UK joint venture to lead on China’s national BIM training initiative

BIM Academy, the consultancy co-founded by architect Ryder and Northumbria University, and BIM training provider White Frog have launched a BIM training facility in China that could help shape China’s national BIM training initiative.

BIM Academy and White Frog, working with Beijing-based consultant Saiwill Education, have set up the Sino-British BIM Academy, which will be based at Jiaotong University in Beijing.

The academy will offer training to allow the university’s students, along with practitioners already working in the built environment, to achieve new certifications in BIM that the Chinese government is in the process of creating.

Peter Routledge, director of White Frog, told BIM+: “In April this year, the Chinese government established a central body to define and offer BIM qualifications, with certificates available at various levels of BIM adoption from practitioner level, through BIM management up to strategic level. People who successfully gain certification will form an official BIM talent pool.”

Certifications for individuals will be administrated and assessed by the newly established National BIM Training and Certification Centre, which is accredited by the Chinese government.

The new Sino-British BIM Academy will also be advising on these qualifications and auditing the trainers.

Routledge continues: “BIM is not an unknown concept in China and the leading universities there in particular are undertaking extensive research on associated topics. With assistance from ourselves, these universities are defining the requirements and learning paths behind the new certifications, to fit into the Chinese educational framework.

“The Sino-British BIM Academy will be the first venue for this new training programme, acting as a centre of excellence for training the trainers. It is already offering a range of courses to get academic staff from Chinese universities trained.”

Its facility on the university campus has 40 training spaces and will be run by a combination of staff from Saiwill Education and Jiaotong University, with support from the UK.

Although the exact nature of the Chinese certification system has not yet been announced, Routledge expects the qualifications to be based upon British methods and standards.

“At the moment they are very much aligned with what we are doing in the UK and around the world, and the available training currently reflects this, but as we work together to develop new courses and localise approaches and software, it will be interesting to see what the world can learn from Chinese BIM,” he says. “At present we are offering introductory training, but in the future we expect that the academy will become a centre of excellence for training the trainers.”

Along with directly offering training courses in China, BIM Academy and White Frog will also be auditing the training taking place at universities across the country and consulting on the BIM curriculum to be taught at 1,300 IT training centres run by the Chinese Department of Education.

As the BIM education programme in China has the government’s backing, Routledge expects to see the country very quickly increase its awareness and use of BIM.

“China has the appetite and the budget to really commit to BIM. The government is pushing widespread BIM training hard, and with our assistance this will drive BIM adoption,” concludes Routledge.

“Certification is a contentious topic in the UK with various parties offering solutions which have thus far received a lukewarm response from the market, but in China they are doing things differently.”

Main picture: (l-r) Dean Xia of Jiaotong University; Peter Routledge, White Frog; Shuting Gao CEO of Saiwill

China has the appetite and the budget to really commit to BIM. The government is pushing widespread BIM training hard, and this will drive BIM adoption.– Peter Routledge, director, White Frog

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