The future skills of the construction industry


February 11, 2015 │

In the world of construction, technology has accelerated the pace of development for everyone, from architects, to surveyors, right down to the people who lay the foundations. So skill set requirements for the profession are evolving in order to keep up.

In the five years that Helen Brydson has worked her way up to being a RICS chartered project manager at building consultancy Faithful+Gould, work has gone from being on paper with a pencil, to on mobile and tablet devices, using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

BIM is a 3D model of a building that is data-rich: it captures all the given information about a project in one place, including everything from measurements to the cost of materials and how building elements will work together.

“As a project manager, I can pick up a snag on a building with an architect and enter it immediately on the BIM system, meaning everyone has access to that information straight away,” says Ms Brydson.

BIM is currently mandatory on government building projects, such as the ones for the Ministry of Justice that Ms Brydson works on. Soon everyone working on large building projects will have to learn how to use it. “It will produce efficiencies that help us as an industry but I think for people doing it the traditional way, it will be a steep learning curve, and those who are just coming into the industry will benefit from being tech-savvy,” says Ms Brydson.

Mastery of technological changes such as BIM is just one of the future skills that those in the industry will need, according to Ms Brydson. As the pace of building speeds up, “softer” skills of management and communication will be invaluable.

“Communication and good working relationships are key to making sure everyone has the right message, because if someone is working with the wrong information, that can be the difference between the success and failure of a building,” says Ms Brydson. “Traditionally, project management has been seen as a science, but it is also an art.”

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