SPDC construction management students travel to Barton Malow to gain experience in Building Information Modeling

On Oct. 31, students in the SPDC’s CM Program and in the College of Engineering’s Civil Engineering Program had the opportunity to visit the Virtual Design and Construction Center at Barton Malow where students gained firsthand experience in BIM.

Image of students from the SPDC Construction Management Program and College of Engineering's Civil Engineering Program holding an MSU Spartan flag in Barton Malow.
Students in the SPDC's Construction Management Program and in the College of Engineering's Civil Engineering Program at Barton Malow.

On Oct. 31, students in the School of Planning, Design and Construction’s Construction Management Program and in the College of Engineering’s Civil Engineering Program had the opportunity to visit the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Center at Barton Malow where students gained firsthand experience in Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Barton Malow spoke with students about their company, highlighting Tekla 3D modeling software, the application of drones for field surveying, laser scanning technology and visualization using Navisworks.

“My visit clearly proved what I learned in class that VDC is beyond software application; it is the combination of technology, management and collaboration,” said master’s student Henok Zeleke Bekele.

VDCatBartonMalow_canrnews_120418“At Barton Malow, I saw how the 3D, 4D visualization and laser scanning technology improved work efficiency and problem-solving capacity. The lessons I am learning in the VDC applications and the BIM tools will have a significant benefit in my future career, since VDC is becoming common in the construction industry, and I believe it will dominate the construction industry in the future.”

At Michigan State, CMP328 is the BIM course for undergraduate students and the CMP828 is the advanced VDC/BIM course for graduate students. In the course, students learn BIM skills including digital building modeling, energy modeling, construction simulation, virtual reality, and laser scanning. 

Construction management graduates are prepared with technical skills and the mindset to perform BIM in their careers. Dong Zhao, PhD, assistant professor in construction management, is the instructor for these courses and he has more than 12 years of experiences in the BIM research and practices.VDCCMstudents_canrnews_120418

“VDC or BIM are the emerging technologies that are changing the whole Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. The construction industry expects future employees to contain knowledge and skills in information technology, especially through its growing demand for construction professionals with BIM knowledge and skills,” Zhao said.

“After 30 years of development, BIM is quickly becoming the gold standard and one of the most promising recent developments in the AEC industry and is the basis of many technological trends in the industry as well.”

According to Zhao, the McGraw-Hill survey forecasts the BIM adoption to stabilize at about 90% of the North American market.

“Overall, BIM-relevant technologies are no longer optional value-added features for construction graduates, but basic fundamental skills of industry’s expectation,” Zhao said.

“BIM is not only affecting students’ learning, but also is positively affecting their thinking. The construction industry is becoming more and more intelligent. This ongoing change is reshaping the old traditional industry. Our students can see and feel such change and get themselves prepared for the career in the 21st century.”­­

Along with students expanding their BIM knowledge on the trip, their work in VDC/BIM was also shared with Barton Malow. Three internships and one full-time position were created at Barton Malow for MSU construction management students focused on BIM in the coming year.

To learn more, please contact Assistant Professor Dong Zhao at dzhao@msu.edu.

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