by Emma Hayes Emma Hayes No Comments

BIM+ Women of BIM Article: Emma Hayes

Welcome to the second interview in our series counting down to International Women’s Day on 8 March: a new interview will appear every Monday morning until then. Emma Hayes is MD of Digital Built Consultants, the Women in BIM regional lead for Ireland and actively involved in academia. Here, she highlights why diversity matters, the benefit of virtual teams and the need for digital champions.

What’s been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it?

As a BIM consultant, the biggest professional challenge for me has been to try to convince the industry we work in, which is reputed to resist change, to adopt a new way of working. Research has shown that people’s mind-sets and attitudes are one of the main impediments to BIM adoption.

But in my experience, it is also essentially about good communication especially in when working with virtual teams. BIM technology will become easier to use, but unless the team are willing to engage with the processes, it is more difficult to implement BIM.

My consultancy has adopted a change strategy with clear goals for implementation when working with our clients. We use change management models such as Prosci’s ADKAR model to help define a clear structure for BIM adoption. After that, we work with clients to create an awareness of the need for BIM, support change and encourage a desire for adoption. Coaching, practice and time also help lay the groundwork for adoption. 

It’s important to keep reinforcing and measuring so that corrective actions can be taken as you build BIM into the culture of your organisation. It’s a team effort.

Which project that you’ve worked on has given you the most satisfaction and why?

As a BIM consultant, I am not involved in design and construction projects on a day-to-day basis but tend to be more involved with supporting architecture engineering and construction organisations with their digital transition and BIM adoption journeys.

Supporting businesses with the development of a fit-for-purpose BIM implementation strategy and then helping them realise and roll out this strategy with training and guidance gives me the most satisfaction. I am completely invested in the need for the digitisation of the construction sector and understand that the industry needs the support and guidance of champions in the field of digital construction. 

Which digital innovation in the past year has caught your eye and why?

It is very hard to talk about innovation in construction without mentioning how an entire industry’s way of working was greatly changed overnight with the countrywide lockdowns worldwide over the last year and the current restrictions to try to halt the spread of covid-19. Rigorous site safety measures and more widespread adoption of digital construction processes, in particular remote collaborative working, has demonstrated how proactive and agile our industry can be to rise above a problem.

Although virtual collaboration is not a new technology, I believe remote or virtual teams in particular will become more normal for project teams. This ability to work remotely and to continue to collaborate on projects gives the construction industry opportunities to compete in a global economy. It gives us the tools and the expertise to deliver building projects faster and at a more competitive cost by utilising geographically dispersed teams with different expertise or from low cost centres throughout our network.

BIM will also play an important role in this global shift to virtual teams as it allows stakeholders to simultaneously input data into a central repository from different locations. Adopting international standards such as ISO 19650 for information management will allow us to work consistently across jurisdictions, giving us opportunities to export expertise and share knowledge globally on projects.

Name another woman in BIM who you think is doing great work and why.

I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Avril Behan, director and dean of the College of Engineering and the Built Environment, Technological University Dublin, who has been driving BIM and digital construction, both in the academic world and also in the construction industry. We need champions like Avril to keep the momentum of this industrywide digital transition moving forward.

In your experience, is BIM more diverse than the wider construction industry and if so, how does this affect the working culture?

10 years ago, you could not have predicted the changes we have seen in the industry. A changing industry has led to new roles within the construction teams, with BIM managers, BIM coordinators, and BIM technicians now common titles, as well as roles dedicated to managing innovation. I hope that these emerging roles will attract new and diverse talent to the industry, but it is not evident yet.

Networks such as Women in BIM are encouraging women to follow a career in construction through support and mentoring, which I think will make a difference. It is also well documented that if the construction industry is to continue to innovate and become more efficient, it needs to become more diverse. According to the McKinsey report, Why Diversity Matters (January 2015), gender-diverse companies are 14% more likely to perform better than non-diverse companies, and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better.

Who is the person in BIM that you turn to for inspiration/support and why?

