Housing crisis to be focus of discussion at GMIT’s annual International Construction Management Day Conference

The sixth annual GMIT International Construction Management Day Conference will take place in the institute on Tuesday March 8, from 9am to 3.45pm. The annual conference is the largest construction event in the west of Ireland and provides a meeting place for professionals, contractors, and academics to meet and discuss matters of concern to the industry. The event draws delegates from Ireland and abroad.

This year, 15 leading industry speakers from across Ireland and the UK will speak on a range of technical and general matters. A key of the event will be the prevailing housing crisis that is causing hardship to many people, both in the west of Ireland and nationally.

Different perspectives on the crisis will be provided by Marian Finnegan, chief economist and head of research at Sherry Fitzgerald. CEO Ned Brennan from Respond! Housing Association will review the crisis in terms of social and affordable housing needs, while Hubert Fitzpatrick, director of housing at the Construction Industry Federation, will outline the role the construction industry can play in solving the crisis, considering the barriers and drivers at play in the sector.

Conference chair and GMIT lecturer Martin Taggart said: “It has been clear for a number of years that a significant housing crisis has been growing in Ireland. The construction industry has significant spare capacity to meet the demand but, currently, house building is not an attractive proposition to the industry for a number of practical and economic reasons in many locations.”

Speakers in the morning session will include John O’Regan, director of the AECOM group, who will give his annual analysis of the construction industry and the progress made during the year, both at home and internationally. Michael Stone, president of the Construction Industry Federation, will outline the opportunities open to the industry in the coming years. The session will close with Noel Conroy, a GMIT construction management graduate, now head of Irish operations for the MJ Conroy group, who will reflect on his experiences since leaving GMIT with the successful MJ Conroy property and construction group.

The morning sessions will include technical case studies presentations. GMIT researchers Dr Mark Kelly and Jan Gottsche, together with Paul Mannion, associate architect with Scott Tallon Walker, and GMIT graduate Brian Holmes, project manager with BAM Construction, will showcase research output from collaborative research based on the HBB building, currently under construction in Galway. The morning case study sessions will conclude with David Taylor, vice-president of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers, who is attending from the UK. Mr Taylor, a chartered surveyor and building engineer, will discuss best practice in regulatory compliance.

The afternoon sessions feature three speakers in Chris Chivers, president of the Chartered Institute of Building, who will discuss the risks associated with international construction as well as reflecting on his recent presidential tour of the Chinese construction industry for CIOB. David O’Brien, chair of the government construction contracts committee, will update the conference on the results of the ongoing major review of public works construction contracts. The final speaker of the day will be Gerry Carty, managing director of RPS group, which has a major presence in Galway. Mr Carty will reflect on Ireland’s major infrastructure needs and also shed light on how these vital resources can be delivered efficiently and economically, a need that is sure to concern the new government.

The conference is free to attend, and its major supporters are the Chartered Institute of Building, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, and the Chartered Association of Building Engineers. The conference is also supported by the Construction Industry Federation.

A full programme and further information can be found at www.gmit.ie/gmit-international-construction-management-conference-2016

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