BIM Institute takes new direction under new leadership as the BIM Academy launches its online syllabus

The BIM Institute has appointed Gregory Mofokeng, the secretary-general of the Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE), as its new president from July 2020. Besides his role in the BBCBE, Mofokeng serves on the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession and the Construction Sector Charter Council, and is the group managing director of KSL Group Holdings.

Founded in 2015, the BIM Institute set out to represent the interests of the digital built environment in South Africa. Today, the non-profit organisation is a voice for Africa’s building information modelling community in several African countries.

As part of its transformation, the institute has spun of its education and research arm, the BIM Academy Africa, as an independent training service for BIM professionals and students. The academy is headed by Vaughan Harris, one of the BIM Institute founders, and will remain the official training partner of the BIM Institute.

The two organisations share the belief that BIM holds long-term benefits for South Africa’s construction sector, including compliance to global best practices, skills development, innovation, job creation, and the development of export markets. According to Harris, these benefits have remained unrealised due to ill-informed and inconsistent implementations of BIM, which he says gave rise to the need for better training programmes.

With this in mind, the BIM Academy Africa has announced its new “BIM leader board” learning programme that builds on principles outlined the McKinsey and Company report “The Future of Work in South Africa: Digitisation, productivity, and job creation” published in September 2019. The academy has already enrolled its first group of University of the Witwatersrand students to its “Exceptional BIM Learning” programme, and also appointed its West Africa affiliated partner, ClouFrica International to help expand the learning programme into African countries.

Building information modelling (BIM) and geographic information systems (GIS) have increasingly become integrated in recent years, especially in city planning and land management applications. While disparities between BIM and GIS uses remain, there are efforts to create greater interoperability between the domains.

Earlier this year the Open Geospatial Consortium’s  (OGC), as part of its Integrated Digital Built Environment (IDBE) joint working group, published a discussion paper which considers BIM and GIS integration through data standards. The paper addresses the need to develop and coordinate better integration at a high level between BIM and GIS standards.

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