BIM Basics with Paul McCormack


Transforming the EU Construction Sector to be greener, consume less energy and to reduce the carbon footprint of the sector, will be driven by the growing market for digitalisation and data and  by legislated carbon reduction targets but it will all be achieved through upskilling the built environment workforce.

BIMcert is a project based upon three steps, aimed at providing a large-scale training & qualification scheme providing the requisite skills for the entire construction supply chain to:
1.        Enable collaborative working to improve access to and the transition from design to development and delivery of both new build and renovation to achieve energy efficient near zero buildings (embedded energy)
2.        Achieve efficient and effective ongoing management of the building in terms of energy and fabric (operational energy)
3.        Utilise Building Information Modelling (virtual construction) as the enabling methodology and tool (sustainable energy)


Extensive industry links in the BIMcert project harnessed through the BIMcert Strategy Compass that informed strategy, content, direction and delivery. We had the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), which included technical organisations, accreditation bodies, digitalisation transformation experts and BIM experts. This was supported by the Industry Advisory Panel (IAP), included industry bodies, companies, SMEs and industry representatives, and ensured that our material was responsive to both organisational and staff needs.

BIM Journey

BIMcert has developed training packages that, instead of a lengthy and rigid multi module accreditation process, follow a digital micro-accreditation process. Such bite-sized micro-accreditation allows learners to follow their own learning path.

Whilst BIM is an enabler and a priority for companies to secure a basic grasp of, in reality the level of knowledge and use of BIM will differ from one company to another depending on their position on the construction value chain. Whilst large multinational companies will have resources for a dedicated BIM department, SME’s will require this to be an ‘add on’ to someone’s job description.

In 2020, NI headquartered Company, OHMG realising the need to lay down firm BIM foundations upon which to base their digitalisation journey embarked on a companywide BIM course. 27 O’Hare and McGovern staff have completed the OCN Level 3 Award in Digital Construction with BIM delivered by Belfast Metropolitan College. This 20-week online course was delivered in a beyond blended online education process with the learners engaging with the process remotely and at a time that suited them. This digital process enabled and empowered the OHMG workforce to study ‘on site’ at their own pace, time and location.

Speaking about the company BIM engagement Martin Lennon, Managing Director of OHMG Ltd. said, “The Company, as with all others in the construction sector, face the challenge of ensuring their staff are fully skilled in digital tools for construction whilst still delivering the goods on site.  The Belfast Met BIM course was a perfect fit for our team and is another step on our digital transformation journey.”

Our experiences in the BIMcert project shows that there are still many barriers that prevent adults from engaging in the learning process including,  lack of time and cost, lack of access to high quality training, limited guidance and a lack of belief and motivation to get involved in training in the first place.

Indeed the mechanisms and structures we put in place ensured that the learning process not only continued during the lockdown but also was enhanced. The Croatian government engaged with BIMcert to utilise the platform for vocational learning because their own structures fell short of what was needed.


In our delivery, we were faced with significant challenges. We were engaging with the construction industry who are one of the slowest industries engaging in innovation and digitalisation, second only to agriculture.

Article provided by Paul McCormack , BIMcert Programme Manager.

BIM is just an acronym, it is a system for handling data that allows the user to manage construction.

BIMcert, materials for 32 modules for trainees and trainers were developed in common and uploaded to the learning platform. 

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