How does BIM benefit architects

How do you become a BIM manager?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is becoming increasingly popular among building owners. However, experts in digital 3D models are rare. There is still no classic training path to become a BIM manager; practical experience is decisive.

BIM connects architects and engineers with their clients. But it also connects the various planning processes of architecture, statics and building technology. That is why there has to be someone who manages the powerful tool.

Photo: / AllaSerebrina

The economy is looking for that BIM manager. The digital construction manager should manage projects from the automotive, construction and healthcare sectors, strategies for individual needs Building Information Modeling develop and finally analyze the quality of the BIM methods used. Anyone who can deal with BIM currently has a clear competitive advantage in the construction sector - whether as an applicant or as a freelance planning engineer. But who is suitable for such tasks and how do you actually become a BIM expert?

What is Building Information Modeling?

Building Information Modeling, or BIM for short, is all about a digital 3D model. All project participants can access it and the data for a project is stored in it. The building model is reproduced down to the last detail and enriched with information by all those involved in the project throughout the entire planning process. This enables better planning, execution and subsequent management of the building. Thanks to Building Information Modeling, it can also be determined in good time whether the construction project is realistic in terms of construction, time, material and cost planning.

The model is coordinated by the BIM manager. “He is responsible for the entire process. He keeps the strings in hand throughout the entire project and regularly checks whether the goals agreed with the customer are being met, ”explains Frank Walter, Head of Business Development, General Planning Central Europe at Arcadis. He is a BIM manager himself.

You can find more jobs as a civil engineer (m / f / d) on our job exchange.

How do I become a BIM manager? "There is no classic training"

“The BIM manager is, so to speak, the digital site manager. It combines knowledge on the constructive side and is the interface to those involved in the project and the client, ”adds Carlos Vicente, owner of Cavicon GmbH. Vicente supervises construction projects in the planning and execution phase. He describes himself as a BIM specialist, which means that he also takes on other tasks from the environment. For example, he combines the reality of the construction site with the CAD model with the help of 3D scanners, drones, 3D printers and modern software.

In his work, he benefits from his training as an energy consultant, technical draftsman and building technician. He has acquired the necessary knowledge about BIM through daily practice and training over a number of years.

“There is no such thing as a classic apprenticeship,” he says.

Conclusion: There is no direct training to become a BIM manager. Suitable courses are already available at universities. Building Information Modeling is gradually being integrated into the civil engineering degree. In order to work as a BIM manager, you need advanced training in the necessary digital skills. Professional experience in the digital planning of construction projects is an advantage here.

How the teaching in civil engineering is changing and whether the application of BIM is enough to create digitization in the construction industry, you will hear in this podcast episode of Technik auf Ohr: Professor Rasso Steinmann, chairman of the Building Information Modeling coordination group, is a guest.

What should BIM improve in construction?

The greatest challenge in civil engineering is the lack of communication between those involved in the project. The classic construction industry is characterized by outdated transmission of information and a high level of loss of data. Building Information Modeling should change that and create transparency.

The conception of a building is described from the idea to the demolition. Planning is carried out using a common, multi-dimensional building data model. All project participants have access to this model. The advantages of the BIM application lie in the entire life cycle of a building - from the design phase through the planning and execution phase to the operating phase.

BIM manager or coordinator: who is in charge of their area?

In his role as BIM manager, Vicente checks the various building models for possible conflicts. There are separate models for the three areas of architecture, building technology and statics. Most of the time, they are each managed by their own digital manager in practice. “Of course, these three models have to be compatible. For example, it has to be checked whether the architectural model harmonizes with that of the structural engineer, or whether the wall breakthrough endangers the stability of the building, ”explains Christoph Großmann, BIM manager at the architecture and engineering office IPROconsult. The heads of these individual trades would often be referred to as BIM coordinators. “The terms BIM manager and BIM coordinator are often used synonymously. Or the job profiles merge into one another. The subject of BIM is still so new that there is great uncertainty in this regard, ”said Großmann. The engineer worked in the project business for a long time. Now he has switched to the administrative area. The second potential field of activity for a BIM manager.

