Dr Avril Behan reports on DIT Seminar and Panel discussion on Delivering Ireland’s New Children’s Hospital


On Tuesday 6th December, the Dublin Institute of Technology’s School of Multidisciplinary Technologies was delighted to host a Seminar and Panel discussion on Delivering Ireland’s New Children’s Hospital.

The event was one of a series of guest lectures delivered as part of DIT’s MSc in Applied Building Information Modelling & Management, with this event’s focus on the CPD module ‘BIM for Clients and Asset Managers’ delivered by Vincent Gibson.

Following a welcome from Prof. Gerry Farrell, Dean of the College of Engineering & Built Environment, Richard Fitzpatrick, ‎Director for Programme Management & Project Controls of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, addressed the audience of approximately 150 under- and post-graduate students and external attendees to set the context for the project using a video that features on the project’s website: www.newchildrenshospital.ie. Richard described the project in overview, including the structures on the main St. James’s Hospital site as well as the two Satellite Centres at Connolly Hospital to the north of the city and Tallaght Hospital to the south. Future plans for tri-location of maternity, paediatric and adult services on a single site were also illustrated:


Deirdre Coakley, Project Nurse Director, then gave a detailed description of how client engagement has informed and shaped the decisions that have been made and that continue to be made in relation to the specification of the hospital. The end-users of the resource, including clinicians, nurses, orderlies, and facilities managers, work closely with the design team who were represented on the night by the Alan Duggan, Associate Director at Arup, the M&E Consultants on the project.

Alan detailed how the use of BIM enabled the team to standardise design around 132 standard room types and to produce thousands of drawings for verification by the client during a short window of just over two months. BIM was particularly important for facilitating co-ordination between the required range of mechanical & electrical services. BIM is also fundamentally important to constructing a new facility, which is scheduled to become fully operational by 2020, on a very tight and busy, working hospital site. BIM underpins the 5D cost control on a project that has an initial cost estimate in the region of €650 million, excluding fit-out costs.

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Deirdre confirmed that using visualisations and Virtual Reality scenes generated from BIM models enabled end-users to provide far more useful information to the design team than would otherwise have been possible, for instance in relation to the placement of oxygen access points in patient rooms and the layouts of operating theatres.

Richard discussed how a bespoke GCC contract is being used with intensive supply chain engagement to produce a better end-product, to control costs and to reduce risk. Furthermore, the lean principles of identifying and mapping value, creating flow, establishing pull and seeking to achieve ‘right-first-time’ are embedded within a project where respect for people is paramount.

In the ensuing panel session, the contribution of this project to the Irish Construction Sector was discussed. Alan Duggan confirmed that BIM skills are now essential and not just nice-to-have for graduates of construction-related programmes. Collaboration with experts from across Arup’s international offices was very important as a means of accessing the skills required to successfully complete the design stage in line with the project’s ambitious, and thus-far achieved, milestones.

The levels of engagement with end-users and with the entire supply chain make this an exemplar project for how BIM and Lean can be implemented in Ireland, regardless of mandate or other external controls. DIT would like to express their thanks to Richard, Deirdre and Alan who gave generously of their time both on the night and in preparation for it.


NCH’s: https://player.vimeo.com/video/135662289?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

NCH’s gallery: http://www.newchildrenshospital.ie/gallery/

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