Glossary May 10, 2024
Updated 10 May 2024 by James Ocean

BIM Manager: How to Become One, Duties, and Certifications

Table of Contents

What is a BIM manager?

BIM manager is a profession that covers the implementation process of the many procedures and operations mandated in the implementation of BIM during different phases of project realization. BIM managers act as overseers of sorts for BIM processes. Specifically, they play a part in the project during all of the major phases of realization: design, construction, and handover.

The role of BIM manager is quite important, considering the number of changes BIM brings to traditional construction processes. Maintaining and controlling all of these newfound processes is not easy, but it can bring tremendous benefits to companies with competent BIM managers.

The role of BIM manager

A BIM manager’s exact list of responsibilities and capabilities can be extremely difficult to define, since it tends to change quite a lot from one project to another. The role of a BIM manager closely resembles that of a civil engineer, but with a steadfast focus on various elements of BIM.

The creation of BIM infrastructure is the centerpiece of BIM managers’ duties, and they tend to operate in the AEC sector the most. Some of the potential operations that a BIM manager might be involved in are IT management duties, quality support tasks, and many more. The overarching goal of BIM managers in the context of any project is to use all of the different factors and elements of a construction project to create a highly productive collaborative environment centered on BIM.

In most cases, a BIM strategy is created to define what needs to be done within the realms of each project. It elaborates on the systems and processes that must be implemented to ensure better collaboration, improved resource management, better workflow coordination, constant process monitoring for further analysis, and the other advantages of BIM.

BIM managers’ most common duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Oversight of BIM budgeting.
  • Creation and monitoring of BIM execution plans.
  • Constant communication with stakeholders, such as architects, designers, and even clients.
  • Regular generation of reports for senior staff to keep track of current progress and how it may be improved in the future.
  • Ability to follow the latest industry standards.
  • Tracking of supply chain assignments.
  • Spearheading new and improved methods and solutions for existing tasks to improve efficiency.
  • Making sure that all project participants have access to everything they need for successful project completion.
  • Keeping track of the company’s hardware to ensure that it is used most effectively.

The comprehensive nature of a BIM manager’s position makes it challenging but exciting. BIM managers have to interact with different stakeholders at every project phase, including quality surveyors, project planners, engineers, designers, and many other positions that take different approaches to their jobs.

No one would argue with the fact that being a BIM manager can be challenging, but the ability to work on many different processes and project phases is what makes the position so unique: there is always something new to learn or a new way to approach collaboration to make it even more efficient than before.

Advantages of having a BIM manager in a project

Similarly to the logic of the full list of BIM managers’ responsibilities, it is not easy to create a list of the potential advantages a company might gain by creating a BIM manager position in their processes. The advantages of a BIM manager vary depending on multiple factors, but we can at least go over the most common examples of such advantages:

  • better overall productivity
  • lower energy consumption
  • faster project delivery, with a reduced chance of missed deadlines
  • enhanced data permanence, ensuring that projects can be transferred from one team to another without data loss
  • improved on-site safety
  • lower project costs and less chance of budget overruns
  • enhanced project stability
  • significantly improved risk management capabilities and prevention of the majority of expensive rework in the design phase

BIM manager qualifications/becoming a BIM manager

The process of becoming a qualified BIM manager consists of multiple different steps. Some of the more common requirements include:

  • The need to have outstanding communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Better-than-average capabilities with IT.
  • Knowledge of the document management and quality management processes.
  • At least several years’ experience in a similar role (some of the most common requirements include about 5 years of experience in some form of AEC-adjacent role).
  • Familiarity with BIM modeling processes.
  • Higher certificate, higher diploma, or similar alternative in construction-adjacent fields, including civil engineering and many others.

While most of these requirements are rather standard, we can elaborate on education, at the very least. Multiple university subjects, including product design, architecture, civil engineering, and construction, are considered BIM-adjacent.

Many of these subjects offer learning courses in some form of design software, whether it is Civil 3D, MicroStation, Revit, or an alternative. It is also not uncommon for graduates of these programs to be able to join companies after graduating in the position of junior technician.

Of course, university degrees are not the only way to get into BIM management. Other alternatives include college degrees in CAD or construction-adjacent professions, as well as apprenticeships and certifications in CAD/BIM design.

Another potential avenue for becoming a BIM manager is transitioning from a position as a CAD professional or CAD manager. While the subject of BIM is much broader in comparison, the basis of a complex 3D model for CAD professionals offers a decent starting advantage to make the process of changing specializations slightly easier.

Skills of a BIM manager

The topic of BIM manager skills in general can also be expanded with more abstract capabilities and features that might be useful to someone in this position, such as:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong leadership capabilities.
  • Flexibility and willingness to change and improve over time.
  • An abundance of initiative.
  • Strong time organization capabilities.
  • High level of business management skills.

