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Skills shortages threaten BIM readiness

As the government’s BIM deadline draws ever closer many firms are reportedly not ready.

From the new year all public sector projects over £5 million need to be undertaken using Building Information Modelling (BIM) to the full level 2 standard. To ensure they are BIM compliant companies will need to implement new systems and frameworks and staff will soon need to be competent in digital technologies such as Revit.

But this brave new world of BIM will require digital skills that many existing staff do not currently possess.

Preparing for BIM: an investment of time and money

The estimated cost of training existing staff in a digital technology such as Revit is £28,000. This eye-watering overhead has understandably made some employers nervous about making the investment. The result is that not all of them have.

And it’s costly in terms of time too. For everyone to be able to communicate digitally, staff will need to be able to speak the new language. Learning how to work in this new way will take time to master and unfortunately, with the government’s deadline drawing ever closer, time has become a dwindling resource.

This goes some way to explaining why only 16% of firms in the building sector recently reported they were ‘fully ready’ to use BIM on their projects. The sector-wide survey also revealed just over one in four companies felt they were ‘not ready at all’ for BIM. However, interestingly, the research pointed to an overall positivity towards BIM with nearly two thirds of respondents saying BIM will be ‘good for the sector’.

So, with 2016 is nearly upon us, what can be done to speed things along and ensure work is not lost as companies make the transition?

Finding skilled staff

One solution is to recruit individuals already experienced in BIM. This strategy will save you both time and money! Not only will it cut the cost of training it will also ensure time is not lost on project work. New experienced staff will be able to hit the ground running while existing members of the team get up to speed with the new ways of working.

Hiring people with existing BIM skills provides the added bonus of keeping up staff morale too. The risk of up-skilling employees at this late stage is that they can become frustrated with the pressures of training and development alongside managing the day job. New staff will relieve some of this pressure and can potentially inject some much needed enthusiasm into your company around the new ways of working. They can also help enormously with training and development of existing staff.

In the next two to three years as the industry makes the somewhat tricky transition we are likely to see a growing demand for people with the right skills. BIM implementation and the cultural shift it requires is happening against a backdrop of an overall skills shortage within the industry due to an ageing population in management positions and skilled personnel being tempted away by high salaries abroad. Competition is likely to become fierce for individuals already skilled and experienced in BIM.

As a specialist architectural recruiter Hunter Dunning can help you prepare for the challenges and opportunities BIM presents by providing you with the right staff to lead the way.

About me:
I am the Managing Director of Hunter Dunning Ltd, specialising in the recruitment of architectural and interior design professionals throughout the UK.  Feel free to get in touch if you are considering a move in the future, we would love to hear from you.