I’m very pleased to let you know that we are now back in the SBEnrc headquarters in Margaret Street, after an eventful seven weeks following the Brisbane floods. For those of you who are unaware, the basement of our building was flooded, which wiped out the building services for a few weeks. Thank you very much to QUT for coming to our rescue and providing us with temporary office space.

The last few weeks – with floods, cyclones and the devastating earthquake in Christchurch – have really reinforced how vulnerable our community is when there are severe weather events. The resilience shown by so many clearly demonstrates that we can and we do recover. However it also shows that we, as an industry, need to undertake more applied research to improve sustainability, and to seek better solutions to help ease the impacts – social, environmental and economic – of nature’s unpredictability.

Over the next few months we will be focusing on working with our existing core partners in building the research teams in our 10 projects across the country as well as working to expand our membership base of industry, government and research collaborators nationally and internationally.

I have been invited to deliver a keynote presentation at the inaugural Construction Industry Council Conference in Hong Kong on Friday 11 March. The theme of the conference is The Construction Industry – a safe and equitable approach and my presentation is on Fostering an innovative and safe working culture. I will be speaking about engendering cultural change in the partnership journey of our award-winning innovation and safety projects.

Dr Keith Hampson CEO, SBEnrc and John V. McCarthy AO Chair, SBEnrc

Dr Keith Hampson CEO, SBEnrc and John V. McCarthy AO Chair, SBEnrc

Project newsM

We aim to focus on a different project in each newsletter. This month, we are looking at Project 2.7: Leveraging R&D investment for the Australian built environment. The overarching goal of this project is to better match industry and government funding strategies to maximise the benefits of R&D to Australia’s infrastructure and building sectors and respond to future drivers of change.

This project (represented through the active participation of Dr Catherin Bull on the project’s Steering Committee) has been endorsed by the Built Environment Industry Innovation Council (BEIIC), and is reinforcing our international linkages through the involvement of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. National project partners are: Queensland Departments of Public Works, and Transport and Main Roads; Western Australian Department of Treasury and Finance; John Holland; Queensland University of Technology; and Swinburne University of Technology.

This project seeks to (i) maximise the value of R&D investment in this sector through improved understanding of the nature of research investment and industry needs to ensure that our research sector is working in areas of most value; and (ii) address the perceived problem of a disproportionately low R&D investment in this sector compared to others, related to the size and national importance of the sector.

This research will develop new theory for interactive innovation, built on open innovation, dynamic capabilities and absorptive capacity theories, in the context of strategic foresighting and industry roadmapping. It will also provide practical strategies for industry and government to better target Australian Research Council (ARC), Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and other funding initiatives.

Upcoming events

buildingSMART is hosting MESH, a series of Building Information Modelling (BIM) seminars, from 29 March – 6 April 2011 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. MESH is aimed at everyone involved in the planning, design and construction of the built environment. MESH offers an exciting program, with great speakers and insights from experts about how BIM is changing our industry throughout Australasia and overseas. You’ll find out how BIM works, how it radically changes design and construction, the significant benefits of working in BIM and how it can bring substantial benefits to business. For more information and to register, go to https://buildingsmarteventregistration.com.au.

These seminars continue our Centre’s contribution to leading industry research and dissemination in this area to improve integration in the design, construction and management of buildings and infrastructure. Our partnership with buildingSMART has grown from 2001 through winning national and international awards for our collaborative work on the Sydney Opera House as part of the FM Action Agenda including the Project of the Year Award from Consult Australia in 2007. In 2009, we were pleased to partner with buildingSMART and the Australian Institute of Architects in launching the National Guidelines for Digital Modelling to promote and encourage the use of BIM across our industry.

I encourage your attendance at the MESH seminars and look forward to seeing you at one of these events.
Best regards

Keith Hampson