Women in BIM 2024 part 1: Cláudia Antunes

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Welcome to the first in a series of interviews counting down to International Women’s Day on 8 March. A new interview with a member of Women in BIM will appear every Friday until 8 March.

Today, Cláudia Antunes, executive director at StratBIM in Portugal, steps into the spotlight. As well as running StratBIM, she is the Women in BIM regional lead for Portugal.

BIMplus: How did you get into the world of digital construction and BIM?

Cláudia Antunes: Everything happened very naturally. Going back in time, I pursued my architecture degree with a strong focus on the project area and the role of architecture in cities. It was a very traditional learning experience, but when I studied in Madrid, during the final phase of the course, I had the opportunity to have greater exposure to modelling, rendering and visualisation software. At the time, these tools were not yet explored in Portugal, and I was excited about new possibilities and ways of showcasing my ideas.

Later, I started working in a city hall where analogue methods still prevailed. It was then that I began to explore BIM, an innovative methodology at the time, in 2014. An opportunity arose to pursue a postgraduate degree in BIM Integrated Project Delivery, and that marked a significant change in my career. I knew that was a passion to follow!

When selecting your career path what was the biggest influence in your decision?

Claudia Antunes of StratBIM - Women in BIM 2024

“When applied to the construction industry, I believe that digital can play a crucial role in shaping the future of inclusion and diversity.”

Cláudia Antunes

Digital construction and BIM are fascinating for several reasons, but for me, it reflects the transformative impact of technology on the construction industry.

When I decided to shift my career path and venture into BIM, I was just starting a role in my father’s company, which focused on business strategy. In that context, we developed some strategic business plans in the construction sector, and that’s when I realised how this working method could support companies in achieving the innovation and productivity goals they were seeking.

Therefore, undoubtedly, the most significant influence on my decision was the transformative power I observed in each implemented project. I still feel the same way today.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #inspireInclusion: what does inclusion mean to you?

The goal of inclusion is to have a sense of belonging. It’s all about ensuring that every individual feels respected, valued and able to fully participate and contribute without fear of discrimination or exclusion. Inclusive environments promote equal opportunities, regardless of differences.

But when will we be able stop talking about Inclusion? The journey toward inclusion is ongoing and continuous efforts are necessary to address emerging challenges and ensure that diversity and inclusion are integral parts of organisations and politics.

Even in the absence of explicit discussions, vigilance is required to sustain and advance the principles of inclusion.

When applied to the construction industry, I believe that digital can play a crucial role in shaping the future of inclusion and diversity, attracting and influencing women to pursue new roles and making the field more engaging and appealing.

What do you think the future of construction looks like in terms of inclusion and diversity?

As the industry recognises the tangible benefits of diversity, including enhanced innovation, improved problem-solving and increased profitability, there may be a more widespread commitment to creating inclusive and diverse workplaces.

Ultimately, these efforts will help in the future to build a talented workforce, fostering innovation and sustainability in the construction sector.

And if diversity contributes to innovation, every unique perspective is an asset to the digital construction and BIM community. Staying curious, continuously learning and actively participating in the industry can result in a digital construction career. So, I invite everyone to engage, share and contribute to this promising future in construction.

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