Inside the Digital Construction Summit 2018 

The Construction Revolution

As today marks International Women’s day, I want to highlight a statistic related to the construction industry: 136,000 people work in construction and just 8% of these are women. Ironically, today also marks the official launch of the #buildingequality campaign, a campaign to change the perceptions of the construction industry and promote equality of opportunity for all.

The #buildingequality campaign was brought to my attention in greater detail yesterday at the CIF Digital Construction Summit in Croke park by some of the speakers. It is one of the steps that has been taken to move away from the traditional construction industry we are familiar with and is a central focus of the CIF. There has been an immense push of publicity using the Lottie doll dressed with a hard hat and #buildingequality.

At the CIF Digital Construction Summit yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to many notable speakers who accurately provided me with an insight into the innovative digital construction transformation, an area that is quite new to me as a recruitment consultant, but again another area that we all need to proactively move with.

The day was certainly centred around leaving the traditional industry we are still very much affiliated with.

Some of the takeaways I left with were:

  • Germany Vs Ireland- There are 2% of school leavers taking up apprenticeships in Ireland in comparison with 60% in Germany. In Ireland there is a perception of ‘you must go to college’ and apprenticeships are neglected, whereas in these mainland Europe they have the opposite outlook. This must change as speedily as the digital transformation.
  • #buildingequality– is aimed at increasing and encouraging the number of women working in construction, a key objective for the CIF.
  • Measuring Vs Doing- An interesting comment made by one of the speakers was that “there should be less Quantity surveyors on site and more Foremen/Supervisors.” This comment may prove controversial for many, however as a prevalent topic of conversation today, the people on the ground incorporating the digital move into their daily work routine is an essential collaboration to encourage modernisation and as a result allows Quantity Surveyors to focus on their area of expertise- QS’s don’t build projects, Foremen do.
  • A view from the industry- Eoin Vaughan, CEO (Mercury Engineering) delivered a very relevant and reassuring presentation for main contractors in Ireland. He also reiterated that a culture of innovation needs to be nurtured and trades are not being used as agents for digital transformation. We need more engagement with the people on the ground. It is no longer sufficient to have your BIM hub in an office, it must filter through onsite.
  • Modernisation- Digitalisation in construction is not solely BIM, it is about encouraging an organisation to move towards digitalisation. Kids in today’s world grow up with an iPad, they are consumed by the digital world, so how can we prepare for them entering the workforce?
  • Costs- for the smaller construction companies who are feeling the pressure of the financial implications of digitalisation was that it is unnecessary to go on a spending spree on these new systems. However, what is essential is that you move with this revolution, do your research and find a cheap system that you can adapt to your organisation that works for you.

The key take away for the construction industry is digital is here to stay and will continue to evolve into a bigger beast. It must be embraced and nurtured and in turn will enhance the sector and create a leaner, more productive industry. Lastly, it does not need to be financially feared.


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