Further training to become a BIM manager: software course and interface optimization

Großmann is responsible for the introduction of BIM at his employer. He procures the necessary software, organizes employee training and is the contact person for technical questions. If there are interface problems, he sometimes writes a small program to solve the problem. Großmann originally studied surveying technology and added the Master of Engineering in geoinformatics at the HTW Dresden. Großmann already came into contact with BIM during his studies through project work and working student activities. He also wrote the thesis on the subject. After completing his studies, he was hired directly at IPROconsult. Back then as a coordinator. He acquired the necessary knowledge for his position as a BIM manager himself during and after his university education by studying specialist literature and doing practical work.

Certificate course "BIM Professional"

Interested parties can take a certificate course at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences - Technology and Economics. The participants get to know the entire BIM process practically. For example, there is a building construction workshop in which the budding BIM managers independently carry out various planning steps for a holiday home in interdisciplinary teams. Other BIM use cases are used for the self-constructed property. The BIM manager training takes place twice a year on the campus of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences.

A BIM manager has to be able to convince

"Practical experience is essential," says Frank Walter from the planning and consulting company Arcadis. The architect and graduate engineer organizes employee training and recruits talent inside and outside the company. In addition, he trains those involved at the service provider level and on the customer side. He has to repeatedly communicate the added value of BIM. Because, as with other change management processes, BIM sometimes encounters great resistance within an organization.

When hiring employees, it is crucial for him that an applicant knows the processes within a BIM project and that he is also familiar with project management. Engineers who are fit in theory, in some cases even have a doctorate on the subject, keep applying to Walter. But many applicants have no experience of practical implementation. “We don't need theorists to present us with strategic concepts for introduction. Our aim is to implement specific projects, ”is his conclusion. Walter himself began as an architect and has gradually worked his way into the subject.

BIM managers with professional experience from Germany are also welcome abroad.

“Compared to the Anglo-Saxon region, more detailed planning is handed over to executing companies in Germany. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, the detailed planning is often done by the general contractor, ”explains Walter.

BIM: from modeler to manager

At Arcadis, beginners usually start out as modelers. “The modeler implements the building as a 3D model according to the customer's specifications,” says Walter. He emphasizes that communication skills are also important. “By modeling in the cloud, we are able to work worldwide. For the modeler, this means that he has to communicate with colleagues who are in very different locations ”. The next career step at Arcadis is usually the BIM coordinator. By the way, the best BIM manager in the team is a colleague over 50 who has a high affinity for topics such as software, processes and efficiency. And which is constantly developing. That is also important in this job. Because the programs, norms, standards and trends are known to change constantly.

Future opportunities: How much does a BIM manager earn?

Engineers who acquire BIM knowledge are in great demand on the job market. There is still a lack of well-trained and practice-oriented BIM managers. The gross earnings are between 3,500 and 6,500 euros per month, depending on professional experience. The average gross salary is 50,000 euros per year. Deviations upwards are possible.

Also read:What does a civil engineer earn?

Modeling (BIM) is conquering the German construction industry. The fact that information can not only be exchanged via plans and papers has arrived in the industry. A digital exchange of data is essential to ensure knowledge transfer. BIM changes the way civil engineers think and act.

"Over time, it has already arrived in construction that information can not only be saved and exchanged on paper," says Rasso Steinmann in the VDI podcast "Technik auf Ohr", who also runs the Institute for Applied Building Informatics at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, iabi for short, directs.

“In the Corona period, you can clearly see that acceptance and willingness to use BIM have increased,” explains the expert. Assistance that demonstrates how digital processes can be set up can be found in many places - for example in the VDI Building Information Modeling coordination group: Guidelines such as VDI 2552 serve as the basis for the paradigm shift in the construction industry.

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A contribution by:

  • Sabine Philipp

    Sabine Philipp has been working as a freelance journalist since 2004. Her focus is on technology, industry and business. In her article she likes to deal with the practical implementation of innovative technologies and legal requirements.

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.