A review of the CIRIA Network in 2018

William Gates, CIRIA

The CIRIA Network offers an engaging platform to develop and share knowledge about specific topics relevant to CIRIA members and our wider construction and built environment community. 

2018 has been an incredibly busy year for the CIRIA Network; more than 40 industry events have been organised by CIRIA. These include workshops and seminars, breakfast briefings, publication launches, webinars, member exclusive events, award ceremonies and conferences. At the time of writing this blog more than 2200 industry professionals have attended an event before the end of 2018.

At the end of 2017 we asked our members what types of events they would like to see more of on our calendar. Overwhelmingly people asked for more webinars, which is probably not all that surprising given the geographic spread of CIRIA members, but nevertheless it is something that we have taken on board. Not only have we increased our webinar offering, we have also increased the number of webinar recordings that are available to CIRIA members. These can be found in the Knowledge Hub via the member area of the website.
A key activity for the Network this year has been the delivery of events relating to the circular economy and materials resource efficiency. This has included a one-day conference, webinar and two seminars with further events planned for next year. As with the infrastructure resilience event series that took place in 2016 / 2017 it is a great example of working collaboratively with our advisory panels and membership to deliver learning outcomes through collaboration.

Another highlight was CIRIA’s third annual debate, The urban regeneration of existing cities. The debate lived up to its name and prompted some lively discussion, particularly around gentrification, the over use of spectacular architecture, car dependency and the commercialisation of public space. The annual debate is one of the highlights of our event calendar and we are already planning the 2019 event; if you would like to be involved then please get in touch.

In June we hosted a member exclusive event - Digital strategy to digital reality chaired by Professor Jennifer Whyte from Imperial College London, and followed that up by partnering with the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at a regional event examining the value of data in construction and asset management. If you missed these events don’t forget that all CIRIA members can access event presentations from the post event section of the CIRIA website.

I couldn’t finish this look back by not mentioning the annual BIG Biodiversity Challenge and Awards. 2018 was certainly a memorable year for BIG. The launch event took place at London’s City Hall at the height of the ‘beast from the east’. Everyone that braved the snow drifts outside the venue should really be commended for their commitment to the cause. The award ceremony in September was a fantastic occasion – anyone who attended will tell you that it really highlights how much passion there is for biodiversity in the construction industry. Congratulations to all the winners, particularly Jamie Edmonds from Kier Utilities and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks who won the headline awards.

More recently we welcomed members to CIRIA’s annual winter networking reception and publication launch events for Grouting for reservoir dams (C774) and Control of cracking caused by restrained deformation in concrete (C766). 

In 2019 we are looking forward to new industry events and content. This includes the launch of the 2019 BIG Biodiversity Challenge and Awards, the 2019 Annual debate, a major infrastructure asset management event in Scotland, events on Natural Flood Management and FRP Bridges. There are also plans to revisit the topic of infrastructure resilience and further events on circular economy. We are also planning to collaborate with our colleagues at Buildoffsite to deliver more joint content and events. 

On the research side we will launch Tower Crane base and tie design on 05 February, with events being planned covering Well being at site level, General fixings – selection and whole-life management and Contaminated sediments - a good practice guide for the UK. More details will be announced soon. 

Finally, don’t forget that we regularly add new events to the calendar so do keep an eye on www.ciria.org/events