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Why Building Information Modelling?


Xavier Papuraj, Senior Teacher – Building Information Modelling (BIM) 

There has been a significant global focus on the adoption of building information modelling (BIM) to drive improvements from facility design to management throughout the lifecycle of a building project. There is substantial evidence to indicate that BIM is an emerging and ongoing building industry trend. BIM can be defined as the digital description of every detailed activity of a construction or engineering project. The adoption of BIM technologies results in the creation of an entire 3D model with inter-related and cross-referenced information.

The implementation of BIM on projects provides greater opportunity to analyse, improve and test designs against any number of project objectives and corresponding benefits realised by the supply chain, client and building operators. There are well established objectives often referred to as ‘dimensions’, such as building simulation (4D), cost analysis (5D) and using BIM for Facilities Management (6D). However, there are many more project objectives that may be relevant such as energy efficiency and sustainable design (ESD). As such, BIM is now beginning to gain momentum in Australia (Jacobi, J. PE 2011).

The Victorian construction technology strategy recognised the importance of BIM in driving productivity, improving building optimisation and improved asset management. In 2018, the Victorian State Government was concerned with the gap between industry needs and TAFE course outcomes. It wanted to address the emerging skill gaps and introduced the Workforce Training and Innovation Fund (WTIF) to deliver innovative strategies that improve training outcomes and increase the relevance of training to industry. Box Hill Institute identified a need to educate industry in the technological advances being made in building construction around the world, particularly in BIM and prefabricated construction. Two pilot courses were developed and successfully delivered to industry personnel on a trial basis. These government-approved courses are now being offered to address the emerging skill gaps.

BIM Courses Offered

The advanced diploma course in BIM aims to address the Victorian Government’s priority sector requirements for building construction technology in working with and applying modern building construction methods. 

It is designed to provide building practitioners and paraprofessionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to use BIM project workflow processes and work with BIM compatible software platforms to facilitate project development. 

It also provides the relevant skill sets to enable practitioners and paraprofessionals to work with and apply BIM across building projects. The course develops participants’ BIM technology skills without them needing to enrol in a full training qualification.

The WTIF allowed Box Hill Institute’s innovative proposal to be developed. With an incredible amount of time and effort, the steering group developed electronic resources, from the ground up to complement future BIM technology.

Box Hill Institute adopted a blended learning environment for its program and has created an interactive program with supported self-study and assessment. The integrated program provides online study materials and resources organised through a learning management system, and provides instructor-led, online sessions as the main form of teaching.

Learning Resources

Box Hill Institute has developed 100% online learning resources offering flexible, accessible learning opportunities as part of a blended learning approach. Technical content and best practice course design were employed to ensure student outcomes are guaranteed. This includes a couple of 3D BIM models fully documented with architecture-structure-MEP services, which are hosted in a collaborative project management portal (Autodesk Construction Cloud) that students can access from anywhere at any time. Box Hill Institute has developed case scenarios and project-based learning tasks that encourage collaborative and integrated learning across a cohort of students. It has worked closely with industry partners such as Autodesk, RIB, Trimble, etc., to provide free access to BIM capable applications, i.e. Revit, Navisworks, Cost-x, Rhino, Enscape, Lumion, SketchUp, etc.

Attributes of Project-Based Learning

‘Project-based learning is a model that organizes learning around projects. Projects are complex tasks, based on challenging questions or problems, that involve students in design, problem solving, decision making, or investigative activities; give students the opportunity to work relatively autonomously over extended periods of time; and culminate in realistic products or presentation.’

*Problem Based Learning (PBL): Vertical Problem concept - (Thomas 2000), De Urena et al. (2003)

Five criterion for effective project based learning (PBL):

  • ‘First, PBL projects are central, not peripheral to the curriculum, so PBL must be a decision of the whole institution, not just some teachers experiencing on their own
  • ‘Second, PBL projects are focused on questions or problems that drive students to encounter (and struggle with) the central concepts and principles of a discipline
  • ‘Third, projects involve students in a constructive investigation. New knowledge is necessary to solve the problem (not only to use the things already learnt), so students are responsible for reaching new skills and understandings
  • ‘Fourth, Projects are student-driven to some significant degree and teachers must renounce continuous supervision and leave some freedom and autonomy to the student to lead their own work.
  • ‘Finally, Projects must be realistic, not school like. If projects are real, students will be deeply involved, and their results will be better as they feel solving a real problem.’
*Problem Based Learning (PBL): Vertical Problem concept - (Thomas 2000), De Urena et al. (2003)

Attributes of Model Based Teaching/Learning

BIM models and case scenarios available to students for their learning activities have the following attributes, which enhances and supports their knowledge propositions:

  • Robust geometry – objects described by faithful and accurate geometry, which is measurable.
  • Comprehensive and extensible object properties that expand the meaning of the object - any object in the model has some pre-defined properties or the Industry Foundation Class specification allows for any number of user or project specific properties.
  • Semantic richness – the model provides for many types of relationships that can be accessed for analysis and simulation.
  • Integrated information – the model holds all information in a single repository ensuring consistency, accuracy and accessibility of data.
  • Life cycle support – the model definition supports data over facility life cycle, from conception to demolition, extending current emphasis on design and construction phase.
*Built Environment Industry Innovation council (BEIIC) Report 2010

Subject Areas

The subject areas covered in the course delivery has wide areas of coverage which are current and industry specific such as:

  • Technical/Design authoring subject areas:
    • Use of BIM technologies for designing, modelling, documenting, visualising, augmented reality, etc
    • Use of BIM technology for a project
    • Use of mixed or blended reality technology
  • Analytical/Measurement-based subject areas:
    • Use of BIM for measurements, BOQ, Structural Analysis, energy analysis, sustainability, buildability review, etc
    • Apply sustainable design principles for a BIM project
    • Manage cost control, planning, analysis and control process
  • Non-technical/human factors subject areas:
    • BIM technologies and processes using problem-based learning to understand BIM as a system in construction and of interdisciplinary collaboration and project integration, project delivery, facility management, etc
    • Manage project using BIM technology
    • Apply BIM to validate project performance
  • Organisational/policy subjects areas:
    • BIM standards, BIM protocol, guides, industrial norms, etc
    • Manage BIM contracts
    • Apply benefits of BIM for a project

New Intake of the Courses Offered



Advanced Diploma of Building Information Modelling (BIM)

15 Months

12 July

7 February


Course in Building Information Modelling (BIM)

6 Months

12 July

7 February

Course Video

To find out more about Building Information Modelling, email us at bim@boxhill.edu.au or call 1300 818 147.