I am very lucky to be involved directly with BIM adoption in the construction industry through my consultancy business, but also I’m involved in BIM adoption in academia through my part-time lecturing on the BIM Masters courses at Technological University Dublin, Middlesex University, and the Institute of Technology Carlow in Ireland. For this reason, I can turn both to industry and academic peers for inspiration and support.

by Emma Hayes Emma Hayes No Comments

What can we learn from ‘The Matrix’? with Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes, Managing Director, Digital Built Consultants, shares her vision of what the future for virtual teams in Irish construction could look like in light of compelling research and the impact of COVID-19.

In 2016, I carried out a research study with Dr Noha Saleeb of Middlesex University in London to understand how globally dispersed teams could effectively collaborate and communicate on projects.

This research has never been more relevant than in the current situation where project teams that don’t need to be onsite or co-located to carry out their work are advised to work from home.

The research considered the global architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry trend towards the use of globally dispersed teams to achieve quality services at competitive costs.

Some organisations call this multi-office execution where a project team shares work with low-cost design centres for projects based out of high-cost offices. The teams collaborate and communicate using virtual methods such as sharing information over a common data environment and meeting virtually using Voice over IP (VoIP) and screen-sharing collaboration platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom.

The research discovered that in order to work effectively across multiple remote teams in different office locations the following factors need to be considered: team collaboration, traditional and virtual communication methods and types of team players.

BIM and collaboration

According to the research, design team collaboration is achieved through a group of multi-discipline skilled individuals with varying values, attitudes and goals working together to deliver a project. Teams of individuals or organisations working together can address problems and deliver outcomes not effectively achieved by working alone or in silos.

Digital construction processes such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) where project information is shared amongst the stakeholders using 3D models encourages the design team to collaborate.

Traditionally design teams have used Computer Aided Design  technology to develop project information along with traditional communication methods such as face-to-face meetings and email to collaborate throughout the project. The adoption of BIM has advanced this process to provide a new method of communicating digital information about a building in a three-dimensional format.

During the pandemic the need for teams to collaborate and communicate remotely is essential for projects to continue while keeping the individuals socially distant and safe from the spread of COVID-19.

One way for the design team to meet and communicate is virtually, using information technology methods such as instant messaging, videoconferencing, computer-screen sharing, and so on.

Research has found that communication technology is more effective when it is used to supplement rather than replace face-to-face interaction. Yet due to the pandemic teams may never meet face to face throughout the project lifecycle. Therefore, it may be necessary to consider alternative methods of virtual communication to simulate the spontaneous face-to-face interaction we’re more used to experiencing.

Introducing avatars

Science fiction films such as ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Avatar’ have depicted virtual environments where people can plug in and interact with each other virtually. The people in these environments take on humanoid features and communicate simultaneously with each other.

The computer gaming industry has been using avatars as first-person representations since ‘Maze War’ in 1973 and more recently with massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). ‘World of Warcraft’, one of the most popular MMORPG’s in recent years, allows the players to select and customise a character (avatar) to work collaboratively with other characters in guilds (teams) to complete tasks and defeat opponents.

This collaborative working is supported by internal chat systems where the players can communicate through private chat or guild chat where they can communicate as a group. Gamers also utilise communications systems or VoIP software to communicate with other gamers online.

Technology advancements such as brain-computer interfaces will make this interaction more spontaneous. This is in addition to the presence of immersion using virtual reality, superimposition of virtual objects in real environments using augmented reality and mixed reality using a combination of both.

Ability to adapt

An important factor to consider when adopting virtual communication methods is the ability of the design team to adapt to new ways of communicating.

A barrier to interactive communication and open collaboration with BIM projects may be the lack of engagement by the project team with the tools and processes. For the design team to interrogate and interact with a project’s digital information they must be familiar with the digital tools such as BIM authoring software and review software.

Design teams can comprise of different dynamics, work cultures and levels of experience. The senior team members could be more mature and experienced; the less experienced team members could be less mature, newly graduated, however, more technically savvy. This dynamic may have an impact on how the team engages with the digital tools in a BIM project.

Younger team members who are digital natives are more suited to the BIM process, which entails handling project information contained in a virtual environment accessed at any time as a graphic representation of the building.

