Speaker Q&A

Andrew has been responsible for leading project teams and organisational divisions within various Queensland Government departments and at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (a statutory authority). He has managed multiple, complex and high-level sensitive projects within the Queensland Government since 1993. From 1988 Andrew worked in Local Government as a Town Planner. His roles have ranged from provision of executive level policy advice for whole-of-government teams, through to delivering multi-dimensional projects and sensitive election commitments.

Andrew has effectively negotiated outcomes on complex and sensitive issues and built relationships within organisations, government agencies, across all levels of government, the private sector and with the community. He has also represented the Queensland Government on a number of national working groups and committees.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work in digital construction?

I’m an urban and regional planner who has worked in project delivery and policy for more than 30 years. When the World Wide Web was becoming more prevalent, I quickly saw the need for planners to ride the information superhighway. My Dad, a carpenter, told me from a young age there must be a better way technology can help people on worksites so with this ringing in my ears, I became interested in processes that deliver better outcomes. I came to truly understand the value of digital enablement in all phases of an asset’s lifecycle when working at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in 2013, responsible for the centre’s infrastructure, planning and security. A BIM manager had methodically captured, from the original plans, the entire structure and was able to quickly demonstrate BIM’s value or refurbishment, new additions and asset management. When appointed to my current role and asked if I knew anything about BIM, my answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ I then worked on a set of draft principles and in November 2018, the Queensland Government released the Digital Enablement for Queensland Infrastructure – Principles for BIM Implementation which provide a mandate and establishes principles for the delivery of BIM across Queensland government departments.

What is the most exciting thing about your role?

Implementing government policy in relation to digital enablement and helping agencies with cultural change. Seeing how technology and process improvements benefit both the clients and contractors, delivering on opportunities and managing challenges.

Can you tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on and what role innovation and technology are playing?

I don’t specifically work on projects, rather set policy frameworks. So, an alternative question I propose is, “Can you tell us a bit about the policy process and what role innovation and technology are playing?”. Ensuring that a new approach is embedded and really tested, so that we move from a ‘new idea’ towards ‘business as usual’, is the goal.

Tell us about a recent innovation or technology that you’ve been most impressed by.

The improvements in visualisation, virtual reality and AI.

How important is the Future Infrastructure Summit to the industry?

The summit showcases the latest thinking and approaches, keeps industry and government up to date with advances, and reinforces the good work underway across Australia. We need to celebrate our achievements and successes and keep an eye on the future as new opportunities and ideas evolve.

Can you tell us a bit about your session at Future Infrastructure Summit 2019 in Brisbane?

I welcome the opportunity to present to industry about our BIM principles. It is important to discuss the progress we are making in implementing the principles and how we are leading departments to establish BIM as a new way of working. Talking to, and hearing from, key stakeholders is critical to good policy implementation.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know.

I’m a keen cyclist and have raised over $25,000 for cancer research since 2011. In 2015 I rode from Brisbane to Townsville to raise funds for cancer research with the Smiling for Smiddy team, covering some 1600km over 8 days. After a two-year rest, I rode back from Townsville, again raising funds for Smiling for Smiddy.

What do you see as the most interesting and exciting future applications for digital technology in construction?

The improvements in productivity, safety and asset management mean that digital technology will improve outcomes for government projects, and project delivery more broadly. This will benefit the economy and ultimately means governments will be able to deliver more projects in the same funding envelope.