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CanBIM ready to launch accreditation

Patricia Williams
CanBIM ready to launch accreditation

The Canada BIM Council (CanBIM) is poised to launch Canada’s first standardized certification and accreditation program for Building Information Modeling (BIM) professionals.

The Canada BIM Council (CanBIM) is poised to launch Canada’s first standardized certification and accreditation program for Building Information Modeling (BIM) professionals.

The council said the aim is to create a national body providing a benchmark for individuals, companies/organizations, academic institutions and training providers to be certified to nationally standardized and recognized levels of BIM competency and process management.

BIM competency is defined as the combination of conceptual knowledge, BIM skills (practical knowledge) and experience necessary to perform a BIM-related task.

Process management is defined as setting up, managing or participating in a 3D digital engineering/virtual design and construction/BIM co-ordination process.

The program is intended to guide, facilitate and foster a closer relationship between educational institutions, training providers and the building industry to ensure that what is taught is consistently relevant to what is needed in an ever-evolving industry.

"In essence, this program will provide a point of reference which those working within the Canadian BIM environment can rely upon to ensure that industry needs are met," said Pietro Ferrari, chair of CanBIM’s research and education committee.

"In addition, the program will help us to pursue mutual recognition beyond Canada’s borders."

To be launched at CanBIM’s next regional session and AGM in Edmonton in late September, the program will consist of progressive levels of certification, each with their own set of criteria and benchmarks, for both industry professionals and organizations.

"By clearly defining standardized certification and accreditation, we will be able to turn our attention to establishing qualification profiles for BIM positions in companies and map those same profiles to BIM education outcomes," Ferrari said.

The initiative has been in the works since January 2013, when Ferrari assumed the role of chair of the research and education committee.

One of the committee’s goals is to facilitate and foster a closer relationship between educational institutions and the building industry through innovative BIM learning opportunities.

Ferrari, a professor and program co-ordinator at the School of Architectural Studies at the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies at Toronto’s George Brown College, said an "advanced draft" of the proposed levels of certification has been completed.

"It (the draft) is now in the final stages of development in anticipation of full release and implementation at our AGM in September."

At that juncture, both the individual level and company level certification programs are to be launched.

Plans also call for a start on the process of benchmarking single-course and program learning outcomes in line with CanBIM certification levels for both higher education and continuing education for industry and professionals.

"An environmental scan of national BIM-related courses has clearly indicated that there is not a common direction and understanding of what a ‘holistic’ BIM-related education should look like;" Ferrari said.

"This program will now allow us to address this."

Ferrari is spearheading the initiative with the guidance and input of CanBIM’s 10-person board of directors, which has representation from key players in the Canadian BIM community.

"Throughout the development of the certification and accreditation program, the entire board, with their specific expertise and industry-specific feedback, provided guidance in (delineating) the parameters of the program," he said.

A CanBIM director since January of last year, Ferrari also sits on an implementation committee for George Brown’s BIM post-graduate certificate program.

"As such, I have a strong understanding, by way of countless hours of research and program development, as to what skills are relevant to the realities of the ever-evolving BIM industry."

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