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Preparing the Next Generation of Tech Savvy Construction Professionals

April 27, 2022

By Peg Landry

Students preparing for careers in the construction industry have many exciting career path options. Job growth is forecasted in all segments of construction. However, as the industry continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, like many other industries, labor shortages are a major issue.

The Deloitte 2022 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook explains, “another factor compounding labor shortages is a lack of qualified candidates. This skills gap is partly driven by industry advances into integrating digital technologies with key workstreams to further enhance productivity, efficiency, and worker safety.”

The Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence located in Ottawa Canada is addressing this need. The college offers a number of certificate and degree programs for students interested in construction industry careers.

Regardless of the construction industry career path a student chooses, technology skills will be required. Algonquin College recently invited Newforma, sister company BIM Track, and other technology providers to demonstrate solutions. The role that technology plays to enable collaboration and project efficiency across construction project teams was also discussed.

Innovating with Blitz Week

Professor Jason Seifert takes innovation to the next level with Blitz Week. This real-world experience provides students with a "peek behind the curtain” on software solutions used by the construction industry. Students are introduced to the software solutions they will use in their future career. This provides them with the opportunity to develop technical skills before they even graduate.

During Blitz Week, leading software providers and students were invited “virtually” into the classroom. Students learned about the workflows typically used for collaboration in the industry. Workflows included the use of automated technology to streamline information flow and promote collaboration.

Simplifying the Complex

Newforma Customer Success Manager, Tom Maleski, presented the design side of the equation. Tom demonstrated how Newforma Project Center unifies information across multiple sources. Tom showed how project data residing in local servers, Microsoft SharePoint, Bentley ProjectWise, Autodesk BIM 360, and other sources can be accessed from one centralized place. In addition, Tom explained how email communication, a critical component of the project record, also is included in that view.

Students were able to see firsthand how important having easy access to information is. Tom explained how users can work, collaborate, and search for information across the internal and external project teams. He then explained how Newforma accomplishes this through Newforma Connectors. By connecting to applications through common APIs, users do not have to move their data. They can continue to use solutions that are best for the task at hand such as Autodesk Revit, Autodesk BIM 360, Bluebeam Studio and Procore. This allows firms to keep the internal standardized workflows and software applications that they have already invested in.

Coordination at its Best

Modeling software is complex, and lack of multidisciplinary communication can result in project delays and increased project costs. Adam Monk, Sales Manager for BIM Track, demonstrated BIM Track, a web-based platform that allows users to manage issues and questions as well as get status updates and follow-up tasks across a project. With direct plug-ins to Revit, Navisworks, and many other systems, BIM Track saves project teams time and money by centralizing issues and communications in one location.

Adam’s demonstration covered the BIM Track add-ins to Navisworks and Revit, and ease of use between 35+ software platforms. He showed how the built-in 2D and 3D viewer provides users with the ability to view, review, add issues, and comments without requiring an authoring tool. Adam also covered BIM Track’s automatic reporting tool which allows users to create unlimited reports and schedule them to be dispersed to project teams on a specific date and time, throughout the project lifecycle.

Newforma and BIM Track are excited to participate in educational programs designed to inspire the next generation of tech-savvy construction professionals!