CitA Delivering Better Outcomes for Irish Construction


Dr Alan Hore TU Dublin talks to Irish building magazine about the 2019 CitA BIM Gathering that is destined for Galway on 26th September and tells us about the year ahead.

In January it was announced that the fourth BIM Gathering conference will be hosted outside Dublin for the first time. This one-day conference on 26th September, titled ‘Delivering Better Outcomes for Irish Construction’, will bring the best of Irish construction talent to The Galmont in the heart of Galway City, and builds off the success of past Gatherings in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

CitA BIM Gathering 2019

Speaking to Irish building magazine CitA Co-Founder and Galway native Dr Alan Hore says the main reason for holding the event in Galway is to further engage the regions in CitA’s activities, and hosting a one-day event in September makes proceedings more concentrated and brings it forward from the busy end of year calendar. “Following extensive consultation with members, it has been decided to run the event over a single day, which is a departure from what we have done in past Gatherings. Hosting the event in Galway is a deliberate attempt to foster a more regional ethos within the CitA network, seeking to balance CitA’s appeal to every region in Ireland and not just be seen as a Dublin-centric organisation. Bringing the event forward from the usual November date was important also given the normally very congested calendar of construction events in the latter end of the year. We are delighted to host the event in Galway.”

Apart from the application of BIM on high profile projects, BIM adoption among Irish SMEs has been slow despite its many reported advantages Alan tells us but this he says is down to a poor understanding of the benefits and CitA aim to communicate the importance of BIM and the associated efficiencies to Irish SMEs. “BIM is seen largely by the industry as a purely 3D design solution and is seen as not applicable to the vast majority of businesses in Irish construction. However, it is now accepted globally that BIM, in its many dimensions, can transcend positively across the entire lifecycle of an engineering and construction project. In effect, this means delivering greater efficiency not only at the design and construction phases but also in the operations and maintenance (O&M) phases of a facility.”  Presenting the benefits of BIM to SMEs is a key focus for the event.

Specific objectives of the 2019 Gathering:

• Retain a focus on the National BIM Council’s missions to foster engagement from government, industry and academia by demonstrating the specific value propositions of BIM at an individual, organisation wide and collective level.
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.
• Provide clarity to the industry, particularly SMEs, of the guiding principles, benefits and challenges that BIM can bring to their businesses.
• 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.
• Promote the importance of adopting collaborative and co-operative procurement and contractual frameworks that work with BIM both within the public and private sector.
• Hear experiences and lessons learned from case studies where BIM has been deployed.
• Learn how the alignment of the virtues of BIM with Lean methodologies and practice can lead to improved productivity in the construction industry.
• Learn how BIM can support the management of information needed in design and construction of sustainable buildings.
• Recognise and profile the creation of long term digital assets that can be utilised to improve estate and facilities management practices.

The conference will seek out the evidence that BIM can deliver faster projects with greater cost certainty increasing the capability of our industry to work more internationally and collaboratively Alan explains. This is the reasoning for the alignment of the principal conference themes with those of the main pillars of the National BIM Council Roadmap for Digital Transition for Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018-2021 i.e.

• Leadership
• Standards
• Education and Training
• Procurement

There is also the inclusion of ‘Case Studies’ and ‘Innovative Technologies’ themes that proved popular at the past Gatherings.

While the conference organisers would welcome paper/presentation submissions under the below themes, these themes should not be seen as exhaustive.

Principal Themes

Leadership in Digital Transition

Today leadership is becoming more and more important in digital transformation. Organisations need change leadership in order to carry out transformations quickly and with minimal disruption. If stakeholders in construction do not change and adapt to new digital ways of working then they cannot evolve. Evidence of examples of digital leadership papers/presentations would be welcome from industry, government and education stakeholders.

Digital Information Standards

Information standards allow users in the construction industry to work together more easily. Recent developments like the recently published ISO19650 standards provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that improved communications occur across construction project lifecycles. Strengthening and supporting Ireland’s commitment to adopt to a common collaborative framework of Open BIM Standards is important. Practicable applications of ISO and open standards to better support and verify improved project outcomes in construction would be welcomed by the conference organisers. Papers/presentations detailing processes involved in seeking certification in respect to ISO standards would also be welcomed.

Digitally Skilled Workforce

Developing a consistent, seamless and coherent digital experience for students in Irish education and industry to help grow industry capacity and maturity in the use of BIM and other innovative technologies is essential.

The potential “silo” effect in digital learning is a concern across the globe. The conference organisers would welcome paper/presentation proposals where educators and trainers are helping to create a digitally skilled workforce with a suite of competencies that will help attract new and sustained talent into the construction sector.

BIM and Lean Procurement Practices

Developments in digital technologies are transforming procurement practice in construction. New methodologies that involve use of collaborative and integrated project delivery workflows, BIM protocols, integrated contractual frameworks and Lean practice are now featuring more widely in construction. The conference organisers are keen to learn how new and existing technologies are having an impact on developments in both public and private procurement practices.

The conference organisers would be keen to hear of paper/presentation proposals on how new integrated procurement frameworks interact in a synergetic way with Lean Construction principles to enrich the design and construction processes creating a more agile industry.

Case Studies

There is a proliferation of both company and project case studies where good practice in the use of digital technologies have been deployed in Ireland. The conference organisers are keen to hear of the successes and lessons learned on these projects and would welcome to hear about projects of any nature big and small at this event. Shortlisted projects from the 2019 Irish Construction Excellence Awards would be encouraged to submit papers/presentations to this conference but not exclusively.

Innovative Technologies

The conference organisers are always delighted to hear of technological developments in the construction sector. CitA are particularly keen to build on the themes evident at CitA Tech Live in 2018, such as Smart Cities and IoT; BIM Innovations; Drones and Geo Spatial;

AR/VR; Blockchain; Robotics and Automation: Digital Twins; Artificial Intelligence and 3D Printing etc… Whilst new technologies are of interest, the conference organisers are keen to hear of examples of where existing technologies have been used to better effect project outcomes.

The Year Ahead

Alan informs us about recent CitA appointments and the year ahead. “Emma Hayes will be the new CitA BIM Regions Coordinator. CitA is adding expertise to the Board with Mary Flynn of Dublin City Council, Simon Fraser of Hussey Fraser Solicitors, and Mark Costello of RPS Group joining as new members and John McGowan of Intel is returning to the Board.”

In 2019, The Digital Transformation Series, CitA’s breakfast meeting series, will be held at The Alex Hotel and the CitA Tech Trend events will be held in the Bank of Ireland Workbench in Grand Canal Square. CitA’s Digital Transformation Series is also titled ‘Delivering Better Outcomes for Irish Construction’.

During 2019 CitA will be presenting transformational messages from keynotes, policy providers and project teams that will give attendees a sense of what will need to happen in Irish construction if we are to affect better outcomes for the industry. Alan states that these messages are designed to be practical and focus on the themes and priorities that can be put in place with effective leadership and use of digital workflows within the sector in the near future. CitA will retain its focus throughout 2019 on the need for Government support to implement the National BIM Council’s Roadmap to Digital Transition for Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018-2021.

Alan’s message to readers is that the industry needs to examine the efficiencies digital construction offers, and that industry needs to be prepared as changes are coming with the introduction of BIM on public projects this year.

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