The importance of Digital Construction
In this article, Lorraine McMorrow, Digital Construction Manager, was interviewed by the organisers of Digital Construction Week ahead of her speaker session at this major industry event.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work in digital construction
I studied architecture at Ulster University and after graduating and progressing to project architect specialising in healthcare and education projects, I decided to focus on project delivery and more specifically, BIM and digital construction.
I was appointed Digital Construction Manager at The McAvoy Group, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists and I am responsible for managing the development and implementation of the Group’s digital construction strategy to meet the needs of its diverse customer base.
I am an active member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and serve on the Northern Ireland CIOB Novus committee which supports and mentors young people to be the next generation of construction industry leaders.
What is the most exciting thing about your role?
In recent years, the construction industry has seen a lot of ‘positive disruption’ and significant change with increasing emphasis on offsite construction, innovation and digital technology. It is fantastic to be part of this transformation.
Can you tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on and what role innovation and technology is playing?
I am currently working on an R&D project to develop an open platform that will deliver H&S training using immersive technology. This is of paramount importance for training our offsite operatives in a realistic but safe working environment.
Tell us about a recent innovation or technology that you’ve been most impressed by
Last year, Ford announced ‘Feel the View’, the development of a new haptic visual language that allows blind people to experience the view through a car window. It captures an image of the surrounding scenery and translates it into vibrations on a tactile display that a passenger can explore through touch. It is not construction related but it is technology that makes a real difference to people’s lives and whilst it is designed to be used in a car, there are opportunities to implement it in schools and institutions for blind people as a tool that could be used in a multitude of ways. This for me is the power of digital technology.
Can you tell us a bit about your session at Digital Construction Week 2019?
Digital construction is central to The McAvoy Group’s business strategy. Digital tools are used in the development of our offsite building solutions to facilitate early engagement with stakeholders for more accurate decision making at the inception of a project. This is key to maximising work offsite. This presentation will look at the Group’s multi-award-winning approach to digital construction and how a number of acclaimed offsite projects have benefited from the new technologies – including BIM, virtual reality, augmented reality and laser scanning.
How important is Digital Construction Week to the industry?
DCW is the only UK event dedicated to digital construction within the AEC industry and acts as a platform for industry leaders and innovators to share and demonstrate their learning and knowledge. This will inspire continued innovation, new ideas and collaboration across the industry. It is important to showcase the successes and the progress the industry has made and understand where we aspire to get to.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out on a career in construction?
I am passionate about encouraging and educating students about the tremendous opportunities within construction. Students often do not realise the diverse career options open to them in this industry. With the ever-increasing impact of digital technology, construction can only benefit from talented young people who are naturally digitally minded.