The game is called BeIMCraft, which is an acronym for Built Environment Information Modelling Craft. It is a modification of the existing Minecraft platform, and builds on it to highlight the emerging role of digital technology in this sector.
It reflects the interdisciplinary nature and requirement for collaboration with the built environment’s supply chain by challenging pupils to consider planning issues, health and safety risks, structural aspects, sustainability and cost when creating their 3D world. For example, when creating a building the pupils need to firstly place foundations or else the building will collapse. They can also only build to a certain height before stability issues need to be considered.
We have also assigned costs to bespoke materials to highlight the importance of having an appreciation of material costs. Health and safety aspects have also been included, such as PPE and site safety.
Essentially any player of any age can grasp the basic concepts that are extolled through BeIMCraft. The game appeals to educators and children in the 11-to-16-year-old bracket due to the number of crossover projects and lessons that can be taught by the basic parameters we have set. Equally, the game appeals to primary school children as they like the challenge the game presents and thinking about the different elements involved in planning and designing a building. We have developed the game to incorporate many real life skills that link effectively to the primary school curriculum. For example, clear links can be made to numeracy topics such as perimeter, area, volume and money. Cross-curricular links can be made with PDMU and the game encourages children to utilise critical thinking skills.
We also believe that industry will see an opportunity to align themselves with the initiative as part of their corporate social responsibility strategies.
The game closely aligns to aspects of the BIM process. A particular focus of BeIMCraft is the collaborative requirements expected of the modern interdisciplinary design team to develop the near optimum design for complex structures from an infinite range of possibilities within the game play. Teachers can set design briefs and budgets and participants can be selected to work in teams to achieve a particular outcome, much like real life.
There is a similarity between the collaborative ethos of the game and real world CDEs (Common Data Environments). In essence, it aligns with the dimensions of BIM, allowing the players to become comfortable working in a 3D environment, appreciate how costs can be assigned to the asset and think about timings, site constraints and aspects of sustainability.
The reason that Minecraft was chosen is because of its familiarity. While the game includes a range of constraints that reflect the complexity of the construction industry, the game play itself is not complex and the feedback to date is that it’s merely another level of game play, which players can and do adapt to playing very quickly. Children actually enjoy the added challenge which the game presents.
Some of the learning will come after the game is complete when they obtain feedback on how their design has compared to others in their class. For example, if one team ignores the cost constraints and focuses of speed of construction and sustainability, they might find that they’ve exceeded their budgets, while other teams have managed to achieve all of their objectives through better planning.
This will hopefully encourage teams to have another go and take the additional constraint into consideration to come up with even more inventive solutions. Again this is reflective of competitive tendering within construction procurement and good pedagogic practice of developing problem-solving skills, learning through play and reflective learning within education.
We have already launched a collaborative partnership with Morgan Sindall in Scotland, and have plans to roll out BeIMCraft across GB, Northern Ireland, Europe and beyond. We feel that the game can act as a catalyst to attract the next generation of industry professionals.
If you are interested in learning more about BeIMCraft or collaborating with is please contact us at or message us on Twitter @beimcraft
C/o Ulster University
School of the Built Environment