BIM, IPD, Sustainability and more from a leading Professor at the University of British Columbia

by BIM Academy | March 25, 2022 |  3 min read

BIM, IPD, Sustainability and more from a leading Professor at the University of British Columbia


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“Start with the end in mind” are the words of Dr Sheryl Staub-French, the latest guest in our Digital Climate podcast series.

Episode #3 in the second of our BIM Academy Digital Climate podcast series, sees Peter Barker talking with Sheryl Staub-French, a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Sheryl is also Director of the BIM TOPiCS Lab where she leads inter-disciplinary research focused on developing methods and tools to support the digital delivery of sustainable building projects through the applied and effective use of BIM.

And it is this very topic upon which Peter asks Sheryl about the key strategies needed for digital asset management to support the design, construction and delivery of sustainable buildings. One of the very first things she says is to start with the end in mind. Shery has been working on innovations in the construction industry for the past 25 years and she says it is time to look on a project through the lens of the owner and the whole project handover with a view to assessing how we can do this better.

Peter commented that owner organisations can be complex, therefore how can they be educated and how can project teams be incentivised? Sheryl’s response it that a top down and bottom engagement approach is needed – admitting that this can take time and resources, and it should be properly planned, with pilot projects, and a “learning as you go” ethos, because every new project is an opportunity for improvement and learning.

It’s a mistake to not invest the time to determine realistic, relevant and practical requirements, identify the critical aspects of the project and then mapping to the appropriate technologies to support this is essential.

Peter and Sheryl go on to discuss Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) projects and how they have been largely led by public sector in Canada.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimise project results and increase value to the owner.

IPD projects are not necessarily commercially driven, rather they display an approach that is designed to reduce waste and maximise efficiency through all phases of the design and construction process. IPD principles can be applied to a variety of contractual arrangements and IPD teams can include members well beyond the typical triad of owner, architect and contractor. They talk about what are the hallmarks of a successful IPD project and how this creates a shared appreciation of context and value. Everyone on the project team understands each other’s strengths and skill sets upfront and work together, and perhaps more importantly, problem solving together.

The conversation also takes a turn towards developments in technology and the applied use of BIM, and what adoption level the construction industry in Canada is at when it comes to the use and understanding of BIM and Digital Engineering.

Listen to the full podcast to hear Peter and Sheryl reference projects, good practice and what comes next for sustainability and BIM in the region and how Sheryl believes that every project is an opportunity to innovate and learn more. When starting with the end in mind, this allows us to focus clearly on the end goal and communicate this to everyone involved in the project at the very beginning.

Listen now
Peter Barker

Podcast Host:
Peter Barker, Director, BIM Academy

BIM Academy Guest and Sustainability Champion:
Dr Sheryl Staub-French, Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, The University of British Columbia