Newsletter 21:

Autumn 2014 - Loughborough

The September 2014 Community Day and AGM was kindly hosted by Loughborough University & was attended by 33 delegates.

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Professor Tony Thorpe welcomed us to the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University as host of the September 2014 Community Day and AGM.

It is worth noting that eleven years ago Tony was one of the founding members of COMIT along with Arup and BSRIA (Gerry).


Chairman's comments

The day was chaired by Stephen Smith (COMIT's Chairman for Construction) who asked a number of questions - in particular:


  • Do you get value for money from COMIT?

  • What can COMIT do for you?

You can share any ideas that you might have about this by contacting us directly.


We had 33 delegates in attendance, which is normal for the AGM and welcomed four new members:



Each new member gave a five minute presentation on what they are hoping to gain from COMIT membership and what they feel they can offer (the presentations are available on the website).


We also welcomed two guests from SCC.


If you wish to be put in touch with our new members or guests, please contact Gerry at

AGM Part 1

Gerry gave a short review of the past year, highlighting the five successful events COMIT has held in the current financial year. This started with last year's annual conference in November 2013 at the Institute of Physics. It was followed by four successful Community Days (hosted by Timico, Alvea, Milestone & Loughborough University). Two of these were held in London where we had a record attendance of over 60 people at each event.

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CPD accreditation

Members were reminded that COMIT is now CPD accredited and we need members to complete the feedback forms at the end of each Community Day. 

This was arranged to encourage members to bring along apprentices and young engineers who can receive CPD credits for attending Community Days.



This is a great opportunity to put forward your ideas to the innovations team at Crossrail and even get granted funding if your idea is taken up by the investment review team. The next review is in February 2015. All COMIT members need do to gain access to the Innovate18 portal is to give your company, name, role and email to Gerry. Access can be given to up three people within each member organisation. Some projects have already received sizeable funding, so don't miss out!


Financial Update

The year to September 30th 2014 had been very successful. COMIT is a very small organisation but has seen its revenue grow by 85% over the last 3 years to approximately £135k per year.


In large part this has been due to the two externally supported projects MobiCloud and Enable My Team (EMT). MobiCloud receives 50% funding from the European Union and EMT from the Technology Strategy Board.


An update on these projects was given by Stuart Young and Jason Scott respectively.

Impact of Social Media & Mobile in Construction


Paul Wilkinson is a long-standing member of COMIT and has been a Business-to-Business (B2B) PR consultant since 1987. He is deputy chair of the ICE IS Panel and is on the steering committees of both COMIT and Constructing Excellence.


Paul started by considering the definition of Web 2.0 and social media. After showing some wordy examples he confessed that his favourite was also the simplest:


"People having conversations online"


Paul went on to look at current trends in social media and the increasingly significant effect it is having on business in general and construction in particular. GPS, AR, QR and BIM are all adding to the sophistication of "social" mobile applications.

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Paul noted that younger workers today have grown up knowing nothing before the internet & asked if we are collaborative & open-minded enough about social media to attract them to our industry. The consensus was possibly not!


Paul pointed out that COMIT's 289 LinkedIn group members were typically managers or directors - so a great source for networking. COMIT also had 854 followers on twitter.


Capturing Project Data in the Field

Victor Snook from Bam Nuttall discussed their experience of using Autodesk BIM 360 Field on a number of different sites.

Victor described its use on the Scottish borders Railway, Chiswick Bridge (where existing balustrades were being changed) and the Heathrow Tunnel refurbishment.

AGM Part 2


Annual Conference 

Our next big event is the annual conference which this year is a joint venture between COMIT and Fiatech. It will take place over two days - Thursday 30th and Friday 31st of October - at the Crystal in London which is a fantastic venue.

If you have not yet booked you can do so either online and pay by credit card, or contact Gerry who will invoice you.


Please do join us as we have put together a great programme. Our speakers include those from Shell, Bechtel, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Crossrail, Morgan Sindall, Murphy, Costain, CCC, CH2M Hill, Laing O'Rourke, Mott Macdonald, Hs2, Vinci and KPMG and the UK Government.

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We also have sponsorship/exhibition space available, starting from £2k and depending upon your preferred level of involvement.


For more information and to book please see the COMIT website. You can also contact Gerry or Stuart directly.


Community Days

The next Community Day is on the 4th of December and is being hosted by Waterstons in Durham.


The Community Day for next year are:


  • Thurs 12th Mach

  • Thurs 11th June

  • Thurs 10th September

  • Thurs 4th December


If you would like to host a Community Day then please contact Gerry. The host covers the room and catering costs and would need to have a facility that can hold up to 60 people.


Social/Alternative Event

In the past COMIT often held a social event as part of the AGM, but this gradually died out. The meeting was asked if for a change people would like an evening event with short-fire presentations and a chance for debate, followed by a relaxed meal such as beer and pizza - thus combining knowledge sharing with something more sociable. By a show of hands the response was positive if it were held as an additional event, rather than replacing one of the existing Community Days. The COMIT managers undertook to look into it.


