“Resourceful”, “pro-active”, “solution focused”, “good communicator”, “accurate”, “problem solver” are a few of the keywords AEC employers use when looking for structural engineers. For fresh graduates these may still be all fine, but it’s the paradox cherry on top: needing experience to get experience that budding engineers may find highly frustrating.
While you may not have years of experience working the industry, you can take advantage of AEC industry’s latest paradigm shift: Building Information Modelling (BIM). As more and more companies adopt BIM for their business, you can expect job listings to include titles such as BIM modeler, BIM specialist, BIM developer, BIM technician and BIM manager. The thing is that if you wish to work as a structural engineer in the future years, you have to embrace BIM.
Unlike work experience, BIM skills are something you can acquire proactively while you are still studying. BIM savvy graduates have an advantage on the job market where companies are looking for the most creative and technologically skillful young talents.
So what kind of skills help you to stand out and how do they relate to BIM?
FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS
Structural Engineers are a vital part in creating many different types of structures ranging from apartment complexes and museums to bridges and waste processing plants. With increasing demands for social and environmental sustainability, you are expected to deliver innovative and creative solutions while simultaneously ensuring optimal functionality and safety.
BIM software can be a highly visual and information-rich tool for designing outstanding structures that meet demanding requirements. BIM software offers structural engineers flexible tools to design even the most complicated structures while including several materials and components to the same model. You can practice creating different structural solutions and start building a portfolio you can showcase to future employers.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE A PROBLEM SOLVER
Dealing with challenges and solving problems is constant in the construction industry. As a structural engineer, you are expected to deliver desired results effectively while identifying and avoiding mistakes such as conflicts between different designs or elements. The earlier these issues can be identified and solved, the better as even the smallest mistake can be costly and delay delivery times.
BIM enables structural engineers to virtually walk through the construction process and identify and resolve any potential clashes, safety risks and inconsistencies. This way, issues can be overcome in the design phase and not on the site.
HAVE A COLLABORATIVE MINDSET
Structural engineers work alongside with architects and other construction professionals. Cross-disciplinary collaboration and communication skills are fundamental for anyone working in the AEC industry. However, different priorities, values or working methods can hinder realizing this ideal in practice.
BIM tools create a more solid foundation for communication and collaboration. BIM fosters transparency, information sharing and integration which in turn give you and other AEC professionals better opportunities to be more in sync early on in the construction process. Information richness and integration between models transform solo-design into parallel-design, reduce clashes between models and allow making better design decisions.
Lean building and design are more prominent in construction than ever. Lean thinking in the AEC industry embraces carrying out construction processes with minimal costs and maximum value to the customer and ensuring this continues the building’s entire life-cycle. Structural engineers like you are accountable for influencing this on a daily basis by identifying opportunities for efficiency and cost reduction.
BIM is a comprehensive method for achieving leaner construction as it helps to cut costs, reduce rework, minimize waste and optimize workflows. More thorough and detailed planning can be done off-site which means less problems and delays on-site.
By Joining Tekla Campus you can:
- Download and install free BIM software
- Learn structural engineering software
- Create a portfolio for you models
- Join a community of future BIM experts