Since its establishment in 2001, the CRC for Construction Innovation has established strong links internationally.
This is important as it positions Australian industry at the forefront of international developments in sustainable building and infrastructure delivery.
Our Chair, Mr John McCarthy, sits on the Board of CIB, the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction research organisation.
CIB was established in 1953 as an Association whose objectives were to stimulate and facilitate international cooperation and information exchange between government research institutes in the building and construction sector, with an emphasis on those institutes engaged in technical fields of research.
CIB has since developed into a world wide network of over 5000 experts from approximately 500 member organisations active in the research community, in industry or in education, who cooperate and exchange information in over 50 CIB Commissions covering all fields in building and construction related research and innovation.
Mr McCarthy was appointed Chair of the CIB Marketing and Communication Committee at the Triennial CIB World Building Congress in 2006 – one of the CIB’s four most senior positions – and has successfully led a campaign to build CIB membership in the USA, China and India.
Construction Innovation CEO Dr Keith Hampson leads the international CIB Innovation in Construction Task Group, which met in March 2008 at Construction Innovation’s Third International Conference on the Gold Coast.
Construction Innovation researchers are heavily involved in CIB, working across a range of working commissions and taskgroups.
Construction Innovation continues to strengthen its collaboration with buildingSMART International Alliance (IAI) for Interoperability, the organisation which established the international open standard IFC for object-based software in construction and facilities management.
Construction Innovation’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Peter Scuderi, is a member of the IAI International Council. Our collaboration with buildingSMART ensures that Australia’s voice is heard in the development of fully integrated Building Information Models (BIMs), which are increasingly used for construction and mandated by major clients internationally.
One of our research projects developed specifications for 30 new IFCs that were included by the IAI into the 2X2 IFC Specification for IFC software. We are currently undertaking research to establish the national guidelines for BIM – an Australian first that links our researchers and industry with their counterparts in the USA, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
These projects define Australian requirements for developing the BIM models for infrastructure use and establishing national guidelines to provide consistency for developers of digital models in IFC formats, to enable data sharing between disciplines.
The CRC’s active participation in the IAI ensures that issues relevant to the Australian construction sector are included in future international developments of compliant software and ensure that Australian companies are well equipped to compete internationally.
As we look towards the future, the role of international research networks such as CIB will play a crucial role in both nurturing applied research but also in the communication of research benefits to the developing nations of our world. We therefore have a responsibility to assist in the development and dissemination of applied research to help our global community.
In an international sense, our Construction 2020 (C2020) initiative represents an enviable of consultation with national industry. C2020 comprised an international review and a series of workshops and interviews to assess what Australian industry saw as the most compelling challenges for its future and identified the required research and development activities needed to address these challenges.
The C2020 process of national industry consultation and mapping of industry’s needs has been noted internationally as being at the forefront of linking applied research to industry needs. A number of other countries have been interested in the approach that Construction Innovation has adopted through the C2020 process.
In the Netherlands, Construction Innovation’s structure and the C2020 initiative have been evaluated recently as a key model for industry development in the Netherlands.
Construction Innovation’s third international Clients Driving Innovation conference on the Gold Coast in March 2008 provided the opportunity for the French national R&D group CSTB to evaluate industry, government and research participants on the role our CRC has had in the development of Australian industry, with a view to better matching French construction industry needs and collaborative research activities.
Construction Innovation is also developing close links with New Zealand. New Zealand’s building research group BRANZ is using the C2020 initiative to develop a Pioneer 2025 strategy which evaluates New Zealand’s industry’s pressure points and goals for the future. Construction Innovation is collaborating closely with our New Zealand colleagues in the development of their program of national industry consultation.
The CRC’s successor, the Sustainable Built Environment CRC will leverage off the significant successes of our current CRC in international research leadership, commercialisation and industry development. Such linkages are crucial to ensure the future growth of our burgeoning local infrastructure and building industry and to ensure the Australian community has the best access to ecologically, socially and economically sustainable facilities.