BIM Regions Focus: CitA Eastern BIM Region


2017 will be an active year for the CitA BIM Regions. Irish building magazine talked to Jo Wallwork, Senior Project Manager and Ireland’s BIM Lead at Turner & Townsend and Cillian Kelly, BIM Leader for Ireland at John Sisk & Son Ltd about their appointments as Co-Chairs of the CitA Eastern BIM Region. They told us what the Eastern Region has planned this year, and they invite construction professionals to come to the events and get involved.

Last year the Regions organised a number of events and attracted industry leaders and experts. The CitA Eastern BIM Region attracted attendees from diverse professional backgrounds. Jo and Cillian replace Michael Murphy of BAM Construction who was the Chairperson since 2015 when the Regions were established. Michael oversaw successful events and brought the message of BIM to the construction industry in the East and nationwide. The Region hopes to build on the successes of 2016.

Can you please tell us about your roles as Co-Chairs for 2017?

Cillian and I became Co-Chairs in January this year, taking over the role from Michael Murphy who successfully led the group through its first year. The role of Chair is not a defined one, it’s very much what the person/persons and Steering Group want to make of it. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to move and adapt as much as BIM & Digital Construction itself is in Ireland at the moment.

The Region is part of the UK established BIM Regions group ( and we have signed up to the BIM4 Communities Charter which has the key goal of “promoting BIM adoption and providing support on an industry-wide basis with no single bias to any one platform, group or company.”

As all Regions vary substantially in levels of understanding, progress and adoption, we will base our annual plan on the local market’s current needs. This is something that we are currently finalising.

Who is on the Regional Steering Group?

The Steering Group is made up of a group of professionals from across the construction industry, including contractors, clients, designers, quantity surveyors, project managers and BIM consultants. Membership is voluntary, and time is generously given, away from any commercial interests that we may have. We are currently finalising the 2017 group and details of all members will be publically announced in the coming weeks on our website:

Please tell us about the successes and highlights of the 2016 events?

2016 was our first full year and we did not know how the group would function, where we would fit into the market or indeed if it would be successful. On review, we are delighted with the steps made establishing the group which we can grow in 2017.

Our key success was our events. We held 5 evening events during 2016 which consisted of 30-40 minute presentations and a networking opportunity in a social environment. These were free to attend and open to anybody.

Can you tell us about the work involved in organising an event?

Johanna Wallwork, Dublin-based Senior Project Manager at Healy Kelly Turner & Townsend, part of the global programme management and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend

Where to start… The entire team put in a lot of time and energy organising events. We are not providing structured training but do require audio-visual facilities and wanted to make the events as welcoming to everyone, experienced or inexperienced in BIM so picking the right venue was key. In 2016, we held events in DIT’s Bolton Street Campus and Sam’s Bar in Dublin and although very different venues both were successful. After the venue choice, it’s timing, we were and are fully aware there is no perfect time as people have personal commitments in the evening and don’t all live in Dublin. We monitor attendance and if something was felt not to be working we would factor that into the next event. Finally, advertising was key, we used our website, Twitter, various professional contacts databases, our own personal contacts and publications such as to spread the word.

We are very lucky that finding speakers has not been too challenging as there is an abundance of BIM knowledge in our Region. We would, however, welcome any suggestions for 2017.

How many people attend the events generally?

Events attendance varied throughout the year; the highest being around 50 professionals. We are aiming to increase the numbers attending our events this year and we have already started to engage with organisations across the industry to establish a relationship with and share information and knowledge.

We are also promoting and raising awareness of the Eastern BIM Region across third level colleges and we are open to new members looking to engage with Industry and develop their own creativity, skills and Innovation ideas in BIM & Digital Construction.        

What are the professional backgrounds of attendees (contractor, consultant, SMEs)?

We welcome and actively encourage absolutely anyone who is interested in BIM & Digital Construction and indeed throughout 2016 there was a good cross section of the professional industry and students.

Have you received feedback from people attending the events?

Attendees are always invited to send questions, queries and comments to the Steering Group or presenter via Twitter or email. Feedback, in general, was very positive, some suggestions were received and due to the adaptability of the group we have been able to take these on board.

What are your plans for 2017?

During our first Steering Group meeting in January, we set out our 2017 goals. It was important to us to ensure they were achievable and more importantly relevant to the market as it is right now.

Goal 1 – To become an Information Point

We want to be the go-to place where people can come to get correct, relevant information on BIM & Digital Construction in Ireland and abroad, training opportunities and events (not just our events) across the country.

Goal 2 – Events

We want to hold 4 presentation events on varying topics and 2 more socially focused evenings.

We will be using our website, Twitter @CITAEASTERNBIMHUB and the mailing lists developed in 2016 to communicate and advertise events.

Where will you hold your meetings and events?

Our Steering Group Meetings are held at the CitA Office at 23 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2. We are currently planning our events and locations will be publicised shortly.

Have you visited the other Regions’ events?

Many of the Steering Group members as part of their jobs have projects in other regions and work alongside project teams across the country so they have both attended and been invited to speak at events. This is something that we fully intend to continue with in 2017.  We will be providing links to other Regions’ events on our website.

From the Eastern Region perspective, have there been challenges to BIM adoption?

There are multiple challenges to BIM adoption and they vary country to country, Region to Region, discipline to discipline, organisation to organisation etc. And it is for this specific reason that we would like the Eastern BIM Region group to be a place where people can come to for correct information and relevant links to assist them in their BIM journey.

Are you reaching out to SMEs?

We are reaching out to people, regardless of their background, employer, experience etc.  We want to encourage people who have not yet had experience on working on a BIM project to come along to our and other events to engage in what is a vibrant BIM circuit.

Are clients becoming more aware?

Without a doubt yes, initially the take up was generally led by contractors, however, in the last couple of years, a number of both public and private clients have been putting BIM into their project requirements. To achieve the greatest benefit from BIM it should be implemented at project conception and for this reason, we would encourage client organisations to attend events and keep up to date with the evolution.

Do you have a message and information for people interested in attending the Eastern Region events?

Yes, you can follow us on Twitter @CITAEASTERNBIMHUB. Keep an eye on our website The CitA Eastern BIM Region will be developing this in the coming weeks, there will be a mailing list sign-up option coming.

Feel free to contact Cillian or me about information on the CitA Eastern BIM Region. We look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Jo Wallwork Email:
Twitter @PM_BIMing

Cillian Kelly Email:
Twitter @CKellyBIM

Irish building magazine and will keep you updated on the CitA BIM Regions’ events throughout 2017. We have BIM People interviews with Cillian Kelly and Michael Murphy on the website and we will soon be interviewing Jo Wallwork for BIM People.

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