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UC-Multiplex collaboration enhances student learning experience

Antony Perry

6 October: The University of Canberra Public Hospital’s (UCPH) doors won’t open until 2018, but students at the University are already benefitting from the facility being built on campus.

The University and head contractor Multiplex are collaborating in a range of ways while the new sub-acute care and teaching and research facility is under construction.

Bachelor of Building and Construction Management students recently participated in a master-class run by Multiplex. Some of their peers are also helping build the UCPH from the ground up as part of a three-year cadetship program.

Multiplex project manager Allan Young said the company had identified the UCPH project as a learning opportunity for students and wanted to engage with the University while working on the site.

“One of our goals when we undertake any new project is to form partnerships with the local community or local stakeholders and provide something extra during the building project process,” Mr Young said.

“Some call this social enterprise – we think of it as linking industry with community. We see the process of constructing the University of Canberra Public Hospital on university land as an extension of the campus and the learning environment.”

The master-class, held late last month, was attended by fourth year students enrolled in the Building and Construction Studies 4 unit.

The class focused on building information modelling (BIM), which is a type of software that allows projects to be built virtually before construction begins on site. It also helps identify and resolve issues early in the process.

The software is widely used in the construction industry and is considered an important tool for students to understand before they enter the workforce.

Course convener Dr Robyn Hardy said the material covered in the master-class was essential learning.

“BIM is the new gold-standard in the building and construction industry and in the future many of our students will seek to work as BIM modellers,” Dr Hardy said.

“In 2017, the Building and Construction Management course will include a specific unit on BIM and integrating BIM issues into units of study as students complete the course.

“As part of our emerging teaching, we will continue to ask our industry partners to come to campus and provide classes on real world experiences in building issues.”

The UCPH is being constructed on the north-western corner of the University campus as part of the ACT government’s Health Infrastructure Program. It is the flagship facility in the University’s developing Health Precinct, which is a part of the wider campus development project.

Dr Hardy said collaborating with providers was an important aspect of each project to ensure work-integrated learning opportunities were included for the benefit of students.

“These relationships are extremely important and quite unique,” Dr Hardy said. “It is not often that students have a practical learning space on campus and are able to hear about the processes and watch it develop, as well as gain practical experience in a real-world development.”

Mr Young said Multiplex was exploring more ways to partner with the University to harness the project as a learning tool.

“Our latest idea may see us offer an award to the best performing student in a particular assignment,” he said.