Building Information Manager at Transport for London
What is a BIM Manager?
BIM stands for Building Information Modelling and it’s very important to work carried out by Transport for London. BIM means producing and using information about the physical nature, properties and functions of an asset (which could be anything from a London Underground tunnel to a passenger lift or ticket hall, to name just a few examples). For example, it could involve creating a virtual model of a building project before it’s built.
BIM is collaborative, which means it’s a skill that relies heavily on teamwork and different skills and disciplines coming together. It’s a process that combines 3D design, simulation, analysis (study of information), quantity surveying and lots of other tools and disciplines.
As a BIM manager, you’ll most likely have built up your career from an engineering, architecture, quantity surveying, project management or construction-related background having gained hands on technical skills in or detailed understanding of computer aided design. You’ll be able to lead a team, build partnerships with suppliers and report into the head of engineering information to make sure any Transport for London assets are built accurately and safely.
Want an example of BIM and TfL assets? Read on...
DID YOU KNOW? Victoria Station is one of the busiest stations on the London Underground, used by around 80 million passengers every year. Building Information Modelling has been extremely important in a £700m project to safely increase the number of passengers using the station with new lifts, tunnels and ticketing halls. The Victoria Station Upgrade has pushed the use of BIM way beyond anything ever attempted in the UK before and set international standards! As an example of the level of detail involved, 3D printing technology was used to create physical scale models of the virtual BIM model. This visual tool then helped the project team to share their design goals with the public and stakeholders and help them understand the benefits of the upgrade. As a BIM manager, you could be involved in landmark projects like this too!
So tell me more about how to be a BIM Manager
Building Information Modelling is a collaborative discipline involving different skills, so there are a number of routes in that might match your interests. You can specialise in architecture, engineering or construction in your learning and training after school to start building the skills and knowledge you need. Once you have progressed in your career, you could look at becoming a chartered surveyor, to find out more about becoming a chartered surveyor, click here.
As the role of BIM manager requires experience of project management you’ll need to be able to talk about your experiences in an interview. One way of gaining experience is to do some work experience or volunteering and look to build your organising and leadership skills. To find out more about work experience and volunteering, click here.
Joining STEM clubs such as DEC (Design...Engineer...Construct) to build upon your skills as well as develop new ones. The DEC programme is the chance to gain a construction industry recognised qualification that will boost your employability.
At school and beyond, it’s always a good idea to build up your office software skills – programs like Excel (for spreadsheets) take minutes to learn and a lifetime to master, so getting experience of basic IT skills and programs will help you organise information and schedules in an office environment and set solid foundations for further learning and training.
Becoming a BIM Manager… What does it take?
Transport for London look for certain levels of experience and areas of knowledge when hiring. This is a senior role you’ll have progressed to with time and experience, so you’ll need a range of skills, knowledge and management experience in order to shine. To become a BIM manager for Transport for London you’ll need the following:
- Degrees and/or Higher National qualifications related to architecture, engineering or construction
- Knowledge of Building Information Modelling and collaborative working processes
- Working knowledge of Engineering Content Management Systems (ECMS). To do this job for Transport for London, it will really help if you know Bentley ProjectWise
- Knowledge of safety standards and risk management
- Knowledge of IT, network systems and the best ways to exchange data/information
Before you head into a Transport for London job interview for a BIM manager role, ask yourself:
- Have you created great relationships with all kinds of people in a professional work environment and influenced their decisions?
- Have you ever led a team of engineers, providing expert advice and support?
- Have you ever reviewed and analysed technical documentation?
- Have you ever worked in a construction or engineering environment (especially underground railways, which would be a big plus)?
- Large organisations may have ‘change processes’. This means improving an organisation by changing the way work is done. Have you ever managed or helped to manage a big change in a company’s structure?
When applying for this role, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about yourself, your knowledge and experience in a work setting.
Learning and development courses and training to build your career
When applying for the role of BIM manager, you’ll ideally have had BIM training and the chance to put your knowledge into practice. You can learn this as part of your degree or National Higher qualification. You may also receive training in your company through an employer, or apply for courses. You can search for BIM courses (e.g. architectural BIM training) by using the course finder tool.