The Hive’s Alive


The aecHive Swarm 2019 took place between November 8th and 10th at a “Town Hall” in 1WML, Dublin. It was a successful event and showcased Irish AEC innovation.

aecHive “Community of Innovators” in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) sector held their inaugural “Swarm” innovation workshop event last weekend, at the “Town Hall”, 1WML, Windmill Lane, Dublin.

“aecHive is an open-source platform to support and promote collaboration and innovation projects in the AEC sector,” said co-founder John Egan from BIM Launcher. “We hope that participants will take these workshop projects and ideas further, beyond the event, to develop real solutions for AEC.”

“Productivity is going to be the real issue for the AEC sector in the next decade,” said Ralph Montague from ArcDox, also co-founder of aecHive. “We have to learn how to build for more infrastructure to meet a growing demand, with better performance quality, with less resources, time, money, materials, skills, and also learn how to do that in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment. With these many competing challenges, the need to innovate, and do things better, has never been bigger or more important.”

The aecHive Swarm 2019 event was hosted by CitA (the Construction IT Alliance) in conjunction with Autodesk and Hibernia REIT, who provided the fantastic venue at 1 Windmill Lane in Dublin. “1WML has become synonymous with innovation in the construction and property sector in Dublin” remarked John Bennett from Autodesk, in his welcome address. As an experienced beekeeper, John went on to explain the importance of the analogy of the “Hive”, the close collaboration, and the collective effort of individual bees in building the hive community that would continue to sustain them into the future.

Dr. Alan Hore from CitA spoke about the important role that CitA has played over the past 20 years, in supporting innovation and digital adoption within the AEC sector in Ireland, and looks forward to the continued role CitA will play, through the aecHive community.

Jamie Cudden from Smart Dublin spoke about award-winning smart-city innovations that Dublin City Council were pursuing, including their open-sourced 3D model of the Smart Docklands area, and spoke about the need for groups and sectors to work together to build smart communities.

Both Enterprise Ireland and the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), had representatives to talk to participants about supports that were available, to develop business ideas, services and products. Paul Killeen from NSAI outlined the new ISO 56000 series of guidance standards, available to support systematic management of innovation for SME’s (small to medium enterprises), and innovation management training available through Skillnet Ireland. Robert Geraghty from Enterprise Ireland gave delegates practical advice on how and when to engage with the state agency.

Mercury Engineering put forward a “cluster” or workshop team with Ethos Engineering to look at the challenge of “information” exchange and quality, between the design and construction phase, using a Lean approach. i3PT Certification investigated quality of information using ISO 19650 standards for building control compliance. Other workshop “clusters” included Evercam, who investigated aligning live camera views with BIM models, to measure progress on site, and IKEO Group who investigated development of a “modular construction configuration tool”. Corballis Consulting look at developing some enhancements to the COBie Quality Control Checking Tool together with Dr. Bill East, the founder of the COBie standard. UK-based consultancy, BIM Initiative, came over to Dublin to take a “deep dive” into information production planning tools. And BIM Launcher spent the weekend investigating how to scale the aecHive project going forward, as an “open-source” platform supporting innovation around the world.

The weekend event closed with each cluster group presenting their challenges and their findings. Guest keynote speakers Dr. Claire Penny from WIA, and Dr. Houssem Jerbi from Smart PMO, gave the participants some great insights into the current and future trends of IoT (internet of things) and AI/ML (artificial intelligence & machine learning).

Overall, it was an action-packed weekend with great ideas, great discussions, and great collaborations, with many new contacts and relationships made, and positive feedback from everyone who participated.

We look forward to aecHive Swarm 2020. “Get connected to Innovation” to be part of aecHive.

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