2017 – A Busy Year Ahead for CitA


After the most recent CitA Smarter Cooperative Building Series meeting, Dr Alan Hore spoke to Irish building magazine about the CitA Series, the CitA Regional Events, the BIM Gathering 2017 and CitA’s education and training courses.

2017 continues to be a busy year for CitA. There seems to be a real sense of renewal and a positive vibe across the sector. The dates and venue for the CitA BIM Gathering 2017, Ireland’s leading academic forum in BIM and digital construction processes, has been announced and the website launched. The Gathering will take place at Croke Park on November 23rd and 24th. On February 15th, the Smarter Cooperative Building Series got off to a great start with a packed house at the Royal College of Physicians on Dublin’s Kildare Street. CitA’s work with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) members is helping digitise the Irish Construction Industry, and from the first meeting, we know that the Irish Government is being influenced by their work. Aside from these events, CitA are busy providing CPD and upskilling Irish construction professionals.

CitA’s 2017 Smarter Cooperative Building Series

The first breakfast meeting of the CitA Smarter Cooperative Building Series took place on February 15th. The theme was ‘A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy Update’. The meeting, at the Royal College of Physicians, had a large attendance of approximately 150 delegates. The presentations were well received by the attendees and an interactive Q&A session followed.

David Browne, RKD Architects, opened the event welcoming the attendees. He spoke of the upward trend of BIM in Ireland referring to the

2016 Enterprise Ireland and CitA National BIM Survey, and the report’s key findings and recommendations. He also spoke of the challenges – communicating to clients what BIM can offer, and the problems of Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SMEs) in financing their BIM adoption. David spoke of how the CIC strongly support the work of CitA.

Chair David O’Connell, Director at McCauley Daye O’Connell, used the opportunity to update delegates on progress made/plans in respect to the CIC BIM Working Group. David gave a brief introduction to the CIC’s work, and said BIM is changing construction and reducing waste. He spoke about the inefficiency of the industry as well as the UK BIM mandate and the RIBA Digital Plan of Work. He told attendees about the work of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the CIC.

David O’Brien, Construction Advisor at the Procurement Policy Unit – Office of Government Procurement, was the next speaker. David said it was heartening to see such a large attendance and that it was great to see enthusiasm and energy back in the industry again. Across the public sector, people are talking about BIM. David is a member of the National BIM Council (NBC) and said it was great to have a public sector voice on the NBC. He told the audience that the NBC was setting out the roadmap for BIM in Ireland in 2017. He spoke about the BIM Public Sector Strategy and the enthusiasm for BIM in the Irish public sector. Saying, if BIM was around in 2007 adoption of the public works contracts would have been smoother. He spoke of the big public projects using BIM: the National Children’s Hospital and the Grangegorman Campus. He said BIM is about people and convincing people about its advantages is critical. David talked about the work of the NBC and the challenges ahead. A proposal is being prepared to take to government, and according to David a statement of intent will be published in the next month.

Ger Casey of the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) spoke of the Grangegorman project and what was learned from using BIM on the Greenway Hub and BIM in procurement. He said BIM was a key change. Pat O’Sullivan, GDA, gave attendees an introduction to the 4,250m2 Greenway Hub building, and said BIM was not part of the GDA’s plans until 2011 but was adopted due to its benefits. His presentation covered setting up BIM protocols and processes in procurement. He spoke of BAM’s work and handing over the BIM model. BAM’s Michael Murphy spoke of how enthusiastic the BAM team were to use BIM on the Greenway Hub, and said the project was like an internship. This presentation showed how the BAM team approach tendering for a project and how impressive their BIM work is in Ireland. Robert Moore, GDA, talked about BIM for FM and what the client wants: value and quality – “right first time.”  He spoke about his role and how the GDA want BIM for Quality Assurance and Quality Control – a good flow of information and wanting a seamless handover.

The Q&A session was interactive, and covered many topics: tendering; BIM procurement; fulfilling client requirements; level of detail and level of information requirements; EIRs; value and cost in contracts; the end user using BIM data; helping SMEs on the Irish BIM roadmap.

BICP Researcher Dr Barry McAuley presented the BICP findings. He explained where we are with BIM adoption, and BIM adoption around the world. Barry briefly spoke about his work in collated Irish BIM case studies like the National Children’s Hospital and Grangegorman Campus. He described the work being done on the BICP, including consultations and workshops with industry and academia, our education and training capacity, and BICP Public Sector Consultations. Barry outlined the BICP Working Groups and invited interested parties to get involved.

Social media was active on the morning of the event, with attendees praising the presentations. Viewers also watched online through Livestream. CitA have posted the videos from the event on their YouTube Channel where you can also view videos of previous meetings and events:

After the February event, Dr Alan Hore told us about CitA Smarter Cooperative Building Series and what is planned for 2017. “It is a continuation of the conversation with the CIC. Together we are looking at finding a better way for to work collaboratively and we want to connect CitA members to innovative methods of working in 2017.” We asked what the highlights of the event were for him. “There was great honesty in the room with regards the challenge for the Irish Construction Industry. David O’Brien’s statement of intent was both very positive and noteworthy.”

