Digital Construction conference takes gold

Olympian gold medallist is keynote speaker for Digital Construction Live 2021 conference...

Television presenter and former BBC journalist Sarah Travers (right), with Digital Construction Live 2021 co-founders, Melanie Dawson, Director of Origin7, (left) and Sarah Weir, Director of Weir Events (centre).

An event launched by two Northern Irish businesswomen will bring together thought leaders in the built environment from across the UK and Ireland to discuss hot topics in technology and digital working on September 10.

The Digital Construction Live 2021 conference is taking place virtually featuring keynote speaker and performance expert Olympian gold medallist Ben Hunt-Davis who will share insights into how businesses can use process and innovation as a winning strategy.

The event, hosted by television presenter and former BBC journalist Sarah Travers, is being organised by co-founders, Sarah Weir, Director of Weir Events, and digital construction expert Melanie Dawson, Director of Origin7, which helps clients operating in the built environment implement digital processes and technologies to become more efficient.

Digital construction focuses on the use of digital solutions to support project delivery for built assets. It includes processes and tools to improve collaboration including building information modelling (BIM), drones, laser scanning, 3D and 4D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence and immersive reality solutions.

recent McKinsey report has predicted huge changes in the global construction industry over the next decade, suggesting that many challenges which the pandemic brought will be solved through the use of digital technology.

Melanie has recently been appointed as the lead of 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.

She believes the construction industry has never been more ready for a digital shift:

“The impact of Covid on working practices has fast-tracked technology adoption and digital working within construction and helped chip away at what has until now been the biggest barrier to adoption – understanding return on investment and how the technology helps achieve better outcomes.

“People have been forced to use video meetings and other digital communication solutions, and have found that, not only are these not as complicated as they thought, but they are also better value for money, reduce carbon footprints, and are more efficient. Online meetings have been one of the biggest wins financially and psychologically in the pandemic.

“However, translating this into more broad-scale technology adoption requires a better understanding of how to procure and implement technology to ensure companies see the return on investment they are looking for.”

Melanie said that many businesses had invested in expensive systems before having the right people and processes in place and then regretted their mistake.

“The order in which you approach the challenge is critical. You first need to fully understand the problem you want to solve, then you need to put the processes and people in place, and only then do you look for the solution that fits your requirements.

“Covid’s forced operational rethink has helped bring about a step-change in attitudes, but there is still so much work to do in raising awareness of the benefits of technology and that is the aim of the Digital Construction Live 2021 conference.

“At the event experts in the field of built environment will share knowledge on these cutting-edge systems and how they can best be used by those who procure, design, build or maintain assets.

“The conference will explain how the technology can help companies become more efficient, but also, vitally, the benefits of investing in people. When staff see companies investing in solutions to make their jobs easier, they feel valued, and become more engaged.

“For Northern Ireland companies to stay competitive in a very challenging marketplace they need to make sure their staff understand how to best use this new technology and we look forward to hearing the valuable insights from experienced thought leaders on September 10.”

Keynote speaker Ben Hunt-Davis MBE said: “I’m very much looking forward to sharing my insights into using process and innovation as a winning strategy with delegates at Digital Construction Live 2021.

“I will share the strategies we used in the two years leading up to the Sydney Olympics and how the Great Britain Men’s Eights changed as a crew from being a regularly seventh placed boat to a winning one. Most importantly I’ll show how those lessons apply in the business environment. I’m really looking forward to some interesting questions from those attending about their own challenges!”

For tickets and more information about Digital Construction Live 2021, which has attracted partners including global software giant Autodesk, and leading provider of BIM implementation and consultancy services Pentagon Solutions, please visit