Following Paul Wilkinson's presentation a question was raised about coping with the potentially huge overload of information from social media in addition to other sources - some of us already receive 300 emails a day. It was suggested this could be a theme for the first such event.

Membership fees

Some members' fee fall due from 1st Oct. The usual fee is £1,600 (£800 for very small organisations). If your membership is due for renewal Gerry will be in touch (if she has not been already). If you need to raise a purchase order then you are reminded to please put this in motion to avoid delay.


Conference 2015

Planning for next years conference has already started. It is likely to be held in the first or maybe second week of November.


New Projects

We are still looking for new project ideas. Do not forget the Innovate18 scheme but also consider what COMIT might help to facilitate. We are keen to develop new case studies so please contact us about new ideas you would like us to get involved with or existing ones that we can help write up.


Getting Value from COMIT

It is important to us that we maximise the benefit of COMIT to our members. If you have suggestions on what we can do to enhance that then please let us know.


It was suggested that a better way of knowing "who is who" at COMIT events would help with networking since we are getting a good and variable mix of people attending. At present all members have a link to their company website on the COMIT website but it we may extend this to individual contacts. A show of hands indicated that virtually everyone in the room had a LinkedIn profile so we will look at using that to do something.


Loughborough University Showcase

We split into groups and a very interesting tour was given by Loughborough University of four areas of construction related research that they are currently engaged in.

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Smart Homes

This involved the use of smart meters and networked appliances/switches to help supervise the use of energy in the home - both locally and remotely - to help reduce energy consumption.

3D Concrete Printing

This has potential to be a disrupting technology with applications from low-volume architectural details to whole house construction using local materials. Work at Loughborough let to technology that has recently been licenced commercially.

Indoor Air Quality

This is looking at modelling passive air-flow in rooms which is typically poorly understood but of importance in low-energy or natural ventilation systems and where air-borne contamination is of concern - for example in hospitals. The approach uses scale models and coloured brine solution to validate and refine computer based modelling. 

Daylight Monitoring

This is looking at how light is considered in buildings and how "smart glass" can be used to control it - providing shade when required but maintaining natural daylight levels and the view. Lack of daylight has known impacts on productivity and health as well as on energy use.


Crossrail iBeacons Project Update

Neill Pawsy gave an update on the use of iBeacons at Crossrail. They were developed by Apple and are low cost Bluetooth transmitters that can notify a device of their presence. To date they have been used mainly for advertising. 


COMIT members Crossrail and 3Squared are accessing their use for managing access to controlled areas. Neill & 3Squared will be presenting on this project at the conference in October when they will be able to provide more detailed results.

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The MobiCloud App Challenge

MobiCloud is an EU supported project that COMIT is a part of. COMIT members Costain and Appear are also partners in the project along with a German transport company Nettropolis and Dutch mobile development company EsperantoXL.

MobiCloud finishes in December and to mark the end of the project it is running a Mobile App Challenge for Construction.


The aim of MobiCloud was to develop a cloud-based platform for developing and deploying mobile applications that could run on any device or operating system and use context awareness to improve usability. The platform and the applications running on it were designed to be licensed on an "as-a-service" basis - i.e. a pay-as-you-go type model.


During the project it became clear that this approach is very suitable for construction. Each project partner except COMIT developed and ran a trial and the trial project run by Costain (Site Diary) was by far the most successful.


The aim of the App Challenge is to generate new ideas for construction related apps and to promote the use of platforms, such as the one developed by the project.

The challenge is open to anybody - individuals, students, developers etc. and will comprise of three rounds:


  • Round1 - Ideas (wild & otherwise

  • Round2 - Concepts / Pitches

  • Round3 - Site Trials


In Round1 people are invited to submit ideas. These will be reviewed by a panel of construction experts who will chose the best idea - which will win the person submitting it €1,000 (roughly £800).


In Round2 teams will then be invited to select ideas and develop the concepts in more detail - pitching them to construction sponsors and potentially going on to develop a prototype for site trial.


For details of the App Challenge and how to take part please visit the MobiCloud website at



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Registered Address: BSRIA, Old Bracknell Lane West

Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7AH

Registered in England No. 7475561

COMIT is a company limited by shares but currently run on a not for profit basis

for the benefit of its members


COMIT Financial Director: Mrs Gerry (Geraldine) Samuelsson-Brown - Mob: 07775 677 547


COMIT Director, Chair for Technology: Iain Miskimmin - Mob: 07814 007 731

COMIT, Chair for Construction: Stephen Smith - Mob: 07774 017968


COMIT Director: Neill Pawsey - Mob: 07792 074 163

COMIT Acting Director of Professional Services: Jason Scott - Mob: 07710 634 676


COMIT Director of Consultancy Servics - Mob: 07786 110 669


Management Committee:

Representing construction:

Steve Slater: Shepherd Construction –

Glyn Matthews: Speedy Services –



Representing dissemination:

Paul Wilkinson: pwcom 2.0 –

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