Building Information Modeling: How Romanian universities prepare future engineers in the field of construction through the BIM methodology8 min. de citit
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of the construction and operation of real estate assets that brings together technology, process improvements, and digital information to enable a radical improvement in project results, client benefits, and property operation.
The use of BIM has grown in the global Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. The increasing adoption of BIM in Europe has played a crucial role in some of the significant changes that have occurred in the construction sector. The fact that all stakeholders recognize the importance of BIM processes and the benefits they deliver, both in implementing design&build projects and throughout the construction lifecycle, has led higher education institutions to restructure the AEC disciplines in educational programs.
In 2010, Professor Dr. Nawari. O. NAWARI stated, “students must understand how each discipline is linked to the other and how one discipline impacts the other,” and Hardy (cited in 2011 in Deutsch, page 202) conveyed that when looking at the logic of the means and methods of construction that BIM inherently teaches, he sees the potential to educate. However, to make the connection between the disciplinary structures in the industry and how the specialties overlap, we must begin by modernizing and interdisciplinary adapting the subjects taught in academia, and BIM courses provide an excellent opportunity to involve students more effectively in the learning process and help them understand how and why buildings are built.
Furthermore, CaleaEuropeană.ro addresses the BIM issue from an educational perspective and how the academic environment prepares future engineers.
In Romania, universities have found a way to introduce BIM courses to students through the following courses:
Starting in 2016, Graitec Romania organized optional BIM introduction courses together with the Faculty of Civil, Industrial and Agricultural Constructions at the Technical University of Constructions Bucharest, under the title “BIM UNIVERSITY”. These courses were attended in subsequent years by students from the Faculty of Installation Engineering and students from the “Ion Mincu” Institute of Architecture and Urbanism. Thus, students from different branches of construction design could learn about what collaborative work using BIM technology entails.
In 2018, the Faculty of Constructions and Installations in Iași initiated the first international BIM summer school. The primary goal of the BIM summer school was to prepare students for “real-life” projects and challenges since the demands for BIM software had increased worldwide.
In 2020, Graitec Romania introduced and supported the online course “Introduction to BIM design concept. BIM examples and workflows!” for students at the Polytechnic University of Timisoara, aiming to promote the BIM design concept in the academic environment.
Lecturer Dr. Eng. Andrei CRIȘAN coordinated this project and continues to support the private sector’s involvement initiatives in relation to faculties in the construction field.
He believes that academia needs to become more connected with the construction industry, and the exchange between the two should not be limited to student employment or technical expertise but interrelate all the time to prepare students for integration into the labor field after graduation.
“We can learn a lot from the West about this collaboration and especially when it comes to BIM. Both good and bad. However, I am glad to see more and more initiatives at national level, where colleagues in academia have tightened ties with the private sector and create more and more opportunities for students. Secondly, I believe that students have a lot of power in contributing to program development and, on this occasion, I want to urge students to actively participate in developing courses that they consider useful. I would like to see the transition from ‘why is this useful to me’ to ‘I think this would be very useful to me, and I want to contribute.’ We are not two or three or five camps… we are all involved in defining and building the future,” concludes Lecturer Dr. Eng. Andrei CRIȘAN.
In 2020, the Faculty of Engineering in Foreign Languages within the Technical University of Constructions Bucharest introduced in its curriculum the first mandatory course dedicated to BIM in Romania. This course presents the theoretical aspects of BIM and, through a close connection with the industry, offers applied examples of BIM usage. Furthermore, students at the Technical University of Constructions Bucharest can attend optional courses for the use of software products that are part of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) suite.
In 2022, Lecturer Dr. Eng. Andrei CRIȘAN, within the Department of Metal Structures and Structural Mechanics, Faculty of Construction, Polytechnic University of Timisoara, initiated his own optional course “Introduction to BIM”, especially addressing students in the fourth year of CCIA, IC English and IC German, as well as those from the Faculty of Architecture and offering enrollment opportunities to all students and teaching staff within UPT.
