The University of Southampton

ECS undergraduates help position the UK as a leading nation in Building Information Modelling

Published: 14 November 2016
BIM represents a real construction site using digital assets

Undergraduate students from Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton are playing a part in the development of the UK as a leading nation in Building Information Modelling (BIM).

BIM is a 3D model-based process that equips the engineering, construction and architectural industries with the ability to plan, design and construct buildings more efficiently. It is a global digital construction technology that will soon be deployed in every country in the world, incorporating the digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of buildings and places. The UK’s Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are running an internationally respected programme to embed the use of BIM across centrally procured public construction projects. They are implementing the long term programme to enable the adoption of BIM by individuals, businesses and government agencies who plan, design, construct, operate and maintain diverse physical infrastructures.

The participating students from the MEng Computer Science programme, are helping in this nationwide incorporation of BIM software by tackling innovative BIM ideas as part of their group design project in the Web and Internet Science research group.

Working with GroupBC – a leading company in the implementation of BIM – last year’s students have already explored the adaptation of BIM for their MSc project and this year’s cohort are facing a similar challenge.

This pioneering work came about through the research of programme leader and Strategic Partnership Manager at the University’s Web Science Institute, Dr Sepi Chakaveh.

Sepi has been working with GroupBC for the past three years on developing innovative ideas and projects.

One of her initiatives is the technology transfer of central information onto a localised server.

She said: “In order to ensure full usability of BIM, organisations need to be able to download specific sections of the BIM information. At the moment it is stored on huge central servers, but our students are developing prototype software tools that will enable people such as builders and architects to download a selected part of the BIM information on to a local server.

“Working with GroupBC they will apply data science to construction to come up with the best solution to localising this information, enabling industry to have an ‘on demand’ access across a variety of devices.

“There is a huge industry emerging from BIM and in the years to come every building will have, not just property assets, but digital assets as well. Our collaboration with GroupBC is ensuring our students are well positioned at the forefront of this evolving technology, gaining significant experience to maximise their employability when they graduate.”

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