Construction conference to hear 2017 output expected to grow by 20%

Topics: Managing growth for a sustainable future, new technologies & innovation, Brexit, safety issues, public contracts changes, etc..


Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The annual GMIT International Construction Management Day Conference will take place at the GMIT Dublin Road campus on Tuesday 7 March, from 9am. Hosted by the GMIT Department of Building and Civil Engineering it is the largest annual gathering of its kind in the west of Ireland, bringing together architects, engineers, surveyors, contractors and academics to discuss matters of interest in the built environment.

The conference started in 2010 when the construction industry was in deep trouble. In terms of output value, the industry contracted by nearly 80% in the recent recession. This year’s conference will however, discuss a different set of problems. The authoritative annual AECOM report on the construction industry reveals that output grew by 15% in 2016 and predicts further growth of 20% in 2017.  In cash terms this equates to around €3 billion of extra construction work.

GMIT Lecturer and Conference Chair, Martin Taggart, says: ‘Whilst we are all delighted to see strong growth return to the industry, such fast paced growth gives rise to obvious concerns about construction tender inflation and skills shortages. These are already being noticed.” He adds: ‘A further significant issue is the unbalanced nature of the increase, with growth being concentrated in the greater Dublin area, with limited growth elsewhere, particularly in the west.’

Dr Fergal Barry, President of GMIT, will open the conference with a short address at 9.30am. The morning session will hear from Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Seán Canney, TD, who will present a keynote address, followed by contributions from Tom Parlon, Director General of The Construction Industry Federation and John O’Regan, Director of AECOM. The session will consider the current state of the construction industry and how best to develop the industry to provide a sustainable engine for the wider economy.

The mid-morning conference sessions traditionally provide a showcase of cutting edge technical and research innovation in the industry. This year the conference is providing a major workshop on Building Information Modelling (BIM), a relatively new process in the construction industry involving highly accurate 3D models of construction projects, which allows many construction problems to be ironed out and allows accurate costing and time planning. The workshop will hear from Ralph Montague, Managing Partner of ARCDOX on using BIM for Lean Construction; Cillian Kelly, National BIM Leader for John Sisk & Son Contractors will discuss construction planning using BIM; Aonghus Callanan, Director of TC Estimating Services will present on the use of BIM for accurate cost preparation. Jan Gottsche, Environmental and Sustainability Co-ordinator for BAM Contractors will look at means of embedding sustainability research lessons into major construction projects. The session will close with Dr Mark Kelly of GMIT, considering how these new BIM processes can engender a more collaborative culture in construction supply chains.

Mary Rogers, Head of the Department of Building and Civil Engineering at GMIT, says “We are delighted to be hosting the conference again this year, as it provides a wonderful opportunity for students and staff from our programmes in Construction Management; Quantity Surveying; Civil Engineering and Architectural Technology, to interact with industry leaders from Ireland and the UK.” Reflecting on the BIM workshop, she says “BIM has the potential to transform the construction industry in terms of its efficiency. At GMIT we have recently added a Higher Diploma in BIM which is particularly aimed at the upskilling needs of the regional construction industry.”

In the second morning session, Martin Meehan, Principal of Meehan Associates, will present a case study in renovating East Point Dock, Dublin, to the world class LEED sustainability standard. Martin’s presentation is titled ‘from sow’s lug to silk purse’. Enda McGuane, Director of Winter’s Property Management, will present on the efficient and cost effective delivery of student housing projects, a pressing local and national issue. The session will also hear from Pat McGrath, Head of Research and Systems Development at Construction Information Services, who will consider the use of mined industry data sources to improve efficiency of construction businesses.

The afternoon session will open with President of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), Ben Bradford, who is attending from the UK. Mr Bradford is a leading international expert on fire safety in buildings. He will discuss current issues in fire safety design. Following his presentation, Mr Bradford will also formally present CABE academic accreditation for GMIT Building and Civil Engineering programmes, which were awarded in February 2017.

Chris Chivers, Past President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) will also join the conference from the UK for the afternoon session. Mr Chivers will bring news of BREXIT and its impact for the construction industry as well as other international perspectives. Brexit is a significant concern for many in the wider construction and design industries, which have many trading links with the UK. The conference will conclude with an update on recent changes to the Public Works Contracts, provided by Pauric Marray, Director of Quigg Golden, specialists in procurement and construction law.

Attendance at the conference is FREE, by kind support of its sponsors, The Chartered Institute of Building; The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland; The Chartered Association of Building Engineers and AEDIS, who provide a range of complementary construction solutions in the building control, structural warranties and health and safety areas.
Further details contact Conference Chair Martin Taggart, email:
For details on the full programme, see:


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Some of the delegates attending last year's (2016) International Construction Management Day conference.

Some of the delegates attending last year's (2016) International Construction Management Day conference.

Some of the delegates attending last year's (2016) International Construction Management Day conference.Speakers and staff at the 2016 conference in GMIT.