Career Progression Challenges in VDC & BIM

When I entered the construction industry in 2001, there was a clear-cut career path for me. While the titles and steps may have varied across companies, the progression for someone in project management was nearly an industry standard. The introduction of building information modeling (BIM) created new roles – virtual design and construction (VDC) coordinator and 3D modeler – that changed this simple progression. All of a sudden there was a parallel path in the VDC department of construction companies. This parallel path made an interesting challenge: What is the career progression of a VDC professional and how can they continue to be challenged if they remain specialized?  

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The BIM Unicorn: Rare Traits of High-Performing 3D Modelers

Consulting companies are people-based organizations and the alignment of skills and projects is critical for successful execution. I ran a building information modeling (BIM) consulting company for several years, and I had a mental model I employed to inform business decisions. Examining this mental model can help provide insight into your own skills, skills of others around you, and skills you will look for when hiring for BIM positions.

The mental model is very simple. To effectively execute on projects, an individual has to have three components: modeling skill, tradecraft, and project experience. The assessment of an individual's abilities would then inform how to approach a given project. Below is a description of each of these components followed by the project approach.

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