Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Growing a Diverse Workforce - Why, How and What.

Many years ago (or so it seems) I was baffled by the lack of women in senior construction roles, but even more shocked by the small number of Women specifically in BIM related roles. Coupled with the fact I sat on numerous meetings, design side, contractors side, client side, as a lone entity wondering where the hell all the other women were!


The moment I moved into a consulting position- I found this was still a huge issue and not only in the BIM space but across all areas of the Built Environment sector and wanted to raise awareness and understand why this was happening.  


Following several years of growing the cause, and the support via very few individuals across industry I found that there were so few women I knew in these roles to try to grow a cause was very difficult.


We therefore tried to come together incrementally to support this – with people jumping in and out as they could all for the greater good.


I am so passionate about this that with some exciting help last year we were able to commit a full and excited team of people as the core members. We supported the creation of a database and now the way forward is to collate this information and drive growth globally to raise awareness.


You ask how?


The way in which this can be achieved is via the following:


  1. Support from Industry- we need to raise awarness so please keep sharing our website, and database links to all the Women you know in BIM related roles.
  2. Connect these women! We are in a position to now connect, although many of our members are based in the UK, the aim is to grow this incentive and push it to a global workforce.
  3. Provide an opportunity to discuss our three main objectives on a deddicated platform for Women in BIM members.


Please support us, help us and create an opportunity for us to be able to do this.




Saturday, 4 February 2017

To be a Fellow...

On Friday I gained my FCIOB.  


FCIOB is the highest grade of membership with the Chartered institute of building (CIOB).


The CIOB headquarters are based out of the UK but they have members all over the world. They are the worlds largest and most influential professional body for construction management and leadership and have a far reach globally.


It made me think about what it means to be a fellow.


A few things that I discovered regarding why it was important for myself and my business to gain Fellowship were the following:  


  1. Recognition of Achievement.
  2. Demonstration of Leadership.
  3. Improving Profile.
  4. Relationship with CIOB.


As a member, I feel passionate that the title will promote my desire to change the industry. To change how we work, design, construct and ultimately manage built assets. The accreditation was not one for me, but for my ability to be able to support this change. I feel that with this I can continue to support and grow my passion of a diverse workforce, one which does not discriminate and one which supports working in more collaborative ways.


Personally, this is an incredible achievement and one I want to share with my family and friends – not for accolade, but purely to support me in changing the way we work and ultimately grow an industry that benefits from technologies, new ways of working and an open and collaborative culture.


For me this means that I can continue to help to drive change throughout the AEC sector and to encourage young women to believe they can do and be whatever they please.



Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Truth about Time

My blog and writing is regarding digital construction and BIM. But sometimes, and when the time is right, its important to talk about things that may require more attention. The attention I refer to is the importance of time. The time we live, the time we talk, the time we interact and have with people. Time. How often we all forget just how important a simple concept can be.


I have fallen victim to the concept, running around, worrying, working, travelling. I had forgotten one important thing - Time. Time goes by when we don’t even realize it is. Time moves so quickly that we don’t see it passing and sometimes forget it was even there. How such an important concept can become lost on people is incredible, even to me.


So today, I spent time, time to talk, to look around, to spend with people I love, time to acknowledge just how incredibly precious life is. Time to acknowledge that without these memories the importance of life is lost.


Sometimes we forget to see it.


Don’t forget that the time we have with family, friends, loved ones, and people that mean so much to us is so precious that without the memories we will lose out on the importance of one thing. Life. Life is about memories etched in single moments of time. This time can be nothing to you today, but one day you will see how important it is.


Take time to do things, without saying you’ll do them. Just do them. Take time to talk to people, parents, children, friends, cousins, colleagues. Listen to them. Listen intently. Acknowledge what they say and how they say it. Listen so closely that the memory of a conversation or an experience can remain etched in your memory forever and until you no longer have that time anymore.


