International Construction Management Day Conference (12 March)


Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The current state of the construction industry is to be the focus of the 2nd annual International Construction Management Day Conference hosted by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on 12 March.

Leading industry experts and professionals are to attend the day-long event organised by the GMIT Department of Building & Civil Engineering in GMIT. The event is open to the general public and free of charge.

The conference is arranged around three sessions focusing on current issues of concern for the industry. During the first session John O’Regan, Director of international consultancy company Davis Langdon, will provide an incisive evaluation of the current state of the industry and its prospects, both in Ireland and abroad.

The second presentation will be made by Don O’Sullivan, Director of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), who believes the industry has the potential to grow to a more sustainable level in the medium term bringing much needed jobs. In recent months the CIF has met Government to make their pre-budget submission for budget 2012 and also met the Troika of the IMF, EU and ECB to lay out the case for sustainable growth in the industry. Mr O’Sullivan will discuss the results of these endeavours and outline the options for growth.

The middle session of the conference focuses on a number of technical issues that are currently very topical in the industry. Steven McGee, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building and Managing Director of Stewarts Contractors of Galway, will speak about Stewarts’ recent experiences using Building Information Modelling (BIM) which is currently receiving worldwide attention for its potential to use highly accurate 3D computer models of construction projects to eliminate design faults at source, before they reach the construction phase. The models can also be used to extract detailed cost and planning information as well as providing a basis for ongoing facilities management work into the future.

The next speaker will be Niall Crosson of Ecological Building Systems, a company prominent in Ireland and the UK operating under parent company MacCann and Byrne. Ecological Building Systems provides a one-stop shop, for sustainable construction products, but also and perhaps more importantly provides the expert knowledge needed to select and correctly apply those products allowing end users to get it right first time. Mr Crosson will discuss problems and solutions regarding air tightness, continuity of insulation and cold bridging, three very important characteristics of achieving an energy efficient building.

The final speaker in session two is Edward Quigg from Quigg Golden, specialists in the field of construction alternative dispute resolution (ADR) who will talk about some of the current legislative and procurement changes impacting the industry.     

The final session provides an international dimension and will be led by John Geoghegan, Operations Director of multi-disciplined construction group SIAC Construction, who will outline his work with the company. In past recessions it has been common for Irish construction professionals to move abroad, looking for work. However this time around Irish construction companies are seeking to expand their operations abroad. SIAC has operations across Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland and Canada including a €356 million motorway in Poland and the redevelopment of Leicester Square in London.

Michael Conaghan, a graduate of the department’s B.Sc (Hons) Construction Management programme (2006), and Senior Project Manager with the international CBRE consultancy company, who is currently managing a number of fast track office fit-out projects for Google across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will speak about his career to date. He has worked at the site level and also in consultancy work since he left GMIT, a mix of work that is applicable to many GMIT Construction Management graduates.

The final speaker of the day is Chris Blythe, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). He is responsible for overseeing a large staff and looking after the interests of the 46,000 members of CIOB worldwide. The CIOB accredit the Construction Management degree programme at GMIT, allowing graduates to avail of membership of CIOB and to eventually achieve Chartered status (MCIOB) once they have fulfilled CIOB requirements in regard to experience and expertise. This internationally recognised professional qualification has been very important in helping many GMIT graduates find work overseas during the current downturn at home. Mr Blythe will talk about international perspectives of CIOB and his views on the changing nature of professional bodies into the future.

Ample time will be given for questions to speakers after each session. The event is open to all stakeholders with an interest in the construction industry including Building Contractors, Specialist Contractors Architects, Engineers and Surveyors. 

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) provides a full range of built environment programmes which include Construction Management, Building Economics and Quantity Surveying, Architectural Technology, Civil Engineering and Property Studies.

GMIT lecturer and conference organiser Martin Taggart says it is a common perception that construction is an industry in decline but this is simply not the case when one considers the industry worldwide.

“A major construction review ‘Global Construction 2020’ prepared by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics suggests that worldwide construction output will increase from just over $7.2 trillion today to nearer $12 trillion by 2020, driven along by many of the emerging economies but also with increased growth in Europe and the USA. This provides worldwide opportunities for Construction Management and Engineering professionals.  The projected rate of growth is set to be higher than the world’s general economic growth.

“Just this morning, I received an email, via the Chartered Institute of Building job site, where a single  company was looking for over 25 construction managers and engineers for new projects in Asia. In Europe, Eurostat figures show that construction grew in the EU27 last year and, of course, everybody is by now aware that representatives from Alberta and British Columbia in Canada are in Ireland this week looking to recruit construction workers to help make up a stated demand for 365,000 additional construction workers.”

“My view on Ireland is simple; don’t write us off just yet. During the boom, construction contributed too great a proportion for a country of our size, accounting for around 25% of GDP. Now it is too small at around 5% of GDP. Like-for-like comparison with other developed countries in the EU and elsewhere shows that a figure of around 8 % to 10% would be a sustainable level. These figures clearly illustrate the potential of medium term growth in construction output and jobs in Ireland. An expansion from 5% of GDP to 8% for example could potentially put 50,000 people back into work.

“There is great and proven need for further investment in buildings and infrastructure, in many areas. These include water supply, waste treatment, renewable energy, secondary road network, schools, healthcare and retrofitting of buildings for energy efficiency.” adds Mr Taggart.

Admission to this conference is free. See the full programme of speakers and events at: