GMIT to host International Construction Management Day on 5 March

The National Development Plan, Digitalising Project Delivery, BIM benefits and the post Grenfell Tower Quality Commission Report are some of the topics that will be discussed and debated at this year’s GMIT annual International Construction Management Day Conference taking place in the Galway (Dublin Road) campus on Tuesday week, 5 March.

The conference is the largest annual construction event in the west of Ireland. It is sponsored and supported by: The Chartered Institute of Building; The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland; The Chartered Association of Building Engineers; and, The Construction Industry Federation.

The annual event, now in its ninth year, attracts national and international professionals and experts, academics, researchers and undergraduate/postgraduate students in the construction, built environment and property sectors. Fourteen expert speakers from Ireland and the United Kingdom will cover topics of major concern and interest to delegates. The conference is chaired by GMIT Lecturer Dr Martin Taggart, with the welcome address by Mary Rogers, Head of the Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, GMIT.

The morning conference session will focus on the state of the construction industry and its prospects:

Pat Lucey, President of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Director John Sisk & Sons will review The National Development Plan and its opportunities and issues for the construction industry. John O’Regan, Director, AECOM Ireland, will launch AECOM’s authoritative annual review of the sector. Both, Pat and John will reflect on the current housing crisis, its causes and possible solutions. Paul Oakley, Director of BIM, the Building Research Establishment will visit from the UK and consider the current directions in digital construction and property management. Traditional construction practice is currently being challenged by technological change, using highly accurate computer models of buildings. These 3D models can be refined, and error checked before they reach site, offering significant cost and time savings.

Mid-morning the conference will split into two parallel sessions, the first will focus on improving quality, whilst the second will look at digitalisation in greater detail:

In the quality session Chris Blythe, OBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) will discuss CIOB work in the UK on improving quality and building control following high profile failures such as Grenfell Tower and the Scottish Schools Projects. Ireland has experienced its own quality failures in similar areas and can learn from this shared experience. Conor Taaffe, Director of HOMEBOND, will consider quality in housebuilding and discuss the soon to be published Homebond manual of best practice for builders in domestic construction. Richard Harral, Technical Director of The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) will speak on offsite modular construction and its ability to improve quality. It is expected that a significant amount of construction will move to offsite, factory manufacture in future years. This has the potential to speed up construction, alleviate skills shortages and improve safety.

The second section will focus on digitalisation of the construction industry. The session is supported by the local BIM HUB West group from the Construction Information Technology Alliance (CitA). David Purdon, from Diatec will explain the potential for digitising project delivery using cloud-based technology. John Egan, Owner Director of BIM Launcher will present on ‘An Introduction to the Future of Workflow Automation for AEC Industries’, John is also sponsoring the conference prizes, where delegates and students will be able to win drones, which are revolutionising surveying and survey & inspection work in the construction industry.
Padraic King, King and Moffatt Building Services will discuss the benefits and uses of BIM for a mechanical and electrical contracting company. Padraic is a graduate of the industry leading GMIT Higher Diploma Programme in Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is designed for industry people who are considering upskilling. BIM is used extensively to help integrate complex building services into buildings.

The afternoon session will include:

Niamh McNulty, from Coffey Construction who will appraise the potential for Behavioural Health and Safety Management, to improve safety in the sector. James Golden, Director of Quigg Golden Construction Law Specialists will review progress of the Construction Contracts Act, which is aimed at improving the construction industry payment system. Michael Mullen, from BPD Architects & Paul Mitchell, Director of Mitchell McDermott will give an overview of the major Bonham Quay Development, Galway Harbour, which is due to start later in the year. Dr Jamie Goggins, NUI Galway will complete the speaker line-up explaining Near Zero Energy use in Buildings (NZEB).

Dr Martin Taggart, Chair of the Conference, says: “I am delighted to see such an impressive line-up of speakers in Galway again. The conference will attract over 450 delegates this year. This is a far cry from when we launched our first conference, in the depths of recession in 2010. At that time we wondered if there would be any industry left. Demand for GMIT graduates in Construction Management, Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering and Architectural Technology is currently exceptional. It is no exaggeration to say that we can find three or four job opportunities for every graduate. One concern is the small number of females entering the department programmes. The female students we do attract perform very well and are much sought after within the industry, so ladies, please come along and see the opportunities that are available to you”.

Mary Rogers, Head of Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, says: “This annual conference is the highlight of our academic year. I would like to commend the outstanding commitment of Dr Martin Taggart to the development of this conference, now in its ninth year. This event brings together the construction sector and academia to promote and develop innovative partnerships to the benefit of our students and the construction industry as a whole. I would also like to acknowledge our many industry and professional partners across the construction sector who support GMIT in so many ways, from accommodating students on placement to developing industry-relevant programmes. With this support, the GMIT Department of Building and Civil Engineering will continue to meet the demand for implementing innovative processes and technologies to keep pace with a changing construction sector, both in Ireland and globally.

Gerard MacMichael, Head of the School of Engineering, says: “The International Construction Management Conference in GMIT has become a fixture for built environment professionals and companies. The speakers are the leaders of the construction sector and have views and opinions that give key insights into the sector. The organising team from the Dept of Building & Civil Engineering have successfully managed to bring fresh and insightful thinking to the conference each year.”

For further information on this event, please see:

Photo caption: Dr Martin Taggart, Conference chair and lecturer in the Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, GMIT.