Talgat Baimukanov, Planner, Turner & Townsend, has been shortlisted in the Rising Star category of the 2021 Construction Technology Awards. He discusses how BIM is changng construction processes
What made you interested in a career in this area of construction technology?
While studying at Glasgow Caledonian University I came across Building Information Modelling (BIM). Then while searching for a research subject for my Masters’ dissertation I read a lot of articles and journals on 4D BIM Modelling in the construction industry. This really highlighted for me the many benefits that BIM brings to Project Management throughout the project lifecycle, if implemented correctly. It led me to research 4D BIM implementation barriers in the UK for my Masters’ thesis. I’ve been looking to learn more and improve BIM technology and processes in every project I’m involved in ever since.
What project (internal or external) has been your favourite to work on so far? Why?
My favourite project so far is the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020. This project is very complex and had numerous building components and stakeholders (clients, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers) that you would not usually see in your average project. The project required thorough planning and implementation of BIM, which gave valuable early identification of key possible risks that could have emerged at a later stage and had a significant impact on project execution.
Since you joined the industry have you noticed any major shifts in attitudes towards Construction Technology?
Definitely. After I completed my Bachelors’ degree in Kazakhstan in 2010, 3D models were used only at the concept design stage to represent how the building would look. There was very minimal discussion about BIM. After I completed my Masters’ degree in Glasgow in 2013, BIM was emerging in the UK and Kazakhstan, however the construction industry was slow to change. For instance, BIM was often viewed as just additional work – many people believed that available CAD software and processes were more than sufficient. In recent years however, I see the uptake of BIM increasing as more people understand the benefits, and governments and clients are supporting such a shift.
What projects have inspired your own work?
One of the best projects that was a benchmark for me was the Shard project in London. That project shared so much valuable learning content – from videos, interviews, to whitepapers, etc. on how 4D BIM modelling can be implemented.
Have you faced any roadblocks and how did you move past them?
The biggest obstacle for me is non-availability of the BIM model, and taking into account that deadlines to develop the programme are always tight, BIM requires additional efforts by the team that people don’t always buy into. However, I have overcome this by upskilling myself, taking various courses in 3D BIM software such as Autodesk Revit, Sketchup, Autodesk Navisworks, etc. This allows me to quickly bridge knowledge gaps and deliver useful models that benefit the project I’m working on.
What skills have you learned that have allowed you to progress to this point of your career?
I have learned hard skills on how to operate multiple pieces of software to develop the construction programme, build a 3D BIM model of a building as well as temporary works, create and maintain 4D BIM models throughout project execution, and do recovery plans should a delay happen. I have also learnt new soft skills such as communication, collaboration and problem solving, as it plays a crucial role in project management. Without such soft skills I would not be able to express my ideas and communicate the programme to the project team and client.
If you were encouraging others to come into this industry, what would you tell them?
I would say there is still significant opportunity for improvement in the construction industry and that there are fantastic career opportunities for those who want to help lead the technological change.
What do you think those who work with you have learned from you?
On every project we learn all from each other. I can easily tell that from me, my colleagues, clients, and contractors learnt different and improved ways of delivering a project. That has a huge potential for knowledge management and lessons learnt that are getting lost after a project is completed. I’ve shown people that by utilising 4D BIM modelling we can capture the project history and all improvements we brought to deliver the project as well as key problems we faced during execution.
You’ve been shortlisted. Why do you think you should win?
Personally, I think I should win because through my implementation of 4D BIM I led change both in my organisation, and the construction market in terms of how BIM can be used to improve project planning. I have been doing this since I left university – even if there was no 3D BIM on a project I’d advocate for its use because I know how it can improve project success. As a Planner I’d spend my own free time to develop 3D BIM and 4D BIM models that have helped to identify potential issues and risks before construction started on site. My 4D BIM models have been successfully used for initial construction sequence analysis, constructability reviews, progress monitoring and reporting that significantly improved project planning processes, team coordination and collaboration.
Construction Technology Awards
The shortlist for Construction Technology Rising Star of the Year recognises non-senior managers from the construction value chain who are fast gaining importance in both their organisation and field, and are becoming a role model for digital technology.
The rising stars in this list have positively impacted the organisation’s strategy, planning, management processes or investment decisions, and successfully collaborated with internal and external stakeholders to achieve impressive project results.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 2 June, on the second day of the Construction Technology Festival, taking place in Dubai. Find out more here.