We invited the winner of the BIM Awards Student category to celebrate and receive his winner’s diploma in the Tekla HQ. He was asked about himself, his studies and the model he submitted into the competition, and this is how the cheery young man answered:

I am Jesse Pulli, winner of 2013 BIM Awards Student category. This is my fourth year studying Building Materials and Building Technology in Aalto University. I chose this subject because I am interested in construction engineering, and these studies also include the management side of the business. Overall the subject seems to me like a balanced mix of theory and practice, not to mention the new technological advancements in the business, like Tekla Structures software.

The model I submitted for the BIM Awards was done on a course about designing the building frame. The course project was done as a group assignment, and I volunteered to do the modeling in Tekla Structures. The previous spring I was an assistant on this R-CAD course, where we go through some BIM tools and how to use them. With this experience under my belt I was glad and interested to take upon the modeling work of the project.

The building for the project was not entirely up for us to pick, but we were presented with a choice between a selection of apartment, hotel and industrial storage buildings. We did not want to pick an industrial building, so we went for a hotel building. We first thought we would go for more of an average, rectangle-shaped building, but it turned out to be this individual shape. At first we were a bit wary about it and thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. Eventually it turned out to be a good choice, because with this individual shape the modeling work was more interesting and I got to use some tools I probably would not have used if we had chosen some other building.

A minor let down to me was the fact that the building was mostly cast in place and thus I didn’t get to use the concrete elements much. I only got to use them when modeling the stairs. It would have been interesting to get to place all the concrete elements into the model, but it would have taken even more time which we did not have much to begin with. However, an interesting challenge presented itself in the form of modeling the window openings in the curved wall. I am yet to find out what is the professional way to model them, so it was interesting finding my own solution for this challenge.

In my university, there are two courses for learning the use of BIM tools. On the first course, R-CAD, four different BIM tools are taught, with the addition of an alternating analysis application. The four software are taught in turns and for each of them a corresponding project is assigned. There are also weekly exercise sessions, where students can ask for help from the assistants. In addition to the R-CAD course, we have this course about designing the building frame, but here the tools and roles in the course work are chosen by the students.

I have done some self-learning for Tekla Structures and for example, on this course I needed to search for guidance on how to model the stairs. It was definitely beneficial having previous knowledge about the use of Tekla Structures on this project work, so I did not have to start from scratch and use precious time for learning the software instead of doing the actual modeling. The university courses are nice, but I would like to learn more about how the software is used in a real construction project and how it makes the work easier.

Knowledge of BIM tools is valuable for your career, I think. The construction companies use these tools more and more, and in the future they will be used on every sector of the construction business. Then it will definitely be compulsory for anyone working in the business to know how to use them.