Dedicated training centre for BIM and pipework to launch in the New Year

Civil and building engineering student receives some training on the designated experimental pipework rig.

Loughborough University will launch a dedicated training centre to support the building and industrial services industry in tackling the challenges of pipework innovation and energy efficiency installation.

BISPA – Building and Industrial Services Pipework Academy will open its doors on campus in January. It is a collaboration between the School of Civil and Building Engineering, global steel manufacturer Tata Steel and its Tubes business, and CIBSE – Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

Established to raise awareness of BIM[1] and pipework-related issues and innovations, the training centre will offer CIBSE accredited CPD training courses for designers, HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) pipe installers and Tata Steel customers.

The UK has been set a target to reduce its share of carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and BISPA aims to promote cost-effective energy saving practice in pipework system design and installation – knowledge which is not readily available in the industry.

The right-sizing of pipework – which is often used in large quantities – would lead to energy-efficient operation, resulting in annual cost savings. BISPA aims to educate HVAC designers, installers and local traders on how to select the correct pipework, measure heat losses, and properly insulate the pipes in new and retrofit commercial buildings.

The training courses use interactive teaching rigs and a variety of measuring devices and techniques to demonstrate, for example, heat loss from hot water pipes (using infra-red cameras) and pressure losses associated with different diameter pipes and pipe fittings. Modules are also available for pipework specifications, hot-finished versus cold-formed products, and system corrosion and service life issues. 

Lab-based workshops will demonstrate essential engineering principles relating to the life cycle of a piping network, while computer-based workshops will offer an introduction to object-oriented product modelling as a pre-requisite for BIM. The use of BIM in the construction industry will be mandatory from next year. As a result, BISPA will provide validated pipe selection and fitting calculators, as well as pipe guides and good practice, via 3D BIM.

Dr Mahroo Eftekhari (FCIBSE), Reader in Building Services Engineering and Course Director for MSc in Low Energy Building Services Engineering at Loughborough University, said: “Through our discussions with companies, we have found a gap in knowledge of selection, sizing and installation of tubing for HVAC systems – and this is why BISPA has such an important role to play.

“Many HVAC pipes installed in commercial buildings have been sized larger than what is required. This can result in significant cost and energy consequences because of the large quantities of pipework involved.

“We are delighted to partner with CIBSE, Tata Steel and its Tube business on the training centre which will showcase the latest innovation and encourage new research and invention.”

Dr Chris Owen, Manager of Customer Technical Services, Conveyance Tubes, Tata Steel, said: “BISPA is a perfect example of academia and industry working together. At a time when the industry is experiencing a skills shortage, the Building and Industrial Service Pipework Academy will proactively encourage the professional development of building services engineers, and improve the awareness of BIM and pipework innovations.”

Bookings are currently being taken for the CIBSE approved BIM and pipework courses. To find out more, visit, email or call 01509 222606.

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