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ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 135 - 11/23/2011

First Wave of Construction Professionals Receive Accreditation Through BIM Education Program

Thirty-four people have earned what is believed to be first assessment-based credential to recognize construction professionals for their ability to use building information modeling technology. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) offers the accreditation, called the Certificate of Management-Building Information Modeling (CM-BIM).

 

Candidates first must complete AGC’s BIM Education Program, a series of four courses that the organization developed. To date, more than 3,800 professionals across the United States have entered the association’s education program.

The education program and assessment-based certificate were developed by a group of industry experts assembled by AGC. The assessment is administered by approved testing centers at nine of the association’s chapters: the AGC of Metropolitan Washington D.C.; the Nebraska Building Chapter; the San Antonio Chapter of AGC; the AGC of Wisconsin; the AGC of St. Louis; the Houston Chapter-AGC; Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania; the Maryland AGC; and the AGC of Michigan. The association plans to add new centers on a regular basis.

 

“The thing that has always interested me about construction was working with other building disciplines, to make an incredible construction project emerge with all aspects of the job being thought through,” said Luis Berumen of San Antonio-based Bartlett Cocke General Contractors, one of the professionals to complete the certification process. “Getting credentialed means that I can be considered a trusted source of all things BIM-related for my company and for our clients.”

 

“This new credential is a way to recognize professionals who have demonstrated a real mastery of the building information modeling process,” AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sandherr said. “It is yet another way that this association is helping the construction industry embrace new methods project delivery.”

 

Sandherr added that the association plans to make continuous updates to the education program and the assessment to ensure it keeps pace with technology developments.

 

AGC Officials Provide Additional Details to CPC/BIM

In an email interview with Construction Project Controls and BIM Report, Stephanie Mullins, AGC’s director of education advancement, and Meredith Woods, the organization’s associate director for education and credentialing, provided the following additional information about CM-BIM:

 

CPC/BIM: What was the timetable for the 34 professionals to complete the BIM Education Program and earn accreditation? How long does the process take?

 

Mullins: AGC’s BIM Education Program is comprised of 40-hours of training, which allows an individual to complete the entire program and earn the assessment in a matter of months. We estimate moving forward that most individuals will earn the credential within a year of beginning the program.  

 

Woods: Once the Education program is complete, candidates can submit an application online to be approved for the exam. Applications are approved within 10 days. Candidates can then schedule their exam at any of the available testing centers.

 

CPC/BIM: How much does it cost to become accredited?

 

Mullins: The exact cost of the training varies slightly based on location, but most participants will pay between $1700 and $2200 for the four educational programs and the exam.

 

Woods: The CM-BIM assessment fee is $550.

 

CPC/BIM: In your own words, why is this accreditation needed? Has there been a widespread problem of people claiming to be BIM experts when they are in fact not adept at using this technology?

 

Mullins: AGC’s BIM Education Program looks at building information modeling as a process in construction, not just a software program that creates a model. Through this, we focus on what you need to do within your projects and companies to effectively use BIM. This process had been developed by a lot of the early-adopters of BIM through trial and error and the program was developed to assist in future adoption. 

 

Woods: This is the first assessment to look at the practical implementation of BIM.

 

CPC/BIM: What is the schedule of upcoming CM-BIM courses over the coming months/next year?

 

Mullins: More than 40 AGC chapters across the country have been regularly hosting these courses over the last two years and currently there are more than twenty courses accepting registrations across the country. The list is updated every day at http://www.agc.org/cs/bim_ep_calendar.

 

CPC/BIM: AGC stated that the association plans to add new centers on a regular basis. Could you elaborate on when and where new centers may be added? About how many new centers are expected to be added within the next year?

 

Woods: AGC chapters are eligible to become testing centers, and there are currently 11 testing centers. As more candidates complete the BIM Education program and become prepared to take the CM-BIM assessment, this number will continue to grow. The calendar along with a list of testing centers is available at http://www.agc.org/cs/cm-bim.

CPC/BIM: Over the long term, perhaps over the next five years, about how many construction professionals are expected to be accredited through this program? Also, will there be a push to make such a program a suggested requirement within standard form contracts and/or legislation?

 

Mullins: In the two years AGC’s BIM Education Program has been available we’ve seen over 3,800 individuals participate and we expect that number to continue to grow. Within the BIM Education Program there is a course on contract negotiation and risk allocation that looks at how building information modeling can be incorporated into project contracts using the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum.

 

Woods: Currently, AGC is not actively lobbying for CM-BIM to be a required designation. However, as the process and technology becomes more ubiquitous, it could become an aspect of a minimum requirement for BIM implementation by some owners or projects. AGC hopes that the CM-BIM designation will be a way for AEC professionals to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

 

CPC/BIM: How will the availability of this program be promoted?

Woods: The CM-BIM program will be promoted through the AGC website, our email newsletters, print advertisements in industry publications, as part of AGC’s participation at industry events, and promotional efforts through our network of 95 chapters.

For more information about the CM-BIM accreditation or the association’s BIM Education Program, visit http://www.agc.org/cs/cm-bim

 

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