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Belfast Met wins European Horizon 2020 Energy project

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Northern Ireland organisations, Belfast Met and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and other European partners have secured a €1.25M (£1.11m) Horizon 2020 grant to develop the BIMcert training model and toolkit. Building Information Modelling has become a key requirement in the built environment, where all relevant information is created and managed through the lifecycle of a construction project and where digital and virtual reality technology can be used to provide information on every aspect of the project.

Using the research funds the partners working on BIMcert will develop a toolkit which will be used to enhance building modelling approaches to sustainable building design. Belfast Met is one of the first Further Education Colleges in the UK to be successful in securing the lead on such an innovative Horizon 2020 project.

The BIMcert project will develop a blended, fully supported suite of Building Information Modelling tools, which will allow geographically dispersed construction project teams to use technology to enhance information exchange and collaboration. The project will have a particular focus on testing the BIM approaches to green and passive building design to contribute to the improvement of energy efficiency.

Leading EU BIM expert Dr James Harty from the Copenhagen School of Design & Technology. stated “Disrupt or die, BIM changes everything. Increasingly, reputations will be based on performance. If you cannot measure it, you cannot deal with it. BIM provides the digital technology tools to calibrate and monitor performance through a building’s life cycle. “

BIMcert is a real industry success for Belfast Met representing a substantial collaborative European project with partners from Northern Ireland, Ireland, Portugal, Croatia and Macedonia. The development of the proposal was supported by InvestNI.

Damian Duffy, Director of Development in Belfast Met stated: “We are absolutely delighted with our latest success on the European stage. In order to sustain growth and remain competitive, Europe needs a highly qualified and skilled workforce. BIMcert represents an innovative approach to developing new digital technology skills for the construction sector.”

Speaking at the launch of the BIMcert project in the Belfast Metropolitan College’s flagship e3 building on the Springfield Road, Amandine De Coster - Lacourt, Project Adviser with the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) stated 'Europe needs the qualified workforce and building professionals to make Near-Zero Energy Buildings and retrofit opportunities a reality. We continue to actively support these type of activities under Horizon 2020 and it is positive that projects such as BIMcert are now placing Building Information Modelling at the centre of the training agenda'.

Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research & Development, Dr Vicky Kell said: “Investing in innovation, research and development is critical to driving economic growth and Horizon 2020 is an important funding stream available to NI businesses. Through the Enterprise Europe Network we were able to put Belfast Met in contact with one of the partners in Macedonia. We were also able to provide support with the funding application and collectively, along with the other five partners, the group has successfully secured this €1.25m Horizon 2020 grant. This project will develop a training toolkit which will help enhance the competitiveness of Northern Ireland’s construction industry which makes a valuable contribution to our local economy.”

The BIMcert project will develop training tools, devise innovative delivery methods for BIM training across the supply chain of the construction industry. In collaboration with the partners, BIMcert will deliver applied results which can be readily rolled out across the industry.

“The strength of this project will be in the partnership between those who will use the tools, industry, and those who are expert in developing them, academia. The primary aim of BIMcert will be to build a suite of training tools that help all occupations within the industry across Europe take their first, or next, step in developing more energy efficient buildings through collaboration within BIM.” Barry Neilson Chief Executive CITB (NI)

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