Dr Alan Hore

“It will be important to see some consistency approach between the various BIM Groups active in the professional institutions throughout the 2017 series”

A BIM mandate has been a topic of interest in the BIM community since the introduction of the UK BIM Mandate. We asked Alan if we’ll see BIM further introduced into Irish public procurement this year. “We are already seeing it, on the PPP programmes, on the Grangegorman Campus and the National Children’s Hospital.” Curious, we asked if there will be an Irish BIM Mandate in the near future. “A lot has been learned from the UK, and the Scottish approach with its opt-in, opt-out choice. There could well be some requirement in Ireland but the conversation is still ongoing.”

Alan told us about the spacious Royal College of Physicians on Dublin’s Kildare Street, and why CitA chose this venue for 2017. “It is central. It is easy to access for people working in Dublin City. There was a huge turnout at the event, 150 people.” The March meeting will have an impressive line-up with the RIAI chairing the event. “The March event will have a presentation by the RIAI BIM Committee, and by the Windmill Lane team from Hibernia REIT. It is a large commercial project in Dublin. We hope to hear from the production team and the client. Ralph Montague will be the main organiser for that event and we will hear more about the work of the RIAI BIM Group.”

CitA Regional Events

The CitA Regions were very active in 2016, bringing the message of BIM to all areas of the country. The Regions have met this year to discuss the year ahead and from what we know there will be a focus on SMEs. BIMIreland.ie

will keep you updated on news from the regions throughout the year. Alan told us what the CitA Regions have planned this year. “There is a series of meetings over the coming months. What is important about the Regions is that we get to hear about what is happening around the country with SMEs and work going on outside of Dublin.”

There are nine regions in Ireland and they are as follows:

CitA Eastern BIM Region;
CitA Midlands BIM Region;
CitA North West BIM Region;
CitA South East BIM Region;
CitA South West BIM Region;
CitA Southern BIM Region;
CitA Western BIM Region;
CitA BIM Group BIM Region (National); and
the Northern Ireland BIM Region.

These regions held impressive events in 2016, with local professionals, and national and international BIM experts attending and presenting at events. These events not only showcased Ireland’s BIM capacity but were evidence of the recovering construction industry. You can see the reports from these events on BIMIreland.ie. Considering their success, we asked Alan what was the highlight of the regional events in 2016. “There are nine active regions. The fact that they are organising the events on a regional basis is impressive the regions are taking ownership of themselves. One thing we would like in 2017 is to engage with the Northern Ireland Region and link in with them. We had great traction in 2016.”

SMEs will be a focus of CitA events this year, and Alan told us his message for SMEs interested in BIM and Construction IT, and gave advice on grants. “The big message is that this year we want to do something for SMEs. The regions allow us to be all inclusive for SMEs. There needs to be support to incentivise SMEs to undertake training and upskill, and government have a role in this. For grants, I would say look at the innovation vouchers from Enterprise Ireland. The BIM Enable and BIM Implement grants are for Enterprise Ireland clients. There is the Skillnet fund through CitA and the CIF have their own Construction SME Skillnet.”

2017 CitA BIM Gathering

Alan told us about the upcoming November BIM Gathering. “The 2017 Gathering will be held on November 23rd and 24th at Croke Park – Home of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association). Building Capability in Complex Environments is the theme of the Gathering. Construction around the world is complex, and we are looking how BIM can deal with complex project problems and deliver successful projects within programme and budget. The Gathering will also be Ireland’s leading academic forum in BIM and digital construction. The website is up and running. We will be accepting abstracts for papers in the next week.”

Alan outlined the specific objectives of the Gathering:

1.   Exchange knowledge about the challenges faced and strategies adopted to support BIM in international construction regions.
2.   Learn how BIM can be aligned to support national programmes that are aimed at delivering greater efficiencies and serve overall societal needs.
3.   Provide clarity to the industry, particularly SMEs, of the guiding principles, benefits and challenges that BIM can bring to their businesses.
4.   Raise awareness of the importance of education and training to ensure that a consistent message is delivered to both the demand and supply chain on how to best implement BIM.
5.   Promote the importance of adopting collaborative and co-operative procurement and contractual frameworks that work with BIM.
6.   Hear experiences and lessons learned from case studies where BIM has been deployed.
7.   Align the virtues of BIM with lean methodologies and practice.
8.   Learn how BIM can support the management of information needed in design and construction of sustainable buildings.
9.   Hear about how BIM standards assist in the collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information that leads to a greater consistency in the development, organisation and management of production information for the construction industry.
The organisers of the 2017 Gathering come from the Irish Construction Industry and Irish academia and they are well known to the Irish BIM Community. The Industry-Academia Alliance has been at the core of CitA since its beginning.

