Growing Industry Research
It is with pleasure that I announce that we have extended our Centre’s core membership base. We now have engagement with four Western Australia Government agencies: the Department of Commerce (with the Building Commission); the Departments of Treasury (Office of Strategic Projects) and Finance (Building Management and Works); and Main Roads WA. These partnerships, combined with three in Queensland Government (Departments of Transport and Main Roads; Public Works; and Local Government and Planning), are reinforcing the value of collaboration in these developing resource rich states.
Additionally, we are delighted that infrastructure and building contractors Abigroup and Laing O’Rourke have joined us on a project with fellow leading contractors and core members John Holland together with Queensland Government to capitalise on the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve the safety of scaffolding and formwork practices.
CIB World Building Congress 2013
The CIB World Building Congress 2013 will be held in Brisbane from 5-9 May 2013. SBEnrc and QUT are coordinating and hosting this congress on behalf of the CIB (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction). A call for abstracts will go out in early 2012, with information available on the Congress website at that time.
We expect more than 1,000 delegates from around the world to attend. This will be an excellent opportunity to profile leading Australian and international research to a broad audience of industry, government and research delegates.
CRC for Low Carbon Living
Congratulations to the team involved in the winning bid to create the CRC for Low Carbon Living, including SBEnrc partners Curtin University and Swinburne University of Technology. We are all aware that climate change is a key challenge of our time, and that action needs to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this CRC is to provide social, technological and policy tools to overcome market barriers preventing adoption of low carbon products and services, while maintaining industry competitiveness and improving quality of life. These are valuable areas for applied industry research. The Federal Government’s investment in this CRC is to be applauded and goes some way to addressing the research shortfall in this sector, as I highlighted in our September 2011 newsletter.
The work to be undertaken by this focussed new CRC is important for the sustainability of Australian communities, and we look forward to the opportunity to work together to deliver improved national industry research outcomes in our Program 1: Greening the Built Environment. We also look forward to collaboration with other research centres across the full range of our environmental, social and economic sustainability research themes.
Project Update – Research Program 3: Driving Productivity Through Procurement
The two projects in this program are Project 3.1: Collaborative Object Libraries Supporting the Facility Lifecycle and Project 3.2: Supporting Infrastructure Management by Combining Sensors and Asset Information Models.
The goal of Project 3.1 is to develop an online national product library server that will provide consistent content across the Australian construction industry. It is aimed at both infrastructure and building projects. While there are several projects, nationally and internationally, that provide product library services, the unique aspect of this project is the ability to “map” from a single definition located on a server through to software from multiple vendors and through the product lifecycle.
The components of the system are illustrated in Figure 1. The object library server contains definitions of the product types, and data on individual products. The Upload Facility allows manufacturers to add information on their products to the server. Transformations automatically convert data from the server to the format(s) required by supported software, such as CAD, analysis, construction planning and facilities management software.
Industry partners currently involved in this project include the Queensland Government (Project Services), NSW Government and Natspec, with the recruitment of others underway.
Project 3.2 supports in-use monitoring of the performance of infrastructure and buildings. The research team is developing a description of the expected performance of a structure or building, measuring actual performance against expected performance and then notifying the appropriate people when particular variations occur.
While the overall system capabilities can be applied to a wide range of asset types, this project will cover the structural performance of bridges and energy performance of buildings. Software that displays a 3D model of the asset, allows selection of sensor locations within the model and then displays graphs of data from these sensors has been implemented (Figure 2).
The team is currently developing models of performance for the two use cases; and improving the user interface of the software. The next major task is to implement pattern matching facilities for incoming data streams to identify problems defined by industry partners.
Industry partners include QUT and Curtin University facility management, Main Roads WA, Sydney Opera House, ANSTO and Mainpac, with others being recruited.
End of Year Ministerial Address
The Honourable Simon Finn MP, Queensland Government Minister for Government Services, Building Industry and Information and Communication Technology spoke at our annual Christmas drinks last week. He spoke about the Government’s long term support of our CRC for Construction Innovation and its successor the SBEnrc; the importance of applied industry research; and the optimism that is returning to Queensland’s building industry.
A few weeks ago I attended the Queensland Major Contractors Association (QMCA) Annual Dinner, where immediate Past President Steve Abson spoke about three main areas of importance for our industry, for 2012 and beyond: labor skills and investment; Mates in Construction, a program designed to tackle suicide prevention in the construction industry; and advocacy and procurement in the private sector. Steve has kindly given us a copy of his speech that can be downloaded here.
We wish all of you a very happy and safe holiday season and we look forward to working with you again in 2012. Thank you for your on-going support.
Please note that we will be closing for the Christmas break from 4pm on Friday 23 December and reopening on Tuesday 3 January 2012.