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Caption: L-R Grant Robinson, Pamela Ballentine, Melanie Dawson, Sarah Travers

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Sector’s optimism is on the rise following recent rapid advancements in construction innovation and digital construction developments

The Digital Construction Live Conference and Exhibition is to be held in person in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on June 16. Organisers say the mood of optimism and confidence in the sector will be further celebrated that evening with the inaugural Digital Construction Awards for which there are 18 categories.

The free to attend daytime event is expected to draw more than 600 visitors and delegates. The conference will be hosted by Sarah Travers. The Digital Construction Awards will be hosted by broadcaster Pamela Ballantine.

Co-organiser of the event Melanie Dawson, director of award-winning digital construction firm Origin7, says the conference and exhibition are a rallying call for the industry.

“Construction is one of the most successful sectors in the Northern Ireland economy with, according to the Construction Employers’ Federation, about 1,000 businesses employing up to 85,000 people throughout the supply chain,” says Ms Dawson.

“Bringing the latest news and developments impacting our industry, the Digital Construction Live Conference and Exhibition provides an opportunity to shine a light on our successes and to celebrate the people who have skilfully navigated the turbulence and volatility of the last two years,” says Ms Dawson.

“We are all too aware of the emerging challenges including the slow down and late release of public sector contracts, volatile supplies and materials prices and the attraction for local firms of working further afield, but we must take the time too to remind ourselves of our resilience and to mark our collective ability to successfully compete in a fast-changing world populated by much bigger players than us.”

Melanie Dawson leads the Technology Working Group of the UK-wide Get it Right Initiative which represents construction industry experts, organisations and businesses working to improve productivity, quality, sustainability and safety in the construction sector.

“The impact of Covid on working practices has fast-tracked technology adoption and digital working within construction and this has helped grow better understanding of return on investment and how the technology helps achieve better outcomes,” she says.

“At the Digital Construction Live event, built environment experts will share knowledge regarding the continuing rapid evolution of systems and how they can best be used by those who procure, design, build or maintain assets.

“We will explore how the technologies can help companies become more efficient, and how these can enhance employee relations. Staff feel valued and become more engaged when they see their employers investing in solutions to make their jobs easier.

The event is supported by partners Zutec, bsi., Translink, Leica Geosystems – Part of Hexagon and AbbeyAutoline.

For more information about the conference or awards please visit

Northern Ireland’s first Digital Construction Awards 

The Digital Construction Awards are the first of their kind in Northern Ireland. The awards will be judged by a distinguished panel of experts including Mike Brown, Jenny Green, Grant Robinson and Tara Brooks and Paul Wilson  (biogs below).

Entries are invited from companies across UK and Ireland and the closing date is 10 May 2022.

The 18 categories for DCL22 include:

1. Best Digital Transformation

2. Best Use Of BIM

3. Most Innovative Contractor

4. Most Innovative Consultancy

5. Best Offsite / Modular Innovation

6. Best Asset Management Innovation

7. Best Use Of Digital Construction For SHEQ

8. Most Innovative New Software Product

9. Most Innovative New Product

10. Best New Digital Construction Startup

11. Most Innovative Digital Project Up To £5m

12. Most Innovative Digital Project £5m+

13. Most Innovative Infrastructure Project

14. Most Innovative Public Sector Project

15. Most Innovative Restoration / Refurb Project

16. Most Innovative Sustainability Initiative

17. Digital Construction Rising Star 2022

18. Digital Construction Champion 2022

To enter please go to

The judges:

Mike Brown CBE MVO  

Mike was appointed as the Chair of the Restoration & Renewal Delivery Authority for the Houses of Parliament in mid-2020. This long term programme will see the Palace of Westminster modernised and brought up to the standards needed for it to continue as the home of the UK’s democracy for generations to come. He is also an Advisor to Mott MacDonald and an Independent Member of their Shareholder Committee.  

Mike was the Commissioner for Transport for London, until July 2020. He was responsible for delivering all public transport in the capital as well as overseeing one of Europe’s largest and most complex major investment programmes. He led the transport network’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that critical workers were able to get to and from work and successfully negotiated with the Government the emergency funding necessary for the continued operation of services.  

Before becoming Commissioner, Mike was Managing Director of London Underground and London Rail for five years. During this time he planned and delivered the public transport services required for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Prior to this he was Managing Director of Heathrow Airport. Mike is passionate about the skills agenda, both in his current roles and previously as Chair of the UK Government’s Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (helping to create new high quality apprenticeships, from across the country and from every community). 

Jenny Green MEng CEng MICE MIStructE – Director, ICE Northern Ireland 

A chartered civil and structural engineer, as ICE Regional Director Jenny is responsible for working with more than 2,000 ICE members in Northern Ireland, enhancing their knowledge, promoting their expertise and helping the public better understand infrastructure.  She works with a wide range of industries, representative bodies, civil servants and politicians, to reinforce the importance of infrastructure to our quality of life. 

Jenny spent more than ten years practicing as a structural design engineer, both in London and Northern Ireland, with experience in the design and structural modelling of education, healthcare and residential structures. 


Tara Brooks Programme Director MSc and NIM Project Management QUB

Tara Brooks is a senior lecturer at Queen’s University with 20 years’ construction industry experience. She qualified as a chartered Architect at UCL in 2000 and worked in London for companies including Foster and Partners as an Architect and then Associate. She moved to Belfast and in 2010 started working as a Bid Manager in the contracting sector. She is currently the programme director for the MSc in BIM Project Management at Queen’s. 

 Returning to university as a mature student, she studied part time for an MSc in Construction Project Management at Queen’s, completing in 2014. She gained her PhD in 2020. Her areas of research interest include construction quality management, procurement and BIM and emerging digital technology. Tara seeks to bridge academic research, teaching and practice, as exemplified by her participation in successful KTP Projects, including those looking at BIM implementation, digital tool exploitation, and BIM automation.  

Paul Wilson  – Digital Director for AECOM Europe & India

Paul Wilson is Digital Director for AECOM Europe & India. He has over 24 years’ experience working through an integrated project lifecycle with both clients and supply chain for the successful implementation of BIM and Digital Technologies across the globe. Paul works hands-on with teams delivering projects of all sizes and market sectors.  His work to develop strategy for his clients and projects ensures world-class solutions are used for efficient and effective transformational outcomes to AECOMS client’s problems. Paul manages strategy and AECOM’s Digital Business Line Leads and subject matter experts delivering digital & technical excellence across AECOMS business.

Grant Robinson GM AMEY

Grant, who is currently General Manager at AMEY, has a comprehensive knowledge of the construction industry and asset management service sectors. Grant has extensive experience in setting up and delivering through Construction Joint Ventures, adding value and turnover through large-scale infrastructure projects in contractually complex structures within the context of alternative funding mechanisms.

Over the years Grant  has managed large scale infrastructure from the BID to Financial Close, through to design and delivery and into the Operations phase, delivering on the  shareholders business objectives. Grant has delivered Major Acute, and primary Heath Care Projects in the UK, delivered over fifty education projects from primary/post primary to further and higher education throughout the UK and Ireland. rant currently works on PFI Roads projects in the UK and Ireland and has a vast experience in dispute avoidance and resolution including, mediation, conciliation, expert determination, adjudication, arbitration and litigation.

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