Top considerations for organizations in the built environment sector
BSI’s new Head of Training, Laura Melvin tells us what she considers to be the top considerations for organizations in the built environment sector and what her plans are for 2017.
Laura, welcome! What’s been your highlight so far at BSI?
The people - everyone is so passionate about their job and have made me feel really welcome. I feel like I’ve worked here for years already.
How did you start out in the Built Environment industry?
I’ve been in the Built Environment industry for about thirteen years now - previously at BRE and before that, IES Ltd. My background is in business management, however I’m really passionate about the Built Environment - particularly BIM (Building Information Modelling). There’s a bit of a misconception that BIM is all about software and it’s very technical, but for me it’s about collaboration and working with people, which is what I thrive on.
What do you think is the biggest driver for organizations in the Built Environment industry at the moment?
Well, BIM is of course very topical at the moment with the government mandate for organizations to be able to demonstrate their BIM capability in order to be considered for publicly procured projects. That said, private projects / clients are now asking for BIM Level 2, as they’re seeing the efficiencies that can be made.
How is BSI supporting organizations?
From a training perspective, there’s still a lot of education needed around BIM and that’s where BSI comes in – it’s our job to demystify any misconceptions. We’re seeing more and more organizations come to us for training; some are just starting out on their journey, and others are further along. We deliver solutions that cater for all levels of competency, for those organizations that are just starting out, there’s BIM fundamentals training where we’ll support individuals to achieve a basic knowledge level of BIM Level 2. For those further along in their journey, there’s training solutions designed to help with BIM implementation which for many organizations can be their biggest challenge. Education is key, however going beyond training – BSI offers BIM Verification and Kitemark™ solutions to demonstrate organizational BIM capabilities, giving our customers a competitive advantage. BSI is delighted to now be offering a remote gap analysis service, which will assess where organizations are in their BIM journey, if they are considering a Verification or Kitemark solution.
What do you think are the biggest challenges around BIM?
I think one of the most important challenges is getting buy-in throughout the organization, both from a strategic and operational perspective. I don’t see BIM as a mere process, it’s an enabler for more efficient working and should be looked at from a companywide perspective. For many it has evolved into a culture change project. We often hear that an individual has been told to drive this change or to drive BIM without an appreciation for the support required from the rest of the business. We always look at it from an organization-wide perspective and ask, ‘how can we help your entire business to get up to speed?’
Where do you think organizations are on their BIM journey?
There’s still a way to go – certainly lots of key influencers and Tier 1 contractors are leading the way – we’ve already verified and awarded the BSI Kitemark for BIM to several organizations. However there are still a number of Tier 2 organizations (and in fact Tier 1 organizations) that need to get on board. As it’s such a traditional industry, that has previously been dependent on paper-based working, it requires a complete culture shift in order to embrace this digital era. However, if organizations fail to get on board, they could lose out on projects. Embracing BIM is a great opportunity for businesses to build additional resilience and prepare for the future.
Do you have a career highlight so far?
I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved so far in my career – and at my age. I’ve managed a global training business, developed new market-leading products, and even managed to achieve my OU degree whilst travelling around Europe.
Any advice for other women considering a career in the Built Environment?
Work hard! And be creative – don’t follow the crowd, be a leader. Think about how you can implement change and be ambitious and entrepreneurial.
What are you looking forward to most at BSI?
The BSI training academy is already highly successful and I’m looking forward to taking it to the next level by working with the team by applying my knowledge and expertise and being creative. We have a really passionate team and that will only help us to become even more resilient.