Themes & Topics

Below is an overview of the themes and topics that will be covered in the Plenary and Concurrent sessions over the course of the conference.

Plenary Theme 1: Building Control Enforcement & Inspections – Global Best Practice Principles

The Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2018 require owners, builders, and registered construction professionals to demonstrate through the Statutory Register of Building Control Activity that the works or building concerned have been designed and constructed in compliance with Building Regulations. These Regulations apply generally to new buildings and to existing buildings which undergo an extension, a material alteration or a material change of use. The new legislation requires mandatory design certification, lodgement of plans and particulars, builders supervision and certification, mandatory inspection by an appointed Assigned Certifier with inter-reliance on ancillary certification by key parties involved in the building process.

Local Authorities are designated as Building Control Authorities under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014 and monitor compliance with Building Regulations and have strong powers of inspection and enforcement under the Acts. Responsibility for compliance rests at all times with the owner of the proposed building or works, and with any builder or designer engaged by the owner.

The Building Control Act 2007 restricts the use of the protected titles of Architect, Building Surveyor and Quantity Surveyor to those registered under the Act. It is an offence to use such titles unless registered to do so.


Plenary Theme 2: Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) – Modular, Off-Site, Smart Buildings, Sustainability

MMC systems deliver speed, certainty and convenience and can achieve cost savings, high standards, and are generally designed using the latest technology. Modular and off-site construction has become a market leader and an exemplar method of delivering quality buildings from houses, to schools and hospitals.

Building in a controlled environment reduces waste through avoidance upstream rather than diversion downstream. This, along with improved quality management throughout the construction process and significantly less on-site activity and disturbance, inherently promotes sustainability, high quality, innovative, efficient, cost-effective, and shorter time to completion.

Plenary Theme 3: Affordable Construction – Build to Rent, Build to Sell, Co-Living, Social Housing

Build to Rent describes the practice of delivering purpose-built residential rental accommodation and associated amenity space that is designed with the sole purpose of being used as long-term rental accommodation and professionally owned and managed by an institutional corporate landlord.

The build to rent sector also incorporates co-living / communal / shared accommodation, and these rental-only developments are subject to centralised management arrangements, on a specified long-term basis, where generally individual housing units may not be separately sold for a specified period.

Social housing provision in Ireland is in accordance with Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), of which shared accommodation is exempt. Part V of the Act provides, for example, consideration for both the existing need and the likely future need for social housing, the need to ensure that housing is available for persons who have different levels of income and the need to counteract undue segregation in housing between persons of different social backgrounds.

Plenary Theme 4: After Grenfell: Building a Safer Future – Consumer Confidence & Culture of Compliance

The Grenfell Tower fire represents the greatest loss of life in a residential fire in a century. Whilst the Metropolitan Police investigation seeks to ensure that justice is provided to the bereaved, the survivors and those affected by the fire, and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry seeks to understand the events of the night of the fire and its causes, the UK Government has undertaken a far-reaching programme of work to ensure that residents of high-rise buildings are safe and feel safe, now and in the future.

The fire safety investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, carried out by the Expert Group were appointed to examine the circumstances surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. This Group focused on the fire protection measures in place on the night of the fire, and provided conclusions as to, the extent to which they failed to control the spread of fire and smoke, and the extent to which they contributed to the speed at which the fire spread. It is inevitable that this investigation will impact on Building Regulations for both low and high-rise developments, and may well impact on building standards / requirements internationally.


Plenary Theme 5: Construction Liability & Insurance Requirements – International Best Practice

Traditional legal concepts of professional liability and duty of care based on professional competence and accepted practice are undergoing a major change, as end-users expect to be provided not only with some kind of quality or performance labelling, but also with an actual warranty that the delivered product fits the intended purpose (Szigeti and Davis, 2002). At present, many organizations in several countries have established end-user protection schemes against building defects that vary substantially in terms of the effective degree of end-user protection and overall sophistication (Lavers, 1999). These protection schemes are based on end-user compensation whenever there is a need to repair damaged buildings.

Sub-themes (but not limited to):

(a) Assessing Materials & Systems – Construction Product Regulations, Risk Control
(b) Building Control & Regulations – Improving Compliance / Minimising Risk / Insurance
(c) Construction Defects / Quality – Lessons Learned, Cost Studies
(d) Construction Codes & Standards – A Better Understanding
(e) Cost Control – Survival in Challenging Times
(f) Customer Relations – Getting it Right in a Changing World
(g) Digital Economy – Delivery of Infrastructure
(h) Energy Efficient Ventilation – Compliance Risk & Rewards
(i) Flood Risk Management – Construction Risk, Insurance, Planning
(j) Health & Safety – Culture, Policy, Performance, Systems
(k) High Density Urban Living – Sustainable Living, Costs & Benefits, Policy
(l) Housing Affordability – Private or Public Capital, Development/ Mortgage Finance, Regulations
(m) Housing Economics & Policy – The Influence of Politics
(n) Housing Finance – Understanding Regulatory Controls
(o) Housing Market Research – Affordability, Modelling, Sustainability
(p) Housing Provision – Multi-Generational Living, Age Friendly Homes, Ageing in Place
(q) Innovation & Technology – Design the Main Attraction, Futurology
(r) Infrastructure & Services – Project Delivery Systems, Cost, Compliance
(s) Nearly Zero Energy Buildings – Achieving Cost Optimal Solutions
(t) Planning & Development – Demand, Density, Design
(u) Quality Management – Certification of Products & Systems
(v) Stakeholder Competency – Continuing Professional Development, Customer Confidence
(w) Sustainability – Construction Works & Facilities Management
(x) Warranty, Indemnity, Insurance – Current Trends & Future Expectations