ARCHITECTURE AND EDUCATION: BIM COLLECTIVE RESEARCH GROUP
The BIM Collective Research Group : BIMC Lab
The professional landscape of the Architectural, Engineering, Construction & Operations (AECO) sector is ever evolving, never has this been more evident than in recent years. The AECO industry is moving towards an integrated approach of “project delivery” between the relevant professionals, i.e. engineers, quantity surveyors, architectural professions and contractors. This is commonly referred to as a BIM (Building Information Modelling) methodology.
To reflect this shift in industry the BIM Collective (BIMC) Research Group was formed in 2013 by three academic staff members; Gordon Chisholm, Robin Stubbs and Brian Dempsey. The group is hosted within the Department of Architecture at Waterford Institute of Technology and purpose of the research group from the outset was to undertake applied research, in partnership with industry, to help facilitate this transition in terms of BIM processes and technologies.
In recent times the Group has grown from an initial core of three researchers to a multi-disciplinary team of nine that includes, Engineers, Computer Programmers and a panel of various experts that can be called upon when required. To reflect the growth of the Research Group we have recently completed the upgrade of our new facility the BIMC Lab. The Lab is a dedicated immersive environment fully equipped with the latest technologies and resources to enable our researchers to fulfil their potential and provide a resource to engage with industry be it for demonstration or training purposes.
Within the context of BIM, some of our most recent research has explored the possibilities of integrating immersive technologies (VR, AR & MR) within the architectural design process from conception to on-site management through to post occupancy monitoring. We have also begun developing efficient workflows for the recording of historic buildings/places utilising aerial photogrammetry obtained from Drones and translating this information as a workable design tool. Other areas of on-going research includes BIM Level 2 integration within the Irish context and Energy Simulation through BIM.
From the outset, The BIM Collective (BIMC) has utilised various Enterprise Ireland (EI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding programmes to enable Industry – Academia Partnership projects. These have covered a broad range of companies from architectural practices to large multinational cooperation’s. Many of our partners are involved in, or seeking, competitive advantages in tendering projects in the UK and farther afield; these include projects in the UK, Europe or the Middle East.
Traditionally, WIT has produced graduates for the AECO sector of the highest order and this has been confirmed from industry feedback and the subsequent success of many of our alumni. To maintain the high standards which have shaped our Programmes for the past 25 years the education of the contemporary AECO graduate must keep pace with the ever-evolving requirements of industry, and in so doing, remain relevant. The work of the BIMC Research group helps to inform the education we are providing. This latest development of the BIMC Lab will allow this practice to continue WIT to be at the cutting edge of Architectural education.