The opposite of this may be said of the more mature team members (sometimes referred to as ‘digital immigrants’) who have not grown up immersed in digital technology. The mature team members may retain habits from a non-digital past such as printing documents to read rather than reading on screen or requesting prints of drawings to review rather than utilising digital review tools.

To encourage interactive communication and open collaboration with BIM projects the team needs to engage virtually rather than in a traditional synchronous or asynchronous form, which involves a changing of mindset for the more mature team members.

Research relevance

The objective of the 2016 research was to explore the virtual relationship between members of a design team using BIM processes, understand the difference between collaboration and communication and the challenges of virtual communication between the people involved. This was carried out with case study research along with industry expert interviews and finally experimentation of a proposed solution.

The case study was selected for research as it involved a multi-disciplinary team co-located in three geographic locations where the team members interacted and communicated virtually throughout the project lifecycle and used BIM processes. Clash resolution meetings were carried out virtually with a unified communication platform with VoIP and desktop sharing.

Further research tested the premise that more efficient methods for virtual communication can add value in the workplace between project teams. A traditional face-to-face project collaboration meeting was compared with a project collaboration meeting using a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) solution to carry out the same series of tasks.

Replicating face-to-face

Comparing the results of the research theorised how each demographic responded to different communication/collaboration methods. The field experiments tested whether a virtual environment with avatars for interaction could result in better communication and collaboration through an improved virtual communication environment.

Findings from the evaluations showed a discrepancy between the opinions of the more senior members of the team (digital immigrants) and the younger members (digital natives) who favored CVEs for collaboration and trust.

There were various reasons for the unfavourable results cited by the digital immigrants such as the technology was not responsive enough, it was difficult to view a model on a screen in the virtual environment or lack of experience in the medium.

However, overall the respondents supported this type of technology for future use in terms of being closer to replicating face-to-face interaction than current virtual solutions.

Tomorrow’s world

The future of this type of collaborative environment may result in the ability to attend a virtual site meeting in a BIM model with avatars of the team members walking down the site and interacting spontaneously to resolve issues with the building design before it is built.

It is clear that this global pandemic is very disruptive to our industry. I believe it is escalating the adoption of digital construction processes in particular remote collaborative working.

The implementation of collaborative virtual environments may help to improve the communication and collaboration experience for the project teams. The long-term benefit that this may have for the industry is that remote or virtual teams will become more normal.

As the Irish construction industry competes in a global economy to deliver building projects faster and at a more competitive cost, project teams will be able to utilise geographically dispersed teams with different expertise or from low cost centres throughout their network to collaborate on a project.

by Emma Hayes Emma Hayes No Comments

The inaugural Digital Built Consultants Bishopland Beginners Polo Tournament – Mens Match

(L to R: Team West Wicklow Hunt: Ronan Brophy, Lena Wegner, Ray Fisher, Neil Kinsella, Ella Stynes (Support Team), Alejo Tagle (Umpire/ Bishopland Polo), Ana Tagle (Support Team), Team South County Dublin Hunt: Andrew Stynes, Shane Cowley, Jimmy Byrne, Niall Clancy. Foreground: Lily the Beagle (Bishopland Polo Mascot)) Photo Emma Hayes

Amidst the beautiful backdrop of the Wicklow hills, Bishopland Polo, Ballymore Eustace was the stage for the Mens match held on 12th Sept 2018. Yellow Team; West Wicklow Hunt (WWH): Ronan Brophy, Lena Wegner (Honorary man for the challenge), Ray Fisher & Neil Kinsella took on Grey Team; South County Dublin Hunt (SCDH): Andrew Stynes, Shane Cowley, Jimmy Byrne & Niall Clancy for two adrenaline filled ten minute chukkas. Bishopland Polo owner Alejo Aita Tagle had the challenging task of adjudicating between the two teams and their interpretation of the rules.   The Mens match brought the tournament to an end and closes the beginner’s polo season. Alejo’s expert and patient coaching along with his experienced polo ponies has taken a mixed group of equestrians from their hunting, eventing, show jumping, dressage and hacking backgrounds into the exciting world of polo. The teams competed for the prestigious Bishopland Polo medals sponsored by local business Digital Built Consultants (

A balmy Indian summer evening provided perfect conditions for the encounter where spectators enjoyed watching an exciting sport along with some light refreshments. With cheers from the sideline the teams lined up and Alejo threw in the ball to get the game underway.

