Publication Details

Panuwatwanich, K., Wong, M., Doh, J., Stewart, R. A. & McCarthy, T. J. (2013). Integrating building information modelling (BIM) into Engineering education: an exploratory study of industry perceptions using social network data. In C. Lemckert, G. Jenkins & S. Lemckert (Eds.), AAEE2013: Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (pp. 1-9). Australia: Griffith School of Engineering, Griffith University.


Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been widely acknowledged as an emerging technological and procedural shift within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. BIM represents a methodology to manage the building design and project data in digital format throughout a building lifecycle. With the implementation of BIM, the design, construction and operation processes can be better streamlined to improve project efficiency. Because of its far-reaching benefits, there is a current push for BIM by governments worldwide, including Australia. However, a significant lack of the understanding of BIM and industry readiness has been identified as a major hindrance; hence, there is a growing demand for tertiary institutions to incorporate BIM into their architecture and engineering curricula to equip new graduates with such knowledge. A number of universities around the world are offering courses for various BIM applications. However, there remain numerous issues associated with the development and delivery of appropriate BIM courses that require careful considerations. This study presented in this paper was developed to answer the following question: what are the current issues perceived as critical by BIM professionals on the integration of BIM into universities' engineering curricula? METHOD An exploratory analysis was conducted by using a qualitative analysis of the data obtained from a popular online social network platform for professionals - LinkedIn. Data in the form of discussion posts and comments associated with BIM in education were captured from a BIM-specific discussion group using NVivo 10 software. To carry out the analysis, discussion posts and comments were coded to identify important themes emerging from the data. These themes were then examined, interpreted and discussed. The results showed that the themes emerged from the selected discussion posts were concentrated on the recommendations on how BIM can be integrated into a curriculum and the barriers to the integration. The need to teach BIM as a collaborative process rather just a software tool was highlighted, with the difficulty in bridging educational silos identified as one of the main barriers. BIM is an innovative concept that can help improve the efficiency of the AEC industry. To successfully integrate BIM into education, the industry perceived that there is the need for universities to be more innovative in developing a collaborative curriculum that requires integration across different educational disciplines. This represents a major challenge to be overcome not only for engineering education, but also other related disciplines within the AEC context.