Architecture and the Built Environment

BECi: Built Environment Collaboration & Integration is part of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster

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Constructionarium 2014

Every year, the department of Property & Construction at University of Westminster, with the support of BECi, give their students the opportunity to put theory into practice working on a real construction project. Click here for more information on Constructionarium 2014



New Building Information Management MSc will enhance students’ employability says leading industry figure

Posted on: 7 February 2014
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Filed under: Courses, Current projects, Graduate news

University of Westminster will be taking its first cohort of students on the new Building Information Management MSc course in September 2014.

This course is a direct response to the changing nature of the construction industry and the Government’s intention to require collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM) on its projects by 2016. Westminster’s Building Information Management MSc has been launched to equip construction professionals with the knowledge and skills to operate in this changing workplace.

“Understanding the concepts and culture behind a collaborative, data rich BIM environment is becoming one of the key skills required by employers” said Robert Klaschka, Director of Studio Klaschka. “Courses that address this will provide students with a significant advantage in the future work environment.”

The philosophy of the building information management course is to reflect the increasingly digital, multi-disciplinary and integrated nature of project delivery, influenced by the demand from governments and clients for greater efficiencies on construction projects. These efficiencies can be gained from more accurate prototyping, simulation, costing, planning, design, production and operation, and will be an output of sound information management and data input to Building Information Modelling (BIM) software.

The unique nature of Westminster’s Building Information Management MSc is the focus on ‘Management’, which will create professionals who are able to manage the whole construction process and the information associated with this.

“Digital building and new information and modelling technologies open a new era of integrated practice” says Professor David Dernie, Dean of Westminster’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. “The future of built environment thinking is digital and multi-disciplinary, where planners, architects, engineers, urban designers, quantity surveyors and clients work together on integrated project delivery.”

The University of Westminster’s Department of Property and Construction has already been involved in high profile BIM activity. Our central London location allows us to engage with industry and host events such as the London BIM Hub and the BIM Academic Forum. In the past year, world-leading contractors and organisations such as Crossrail, Multiplex and Mace have presented to our students.

Visit the main course page for an opportunity to learn more about this great course and how we can help you can enhance your academic knowledge and career prospects. Applications are open for 2014 entry.

Academic Partner on 2 Trial Projects

Posted on: 22 February 2013
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Filed under: Current projects

BECi at the University of Westminster to partner with the MoJ and Supply Chain Management Group (SCMG)* on the Governments Construction Strategy Trial Projects.

Mid 2012 the Cabinet Office announced a number of trial projects to provide ‘proof of concept’ for the various themes in the Government Construction Strategy (GCS) that looks at reducing the cost of Government construction projects by 15-20%.  This link on Storify provides summaries of the key addresses of the Construction Winter Event organised by the Cabinet Office. Held at the RICS in January 2013, it enabled  representatives from Government and Industry to discuss and review the progress to date of the Trial Projects.

BECi, in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster, will be the Academic Partner on two of the Governments trial projects. Rob Garvey will lead on the Two Stage Open Book with the SCMG and Martin Ball will lead on the same procurement method at  the MoJ Cookham Wood, which is also the lead BIM trial project.

Further information will be posted in due course, however you can follow progress of the trial projects on Twitter using #TrialProjects.

*SCMG = Hackney Homes, Homes for Haringey and Newham Homes

Adapting to Change

Posted on: 18 December 2012
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Filed under: Articles, Current projects

BECi meeting with industry partners – 12th December 2012

Collaboration and integration are at the very core of the BECi initiative. A meeting at the University of Westminster on 12th December 2012 provided a fantastic opportunity to practice what we preach.

We brought together a range of leaders and innovators from the built environment professions to meet with academic staff from the School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The objective was to consider how the School can promote collaboration and integration through its curriculum and through its research and engagement with industry.

Alongside members of the BECi team from the University of Westminster were construction industry leaders, architects, designers, project managers, BIM specialists and consultants:

  • Don Ward: Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence
  • Paul Fletcher: Chartered Architect and co-founding director of Through Architecture
  • Robert Klaschka: Studio Klaschka Architecture + Design
  • Ben Wallbank: BIM Consultant and Architect
  • Nigel Fraser: Director at West One Management Consulting
  • Adrian Gale: Partner at MPP Construction Consultants

Bringing such a diverse range of professionals together inevitably produced a wide variety of views. Here’s just a flavour of the issues which came up in discussions:

  • What is the role of the construction industry in society at large? Has it lost its purpose?
  • Should the focus be more on the ‘built environment’ rather than on ‘buildings’?
  • Is professional practice becoming more multi-disciplinary?
  • Is the industry shifting away from being ‘design-led’ to be being ‘constructor-led’?
  • What are the barriers to collaborative working in the construction industry? Do professional bodies perpetuate the silo mentality in the industry?
  • What role can higher education courses play in promoting collaboration and integration?

It was fascinating to hear views expressed from different perspectives, and naturally there wasn’t unanimous agreement on all the points. Nevertheless, for the BECi team this is exactly the sort of industry engagement which informs our thinking and helps us to develop strategies for the design of our curriculum and the direction of our research and knowledge transfer activities. As Adrian Gale commented at the end of the meeting, we cannot send graduates out from Westminster with an expectation that their knowledge base will last. If graduates do not have the ability to integrate then we will have done them a dis-service.

One theme which seemed fairly consistent throughout the discussions was the importance of adapting to change. The famous (but often mis-quoted ) line from Charles Darwin was raised at the meeting, and is particularly apt in the current context:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  Charles Darwin


Welcome to Built Environment Collaboration and Integration

Posted on: 16 November 2012
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Filed under: Current projects

Welcome to the Built Environment Collaboration & Integration blog.

Created by staff in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, BECi is an open site for all those within the School to contribute and share knowledge on collaborative and integrated practices in the Built Environment. We see this as the start of a school blog, because you have to start somewhere right?

Please comment and contribute.

In this first instance if you have any queries, contact Rob Garvey.

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