Construction Innovation Lab

Construction Innovation Lab

Construction Innovation Lab

The CIL was Co-Founded by postgraduate research students Paul Ebbs and Vincent Gibson under the auspices of the Head of School of Surveying & Construction Management, Mr Tom Dunne and the Assistant Head of School, Mr Garrett Keenaghan.

The CIL is a student led initiative to assist undergraduate and postgraduate students with research topics identified by industry; we believe the revival of the Irish construction industry will be decided through innovation by research.

The primary function of the lab is to align postgraduate research students with industry to solve the problems identified by their commercial partners, complementing DIT’s commitment to excellence in research and dramatically increase the level of R&D in the AEC industry. The CIL want to highlight how academic research can not only benefit industry but lead to innovation and create jobs for the sector.

The initiative was set up in response to industry’s call for innovation and is being supported to date by DIT’s President, Professor Brian Norton & the Dean and Director of the College of Engineering & Built Environment, Dr Mike Murphy. Additionally the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) along with major industry firms such as PM Group, BAM, Sisk, Walls, Collen, MDY, Siac JohnPaul & ECOCEM are behind this initiative. Any companies wishing to engage with CIL in relation to corporate partnerships should contact Garrett.Keenaghan@dit.ie

The CIL is promoting sustainable careers not just jobs, for Irish built environment graduates while also ensuring the needs of employers are being met as live problems are investigated and solved. We have identified this as a huge gap in the sector which industry and academia can mutually benefit from. The present and future processes of the built environment are being influenced by innovative solutions using both desktop orientated and immersive technologies.

The recent Forfas report on Ireland's construction sector (19/7/13) states that a total of €1.9 billion has been expended on industry R&D in Ireland. However, only €4.6 million of this has been attributed to the construction industry. The CIL see research being a key driver towards recovery - the commitment of other industries to R&D needs to be matched by the Irish built environment.

Current partners of CIL include MDY Construction Ltd & PM Group. Both companies have highlighted how the lab can be of benefit to the wider industry. 

According to Mel O’Reilly, Managing Director of MDY Construction and former President of the Master Builders and Contractors Association (MBCA), “We see an urgent need to follow the example of other industry sectors to innovate, to develop better and more efficient systems of work, to meet changing demands, and to dramatically improve productivity.  This is an important step in that process.”

John Hamilton, Director of Construction with PM Group also welcomed the initiative.  “PM Group is delighted to be associated with the ‘Lab’ and indeed get more involved in some of the research being undertaken.”

Speaking about the ideals behind the lab, CIL Co-Founder Paul Ebbs said, “Our industry experience combined with our education in DIT has identified the need for innovation in the Irish construction and facilities management industry and we have now established links with European partners in the Netherlands.  We hope this lab will grow and help provide further innovation in the Irish construction industry while also benefiting the growth of the sector in the years to come.”

The main objectives of the CIL are to;

  • encourage both the AEC industry and AEC educators to increase innovation in the AEC process
  • provide solutions through research & innovation to live problems identified by the Irish AEC sector
  • assist postgraduate research students with relevant research topics which will enable them to pursue a sustainable career in the AEC sector
  • promote greater collaboration in the AEC sector both at industry and academic level and form corporate partnerships with industry stakeholders for the purpose of exploring the benefits of postgraduate research which solve the live problems identified by their commercial partners.
  • match suitable students with  Architectural, Engineering & Construction firms to investigate and solve problems through research for mutual gain
  • enhance the global research reputation of DIT and align CIL objectives with industry to produce graduates capable of meeting the challenges of the Architectural, Engineering & Construction industry in the 21st Century

Download CIL Poster demonstrating student work

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