Laken local, Neil Kinsella, wasted no time and scored for Team WWH in the first few minutes. Despite the challenges by Team SCDH Neil put the ball between the post for a second time for WWH. The game was on now with high octane tackles from Andrew (SCDH) and Lena (WWH). Heavy hitters for both sides ,Hollywood Horse and Pony Trekking owner, Ray (WWH) and local Ballymore man Shane (SCDH) got the game moving. The teams charged up and down the pitch aboard their skillful polo ponies for a very exciting first chucca. WWH kept the pressure on but through roars of ‘foul’ and ‘c’mon ref’ SCDH were awarded a penalty which went wide. Unperturbed Jimmy challenged the goal again and scored for SCDH. Another goal for WWH just before the whistle blew to end the first chucca had the scoreboard at 3:1 to WWH.

L to R: Ray Fisher, Jimmy Byrne, Andrew Stynes, Neil Kinsella, Niall Clancy, Ronan Brophy (Photo Emma Hayes)

After a ten minute break in the evening sunshine and a few refreshments the rested polo ponies and riders went into battle for the second and final chukka. It was all to play for now and both teams came out goal hungry. WWH won the ball from the throw in and a ride off between Ray and Niall earned SDCH the ball. The ball passed between Niall and Jimmy who was challenged by Ronan. A full shot from Shane lobbed the ball down the pitch to Andrew who placed it between the posts. Ray kept the pressure on SDCH with a massive shot down the pitch for WWH which was chased down by Niall and Neil. A tackle from Ronan got the ball back but a quick move by Lena and her nimble steed stole the ball from SDCH which resulted in another goal on the scoreboard for WWH. Leading 4:2 WWH were gaining confidence only to be put back in their place with another goal from Andrew for SCDH. As the pressure mounted long hits from Ray and Shane were chased down by Niall and Neil for an exciting second chucca. Tackles from Jimmy, Andrew, Ronan and Lena kept the supporters cheering. Another score for Team SCDH evened up the scoreboard and a final challenge from Shane put the ball between the posts just before the final whistle blew. The final score for this thrilling match was Team South County Dublin Hunt – 5: Team West Wicklow Hunt – 4.

The Bishopland Beginners polo season takes a break for the winter but will be back in full swing in April 2019. Roll on next season!

(L to R: Niall Clancy, Neil Kinsella, Shane Cowley, Ray Fisher, Lena Wegner, Andrew Stynes, Jimmy Byrne (Photo Emma Hayes)

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Digital Built Consultants sponsor the inaugural Bishopland Beginners Polo Tournament

(L to R: Alejo Tagle (Umpire/ Bishopland Polo), Team Digital Built Consultants: Felicity McCartan, Emma Hayes (Sponsor: Digital Built Consultants), Jimmy Byrne, Clodagh Brophy, Steve Hayes (Sponsor: Digital Built Consultants), Team Hollywood Horse and Pony Trekking: Noella Beaumont, Aishling Doyle, Ger McCarthy, Karyn Jamieson, James Sheeran (Umpire)) (Photo Ray Fisher)

The polo pitch in Bishopland Polo, Ballymore Eustace was the battle ground for the Ladies match last Wednesday (5th Sept 2018). Black Team: Digital Built Consultants (Jimmy Byrne (honorary lady for the evening), Clodagh Brophy, Emma Hayes, Felicity McCartan) took on Yellow Team: Hollywood Horse and Pony Trekking (Aishling Doyle, Karyn Jamieson, Geraldine (Ger) McCarthy, Noella Beaumont) in an exciting match of two ten minute chukkas. The game was closely umpired by Bishopland Polo owner Alejo Aita Tagle and local Equine Vet James Sheeran. The tournament closes the beginner’s polo season, where under Alejo’s expert and patient coaching along with his experienced polo ponies, keen horse riders can get a taste of the very exciting sport of polo. The teams battled it out for the prestigious Bishopland Polo medals sponsored by local business Digital Built Consultants (