The course content covers topics such as BIM standards and their adoption worldwide, roles within projects, levels of detail, and BIM dimensions, BIM for architects, engineers, owners, authorities, and manufacturers.
Lecturer Dr. Eng. Andrei CRIȘAN appreciates the role of private construction companies as being very important in supporting the academic sector’s efforts to promote the digitalization and technologization of the construction field.
“I believe we need representatives from firms to help us develop an updated curriculum that meets the real needs of the market and prepares students for what is to come. Construction has become a dynamic field where digitalization has changed the rules: from integrated design, where each discipline is connected, to execution, where some use AR/VR and drones. I would also like to see firms that want to use the research platforms of academia to solve real problems and to innovate. We have the capacity, the knowledge, the resources… do we have the courage to do it?” – he conveyed.
Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții have supported the educational development of future construction engineers in Romania by holding several educational sessions about BIM, within the courses organized by UPT, UTCB, and beyond.
Representatives of the two companies say that by supporting these sessions, they have helped students understand the practical application and utility of using state-of-the-art platforms and programs like Revit, BIM360, NextBIM, and VisualLive for an integrated approach to the construction process throughout the implementation cycle of the investment.
Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții have developed internal procedures and concrete work processes according to the BIM standard, and their application in day-to-day work has allowed representatives of the two companies to easily exemplify the practical application of theoretical principles through a modern presentation that includes both the theoretical and applied parts.
In 2022, as part of UTCB – Faculty of Engineering in Foreign Languages – FILS, Professor Daniel BÎTCĂ held the BIM Course, where students learned concrete notions about what the BIM methodology means and how BIM concepts are applied in design and execution. He points out that the school curriculum and the content of the subjects studied within the study programs of the Faculty of Civil, Industrial and Agricultural Construction are constantly changing with the aim of keeping pace with the development of technologies in the construction field.
“Partners from the construction industry support our faculty’s actions, ensuring both students’ access to the construction environment through internships, field trips, workshops with students, and through the constant feedback we receive from the industry. Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții are companies directly involved in the study process, and are part of our partners who use BIM technologies and share their knowledge with our faculty students,” mentions Professor Daniel BÎTCĂ.
Complementing this course, Leviatan Design representatives, Maria Văsi, Head of Structures Department and Anca Baciu, Architect, held, in March of this year, a video session addressed to the fourth-year students of UTCB – FILS, who participated in the theoretical presentation about implementing BIM concepts in design and execution, followed by a practical visit to one of the company’s construction sites. Students were explained the way of coordination and verification in execution, using mixed reality through the HoloLens 2 glasses and the Remote Assist & Next BIM software. Students tested the mixed reality equipment and understood the solutions adopted for the execution of the Multifunctional Pavilion project within the Cantacuzino Institute, and their feedback confirms the importance of these programs.
“I can say that this unique experience has accentuated our thirst for knowledge, fulfilled our desire to come into contact with the labor market, but also with the new technologies used, both in execution and in design.” – says Dragoș, a fourth-year student at FILS – UTCB, following the session organized by Leviatan.
Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții have held presentations in the past and have recently resumed, about BIM processes applied in design and execution activities, at the Military Technical Academy, the Faculty of Constructions and Installations in Iași, and the Faculty of Architecture in Iași. Here, the company’s working methods were showcased on both existing and completed construction sites. Using the latest calculation, design, and 3D modeling software, significant benefits were achieved for the beneficiaries of the works.
Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții will continue to support relevant faculties and participate in the education of future engineers.
“We are committed to supporting educational programs, in partnership with relevant universities, and offering our know-how and experience to students. Leviatan Design and Ubitech Construcții aim to awaken students’ interest in the new era of engineering, intertwined with technology, digitalization, and automation of the design process and execution monitoring.
We believe that the learning process requires a constant combination of theoretical and practical notions, and the technologization and digitalization of the construction process are strategic elements for raising the level of quality and performance in this field. Therefore, we will continue to be active among students and present and promote the advantages of BIM processes and the digitalized work methods we successfully apply in our design&build projects.” – say the representatives of the two companies.