Salary and working hours of BIM managers

This is a very turbulent topic that depends on a multitude of different factors, which is why these numbers can only be taken as rough estimates at best.

According to GoConstruct, the average salary of a BIM manager ranges between £30,000 and £90,000 per year. According to indeed.com, most BIM managers have normal nine-to-five work weeks, with 37-40 hours of work on average. The job itself is also not as dependent on work travel as it could be without modern advancements in communication technology and digital BIM tools.

BIM manager certifications

Many certifications in the BIM sphere revolve around a specific solution, but there are also multiple examples of certifications that are not centered on a single software application. Our goal here is to showcase a variety of examples from both sides of the spectrum to show how many certifications might be taken to learn or improve BIM skills.

Graphisoft BIM Certification

As the creator of Archicad, one of the better-known BIM solutions on the market, Graphisoft offers a combination of certifications that mostly revolve around its proprietary software and capabilities.

Graphisoft offers two different courses: Certified Archicad Professional and Archicad BIM Manager Program.

Both of these courses revolve around Archicad to a certain degree. The Archicad BIM Manager Program is less specific in its practical lessons, but it mostly targets future BIM coordinators and managers. It consists of 10 weeks of learning and 40 hours of study, offering a decent package of information for soon-to-be certified BIM managers.

Certified Archicad Professional, on the other hand, is a certification that produces specialists with Archicad capabilities first and foremost. The certification is granted for deep and nuanced understanding of Archicad’s functionality, and additional classes can be taken for more information on Archicad’s BIM capabilities.

Autodesk BIM Certification

Autodesk is one of the most popular software providers in the CAD and BIM industries, and it offers multiple different qualification exams and certifications for specific topics, including CAD and BIM.

Autodesk offers three different levels of certification: Associate (150 hours), Professional (400+ hours), and Expert (1,200+ hours).

The centerpiece of BIM-related certification from Autodesk is the Revit Software Professional Certification. It is split into four elements: Electrical design, Structural design, Architectural design, and Mechanical design. There is also a very similar certification for Civil 3D with all of the same elements.

The certification is valid for 36 months, and the exam itself takes 2 hours. Revit certificates from Autodesk can be an impressive advantage when it comes to applying for jobs in the industry.

RICS’s BIM Certification

RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and its BIM certification covers user capabilities in multiple different areas of BIM. Multiple prerequisites are required for even attempting this certification: a professional qualification recognized by RICS, at least one year’s experience using BIM for cost estimation, and five or more years of experience in the field. The certificate itself, once received, is valid for 36 months.

Bre Academy BIM Certification

Bre Academy offers two options for BIM certification: BIM Practitioner and BIM Informed.

The former assumes that the student already works within the BIM environment to a certain degree, which is why it is much more project oriented.

The latter is a much more relaxed course that targets people with no prior BIM knowledge. It is more suitable for those who are just starting to work with BIM in some capacity (or those who need only a basic understanding of the process for their own work).

Both certification processes offer Continuous Professional Development certificates upon completion.

Revizto BIM Certification

Revizto’s BIM solution is a well-known issue tracking and clash detection software application, and the company offers its own certification program for users looking to acquire proof of their capabilities in the BIM field (or improve their Revizto capabilities).

Revizto’s certification program has three different levels of qualification: Expert 1, Expert 2, and Expert 3.

The Expert 1 certification can already be taken for the small fee of $199. The certification process was created in collaboration with Global eTraining, which is why existing GeT users can receive the same course for just $70.

The certification itself was initially launched at RevUP 2023, and the Expert 2 and Expert 3 levels will become available after RevUP 2024 and RevUP 2025, respectively.

The Expert 1 certification is a general knowledge certificate that covers multiple primary use cases of Revizto and plenty of BIM theory. It also covers fundamental concepts with issue tracking and BIM modeling, which is also an advantage for any potential BIM manager.

CanBIM Certification

CanBIM’s Professional Certification provides the student with the ability to understand and work in a BIM environment.

There are four levels of certification which are pre-defined at the beginning of the certification process via a questionnaire, and the certificate itself is valid for 24 months.

The certificate can be upgraded or renewed, if necessary, by going through the same certification process.

There is also CanBIM’s Foundations Certification, which is much broader in comparison and only represents a person’s knowledge in multiple areas of BIM: Software, Theory, Applied Learning, etc. Unfortunately, only those who have previously taken the CanBIM certification process are eligible for this certificate.

buildingSMART BIM Certification

buildingSMART’s unique characteristic on this list is the fact that the knowledge itself is not received from the company directly but from one or several training providers that are approved by buildingSMART.

BuildingSMART’s qualification is recognized globally in the industry, and its main target audience is AEC professionals who wish to learn more about BIM as a whole.

