As building information modeling (BIM) capabilities continue to advance across the construction industry, embracing new modeling software and techniques can be overlooked at times. With BIM continuing to gain global traction, the construction industry remains rooted in the design principals of the past while looking toward the future. And while many agree there is a continued need for software training, identifying which types of training will most benefit teams can often be a burden to employers. Teams may have limited budgets or in-house IT resources, which often keep employees from getting out from behind a desk or off the jobsite and into a classroom.
The Construction Technology Report in 2018 identified the most limiting factors in adopting new technologies. Unsurprisingly, the top five included: lack of support to the technology; budget; employee and management hesitance; and lack of knowledge about new technology available.
This report validates the notion that if teams do not budget time and/or funds to invest in training and education, these tools may go from being a “must have” to a “nice to have,” or even unused altogether. Not harnessing the capabilities of available software can often result in missed opportunities for streamlining process and leaning out steps in MEP modeling; the overall benefit replacing hours of work with a few clicks of a mouse.
The Role of Training & Education in BIM Adoption
While conferences like Autodesk University and Connect & Construct afford opportunities to experience and learn new techniques and applications, firms can often benefit from reaching out to their existing partners to inquire what, if any, training is available to support their BIM teams. As noted in the NBS 2019 National BIM Report, organizations are more likely to change if they know guidance and support are readily available to assist in BIM adoption.
Google “BIM software training,” and you will be served a variety of options – from online and classroom training sessions on BIM implementation, to links for professional associations such as The Association of General Contractors or the American Institute of Constructors that provide references and opportunities for firms to learn and expand their modeling capabilities through training.
In the case of Victaulic Tools for Revit® (VTFR), the option to receive training directly from a product manufacturer guarantees trainees receive instruction from a team of designers with a strong understanding of what is being built.
“The demand is there – once we get these guys exposed to the software, and they see we’ve taken some of the click-burden away and replaced it by giving them time back, they recognize how much leaning out their process and connecting their models to fabrication and logistics will impact their work.”
Dave Molnar, Victaulic VDC Training Specialist.
Product Knowledge Through Training
Victaulic, a leading producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions, recognized the need for relevant software to support their internal Virtual Design & Construction team. This need resulted in the generation and continual maintenance of the successful Victaulic Tools for Revit® plug-in. Utilized in one third of the countries worldwide, VTFR is specifically designed to help engineers and contractors streamline their projects. Victaulic’s VDC team and VTFR offer a two-fold solution – customers are given the opportunity to learn the software directly from its creators, and the add-in provides product specifications directly from the manufacturer.
“VTFR provides security for designers, giving them confidence that they are choosing the right products for their projects. We can take the guesswork out of product selection. Outside of modeling efficiencies, VTFR is backed by the security of our products; we know how our products work and that knowledge is built into our toolbar – we think of VTFR as a roadmap for success in the MEP space.”
Amanda Comunale, Director of Victaulic VDC.
VTFR provides users access to more than 100 Victaulic product families and their specifications. VTFR also considers environmental shifts (i.e., site elevation) and recommends components, and identifies areas where components will clash with actual site specs. This allows users the ability to select the right products and equipment for their MEP application.
Our VDC team is using Revit daily, and they experience the same frustrations as our customers. We make a conscious effort to understand the needs of our team and our customers so that our advancements align with the current demands of our community. Software vendors aren’t in Revit every day; we are. And we see that as an important distinction, whether we are conducting training at a jobsite or at our headquarters. Customers appreciate we’ve been where they are.”
Ralph Schoch, Victaulic Revit Technology Manager.
Expanding Opportunities for Trades through Training
Training individuals on software solutions can be a critical step towards not only embracing BIM, but also exposing teams to streamlined solutions and smarter ways of working. Nowhere is this becoming more prevalent than with construction trade unions.
"As the backbone of our industry, construction trades are embracing the ideas and curriculum associated with how software tools can impact their work. Our trade customers want to ensure their worker skills stay relevant, but also understand that with our products or software, their teams can gain transferable skills which can provide streamlined process, which in the end, account for more work and jobs for their members."
Dave Molnar, Victaulic VDC Training Specialist.
Putting It All Together
With so many MEP software solutions on the Autodesk platform, the volume of options is daunting. However, online instruction may be closer than you think. Websites like Autodesk’s Design Academy or LinkedIn Learning can provide robust, module-based AEC training, while sites such as YouTube can offer quick, simplified videos on everything from incorporating plug-ins to modeling tips and tricks. While annual industry reports continue to report the availability of tools is paramount to BIM advancement, the good news is that BIM-specific software education is out there and customizable to the needs of its users.
About Victaulic: Victaulic continues to recognize the need to provide contractors and engineers with world-class training on piping best practices, software adoption and integration and modeling solutions. Victaulic’s training department offers a robust catalog of MEP trainings, ranging from BIM best practices, how to reduce modeling time, and how to increase preconstruction efficiencies. Additionally, trainings are offered on how to implement 3D scanning and modeling into a customer’s current and future projects.