New technology centre for Sandwell

Kingspan Industrial Insulation, a leading manufacturer of premium performance pipe and duct insulation systems, is the latest big-name firm to be unveiled as patrons of a special hi-tech training suite.





BIMwm is a technology and skills development suite that is being set up to help West Midlands construction firms get to grips with emerging BIM (building information modelling) technology, which enables digital-engineered designs and product data to be shared between clients and suppliers. From April 2016, all public sector capital build projects must comply with BIM Level 2 legislation, so it is vital that SMEs have the skills to adopt the software and remain competitive in the construction and engineering sectors.

The new training centre, due to open in the spring, will be located at the Sandwell Business Solutions centre at Sandwell College on Spon Lane in West Bromwich. It will feature computer workstations, BIM viewing software, e-learning platforms, consultancy and affordable vocational training in CAD skills, 3D modelling, engineering design services, product design and BIM object creation.







The first centre of its kind for a local authority, BIMwm is the result of partnership between Sandwell Council, Sandwell College and the University of Wolverhampton, with support from Kingspan, one of the UK’s most successful pipe insulation manufacturers.

The new BIM suite also feeds into a wider, highly innovative project being pioneered by Sandwell Council: the West Midlands Virtual Hospital (WMVH). WMVH is an online 3D simulation of a modern hospital, embedded with a BIM platform. The digitally engineered online hospital portrays the real life £430m Midland Metropolitan hospital (MMH) that is currently being constructed. The BIM software enables suppliers, designers and architects to share product specifications, and for the main contractor to source products and components responsibly and locally.

Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Investment, said, “It’s vitally important that local companies and those in the supply chain are fully equipped with the skills and knowledge to be BIM compliant. Our aim in running the new training facility is to put the West Midlands at the forefront of BIM adoption, not just locally, but globally. We want to raise the significant opportunities that BIM presents and Kingspan has been able to help us achieve this by sponsoring our BIMwm training suite.

Carl Davison, Technical Services Manager at Kingspan Industrial Insulation, said, “At Kingspan, we recognise the opportunities that BIM presents and have seen the advantages of fully integrating it into our approach when working with every aspect of the construction process. By sponsoring the suite, Kingspan is supporting Sandwell Council’s vision for adopting BIM. The West Midlands Virtual Hospital is a great showcase for BIM and the more we can support and raise awareness of BIM amongst the supply chain, the better. The suite’s workstations and will provide support for all skills levels, including apprenticeships, to suit different roles and vocations.”

Sandwell Council’s unique approach, in creating both the WMVH and launching BIMwm, has been recognised at regional and national levels, winning several prestigious awards. These include the 2015 National Construction News Awards for BIM Initiative of the Year and the Procurement Award for Small Business Friendliness in 2014 and 2015 from the Federation of Small Businesses. Sandwell Council was also a winner and national finalist at the prestigious Celebrating Construction Excellence 2016 Awards.





To date, over 1000 users (including public sector clients, architects, buyers, suppliers and support service installers) have registered to use BIMwm, uploading details of thousands of products and components supplied and manufactured locally. Sandwell Council also arrange weekly BIM workshops, so far helping over 240 regional companies equip themselves with vital BIM skills.

To find out more about the WMVH and Sandwell Council’s BIMwm suite visit the website or email Steve Massey at

To find out how Think Sandwell can help you with general training needs, visit our Business Services pages.