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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Guest Blog from Dr Alan Hore, CitA and the case for digital

The Construction IT Alliance (CitA) supports the Irish construction sector to take full advantage of current and emerging information and communications technologies. Dr Alan Hore, Co-Founder of CitA and Head of Quantity Surveying at Dublin Institute of Technology, sets out the case for the transition to digital.

CitA began life as a research project in 2001 with the vision of harnessing the potential of ICT in the Irish construction industry. While the organisation is now established as Ireland’s leading multi-disciplinary construction network, our mission to support the sector remains constant.

Our members represent all stakeholders in the construction industry – architecture, engineering, construction and operations – and we hold a number of high-profile events, including our annual CitA BIM Gathering, to provide a platform for industry professionals to come together and learn more about the construction landscape and new methods and technologies that bring change.

Last year marked a milestone for our organisation. We hosted the inaugural CitA Tech Live event, which was opened by Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Single Digital Market and Data Protection, where we announced new partnerships with NBS (National Building Specification) and BRE (Building Research Establishment).


From left: John McGowan, Chairman CitA; Minister Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection; and Dr Alan Hore, Co-Founder of CiTA

Our partnership with NBS will bring focus to the benefits of BIM to our members and make clear the ways in which NBS can help businesses with this process of change through training and education. We will be working with BRE to leverage existing learning tools and frameworks to help the Irish construction industry with the transition to digital that will deliver benefits to all stakeholders.

CitA Tech Live enabled us to bring the construction community together and to connect to the makers and vendors of digital technologies and provide an event that featured live tech demonstrations, high-level keynote speakers, panel discussions, exhibitions and networking. The speakers were excellent and included Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of CDBB, who gave a thought-provoking presentation.

It was a dynamic and exciting event that attracted large numbers of delegates from Ireland and beyond, to explore six digital themes including: Smart Cities and the Internet of things; Reality Technologies; Robotics and Automation; 3D Printing; Drones and Geo-Spatial Technologies; and BIM Innovation. The quality of speakers was exceptionally high and presentations and panel discussions covered a wide variety of topics that led to lively and informative discussion.

Events like this showcase the potential for our industry. If the Irish construction industry is to take full advantage of the opportunity that digital brings it must overcome challenges to attract new skills and young people into construction. We face a significant skills gap and need to inspire the next generation to take up this challenge. In order to attract new talent we must incentivise young people to join the industry and the best way to do this is through advances in technology that deliver value to clients and make construction more efficient, sustainable and profitable.

CitA will continue to drive digital construction in Ireland throughout the coming year. With our national network of hubs we are well placed to reach regions nationwide and hope to deliver two road shows in the spring and autumn of 2019. The theme under consideration is ‘Digital Transformation: Improving the productivity of the Irish Construction Industry’ and we are in discussion with our new partners BRE and NBS about potential collaboration. 

If you would like to know more about the work of CitA and future events please do get in touch at