BIM People – Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo


Trevor McSharry is the Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at Institute of Technology Sligo and has launched a portfolio of accredited online part-time programmes for the construction sector. Trevor is a Chartered Engineer and holds an MBA.

As a certified Project Management Professional (PMI), he has almost 20 years of industrial and academic experience to a senior management level and worked in the Food, Electronic, Nuclear, Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries. He has intimate knowledge and experience in Project and Programme Management. Trevor is currently Chair of the Construction IT Alliance (CitA) North West BIM Region and recently completed a Certificate in Training in Low Energy Buildings. spoke to Trevor about BIM at IT Sligo and the CitA North West BIM Region.

Please tell us how you got interested in BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is revolutionising how construction projects are managed from design through to asset disposal. In my role as Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, I have a responsibility to ensure that our construction related programmes are kept relevant and modern; therefore, BIM is a key development which we need to keep abreast of.
Please tell us about your work in BIM at IT Sligo? Can you tell us about IT Sligo’s BIM modules and the courses BIM is provided on?

IT Sligo has a working group which is being used to audit and manage the implementation of BIM across the construction related programmes. Currently, staff are up-skilling in various BIM related software and have incorporated elements of BIM where possible. Examples include our Quantity Surveying programme which has a 5 credit module titled ‘BIM for Quantity Surveyors’. Asta PowerProject BIM software is also used for 4D project management within our BSc (Hons) in Construction Project Management programme. In addition, Revit and Civil 3D are also used in our Advanced Wood and Sustainable Building Technology, Architectural Design and Civil Engineering programmes.

Can you tell us about BIM research projects in IT Sligo? Have you got any upcoming BIM research projects?

One of our staff members was involved with Queens University in a cross-border InterTradeIreland funded project involving the implementation of BIM in a local construction contracting company.

What are your observations of multidisciplinary BIM projects in IT Sligo? 

Multidiscipline projects are something which IT Sligo has embedded in its programmes for many years. A real-life brief is developed with real clients and the Architectural Design students put forward a design in conjunction with the multidisciplinary team. The Civil Engineers detail the structural design, the Quantity Surveyors put forward recommendations for reducing overall expenditure by approximately 10% and the Construction Project Managers complete a project appraisal, schedule and manage the team through the design phase. At present, BIM has not been implemented in this project but the plan is to complete this at the next programmatic review.

Are employers demanding graduates with strong BIM knowledge and skills?

Absolutely! Employers are looking for graduates with at least an understanding of what BIM is and its benefits. Also, exposure to the relevant software packages is important. New emerging roles are being created, such as the BIM Coordinator, which is an exciting development. This will become more important as companies seek to implement BIM in their organisations.

Are you satisfied with the quality of BIM education and research in Ireland?

CitA is a great initiative to assist in promoting and educating all construction related stakeholders in Ireland on the benefits and importance of BIM. It leverages off best practices, particularly in the UK. It is taking time for Higher Education Institutes to up-skill and revamp existing programmes to incorporate BIM. Many have developed up-skilling offerings for part-time learners. There is a genuine hunger for knowledge for up-skilling so this trend will grow rapidly over the short to medium term.

Can you tell us about the CitA North West BIM Region, its organising personnel, the meetings held and what is planned for future meetings?

IT Sligo in collaboration with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), CitA and the region have set up a new CitA BIM North West Region to promote BIM knowledge, training, and best practices. The Region chairs are Trevor McSharry (IT Sligo), Anne Boner (LYIT) and co-chair David Mullen (EngDoc). We had a successful launch event at IT Sligo in May 2016 where over 24 organisations attended. Before and after this event there has been meetings with a BIM regional steering group which is made up of a cross-section of companies to ensure that events are relevant on appropriate for the regional needs. The next event will take place in LYIT in September 2016.

Is there significant interest among small and medium size consultants and contractors in BIM in the North West of Ireland?

There is a strong demand for BIM knowledge regionally. Companies are aware that BIM is being stipulated in some large projects in Irish Water and through the HSE nationally and understand the requirement to up-skill and stay competitive. They are looking for guidance from Higher Education Institutes and hope to get up-skilling opportunities locally.

How do you see the Irish Construction Industry changing in the next decade?

As building standards and building control regulations increase, there will be a need for construction workers to up-skill to understand how modern building fabric is used to maintain a thermal envelope, air tightness, and overall building quality. Additional up-skilling will be needed for the management of construction projects from design to demolition using Building Information Modelling. As BIM becomes a legal requirement in the future, new BIM related roles will be created such as BIM coordinators. Lean Construction tools and techniques will need to be utilised to ensure projects are completed efficiently, to the required specification and at minimum cost, waste, and carbon footprint. Overall, the sector will face many changes. Flexibility and effective communication will become key success factors.


Follow the CitA North West BIM Region on Twitter: @CITANWBIMRegion

Successful 1st Meeting of the CitA North West BIM Region:


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