“I aspire to become a leader in my field and a role model for young women in architecture, engineering and construction. I want to increase the visibility of the contribution and achievement of women in construction and I aim to support the industry in adopting BIM, technological change and the vision towards Digital Built Britain.”
Have you always aspired to become an Architectural Technologist?
Yes technology has always attracted my attention and I always aspired to be innovative. I started my career as an Architect working in the healthcare sector then moved to the educational sector and that’s where I had my initial experiences with Building information modelling. Since then I took a Masters degree in construction management and BIM and that’s when it clicked that technology and Building Information management is actually what I would like to do so after few years of experience I got chartered by the CIAT (Chartered institute of Architectural Technologists) and progressed from a BIM coordinator role in the offsite construction industry into my current BIM Manager role at Coventry University Estates
Have you always felt there were many opportunities to gain experience in this sector?
Yes. You can do so much with a degree in construction and especially in architectural technology. I worked in Northern Ireland and England and there are so many opportunities all over the country, you just need to be open minded and willing to take risks and It’s up to what you like. ATs can work in various roles from buildings design, interior design, onsite construction and also Building Information Management (BIM). With a lot of opportunities in academia and research too. You can also become a technologist in the new immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and become an expert in digital innovation!
Talk us through your job role and what it entails
Currently I work as a Building Information Manager for Coventry University Estates. I’m managing the implementation of BIM across all the new projects and collaborate with our development team and operation and maintenance teams in delivering accurate data for all the university campuses in Coventry, London and Scarborough. I’m building a digital campus of Coventry University with our CAD/BIM team which consist of new and existing building models that are used for the operation of the buildings and for managing future works. The Estates comprises of over a hundred buildings that range between research centres, teaching facilities and accommodation blocks that needs continuous maintenance and development.
My next biggest project is building a platform to exchange data with a structure that’s accessible by all of our stakeholders at Coventry University Estates. We are investing in a common data environment and my job is to manage it and lead the implementation team to adopt it and in the future integrate it with our existing systems to automate the data transfer through the buildings lifecycle.
So my role has two main dimensions of work – the management of BIM data in design ,construction and also managing building data for Operation of the buildings to provide better customer services and to deliver excellent learning spaces to provide ultimate value to our customers – The Students and Staff of Coventry University
What is Building Information Modelling?
BIM to me is about better information management, process optimization and better use of technology. It’s a new way of thinking and working that helps to Shape strategy, create best practices and benchmark digital maturity.
What does your typical day to day involve?
I manage the implementation of BIM and facilitate the digital transformation for our Estates, I seek continuous improvement of our workflows and processes. In the design and construction areas I federate individual models received from the external consultants and validate data while continuously develop the overall digital campus model that combines both new building models and existing buildings models that our team is creating retrospectively.
I’m responsible for responding effectively to changes in legislation and standards such as the new International ISO BIM Standards and its effect on our policies and information requirements. I support our CAD/BIM team to continue our Digital Skills development, supervise our interns with modelling tasks and also support the Faculty of Engineering, Construction and Environment with research, guest lecturing and teaching and sharing case studies for the new students in various Built Environment courses.
What are the challenges you face?
The interoperability of data sets, missing data and formats that are incompatible with our existing systems and available software solutions are the biggest challenges we face every day. Mapping data is an everyday challenge that keeps the job interesting. One of the biggest challenges is also trying to implement BIM in such different areas and keeping consistency of data from design to construction and onto Facilities Management. Another challenge is showcasing the benefits of BIM and the return on investment and I’m collaborating with the Centre of Digital Built Britain at Cambridge University to create Case Studies of BIM Benefits for two of our projects at Coventry University.
In your opinion, do you feel there many opportunities for women in this industry sector?
Yes! I’ve been very lucky to have always been supported by my managers in various roles since my early career till now and I think that women are getting a lot of support in the industry. There are a lot of networks such as the Women in Construction Network and also the Women in BIM network who help support women in different areas of the industry. I am a vice chair and deputy regional councillor of CIAT west midlands region and chair of the BIM4Estates group and we are always happy to support where needed and our groups are open for all women in construction!
What are the three things you like most about your job role?
Being at the forefront of digital transformation, implementing new standards, methods and procedures and most importantly, turning data into knowledge that people can understand and benefit from.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I aspire to become a leader in my field and a role model for young women in architecture, engineering and construction. I want to increase the visibility of the contribution and achievement of women in construction and I aim to support the industry in adopting BIM, technological change and the vision towards Digital Built Britain.
What would your one piece of advice be for other women who aspire to become an Architectural Technologist?
Be ambitious, the sky is the limit! With this profession you can practice, design, go to site, lead technology innovation and work with BIM. With persistence , hard work and dedication you can accomplish everything you set your goals too so always aspire to progress.