Digital construction processes and technologies present significant growth and export potential for Northern Ireland companies –

Belfast is set to host Digital Construction Live 2017, a major international conference on the rapidly emerging world of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and new digital technologies in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry this Friday 17 November 2017 (8am – 4pm, Europa Hotel, Belfast). Jon Briggs, broadcast journalist and the original UK voice of Siri, will host the event.

The conference, which is organised by the NI BIM Regions Group*, aims to raise awareness of BIM and digital construction, and provide a collaborative platform for best practice to be shared. The event is free to attend thanks to the generous support of a number of key sponsors.

Leading BIM and digital construction expert, Melanie Dawson, Head of BIM at GRAHAM Construction, and founder member and Chair of NI BIM Regions Group, explains:

“The demand for Building Information Modelling (BIM) continues to grow across construction projects in the UK. I think this is partly as a result of the government mandate for BIM Level 2 in 2016 but also because public and private sector clients are increasingly understanding the potential value BIM can bring.

“BIM, digital construction, and indeed the wider industry 4.0 digital revolution in construction presents a very exciting new era for our industry. Progressive businesses have recognised and embraced the importance and potential of BIM processes and technologies in helping drive real business benefits and value.’’

Mrs Dawson continues: “The construction sector in the UK employs over two million people and contributes £100 billion in economic output. It is a key contributor to the UK economy. With the global construction market expected to grow 70% by 2025, digital transformation plays a key role in driving efficiencies and ensuring the ongoing competitiveness of the industry.”

Discussing what’s in store for delegates at Digital Construction Live 2017, Mrs Dawson adds:

“We believe that collaboration is fundamental to our industry’s future success. Digital Construction Live 2017 presents an excellent networking opportunity for all those who procure, design, build and maintain building or infrastructure assets.  There will be delegates from the UK, Ireland and wider Europe. Some have even registered from as far away as Australia, which means we will have a wide and varied range of participants on the day.

“We are delighted that nineteen top class local and international experts**, who are shaping the digital transformation of the industry, will be speaking at the conference. The event will be one of the best places to learn more about BIM and digital technologies. The use of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robotics, virtual and augmented reality, internet of things (IOT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, off site manufacturing and digital reality capture are all topics that will be discussed.”

Speaking in advance of the conference, event host Jon Briggs, broadcast journalist, international conference host and original UK voice of Siri, says:

“I’ve been a broadcast journalist for the last three decades or so and in that time I’ve watched the way in which every single industry has been affected by information technology and the use of electronics, or what the commentators would call the third industrial revolution. And now we are dashing headlong in to the fourth industrial revolution, the fusion of the biological, the physical and the digital.”

Mr Briggs adds: “Building Information Modelling (BIM) is just one of the ways that automated and converging technology are changing the way we create places from spaces. And if you’re not up to speed you’re going to get left behind. So I’m delighted to be hosting Digital Construction Live in Belfast this year. With keynote speakers discussing everything from robotics through to 3D laser scanners via augmented mixed and virtual realities to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), surveys. And with break out sessions and workshops galore covering all disciplines of the construction industry it will keep you well ahead of the game. And even better, it’s free to attend!”

Digital Construction Live will feature a major exhibition showcasing many of the emerging technologies that are being discussed at the event – from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and 3D laser scanners to wearable technology in virtual reality and augmented reality.

There will also be a 12 metre long, cable-stayed bridge assembled at the event, where attendees can cross the bridge and get the sense of the water flowing beneath as the technology transports them to the virtual environment.

BelMCraft, a computer game based on the globally successful Minecraft platform, which allows players to create and explore a virtual city will also be on display. Developed by researchers from Ulster University, the game is closely aligned to aspects of the building information modelling (BIM) process.  

Platinum sponsors of Digital Construction Live 2017 include GRAHAM Construction, Invest Northern Ireland, ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) and AUTODESK.

For further information or to book a free place at Digital Construction Live 2017 in Belfast on Friday 17 November log on to