The initiative is supported by multiple well-known companies in the field, including Vectorworks, Graphisoft, and Trimble. Even the creators of openBIM participate in the development of training content for buildingSMART’s qualifications.

There are two levels of qualification: Practitioner and Foundation. Practitioner is a comprehensive course that is best for experts who have some experience with BIM. Foundation is an excellent option for obtaining basic knowledge about different aspects of the BIM process.

AIBD’s BIM-R Certification

The American Institute of Building Design provides its own certification process for those who have completed a curriculum with multiple BIM-oriented topics.

The range of topics includes not only the ability to work with BIM-R but also knowledge of several other general BIM topics:

  • Project management.
  • Scheduling and staging.
  • Digital visualization.
  • Building lifecycle.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • Team leadership.
  • Effective communication.
  • Material management.

The certification is valid for 60 months, and holders are credited as Certified Residential BIM Managers for the entire period.

Procore’s BIM Manager Certification

Procore is a comprehensive construction management platform and one of the biggest in its market. It also offers a variety of different certifications for specific purposes within the capabilities of its own software, including different elements of the project manager job and the jobs of superintendent, engineer, architect, field worker, and even BIM Manager.

Procore’s BIM Manager course is relatively short – it is only one hour long – and it does not offer much theory. What it does offer is what Procore’s software can do for someone in the position of a certified BIM Manager: editing BIM models, reviewing models, importing model elements, resolving coordination issues, and so on.

ASU’s BIM Certificate Program

Arizona State University provides 100% online courses in BIM over 3 to 6 months. They cover multiple theoretical topics on the subject and allow students to work with three primary software applications: Navisworks, Revit, and SketchUp.

The courses consist of multiple instructor-led videos on different topics, practice projects, and personal guidance from industry experts. The goal of the certificates is to showcase the student’s ability to work with BIM software and understand its intricacies.

Other examples of BIM-adjacent positions

BIM managers are not the only relevant professionals in BIM-oriented projects. BIM coordinators and specialists also exist, and they have their fair share of specific requirements and capabilities.

BIM coordinator is a supporting role for a BIM manager. The sheer scope of a BIM manager’s responsibilities and tasks can be overwhelming in many cases, which is why many companies also employ BIM coordinators to whom BIM managers can delegate some BIM tasks. The goal of a BIM coordinator, in most cases, is to reach the highest possible level of BIM within the company and in inter-company collaborations.

BIM specialist is an umbrella term for professionals who specialize in a very specific element of a BIM process. For example, there may be BIM software developers, BIM analysts, BIM researchers, BIM facilitators, BIM application developers, BIM consultants, BIM modelers, and more. Each variety of specialist has its own share of responsibilities and requirements, and most of their target processes are relatively self-explanatory (BIM application developers develop applications, BIM modelers create complex BIM models, etc.).

Conclusion

BIM Managers play a very important part in the project realization process. They have to make sure that all relevant BIM elements are working at their most effective and cooperating with each other on a regular basis. While it may seem like the job of a BIM manager is just to watch BIM software do its job, the real work is much more difficult and nuanced.

BIM managers have to work with many different capabilities and functions as quickly  as possible, and this can be very difficult to do on a regular basis. On the other hand, being a certified BIM Manager is a unique experience that allows a single person to interact with all phases of project realization and project stakeholders, which is a unique experience itself – and it can also be highly beneficial to the BIM manager’s capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any difference between a project management position and a BIM manager position?

A project manager oversees project completion as a whole, while a BIM manager covers all the different BIM processes and functionalities: collaboration, use of BIM tools, development and distribution of digital models, and so on.

What kind of educational background is required to become a BIM manager?

Most BIM managers have an educational background in engineering, architecture, or construction. The main requirement seems to be knowledge of at least one construction industry-adjacent profession, as well as basic knowledge of BIM workflows.

Are there different requirements for BIM managers in different geographic locations?

There are plenty of differences in the requirements for BIM managers depending on the country, simply because these countries might have different levels of BIM adoption and different requirements for BIM use in the construction industry.


About the author
James Ocean

BIM/VDC Specialist. James Ocean is Head of BIMspiration at Revizto and keeps everything moving onwards and upwards. From supporting and teaching our internal team as well as our clients, James shows us the ins-and-outs and how to best leverage Revizto to maximize workflows, cut costs, and get all types of projects through the finish line.

BIM Manager: How to Become One, Duties, and Certifications The position of BIM manager might seem somewhat generic at first glance. However, being able to oversee and control all BIM processes is far more complex than it might seem, since BIM is a very challenging concept. The goal of this article is to present a good deal of information about the position of BIM manager, including certifications, benefits, qualifications, and more. 2024-05-10
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