
  3. issue the approval when the conditions are met.

buildingSMART International’s present objective is to focus on the first level of the Program.

The “Individual Qualification” of the “Professional Certification Program”

The training contents relating to the “Individual Qualification”, have been structured and are delivered in multiple modules. Presently, there are  7 planned modules, as illustred in the image below:

Professional Certification Program Training Contents

The Basic module, as predefined by bSI, is the main not modifiable module that is intended to provide fundamental pre-requisites of the openBIM training.

Basic contents have been established also for the remaining bSI modules, but the latter ones may eventually be integrated by the various local buildingSMART chapters, that can engage with their local industry and adapt the learning framework for country-specific requirement.

Each module is designed by bSI with specific training objectives to be achieved by the participants.

The so-called LOF [Learning Outcome Framework], a list of objectives relating to each module, represents the fundamental basis from which to start from to define their training courses and programmes.

It is expected that each module must have from a minimum of 25 to a maximum of 30 learning objectives. The Base module, in particular, includes the following 28 objectives:

  • 1 Understanding what BIM is, since it is necessary to recognize its specific terminology.
    • 1.1 Defining the driving factors that have lead to BIM;
    • 1.2 Defining BIM;
    • 1.3 Identifying and determining key BIM terminology;
    • 1.4 Defining the BIM levels of maturity;
    • 1.5 Designating what constitute a digital model.
  • 2 Recognising the advantages of BIM as compared to the delivery of the traditional project.
    • 2.1 Knowing why collaborative and new working methods are needed;
    • 2.2 Identifying the effects of poor management of project information;
    • 2.3 Establishing the standards developed to mitigate poor information;
    • 2.4 Determining the benefits of BIM for construction professionals;
    • 2.5 Identifying the benefits of BIM adoption to customers and facility management.
  • 3 Understanding the development cycle of project information (and its key terms); in particular how information about the project is specified, produced, exchanged and maintained.
    • 3.1 Knowing why employers must clearly define their requirements (EIR);
    • 3.2 Realizing why the supply chain has to agree on a plan to run the BIM on the project (BEP);
    • 3.3 Knowing why it is necessary to exchange consistent information;
    • 3.4 Identifying the key elements and benefits of using a collaborative exchange platform {CDE);
    • 3.5 Knowing why clearly defined management responsibilities are required;
    • 3.6 Knowing why it is necessary to evaluate potential members of the supply chain before appointment.
  • 4 Recognizing the need for open and interoperable solutions..
    • 4.1 Defining the buildingSMART community;
    • 4.2 Defining openBIM and its benefits over the use of proprietary products and systems;
    • 4.3 Knowing what is IFC and its benefits;
    • 4.4 Knowing what MVDs are and their benefits;
    • 4.5 Knowing what the IDMs are and their benefits;
    • 4.6 Knowing what the bSDD is and its benefits;
    • 4.7 Knowing what BCF is and its benefits.
  • 5 Identifying an organization’s ability to work with BIM.
    • 5.1 Understanding the potential benefits for a company in adopting BIM;
    • 5.2 Understanding the factors that define the level of BIM maturity in an organization;
    • 5.3 Knowing why the adoption of BIM must be aligned with the organizational objectives;
    • 5.4 Identifying the benefits and challenges of adopting BIM;
    • 5.5 Knowing what data security implications are there following the adoption of BIM.

After completing a course attendance, among those approved by bSI, evaluation exams can also be undertaken.

This examination will take place online in the form of tests with multiple choice questions on the Moodle platform managed directly by buildingSMART.

Examination outcomes are then communicated directly and, if positive, the candidate is conferred with a digital certification.

Professional Certification Program Diploma

The program is being adopted by buildingSMART local Chapter bodies and, as indicated on the bSI website, it is currently offered only in some countries, such as: Germany, France, Spain, United Kingdom and Norway for the European context.

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