BIM People – Barry McAuley, Lecturer on the MSc in Construction Informatics and MSc in Applied BIM & Management at DIT, Researcher at CitA, PhD Candidate


Barry McAuley is a Lecturer on the MSc in Construction Informatics and MSc in Applied BIM & Management at DIT, Researcher at CitA and PhD Candidate. spoke to Barry about his work, BIM education and research, and his work with the Construction Information Technology Alliance (CitA) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

You have an interesting CV. Can you tell us about your background?

I received a National Diploma in Civil Engineering in 2003 and a BSc (Honours) in Construction Management and Engineering in 2007. I then went on to spend a number of years in the AEC/FM industry in which I occupied a number of roles. These roles have included working as a surveyor on the Dublin Port Tunnel in 2003 and as a setting out engineer on various road realignment works throughout Dublin from 2004 to 2006. I have also worked as a project manager / engineer, on both a planning and operational capacity, on a number of high profile jobs i.e. Luas and Clancy Quay between 2007 and 2009. During this time, I also worked as part of the Facilities Management (FM) Team in the Sports Surgery Clinic. On return to education in ’09, I completed an MSc in Construction Project Management. After completion of this full-time Masters course I took time out to travel. On return to Ireland I began a full-time Ph.D. based around BIM and FM. This has led to my current employment with CitA on a part-time basis in regards to the research and development of the BIM Workshops. This partnership has also resulted in me being part of the organisational and scientific committees for the successful CitA BIM Gathering in 2013 and 2015. I am also a current lecturer on the Introduction to Construction Informatics, Project Planning and Scheduling and Understanding Data Set Management and BIM modules for the DIT accredited MSc in Construction Informatics. I also lecture on a number of modules on the BIM for Surveying and Construction Management stream for the MSc in Applied BIM and Management at DIT. These modules involve exposing the students to both 4D and 5D BIM methodologies and applications.

Please tell us how you got interested in BIM?

I first become interested in BIM after a conversation with Dr Alan Hore. Alan recommended that I should investigate BIM as a potential research area back in 2011. This was my first initial exposure to BIM.

Could you tell us about your work with CitA?

My main work with CitA involves the promotion of the CitA BIM Workshops. After each workshop, I prepare a report based on the key findings. This is then disseminated through the CitA webpage. I also lecture on the CitA MSc in Construction Informatics course where I teach the Introduction to Construction Informatics, Understanding Data Set Management and BIM, and Project Planning and Scheduling modules. I have also been involved on both the Organisational and Scientific Committees for the successful CitA BIM Gathering in 2013 and 2015.

Could you tell us about your work in BIM at DIT?

At present, I am involved in the MSc in Applied BIM and Management course. I am teaching the Surveying and Construction Management stream which involves exposing the students to both 4D and 5D BIM methodologies and applications.

Could you tell us about DIT’s BIM Master Degree programmes? 

The MSc in Applied Building Information Modelling and Management is a multi-disciplinary programme which is open to both graduates of building design and construction related professions. The programme aims to provide an educational setting in which to develop the ability to initiate and lead the holistic and integrated process of design, construction, and life-cycle management through the medium of BIM, centred on the collaborative and multi-disciplinary building design process.

Tell us about your PhD research topic and why you picked it?

“My PhD research area is based on developing Key Performance Tasks (KPTs) to demonstrate the benefit of introducing the Facilities Manager at an early stage in the Building Information Modelling process on public sector projects. I choose this topic because, despite BIM bringing the Facility Manager closer to project conceptualisation, there is still reluctance and a lack of perceived benefits of having them involved earlier in the design phase. It is hoped that the research will present a number of KPTs that can be used to translate the benefit of including the Facility Manager earlier in the BIM process.”

What are your observations of multidisciplinary BIM projects in DIT? 

At present, it is very strong. The School of Multidisciplinary Technologies which was established for such purposes has worked with a number domain-specific BIM experts from across the different departments. This includes lecturers from the College of Engineering and Built Environment within the areas of Architecture, Building Services Engineering, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, and Surveying (Quantity and Geomatics). This has resulted in a strong integrated delivery of the BIM Modules and has afforded the opportunities for the students to become not just skilled in their BIM domain area but learn how other professions work.

Are you satisfied with the quality of BIM education and research in Ireland?

Yes, I believe the courses offered by DIT, in particular, the MSc in Construction Informatics and MSc in Applied BIM and Management have developed and adapted over the recent years to ensure they meet the needs of the industry.

Can you tell us about CitA’s research projects?

CitA will be launching the BIM Innovation Capability Programme (BICP) this year. This project will provide a focus on the operational challenges associated with the adoption of BIM, latest studies on technology trends, best practice case studies, a comprehensive review of BIM implementation in international regions, with a particular focus on enablers to support implementation.

Will BIM affect the duties and responsibilities of the professions?

BIM is a more efficient management methodology. I believe fundamentally it will not affect the duties and responsibilities of the professions. Each profession will still be required to deliver what they usually deliver but through the more effective medium of BIM.

Is there a growing interest in BIM from Facilities Management professionals?

Yes, there is a lot of focus now on the operational stage and BIM is seen as a tool that can offer a more rewarding FM practice. It is still early with regards to Ireland for BIM to be adopted in the operational stage and I have not seen many case studies in that respect. However, looking abroad at the UK, with particular attention to the government soft landing policy, demonstrates the importance that the UK are placing on it for the operational stage.

How do you see the Irish construction industry changing in the next decade?

There is a huge interest in BIM, as seen through the enthusiasm shown on the BIM programmes in DIT, not just by recent graduates but also by professionals in the industry a number of years. The request for training courses to be offered by CitA is growing, as the industry is viewing BIM as a more rewarding construction methodology. It is hard to say where the construction industry will be in ten years but based on these observations I can only see the industry becoming leaner and more digitised.

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