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Harriet Latimer

MSc Building Design Management and BIM

Where are you from?

Buckinghamshire

What undergraduate course did you study and where?

I studied Architecture (Part 1) in Plymouth.

Why did you decide to study a masters?

It is hard to progress in Architecture without a masters, but I didn't fancy going back to study part 2 of architecture. I love learning and was bored of being a CAD monkey, so thought that studying a masters in a slightly different field would broaden my horizons and opportunities.

Why did you choose Northumbria University? Why did you choose your specific course?

I have always been fascinated by how the different disciplines within the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations industry work together, so thought studying Design Management would be an interesting topic to study. Also, with the government mandate for Level 2 BIM on the horizon, the BIM aspect of the course would bring me up to speed with the proposed changes to the industry.  It was a tight call between Northumbria and another university, however after visiting both, this university seemed a lot more enthusiastic.  I have always found that the more interesting the teaching, the more I learn and eager I become to learn, so thought this would be an ideal university to choose.

What makes your specific course challenging/inspiring/different? How would you sum up the difference between Undergraduate and Postgraduate study?

The different variety of backgrounds, both from different aspects of the industry, but also from the different countries people came from; it certainly broadens your perspective. Postgraduate study doesn't spoon feed you as much as undergrad. You dictate what you want to learn, and what you want to get out of the course. The main difference is you need to be able to critically analysis everything. I have found the course interesting as it has allowed me to research into the whole industry and not focus just on the design aspect of construction.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? What are the different ways that you learn on your course?

Teaching methods varies from lecturer to lecturer. But on the whole, there is: traditional lectures where the tutor stands up and talks; interactive activities in seminars; group discussions; one-to-one discussions; guest lectures from local businesses and past students on how BIM is starting to be implemented in the industry. The September term is joint with the Project Management and Construction Project Management courses, so the lectures are much larger, but in the January term you break down into your own specific course where the classes are much smaller.  There are two modules which involve group work. One got us to design our own brief, which encouraged you to think outside the box and challenge your thinking. The other, you design a building within your group and then write about what you have learnt from the experience; this gets you to think about how to implement BIM and the challenges and benefits you will face within a safe environment.  But the main aspect of learning on this course is that you get out what you want. You can take things at face value, or you can think about what you did, read, or learnt and get even more out of it.

What doors do you think this course will open for you? How will your course help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

With the Government mandate for Level 2 BIM deadline rapidly approaching, having knowledge in the subject will certainly open more doors and make you more employable. With the management side of the course, it should open up more high level jobs.

Do you feel that your course has been a worthwhile investment in your future?

On the whole, yes. I know a lot more than I when I started and I have a broader perspective on life and the industry


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