The organisers are as follows:

The CitA Administration Team,
Dr Ken Thomas – Waterford Institute of Technology.
Professor Roger West – Trinity College Dublin.
Ralph Montague – ArcDox.
Michael Murphy – BAM Ireland.
Bernard Voortman – Cummins and Voortman.
Trevor Woods – DPW Group.
Brian Lahiff – Garland Consultancy.
Dr Shawn O’Keefe – Headcount Engineering.
John Kerrigan – Leica Geosystems.
JP Kelly – Murphy Surveys.
Michael Earley – Scott Tallon Walker.

Alan said the themes of the event cover a broad range of relevant topics: Global BIM, BIM for government, BIM for SMEs, Up Skilling the Supply and Demand Chain, Procurement for BIM, BIM Case Studies, Lean and BIM, Sustainability and BIM, BIM Standards. Digital technologies that support BIM will soon be added.

CitA have shortlisted the speakers and will be selecting them soon. We asked how Alan selects the speakers for the CitA events, and what he is looking for in this event. For the past two Gatherings and the Irish BIM Innovation Awards 2016, CitA brought some of the biggest names in BIM to Ireland: Bill East, Paul Doherty, Anne Kemp, David Philp, Rafael Sacks and Chuck Eastman. Speaking about selecting the speakers, Alan said “We are looking for dynamic messages and a global reputation. We want world-class speakers who can talk in-depth on BIM topics. We want a mix of practitioners and researchers. We are looking at well-known names in BIM.” CitA have experience of organising big industry events, and that was obvious from the 2015 Gathering that showcased a modern technological industry. We asked what have CitA learned about the Irish Construction Industry from the 2013 and 2015 Gatherings? “How far we come and how far we have developed. We were impressed with the Irish Building Innovation Awards last year. We are ready for BIM in Ireland at government level. We have matured.”

Alan told us how the Gathering academic conference is organised. “We have about fourteen or fifteen academics. We have Irish academics and academics from abroad. We will build on the 60 papers we had in 2015. The best papers go forward to academic journals.” Telling us about the reviewing process; he said “The public have until April 7th to submit their abstracts. Anybody interested in the key dates can see the BIM Gathering website which is now up and running. Criteria and templates will be put up on the website soon.”

Lean is a big topic this year. We asked if he thought the interest in Lean is growing and is becoming intertwined with BIM. “Yes. Lean Construction Ireland (LCI) are doing great work. A lot of people involved in BIM are also involved in Lean. BIM and Lean aid each other, but Lean is a much broader philosophy.” On the topic of Lean and BIM, Alan mentioned his involvement in LC3 2017. “I was approached by Raphael Sacks and the organisers of LC3 to chair the Construction Innovation Competition that takes place during the industry day of the conference. It is open to anyone who has a good innovative idea. The competition is a presentation of ideas which are innovative and have business potential. People have to submit their proposals by April 28th. The conference is taking place on the island of Crete in July.” For interested readers, BIMIreland.ie will have a BIM People interview with LC3 organiser Rafael Sacks this March.

CitA Education and Training

The CitA MSc in Construction Informatics course has given graduates great knowledge and skills to pursue BIM careers and the CPD courses have helped train industry professionals in technical skills and update knowledge. The primary emphasis of the MSc in Construction Informatics is on learning how existing technologies can be efficiently applied throughout the construction process. Alan described what CitA have planned for 2017. ‘The MSc is ongoing. There are plans to develop more CPD training around worthwhile topics, especially in BIM. We have a lot of work planned on CPD training for 2017.’

Alan described the CPD courses that are popular at present. “The CitA Skillnet trained 2,000 people last year. The popular courses are in Revit, and BIM courses offered by ArcDox are very popular.  Software courses are very popular, for example, the BIM courses on BIM 360, BIM 360 Field, 3Ds Max Visualization.”

We asked how CPD courses are selected and who the main course providers were in recent years. “CitA are going through the procurement at present. In recent times ArcDox, DPW, and Diatech have been popular and active providers.” We asked what the plans are for CPD courses in the future. “Design online programmes, because people are becoming busier and do not have the time to attend a training facility or college. What would be beneficial would be to have a situation where you have discounted courses for professionals by professionals but with CIC recognition by all the partners. A bigger demand for online delivery has been obvious in recent years.”

Membership of CitA is open to all stakeholders in the Irish Construction Industry. For companies wanting to join CitA or to find out about the CPD courses offered on the CitA Skillnet, they can visit the CitA website or contact CitA General Manager Suzanne Purcell: Phone: 01-676 6052, Email: spurcell@cita.ie

Irish building magazine and BIMIreland.ie will keep you updated on CitA events and news on the BIM Gathering throughout 2017.

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