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Experiences Implementing An Undergraduate Civil Engineering Course In Bim

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Professional Practice and AEC Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.589.1 - 13.589.19



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Paper Authors

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Matthew Dupuis University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Benjamin Thompson University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Lawrence Bank University of Wisconsin - Madison

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John Herridge Autodesk

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Experiences Implementing an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Course in BIM


The use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is causing fundamental changes in the AEC (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) industry1,2. Numerous organizations are putting forth their definitions of BIM3,4,5 and multiple software vendors are marketing BIM software packages. But BIM is not as simple as a new software package for designers; it is quite literally a paradigm shift in the concept of building delivery and operation. The BIM design methodology combined with the software allows all the design professionals, from all disciplines and trades, to contribute knowledge and share it in one three dimensional parametric model. Once the design team is finished the contractors can use this same model to do quantity extractions, estimating, construction planning and even computer aided manufacturing. During owner operation of the building, this model can be used for facility management and planning. The use of BIM can eliminate the reliance on rolls of two dimensional drawings and the inherent loss of information and efficiency when these drawings are transferred from member to member of the AEC team. This method of building delivery appears to be as revolutionary to the AEC industry as computer aided manufacturing and robotics were to the automotive industry.

Many major architecture, engineering and contracting firms have begin to shift entire offices or their whole operation to the BIM methodology2. For engineering graduates to be marketable and competitive in the job market of the near future, experience with BIM software and knowledge of the BIM design and delivery methodology will be increasingly important.

Therefore, in the spring semester of 2007, the University of Wisconsin at Madison offered its first two-credit engineering elective course in Building Information Modeling (BIM) to undergraduate (and a few graduate) students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department. The course was added to the spring timetable late in November 2006 as a special topics “experimental” offering to gage the student interest in this technology and to introduce the topic on a trial basis into the CEE curriculum. Since the course was added late to the previously published timetable for the Spring semester the course was advertised by email to CEE students only in early December of 2006 as a limited enrollment course for 20 students. Prior to advertising the course the department had not explicitly discussed BIM with students in formal courses in the department. Student response to the new course offering was very strong. Within three days all 20 slots had been filled. Clearly the students were aware something was happening in the AEC (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) industry with BIM and were eager to learn about the technology. The second time the course was offered in the fall semester of 2007, the student response was similar. The course will be offered for a third time in the spring of 2008. For all three offerings of the course the only prerequisite was the introductory drafting course taught in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The purpose of this paper is to report on the lessons learned from developing a curriculum, homework, and readings and teaching a BIM course to Civil and Environmental Engineering students, so that other departments might learn from our experiences and tap into a growing demand for a BIM knowledge base in our graduates and in the AEC industry at large. The paper

Dupuis, M., & Thompson, B., & Bank, L., & Herridge, J. (2008, June), Experiences Implementing An Undergraduate Civil Engineering Course In Bim Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4289

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