Developing the open standards, tools and training that will drive the successful uptake of BIM

Bulletin 24, November 2015

Certification – how and why?

Reinvigorating the network

With the momentum for certification growing, schemes to provide BIM certification – both for individuals and organisations – are available from several sources. BRE’s BIM certification scheme has experienced a rise in the number of companies registering.

This article explains what to expect from a BRE certification, before going on to look at a certification initiative taking place within buildingSMART International. And two of bS UKI’s officers, Dan Rossiter and Nick Nisbet, have themselves gone the certification route. Find out what it was like for them.

BRE certification

BRE has two separate certifications on offer: the BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification Scheme and the Certificated Practitioner Scheme.

The business systems scheme is aimed at organisations and checks their ability to satisfy the relevant clauses of PAS 1192-2: 2013, the CPIx BIM and IT assessment forms, and the relevant PAS 91: 2013 pre-qualification questions.

The Certificated Practitioner Scheme is aimed at individuals who have to demonstrate that they are capable of undertaking the role of project information manager (PIM) or task information manager (TIM) – BRE offers certification for both. 

‘The first company to achieve certification for business systems was BDP for their London office, back in November 2014,’ says Ben Curtis, scheme manager. ‘Since then they have had a number of their other UK offices certified. BDP see it as a benefit, as it has validated their commitment to information management while also allowing them to demonstrate their abilities externally.’


Achieving certification from BREDan Rossiter, BIM consulting/training manager at BRE/bS UKI

‘I am certified by BRE as a project information manager and a task information manager. I found the BRE scheme great as it provided an education along with a certification. It is also aligned with the BIM task group LOF [learning outcome framework] so it gave me confidence that the approach equipped me and others who have completed it with a broad education in information management as well as third-party validation, allowing me to do the roles I am trained for.’

See for a list of BRE certifications awarded

The momentum has grown. There are over 40 applications currently in the system, many of them progressing well. ‘I have just completed an on-site audit, and have another two scheduled in October, so the scheme is picking up quickly,’ says Dan Rossiter, BIM consulting/training manager at BRE/bS UKI, who acts as one of the certification auditors.

For the Certificated Practitioner Scheme, applicants are required to complete the BRE BIM fundamentals course, together with the project information course. They also complete a form which demonstrates their knowledge and understanding of the responsibilities of a project information manager or a task information manager. An additional course on project delivery management is required for those seeking certification as a PDM.

With the experience gained, the scheme organisers are refining the process. ‘Initially, the application form for the certificated professional scheme made it difficult to identify all of the requirements we needed to complete a successful audit,’ says Dan. ‘This was causing frustration all round, and we have now streamlined the process to make the application form much clearer.’

For further information about BRE certification, please drop us a line at or visit

Developments in buildingSMART certification

Software certification

Our central organisation, buildingSmart International has offered a service of software certification since 2001. Certification is currently to IFC2x3, but there are preparations for certification to IFC4 to meet a future need.  
See and

Certification of people and organisations

This is a new and exciting area for bSI which is planning to offer high-level guidance and certification for training providers and help ensure global high standards for BIM training and certification.

Around the world there are numerous opportunities for BIM training – and they vary widely, according to the competence of the provider. With the globalisation of the AEC industry, clients need to know that BIM professionals have received training and certification from a reputable organisation that is in touch with industry needs.


Achieving certification from Lloyd’s Register
Nick Nisbet, technical coordinator, bS UKI

‘My company, AEC3 was the first to be awarded the Lloyd’s Register accreditation for BIM. We were chosen for the pilot which was intended to serve as a test bed and learning process for both parties. Our BIM business systems received accreditation in two areas, as BIM object provider/originator and as BIM project collaboration software systems service provider.

Nick Nisbet receiving Lloyd’s Register accreditation from Terry Mundy

We found the experience of accreditation a valuable exercise in validating our business systems and a great chance to ensure that we are truly practising what we preach on BIM. Our clients benefit from competently developed, repeatable and checkable project/product information, and accreditation is a way of showing our commitment to the use of formal structured information in place of informal and error-prone craft methods.’

See for the full story

So who trains the trainers? How does the market know that their training providers are offering the best?

One way is to certify training/certification organisations themselves, and BSI supports this approach. An international user certification task group, formed in October 2014 following the Toronto summit, is making progress on a scheme for endorsing training and certification organisations, distilling best practice from existing work in chapters.

BuildingSMART Norway (bSN), for example, provides a set of teaching curricula that course providers are free to use. Anyone registered on a course can also take the web-based exams to achieve certification. The curricula and exams are available in Norwegian and English. BRE’s courses are also offered as a model for this initiative.

The buildingSMART group, with members from Canada, Norway, Germany, Finland, Korea and the UK, are defining the minimum learning outcomes expected from a basic two-day course on BIM, covering learning outcomes such as BIM maturity levels, model federation, bSDD benefits and many other items, taking inspiration from the BIM task group on LOF and international best practice.

The aim is to provide bS guidance on training and certification at three levels: fundamental, professional and academic. Course content from UK and Norwegian sources is being analysed and adapted as buildingSMART develops the framework.

In creating the learning outcome framework, the group have drawn on Bloom’s taxonomy. This is a system used in creating educational courses, with an emphasis on six elements: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The taxonomy is particularly useful in developing skills-based education and has guided the thinking of the group.