(L to R: Emma Hayes, Felicity McCartan, Alejo Tagle, Karyn Jamieson, Jimmy Byrne, Aishling Doyle, Clodagh Brophy, Ger McCarthy) (Photo Steve Hayes)

The teams lined up for the throw in from Umpire James Sheeran which kicked off the first match of the Bishopland Polo Beginners Tournament.  Team Digital Built Consultants took an early lead with a goal scored in the first few minutes of play by hard hitter Jimmy and his agile polo pony. Following the rules of polo the teams switched sides after a score. Hollywood Horse And Pony Trekking (HHPT) played well to defend against the goal hungry Digital Built Consultants (DBC) team for the next few minutes. A brave tackle from Ger and a pass to Aishling gave HHPT a chance at goal but DBC’s defence was too much for HHPT. A foul by DBC gave HHPT another chance at goal with a penalty shot but the ball was wide. The ten minute chukka could not end soon enough for HHPT after a pass from Clodagh to Jimmy ended in another goal for DBC. Heavy rain did not deter the two teams from battling it out to the end of the first chukka but all were relieved when the whistle blew.


(L to R: Karyn Jamieson, Emma Hayes (Photo Steve Hayes)

After a ten minute break sheltering from the rain in the back of James’ horse lorry and few refreshments the rested polo ponies and riders braved the slippery ground conditions for the second and final chukka (the professionals play four chukkas with a different pony for each chukka). Once again, the teams lined up for the throw in and HHPT won the ball. Aishling cantered up the field towards their goal with Karyn supporting and defending the whole way but a tackle by Emma passed the ball back to Clodagh who took off at full speed towards the goal where Jimmy completed the play by putting the ball between the goal posts for a third time. Keen marking by Felicity and Noella kept the pressure on both teams throughout the match but Team Digital Built Consultants where not to be beaten with a final goal by their hired assassin Jimmy Byrne to seal the deal. The final score was Team Digital Built Consultants – 4: Team Hollywood Horse and Pony Trekking – 0.

The next match of the Bishopland Polo Beginners Polo Tournament will be held on the 13th September between the beginner’s men’s teams of the West Wicklow Hunt and South County Dublin Hunt.

by Emma Hayes Emma Hayes No Comments

Emma Hayes appointed to the CitA Board


Emma is Managing Director of Digital Built Consultants, a BIM and Digital Information Management Consultancy. She brings over 20 years’ experience in the AEC industry in Ireland and internationally to her role on the Board. She is a Chartered Architectural Technologist and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Technology from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Bolton Street and a Master’s Degree in BIM Management from Middlesex University. Previously, Emma was the Group BIM Manager with PM Group where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the Group BIM strategy and roll-out of procedures and workflows for BIM adoption across the organisation’s network of offices in Europe, Asia and the US.

Emma told that she “is very honoured to be part of the CitA Board as they are actively involved in driving progress in BIM adoption in the AEC industry in Ireland.” CitA are a not-for-profit organisation that focuses in the promotion of Digital Construction in Ireland since its inception in 2002. CitA’s activities predominantly include the provision of events, training and research activities in response to its members’ needs. CitA has grown over the years to in excess of 300 businesses across the architectural, engineering and construction supply chains in Ireland, which includes in addition a large number of specialist IT vendors, governmental departments and agencies. It has a very close working relationship with all of the main stakeholder bodies in Ireland, such as, the RIAI, SCSI, CIF, ACEI and Engineers Ireland.

For the past two years CitA have been fortunate to be given the opportunity by Enterprise Ireland to work on the BIM Innovation Capability Programme in 2016 and 2017. This important project sought about collating data that would assist the newly formed National BIM Council in creating an informed and internationally respected Digital Construction Roadmap for Ireland, which has at its core the vision that Irish AEC businesses would be provided with a platform of support for the innovative use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) by 2021.

Emma notes that “CitA continues to drive the adoption of Digital Technology and the implementation of BIM processes through their Skillnet training courses, monthly seminars and annual conferences.”

Emma also spoke to about the fantastic CitA network “where people and organisations can connect with industry thought leaders and peers to share ideas and support throughout their BIM journey.”