Regardless of where you are and what area of your life you are in, this simple concept will bring joy to you when you take a moment to enjoy it. This not only applies to the important personal relationships we have, but also to our professional lives. Taking time to listen, acknowledge and respond means more than anything in this ever rapidly changing world.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

'Global Trade - Providing a consistent approach toward BIM implementation and ensuring Australia's future growth in BIM can support international opportunities'

Globally there are a variety of BIM implementation policies that are driving and promoting change throughout the built environment. It is imperative for global trade and working within the context of an international stage that Australia acknowledge, utilises and addresses these changes to enable greater integration with other regions in this sector. This will aid in the growth of our economy and also provide a strong opportunity for export of trade and skill to other regions, boosting our reputation and acknowledgement of Australia as a global leader in BIM related processes and procedures.

Unfortunately, in the context of BIM we are seeing a disjointed, varied and somewhat naïve approach toward implementation within the sector both nationally and locally. With each independent government department promoting, acknowledge or creating an opportunity for BIM, it seems a wasted resource to enable growth in our sector when our approach is disjointed and fragmented. A federal mandate may come about, but currently there is no real driver for this to occur.

The above indicates that the cultural variations in regions such as Australia are ultimately driving our industry even further from a unified solution in regard to BIM. With rapidly developing international standards driving a BIM approach globally, it seems a shame that within Australia we are not driving the approach through tried and tested methods such as the rapidly advanced UK and Scottish BIM implementation. There is also a resistance to using ‘standards’ to drive a consistent approach in Australia, and we are seeing a varied level of disjointed methods on projects of different types and scale.

As a relatively small industry there is huge potential to drive efficiencies and better managed processes in Australia as we are agile and equipped for change. Influencing and changing the future of an industry the third of the size of the UK seems a no brainer. However, as a small nation, and geographically isolated the cultural approach toward this is that ‘why do we need to?’. Having lived and worked in both geographies, it is safe to say that we must be looking outward, not inward in our approach to innovation. The built environment is a sector with huge global growth opportunities and the opportunity to grow local business within the context of international opportunities is huge.

As much as the UK has driven a consistent approach to BIM adoption, the challenge is the need to educate, in essence, almost 3 million people who reside in construction related employment. The approach and strategy has been achieved in the UK (and is currently on its journey), yet the skills, the knowledge, and the required processes to deliver on this incentive has not yet been utilised. This is where we can look at driving huge export opportunities within larger and economically stronger regions throughout the world. The focus on export within the UK is also driven by the government, exporting skills and expertise will ultimately lead to opportunities. The UK have driven this approach not only via the release of the Government Construction Strategy in 2011 which ultimately focused on mandating a variety of solutions to enable a greater industry, but also subsequent reports were written which ­­­focused on the softer elements for BIM integration such as enabling skills, driving export and education at a young age.

These drivers are documented in the report ‘Construction 2025’ which was released in the UK in 2013, focusing on how government and industry can support the future growth and employment of the sector. The areas of focus included (and not only BIM) but overall strategies which would positively affect the future of the industry (having said this, 2025 is not far away!). Areas such as incentivising people, utilising smart technologies and sustainable methods, growth across the economy and a strong leadership within government were all key priorities which were documented to ultimately support BIM and a greater digitisation of the built environment.

As explained, the sectors’ strategy and vision, although advanced in its approach, lacked the hands on and practical implementation of these drivers and skills and therefore the UK have been focused on ensuring that the industry are equipped with the relevant skills and capabilities to work in this context. More recently this was driven by the formation of groups such as the UKBIM Alliance and WomeninBIM who were formed in the UK and now work globally to support growing a more diverse sector in regard to its people and technologies.

Australia has the opportunity to benefit from the drivers forcing the UK to ultimately change and review the way the Construction industry functions as the skills shortages are at critical levels (and minus the Brexit conundrum) they will need to source these skills somewhere else! The opportunity to source them from regions such as Australia are great as we are not filtered by our own approach and need to be pushed to work within the context of a unified solution within BIM and digital construction. A prime example of this is the development of the international standard (now almost at completion) driving BIM adoption, ISO19650. This standard will aid in a globally unified solution toward working in the context of BIM and is being developed to ensure a level of consistency can be achieved across the built environment globally in regard to BIM.

Australians are agile, young and technology savvy and it would be a shame if our geography hindered us to work on a global stage. The time is now, to change, influence and grow our economy, whilst acknowledging how to ensure our sector stands as a leader.

Rebecca De Cicco
Digital Node Ltd / UK & Australia