Once the bSI user certification scheme is up and running, how would a training organisation use it? The current aspiration is that the trainer will use the bSI learning outcome framework, together with tools developed by the local chapter, to structure its BIM course. It will then submit the course material to buildingSMART, where the local chapter and bSI will review it. Two separate processes have been proposed, to reflect individual country approaches. A buildingSMART auditor will do the audit and, if satisfactory, certification will be awarded.

A buildingSMART framework for training and certification is seen as a significant way of raising the bar. Steen Sunesen from bS Norway cites the benefits as ‘standardised behaviour in BIM projects, leading to better cooperation between domains’ while Inhan Kim from bS Korea – a chapter with a strong training programme – believes it will lead eventually to productivity enhancement. Dan Rossiter from bS UKI has the final word: ‘BIM is about being able to produce good data from a clear brief. It stands to reason that BIM education should also be based on a clear brief, and we hope that the buildingSMART framework will do just that.’

Version 3 of NBIMS released

What is NBIMS? And why does it matter to us?

The National Building Information Modelling Standard is a BIM standard developed within the National Institute of Building Sciences in the US. Version 3, released in July, was developed using a process of consensus, with building professionals from across the US and around the world given the opportunity to offer their ideas.

It is intended for use both in the US and outside it – South Korea, for example, adopted portions of Version 2 to serve as a basis for its own BIM standards.

From 40 submissions received, 27 were voted for inclusion in the standard, which now totals more than 3,100 pages of content. The submissions included the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) Version 2.4, which bS UKI technical coordinator Nick Nisbet helped to develop.

Part of NBIMS is integral to our own BS 1192 Part 4, where the British standard refers to the definition of COBie given in Version 3.

Other ‘information exchange’ (ie) standards now updated for Version 3 areSPARKie (electrical systems), WUSie (water systems, or plumbing), BPie (building programme, that is, the schedule of spaces and key equipment required by the client) and HVACie (heating, ventilating and air conditioning). Nick also contributed to their development.

Commenting on the relevance of NBIMS to the UK, Nick said: ‘Version 3 offers a plausible route map to those implementing BIM in the UK. Building programme information exchange is already at the heart of briefing in Scandinavian practice, while COBie is central to the UK government’s Construction Strategy.’

Version 3 can be downloaded free of charge from the website.

Chapter Services from bSI

BuildingSMART International, the central governing organisation of which bS UKI is a member, has launched its Chapter Services – creating a more active channel between the centre and the chapter members.

‘There has been a wish to provide such services over several years,’ says Chris Groome, bSI company secretary and business manager (pictured right). ‘For existing chapters this means more frequent communication, help and advice in the event of problems, drawing attention to opportunities, for example in the standards programme, and the sharing of ideas and experience. For prospective chapters, it means piloting them through the formation and affiliation process.’

Some of these activities, such as the quarterly online meetings, are already underway. Others, including a buildingSMART intranet for members, an operations manual and a more formalised helpdesk, are in preparation.

Many chapters are already a strong presence in their countries and involved in inter-country projects; others still have to achieve this. ‘Chapter Services will help us realise our aim of a well-knit community of members who share the same aims and collaborate through best practice, projects and summits,’ says Chris. ‘The changes we are going through at the moment are based on the hypothesis that success depends on a partnership between strong chapters and a strong centre – a situation that will benefit us all.’


Singapore Summit

Over 100 delegates took part in the buildingSMART summit week in Singapore from 12 to 16 October. ‘The meetings were excellent, with new projects – and importantly funding for them – announced,’ said Chris Groome, bSI business manager and secretary. ‘Among the presentations, two big parties from Korea and China talked about their BIM projects for roads and railways. We are seeing really interesting work from the Chinese,’ he added.

The buildingSMART summit week will be reported in the next issue of the bS UKI bulletin.

New look planned for website

The bS UKI website is being transformed and modernised, relaunching next year. ‘There are a number of weaknesses with the current website, so we are looking to create a better, more inviting portal for members to access which is more focused on the bS UKI members as well as providing a good resource for any advocate of interoperability in construction,’ says Dan Rossiter, who manages the website.

Bespoke areas will be created to allow members access to confidential material, such as minutes, reports, resources and project information. ‘Websites as a bulletin board for an organisation are becoming obsolete. There needs to be value in accessing the site. Otherwise it won’t attract the traffic and fail, so we are changing to meet the needs of those it will serve,’ he adds.

Have you read?

Our buildingSMART colleagues have been expressing well-informed and sometimes contentious views on various platforms.

Origins of BIM

There are conflicting claims about the origins of BIM, but for one man’s view, see:

Nick Nisbet, bS UKI technical coordinator, explains his early involvement in BIM methods.

And is BIM about culture change or hard data? For Nick’s down-to-earth views, see his article, ‘We need to talk about BIM’ –

‘Baking to Level 2’ – what other industry is comparable to BIM? {heading level 2}

Dan Rossiter, BIM consulting/training manager, holds unexpected views on this subject…

Contact details

BIM associate director

Paul Oakley (

BIM consulting/training manager

Daniel Rossiter (

Technical co-ordinator

Nick Nisbet (

User Group co-ordinator

Jeff Stephens (

Bulletin editor

Betzy Dinesen (


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