Emma was a BIM Judge for the 2018 ICE Awards. You can read more about Digital Built Consultants in a recent Irish building magazine interview here:

by trish trish No Comments

PM Group Wins BIM Initiative of the Year 2017 Award for DWtE

PM Group was delighted to be recognised at the Irish Building and Design Awards and to receive the BIM Initiative of the Year award for the Dublin Waste to Energy (DWtE) Facility.

PM Group was delighted to be recognised at the Irish Building and Design Awards and to receive the BIM Initiative of the Year award for the Dublin Waste to Energy (DWtE) Facility.

“DWtE is the largest project of its kind in Ireland to date. The delivery of this project required an innovative Building Information Modelling (BIM) Initiative to not only achieve the complex design but to facilitate collaboration by multiple stakeholders in different geographical locations. All of these factors were necessary to deliver such a high profile project,” said Emma Hayes, Group BIM Applications Manager.

The BIM Initiative of the Year Award recognises the DWtE project’s multi-disciplinary team comprised of experts from PM Group (Ireland and Poland) and specialist process contractors from Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) (Switzerland). The project was based on design criteria set out by the client, Covanta Europe Engineering Ltd.

The DWtE Facility is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Dublin City Council and Covanta, a provider of sustainable waste and energy solutions, to provide a thermal treatment plant to treat municipal waste that cannot be reused or recycled.

by trish trish No Comments

BIM QnA with Emma Hayes and Dr Barry McAuley

Emma Hayes, Group BIM Applications Manager for PM Group, and Dr Barry McAuley, Dublin Institute of Technology Lecturer and BICP Researcher answer your BIM Questions on AR and VR on Irish sites and the prerequisites for postgraduate BIM courses, in our first BIM QnA of 2017.

Question: When will AR and VR become common on Irish construction sites?


AR and VR could be used on Irish Construction sites tomorrow! The technology is available and with many projects being executed with Building Information Modelling (BIM), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already possible for construction sites. The hardware such as VR headsets and movement sensors are becoming more mainstream and much more cost effective. In PM Group we are using VR for clients to walk through a virtual simulation of their facility at concept stage which helps speed up the design decision making process.

But why would Irish construction sites need to use VR and AR? The emergence of virtual and immersive technology allows the user to overlay a virtual environment or a BIM model with a real environment such as a construction site. For example, a construction worker can view a virtual model of building services hidden above an installed ceiling or behind a constructed wall without disturbing the fabric resulting in less remedial work. But it does not stop there! Imagine being able to send a drone out to a construction site to do a laser scan survey to map progress which can then be viewed using VR to compare with the anticipated progress of the construction. There are also Health and Safety benefits one of which is the development of AR smart construction helmets. These helmets have sensors and visors that relay virtual and real data to the wearer notifying them of any potential health and safety risks. These helmets also provide the user with access to the BIM data as they walk around the site.

Virtual and augmented reality are already starting to change the way we interact with our building designs and with the many benefits they bring to the construction process it is only a matter of when and not how they will become common on Irish construction sites.

Question: Are there any general prerequisites for doing a postgraduate certificate or master degree in BIM in Ireland?


Focusing on the MSc in Applied BIM and Management course offered in DIT the current entry threshold is either a level 8 honours degree with a 2.2 qualification which will enable you to enter straight onto the programme, or a level 7 ordinary degree plus five years of experience. There is also a for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. This involves the student presenting a portfolio of their prior experience and on the basis of an evaluation with this respect they may be offered a place on the programme. This allows for people who are established in the sector to move on to the programme. Once you have registered on the first year of the programme you can graduate with a Post-Graduate Certificate in BIM Technologies, second year is a Post-Graduate Diploma in Collaborative BIM, and the third year is the Master of Science in Applied Building Information Modelling and Management

For the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM offered in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, you must hold a relevant Level 7 qualification or equivalent in a cognate area within the construction and built environment industry. Applications will also be accepted from mature applicants who have worked at an appropriate level within the construction industry and who may gain entry by the RPL process.

The HEI programmes on offer can be found on the BICP website:

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