Article #8 of 8 from AEC Magazine’s IFC Special Report

By Phil Read, program lead at bSUKI and managing director, Man and Machine

To support the use and deployment of the International Foundation Class (IFC) file format, buildingSMART UK and Ireland (bSUKI) has launched its Professional Certification Program.

This provides a professional qualification that recognises excellence in the delivery of openBIM. Whether you want to hone your existing openBIM skillset, or kickstart your BIM knowledge to further your career, the buildingSMART Professional Certification Program gives you the knowledge and expertise you need to succeed.

There are two levels to the certification program: Foundation and Practitioner.

The Foundation level is a primer for full certification at the Practitioner level. This qualification focuses on knowledge-based learning, delivered through standardised training, followed by an online examination. Our initial launch is the Foundation curriculum.

The Practitioner level is intended for more experienced individuals, providing a comprehensive certification and focusing on practical expertise of real-life project implementation.

Strong foundations

The Foundation level is structured around nine curricula. This includes eight domain-specific extension curricula, and a Basic curriculum, which is a prerequisite for any of the others. New curricula may be added as required.

The UK & Ireland (UKI) version of the Basic curriculum comprises two sets of learning outcomes. First, we have the Standard International Learning Outcomes, supported by all Chapters internationally.

Second, we have the UKI-specific Learning Outcomes. This is where the UK implementation has been enhanced to incorporate the UK BIM Framework. It also signposts key UKI guidance or standards documents for training providers, indicating those which should be an integral part oftheir learning curriculum. These include:

  1. UK BIM Framework Learning.
  2. Outcomes 2020.
  3. ISO 19650-2:2018 (incorporating 4. corrigendum February 2021).
  4. Government Soft Landings, 2019.
  5. Construction Playbook, 2020.
  6. Transforming Infrastructure.
  7. Performance: Roadmap to 2030.
  8. Construction 2025.
  9. Uniclass 2015.

For each curriculum, buildingSMART defines the following three components:

  1. The Learning Outcome Framework(LOF) – the learning objectives against which students on approved courses will be assessed.
  2. A Body of Knowledge (BoK) – a resource for training providers, to help them build high-quality & consistent training content.
  3. A Question Database – a pool of multiple choice questions with which to populate the examination tool.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the program is to help students become competent in the use of digital technologies and openBIM in the built environment. It provides some level of assurance that students who successfully pass the exam have a core knowledge that makes them suitable to work on digital construction projects in the UKI.

Each Chapter (in this case bSUKI) acts as the ‘regional authority’ to help local training providers develop appropriate local course content, which is aligned internationally under the buildingSMART Professional Certification Program.

It’s important to note that bSUKI does not deliver the training itself. Instead, its focus is on enabling, supporting and guiding approved training providers to ensure consistency of content and to help them prepare students for the exam.

The benefits of the program are enormous and add value to training partners, individuals and employers. I also believe they will benefit the entire UKI construction industry as we upskill it, by helping us to take advantage of digital technologies, openBIM and IFC. This should result in lower costs, less waste and better management and delivery of projects in the built environment.

Benefits to training providers include opportunities to:

  • Kickstart course-content development, by using the buildingSMART learning framework.
  • Ensure the course is up to date and reflects best practices.
  • Benefit from learning guidelines and support mechanisms from the local chapter. • Brand their course as ‘buildingSMART registered’. Training partners wishing to become a buildingSMART Approved training partner are encouraged to formally apply to

Employers and individuals

Employers and individuals also benefit. Employers that support their staff in gaining their buildingSMART Professional Certification will be educating them according to a recognised global learning framework. Successful certification is proof of competence for your professional staff, working with information management using BIM.

For individuals, the benefits include an internationally recognised individual qualification. They will be better prepared to engage in and add value to digital and BIM projects, understand the core concepts of IFC, and be well-versed in the UK BIM Framework and other important UKI and international standards relevant to our industry.

Individuals wishing to gain the Professional Certification should contact an approved buildingSMART UK and Ireland training partners, who will help them understand the process and provide details of their course content.

Get in touch

Information on UKI-specific learning outcomes

Information on BSUKI’s support for training providers

Information about applying to become a training provider

To enrol as an individual for the program and identify a training provider

Click here for more information about buildingSmart UK & Ireland.

This article is part of the
IFC Special Report – Enabling interoperability in the AEC industry.

To read the other articles in this report click on the links below.

Industry convergence
From sustainability to new business models, and from wellness to emerging technologies, IFC can be a force for good, driving the AEC industry to new levels of achievement

Inside buildingSMART
What is buildingSMART and what can it offer industry practitioners?

IFC: what is it and why is it needed
Emma Hooper, Associate Director and Head of R&D at Bond Bryan Digital, provides a useful overview of the IFC data model specification

IFC for Infrastructure
Perhaps the most significant update to the IFC standard is the inclusion of extensions for infrastructure entities in IFC 4.3

Native OpenBIM, and the rise of open source in AEC
OpenBIM can deliver on the promise of a digital world for the built environment where information and data are truly valued

IFC at Hinkley Point C
By Tim Davies, digital engineering manager, BYLOR JV – Hinkley Point C

Tackling the Gen Zero Project
The UK Department for Education’s Gen Zero project showcases how IFC can be used as the underlying data standard for a large, complex project, from start to finish

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Source: AEC